In today’s economic environment, the mantra "Do more with less" has taken on whole new levels of meaning for organizations of all sizes, and across all verticals. At the heart of any focus on increased productivity is the ability to communicate and collaborate more efficiently. The integration of IP telephony and collaboration tools into a unified communications system can improve levels of efficiency throughout the organization—whether you’re a small local school, or a multinational enterprise with a highly distributed and mobile workforce.
Integrating business processes with business communications via a unified communications system makes it easy for workers to collaborate. For instance, a salesperson might be pricing out a new order for a customer and needs information from the finance department. Instead of looking up the finance manager's phone number in the out-of-date printed corporate directory and then physically dialing that number — as he likely would with a legacy phone system — the salesperson simply calls the finance manager with a single mouse click. As the discussion progresses, the finance manager may need to see additional details of the sale to build the cost model, so he simply clicks again to turn the call into a Web conference where they can edit the spreadsheet together. At the same time, he can use instant messaging to ask the vice president of sales for approval on new discount levels.
Easy, affordable access to effective collaboration tools means distributed teams can work together efficiently and in real time. This translates to increased productivity, a potentially shorter sales cycle and ultimately more satisfied customers. Contact centers in particular benefit from these improved business processes, as agents can confer with subject-matter experts in real time to address a customer issue quickly, and ultimately resolve more calls.
While a boost in productivity is the kind of economic stimulus many organizations are looking for today, hard-dollar cost savings are also possible with an integrated unified communications system. By leveraging a shared IT infrastructure, an IP-based unified communications system can result in savings in capital and operating costs–and in today’s economy, success means making the most of every possible advantage.