Back in the day, MDCOM was in the phone system business, then the technology landscape changed to Voice over IP, or VoIP. While there’s still a slew of misconceptions about what VoIP is or isn’t, we now have a new buzzword (or, more appropriately, buzz-phrase) in our business: Unified Communications, or, for those who speak in acronyms, UC.
Unified Communications evolved primarily due to the same forces as voice mail and mobile phones – namely, that successful business people do not sit at a desk, and that they use multiple mediums to communicate. But when you give an average person email, faxes, desk phone, cell phone, chat and other potential means of communications you create a stew of technology that most people cannot digest. Enter UC. UC takes the devices (desk phones, computers, smart phones), and the mediums (email, voice, chat, fax, etc.) and combines them into usable and (more importantly) productive formats for the end users. For example, your desk phone calls can be ‘twinned’ to ring your cell phone or smart phone. But wait! Do you want ALL those calls following you around to lunch, the gym, or home? Of course not. UC also allows the user to create different work modes where only certain calls can reach you at certain times. Picture the top prospect or boss being able to reach you during times when you can’t or won’t take a call from anyone less important. UC helps you prioritize and address important business communications., Another example may be instead of having to ‘call in’ to check messages, they get sent to your smart phone, to be played back as a .wav file. Clearly a time (read: money) saver. These are just a couple of examples of how UC technology benefits the user.
While most UC systems offer those aforementioned basics, it’s important to investigate how the subtle differences impact your business. You might need salespeople to be able to transfer calls they answer at their cell phones back into customer support. Not all systems may offer that option.
As with most new technologies, MDCOM recommends looking at your business needs and budget first, then consulting with a trusted technology adviser to ensure your needs are met and your investment has a reasonable timeframe for return.