Innovation and productivity are essential ingredients for business growth. That’s why digital transformation is a key organizational priority, and more companies have plans to implement collaboration technologies. So it should come as no surprise that global spending on unified communications (UC) will reach an estimated $45.7 billion in 2022, according to a Gartner forecast.
Even as global adoption and spending on UC continues to increase, however, managers may still need to convince CFOs that UC is the right technology to leverage for their business. In addition, CFOs need to know what to look for when selecting a UC vendor to ensure the business maximizes its return on investment.
To make the case for UC, managers and IT teams should be well-versed in the following arguments.
The business benefits of unified communications
A study by Nemertes on the total cost of unified communications and collaboration tools found that more than 46 percent of companies are increasing their IT budget for UC spending. There are good reasons for this shift, since UC delivers significant benefits to the organization:
Reduced costs: A unified communications solution requires lower upfront acquisition costs. Many employees ditch their desk phone in favor of their smartphone, and calls are handled over the Internet. As a result, capital expenditures (capex) such as hardware, disaster recovery and infrastructure drastically decrease, while overall operating expenditures (opex) become more controlled.
Additional savings come through reduced travel expenses as employees gain access to a full suite of communication and collaboration tools, including video conferencing and screen sharing. UC also reduces employee absenteeism because workers have access to more advanced tools that allow them to do their jobs from anywhere. CFOs who want to save even more money should opt for a single UC vendor. If they do, their operational costs will come in 25 to 41 percent lower than if they used multiple providers.
Minimize losses. Critical events, such as natural disasters, emergencies or system outages, put revenues at risk. But with UC, costs related to such events are minimized. Managers use mass notification to deliver vital information to a variety of channels or devices and quickly get employees out of harm’s way. In addition, they’re able to dispatch incident response teams quickly and efficiently, thus reducing potential losses and mitigating damages.
Increase productivity: Access to advanced collaboration tools makes it easier for employees to work together. Remote workers, as well as those who spend a good deal of time on the road, have full access to UC tools from their mobile device. The most recent customer data is always available, and calls with clients and prospects are never dropped from a reliable and secure network. In fact, studies have shown productivity gains of up to 50 percent from UC implementation.
Collaborate more efficiently: Web and video conferencing open the door for immediate collaboration, regardless of location, device or network. For example, field service teams can create and share videos instantly or live stream with field technicians to provide real-time assistance. The end result? They resolve customer issues on the first call, increasing satisfaction and retention.
Accelerate digital transformation: Unified communications is an integral part of the wider digital transformation taking place across enterprises. Integrating communication and collaboration applications with other business technologies allows companies to deliver improved service to both employees and customers.
How to select the right UC provider for your business
CFOs should be aware that reaping these benefits depends largely on selecting the right unified communications solution from a provider with a proven record of success.
Issues to consider include:
Business protection: What kind of service level agreement (SLA) does the provider offer? A reputable vendor uses their own or third-party data facilities with an SLA that covers uptime, business continuity, disaster recovery timetables, support for demand spikes and mean time to resolution of issues.
Existing systems and frameworks: Migrating to unified communications doesn’t necessarily require your business to rip out all its existing infrastructure. The right solution leverages current platforms and IT frameworks and integrates with CRM and virtualization apps.
Reliability: You shouldn’t have to worry about the system going down or dropping calls. Make sure your provider demonstrates through real-world examples that their communications solution has a proven track record when it comes to reliability and quality.
It’s also important to look for a provider that offers a complete UC solution, so you can avoid working with multiple vendors. A comprehensive system includes:
Dual mode wireless
iOS and Android support
Support for other mobile platforms
Next generation app integration
Outbound call center
Fixed mobile wireless
Enterprises turn to unified communications for a powerful system that increases productivity and collaboration while reducing costs. CFOs who work closely with IT management to carefully review UC providers and make an educated choice reap the greatest gains from this investment.
Organizations that don’t make the switch to unified communications will fall behind the competition. UC is an investment that delivers an immediate return, in both hard and soft numbers, and keeps you ahead of the curve—an outcome every CFO will get behind.