An introduction to Unified Communications
Agile Organisations depend on good internal communications – and today that means electronic interaction. The challenge is that this is so much more than just using tools such as email, voicemail, video conferencing, and social media.
Unified Communications (UC) is about having a technical infrastructure that joins these tools together. For example, getting a text alert if there is an important email waiting for you. Signalling whether you are contactable before someone calls you from the office (presence management). Choosing the best way to communicate, dependent on where you are, what you are doing and what you want to achieve. It makes mobile teams much more effective and efficient, unshackled from HQ or 9-5 operations.
It also requires cultural and process change driven from the top of an organisation, underpinned by trust, and a redesigned technology platform to support it:
- Trusting staff to use social media internally and externally.
- Managing changing service and reputation risks arising these tools.
- Moving away from a dependency on email and paper.
- Knowing how to choose the right communications method for the job in hand.
- Having consistency across communications channels, to avoid customer confusion.
- Signposting to more content and support as required.
- Linking people and resources together in real time to make communications effective.
- Designing communications methods around the nature of interaction required.
The underlying technology need joins together the IT services components to achieve this – including electronic staff directories and customer data as well as communications technology.
This change lies at the heart of digital transformation and is not easy, but the gains are enormous in terms of efficiency and empowering for staff and customers. Going Agile can ensure opportunities are spotted and seized early and problems are anticipated before becoming major costs. Mostly importantly, it can reduce the frustration of not knowing who to contact or how, or being interrupted unnecessarily – which we all face in the ‘always switched on’ world we live in today.