Unified communications boosts productivity, lowers operating costs

    Given the current economic concerns facing many companies, unified communications may be the answer to helping businesses improve productivity while also lowering operating costs. A recent survey conducted by a U.K. conference call service vendor found that 57 percent of organizations said UC deployments would enable them to achieve these goals.

    Of the nearly 1,100 businesses polled, 54 percent believe unified communications can also improve collaboration and productivity among company partners, suppliers and customers. Nearly 70 percent of participants already allow employees to work remotely to address the growing demand for video conferencing technologies.


    Perhaps the only downside of unified communications is the initial upfront investment. However, many companies surveyed view UC as a long-term project that will help them save money over the long run because they can reduce overall office space and travel requirements.


    "Times are changing and today's workforce has to adapt in order to stay ahead," the firm's CEO, Simon Curry, explained. "We have an abundance of technology at our fingertips and UC will only make it easier now for businesses to streamline communications and in turn be in a better position to service customers. UC is on its way to becoming [an] integral cog in the way businesses communicate; it's up to us not to resist."


    Unified communications market set for future growth


    A recent study conducted by independent research firm COMMfusion indicated that the global unified communications market will increase significantly in the near future. This expansion will occur as businesses look for solutions to support mobile workforces and employee collaboration regardless of location.


    COMMfusion said that the global UC-capable market reached more than $12.2 billion in 2011, growing 8 percent from 2010. By 2016, the industry is projected to approach approximately $21 billion.


    In addition to keep pace with rival companies, businesses can leverage unified communications in many more ways than simply integrating multiple platforms into one solution. SYS-CON Media's Steve Caniano recently suggested that UC empowers organizations to operate on a global level.


    "It's about integrating multiple communication tools with presence, behind a single user interface," Caniano explained. "It’s about making communications accessible from almost any device, virtually anywhere. It's about optimizing and accelerating business processes. And it's about delivering it all on a single, global converged network."