Tag Archives: uc

The Power of Streamlining Communications

Companies have been using email, mobile phones, instant messaging (IM) and video conferencing for years. Unfortunately, internet protocol-based phone systems are all too often segregated because they are separate communications avenues. Voice over IP (VoIP) makes it hard to unify these systems, even if it makes it easier to communicate.

unified communicationsEnter ReadyTalk. We want to unify communications to make it easier on our customers. For one, we’ve heard this is an issue. And two, well — we think we can do something about it. It’s why in November, we launched hosted voice. Hosted unified communications (UC) – otherwise known as cloud communications and hosted voice – brings all these tools together, improving collaboration, connection, engagement and communication.

What’s in a name?

UC, hosted voice, cloud communications, cloud telephony — it’s all the same. It sounds jargony, but it’s really about simplifying communications. The basic idea is it takes lots of different systems and makes them seamless … integrated.

Why UC?

It incorporates IP telephony, conferencing, softphones, and presence into a company’s workflow, all under one roof. It can improve productivity and reduce costs. And it’s best when you can go to one company to deliver all these communication solutions together.

Reduced cost

Many UC benefits such as productivity gains and can be more difficult to quantify. However, there’s discernible cost savings, too; UC cuts costs. Hosted voice is able to route internal calls over their data network, lowering long-distance fees, maintenance costs and support costs by as much as 25%. And once a hosted voice is in place, the costs for moving, adding, changing and deleting users goes away.

Better communication

Intangible benefits are harder to define. The best returns come from improved communication, which have several benefits like enhanced customer service and revenue stimulation, where having faster access to information results in sales closing faster and invoices being sent out sooner.

Think about speed. With UC, end users gain access to all of their communications tools – email, calendars, telephony, real-time communications and corporate directory – in a single interface offers a major productivity boost. Instead of having separate interfaces for checking email, making appointments, placing telephone calls, or having instant messaging conversations, all of this can take place in one interface.

Flexibility for workers

The use of one interface for all communications allow employees greater flexibility in where they work – on-site, at home or in their local coffee shop. For example, using a UC system an employee can be just as productive at home or in a hotel room as he or she is in the office. That means that teleworking is easier, leading to improved employee morale and greater employer flexibility in hiring employees independently of their geographic location.

Faster decisions

Beyond better and faster communications, workers can make faster decisions. An employee sitting in an airport or at home can receive calls or conduct instant messaging conversations just as if he or she was at their desk. This eliminates much of the “telephone” tag that takes place in business today.

Greener companies

For those organizations focused on “green” initiatives, UC can support these initiatives in several ways, including reducing the number of individual systems and power requirements that a company must support, reducing employee travel into the office by allowing them to work remotely more often, and minimizing the amount of floor space in an office by allowing employees to use the “hoteling” concept – i.e., coming into an office location only when necessary.

Compared to standalone solutions, UC systems can provide any organization with a number of important benefits that include lower IT labor expenditures, greater employee productivity, faster decision-making and lower real estate costs. While there are a number of vendors and delivery models that can be used to deploy hosted UC, appliance-based or hosted solutions will typically be the best choice for SMBs and SMEs given the relatively high cost per seat for on-premise solutions and the lower deployment and management expertise possessed by many smaller firms.

Learn More About UC

6 Tech Trends for 2017

The tech industry is constantly striving forward, seeking out innovative ways to revolutionize the world around us. From faster computer processors to dynamic voice-recognition software, it’s safe to say that technology will only get more advanced in the coming years. Here are some top trends you might want to watch out for in 2017:

1. Virtual Reality will become more mainstream

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to completely revolutionize the way we consume entertainment. From live performances to video games, the possibilities for VR are seemingly endless. And although we all love VR for video games and more, there are practical applications for VR, too like enabling people to do things they couldn’t – like explore planets.

2. Augmented Reality will become more mainstream, too

A sense of purpose improves workAugmented reality (AR) will help revolutionize the way we work — from reviewing 3D models of human bodies where surgeons can practice life-saving operations before trying them on a person to reviewing 3D scans of construction sites and reconfiguring those sites to be safer. There’s a wide range of uses for AR in the business world. Read more reasons on why AR.

3. Videos will become even more prevalent

It’s no secret that people love watching videos. While already prevalent, videos are now being used more frequently across numerous industries. For example, more marketers are beginning to use videos to successfully interact with potential consumers online, while employee trainers are using them to speed up and improve onboarding processes.

4. We’ll learn from machine learning

The tech industry has been buzzing about machine learning advances for years. In light of AlphaGo beating Lee Sedol at Go, researchers are beginning to learn more about machine learning than ever before. As machines learn, so will the people interacting with them. Some suggest that machine learning may soon have a significant impact on the way people approach education and training as a whole.

5. Autonomous vehicles will become more accepted

It’s not just Uber who wants this. One of the main goals of the research into and the creation of autonomous vehicles is to reduce the number of human-error car accidents. This desire extends beyond the inventiveness of creating the world’s first truly smart mainstream cars. For example, an AV should be able to swerve and maneuver in a way that protects its passengers in the event of an accident. In an age of texting and distracted drivers, AV might make frequent car crashes a thing of the past.

6. Businesses will move to unified communications

Lastly, while only 19% of businesses have moved away from desktop phones, the vast majority want to. Unified communications (UC) combines all the different communications systems and enables you to integrate them easily. Businesses can save money, scale as they need to do with their business and enable their IT resources to do things that support the business — more than ensure phones are working. And since more than half the workforce will work remote at least some of the time, chances are pretty good UC will become more and more important.

Why Unified Communications?

In my lifetime, there have been some outlandish promises about technology. Flying cars, not just self-driving, should be zooming about us as we speak into devices that look like those Star Trek communicators. But you already know, those pieces of technology don’t exist. Sure, they’re creeping closer … but we’re not quite there yet.

Why unified communications That was the promise with unified communication … until recently. (Whether you call it hosted voice, hosted PBX or cloud communications. It’s the same — unified communication.) Telecommunication and software companies are getting better at providing a host of solutions together, hoping to make it easier for customers and potential customers. But most businesses haven’t moved to it; only 19% as of July have.

That’s changing. According to Inc., 70% of businesses are considering moving to a single communication provider for everything from phone systems to instant message (IM). So chances are good your competitors are thinking about it.

Why UC?

It goes beyond doing what other businesses are. Here are the reasons why even small businesses are considering cloud communications.

  • Be more efficient and productive. Reduce inefficient communications – from telephone tag to scouring through several contact lists to find someone. Share information in a moment’s notice, easily without struggling with multiple solutions. Ensure customers get the attention they need.
  • Improve communication and engagement. Unified communication increases the likelihood that information will be shared and received. It even helps identify people are available (referred to as presence). The quality of the communication is better too — with chat, video and collaboration (desktop file sharing and presentations) are all easily available.
  • Grow your business without changing providers. Unified communication, when done right, is scalable as your business grows and expands or as your company changes focus.
  • Go mobile, with access anywhere. Your employees don’t have to be at their desk to be productive. Enable your salespeople and more to work when and where they need to while still being productive.
  • Reduce costs. Cloud communication is cheaper than maintaining outdated, on-premises solutions. It also enables more people to work from home, saving money on office expenses. And it reduces the need for travel.

All of these are possible with the right vendor. The right vendor depends on your company, but if you want good customer service and easy to use products, that might be us. We have some of the best net promoter scores in the industry and our customers tell us our products are intuitive.

Sources:
McKinsey’s SMB cloud communications report
Evolve IP

Are You Helping Your Employees Perform Their Best?

Here at ReadyTalk, we’re big fans of Jacob Morgan and his book (and philosophy) The Future of Work. Jacob identifies the changes we’re seeing unfold in the modern workplace, specifically related to how to get the most out of your employees by giving them the environment and tools with which they can best thrive.

So what are these future of work principles?

7_principles_of_the_future_employee1311

That is,

  1. Has a flexible work environment
  2. Can customize own work
  3. Shares information
  4. Uses new ways to communicate and collaborate
  5. Can become a leader
  6. Shifts from knowledge worker to learning worker
  7. Learns and teaches at will

Change and unified communication isn’t so scary; it’s happening now

Any change can be scary, but some of the trends are especially concerning for management and information technology (IT) professionals. These trends shift control to the employees, which can be a nightmare to manage. Until recently, we had our own little break in internal communication, where certain teams were using one messaging platform, and others were using something completely different. So before you could connect with someone, you had to stop to think about how you could reach them. Talk about technology getting in the way of communication!

There has to be a balance of personal preference and organizational efficiency. But I’m probably preaching to the choir, here.

Unified communications attempts to offset some of challenges of connecting and collaborating with your co-workers. When I want to call Dwight, I don’t have to worry about whether he’s in San Diego or Denver this week. I can just call his extension, and he can answer regardless of where he is.

Wait, a phone extension? This is the future of work? Yes, it is. See, the future isn’t so scary 🙂

Letting employees be accessible using a standard business phone number is a step in the right direction. I can get my calls (or my voicemails) without being in the physical office. Heck, some of my coworkers don’t even have a desk phone; their number rings on the softphone on their computers, and their mobile device.

Yes, mobile phones are a huge part of the future of work, too. Right now, people are using their personal mobile devices to get information about work anyway to be more productive and to have that flexibility. I can be at the doctor’s office waiting to be seen and still provide needed information. I don’t need to be tied to my office phone or computer. This has been huge for our team in terms of getting work done effectively and quickly. Some companies bring in meals so they can ensure their employees don’t wander off to eat at all hours of the day. Ah, the horror!

At ReadyTalk, go ahead and leave the office. And if a coworker needs your thoughts on something, he can just shoot you a quick IM or fire up a video call. Just because you’re not physically in the same spot doesn’t mean communication can’t take place.

Workers are more productive when they leave the office

A 2016 study by TINYPulse found that remote workers are not only happier, they also feel they’re significantly more productive than when they’re in the office. Imagine that: the important communication can still happen, but the distracting noise is cut out?

TINYPulse 2016 Study: What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers
From TINYPulse Report: What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers

 

So here’s the not-so secret truth: the Future of Work is already here. That’s especially true at ReadyTalk. Both in how we get things done, and in the tools we’re creating to help you work better, anywhere you wish.

What Is Unified Communications and How Can It Help My Business

Unified communication (or UC) is a fancy term for really — when you get down to it — improving communication. Unified communication can include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), audio, web, instant message or chat, whiteboard, etc. It can include meetings and collaboration.

And that’s how it helps your business: improving communication.

How does it improve communication?

Communication should happen whenever, however and wherever you want it. It should be on any device (including mobile devices). It should be easy, enabling you to be more engaged and productive. In other words, improving communication is about reducing cost and increasing revenue.

Why does it matter?

Other than saving your company money and potentially increasing revenue, it also enables more integration — better connection — among systems with one provider. It could mean lower price and better support for all those disparate forms of communication.

Does ReadyTalk do “unified communication”?

Yes. Look for more details on how we’re expanding here at ReadyTalk.com.