Monitoring, unified communications technologies key to social listening

    Customers are no longer contacting businesses strictly though a call center, thanks to the rise of channels such as social media, which is becoming essential for many companies looking for ways to reach out to their audiences. A recent TechTarget report suggested that organizations employ what is known as "social listening" to their operations by integrating both monitoring and unified communications options together.

    The concept of social listening is considered as important as business collaboration, according to the news source, but it is not a new trend. Brad Shimmin, principal analyst at Current Analysis, explained that companies have been tracking customer feedback for many years, but keeping tabs on such information has just made the transition to social media websites like Twitter.

    "Customers have a voice, and in the current climate, it's a boisterous one," Shimmin said, according TechTarget. "Social monitoring is something that enterprises can't ignore. It has become paramount for companies that are public-facing to pay attention to what is being said on social networks."

    Some unified communications and social software service providers are combining both platforms with social monitoring technologies to empower sales and marketing staff members to keep up with consumer feedback, according to TechTarget.

    Several technologies expected to impact UC

    IT nonprofit CompTIA conducted a study earlier this year and found that several technologies will impact the use of unified communications. The firm said that social media is expected to influence the development of UC, along with other trends such as enterprise mobility and cloud computing.

    Of the organizations surveyed by CompTIA, 80 percent said they believe unified communications offers their businesses improved value. Another 85 percent said spending for collaboration and communication technologies is keeping pace with other priorities.

    The cloud, in particular, is expected to be a major enabler of unified communications. CompTIA found that 70 percent of participants are considering a cloud system or managed services model to support UC.

    Seth Robinson, CompTIA's technology analysis director, said the advantages of unified communications are clear as a majority of businesses want to leverage UC deployments to improve customer communication, boost employee productivity and lower operating costs.

    "What we're most likely to see is a hybrid approach in many organizations, using the cloud for collaboration and web conferencing, and on-premise infrastructure for data, voice and video," Robinson said.

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