Companies tend to throw around the term unified communications without ever offering a definition. Although the term may seem self-explanatory, it has many elements to unpack and explore. In its most basic form, a unified communications system works to centralize all streams of communication in a particular environment, enabling employees to call, message, and transfer data quickly and effortlessly.
VoIP customers have already taken the first step in unifying their communications. Through conferencing, call routing, speech-to-text, and many other unique hosted PBX features, companies reap the benefits of receiving and placing calls from one powerful system. In-office and between locations, however, businesses may find it advantageous to take their systems to the next level by adding a few extra solutions.
Real-Time (Instant) Messaging Applications
Although SMS and MMS work well in keeping employees and customers connected, any form of instant messaging may immediately improve a business’ communications infrastructure. In-house, you can get away with using free services such Skype and Google Chat, which, if already configured as phone objects, works to further unify the system. Two other potential services to mention include Spark and Jabber, both of which offer more security, privacy, and configurability.
When speaking with customers, however, these services do not cut it. By including an instant messaging form, or commonly known as a “chat widget,” on a website, businesses give their customers a secondary contact method. Doing so creates a single system for customer calls and a single system for written inquiries, helping to organize customer relations for easy reference later on.
Data and File Sharing
While some larger corporations go as far as implementing a web-based whiteboard, most small businesses will not need such a tool. When file sharing, email may seem limited, however; so you may wish to subscribe to a corporate cloud package for transferring and retrieving files remotely. DropBox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive are three of the most popular, but with a little research, there are plenty of other options to discover.