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The power of presence

01 Jul 10

As technology, and in particular, mobile devices such as netbooks, notebooks and smartphones, permeates every part   of the modern business environment, it becomes increasingly diffi cult to manage these growing fleets of devices.  Instead of aiding employees to communicate with each other and their customers, technology can often get in the way.
With staff out on the road, knowing where and how to contact them becomes an exercise in frustration with much  wasted time spent trying to locate and get in touch with people – time that could be better spent doing actual work. Add to the mix businesses with staff working at international locations and the picture becomes even more complex.
Such technological quagmires strip effi ciency from a business and drain the productive hours from an employee’s  working day. What’s more, from a systems and infrastructure point of view, the day-today management of such decentralised infrastructure is a time-intensive affair. The old fashioned ‘silo’ approach to email, phone and voicemail systems results in inefficiencies across the board.
Unifi ed communications is the best strategy for tackling such business problems head on. It provides your customers’  staff with a single, seamless point of access to all voice, video and data communications, and brings with it a range of  benefi ts that can run from small things like being able to schedule meetings with minimal fuss, through to cost savings  derived from reduced travel expenditure thanks to instant messaging and videoconferencing tools. In addition, presence  management makes it possible to see at a glance whether staff and colleagues are available, in a meeting, out  of the office or otherwise engaged – this alone is a huge timesaver.
Multiply these individual timesaving techniques across an entire organisation and the productivity increases through ptimised workfl ows can potentially be signifi cant.
Flow-on effects can lead to other benefi ts, such as greater job satisfaction for staff, which itself leads to increased staff  morale and higher productivity.In the end, all this boils down to one overarching theme: simplifi cation. If all telephony, mobile and data requirements can be rolled into a single unifi ed system, the benefi ts of reduced cost and increased  productivity will start to flow. Think of if it as connected communications.
And to make the most of such connected  communications, the best solution will be one that can integrate with a business’s existing software and, just as importantly, one that provides fl exible licensing options to suit any size of organisation.
 Above all, don’t think of unified communications as a platform for enabling new ways of doing old things – after all, voice calls are still voice calls whether they’re delivered over copper wire or over a state-ofthe-art voice over IP system.
Instead, think of how a unifi ed communications system can deliver completely new ways for your customers to interact with colleagues. For instance, imagine how videoconferencing might enable an organisation to drastically reduce staff  travel time in getting to and from meetings. Likewise, think of the effi ciencies generated by a unifi ed communications  solution that allows staff to communicate with colleagues from right within an offi ce application itself. Unifi ed  communications is about more than just integrating systems; it’s about helping businesses discover new waysof  communicating.
While on the subject of imagining new possibilities, don’t allow your customers to hold themselves back by the thought  of having to invest time and money on expensive infrastructure and staff training. As the world is shifting its attention to  cloud computing and all that it has to offer, so too is the world of unifi ed communications. The instant messaging and  presence management capabilities of a world class unifi ed communications system are just as happy operating in the  cloud as they are on-premise.
All businesses are striving to increase productivity and reduce costs these days; unifi ed ommunications has much tooffer in this regard, and in many  cases will play an integral role in helping to achieve this end.