Far from being just a marketing buzzword, unified communications (UC) refers to the integration of devices, applications and communication methods to develop collaborative and productive methods of communication. This could include a combination of real-time communication services such as instant messaging, voice over IP (VOIP), video conferencing and interactive whiteboards or non-real-time methods such as email, text messages or voicemail.


Ultimately, unified communications brings together various communication methods to create consistency across devices and platforms in order to streamline business processes. 


If you’re looking to boost efficiency and productivity through unified communications, discover four top tips that can help you make the transition:


Is 'unified communications' right for your business?


Unified communications offer great benefits to businesses, such as cost reductions, enhanced business continuity and greater security. However, it could prove a costly and time consuming project if you’re not properly prepared for the transition. Inefficient adoption could increase potential security risks too. Start by developing a business case for unified communications and consider what benefits you could realistically reap.


Review your existing processes and systems


Assess your existing infrastructure to highlight the current communications processes within your business. How these could be improved, what additional methods could aid the business and what do you hope to achieve with unified communications? By having a clear overview of your existing systems, you can identify barriers, determine your specific needs and tailor your approach.


Create a migration plan


Developing a structured plan for adoption will enable you to monitor and manage changes. Converging your communication technologies could become a tangled web if you fail to clarify what’s being integrated and any methods that are being introduced. A migration plan will then help you to develop a phased approach to unification before you get started.


Transform your network


The final step is to implement and rollout the activities that will transform your network and your business. As you manage change, it’s important to consider that you’re changing both business processes and technological processes. Phasing your rollout will help you to mitigate risk, error and substantial disruption. Avoid confusion by ensuring staff are aware of, and prepared for, the changes that will take place and the expected rollout time period.


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