The Benefits of UC for SMBs: Part 3
Intermedia commissioned a new white paper from industry research firm Osterman Research in order to provide additional tools to the marketplace regarding unified communications. The below is part of a series of excerpts from the white paper, “The Benefits of Unified Communications for SMBs” – available on Intermedia’s web site. Click here to read previous excerpt from “The Benefits of Unified Communications for SMBs”.
The Benefits of Unified Communications
Unified communications typically results in long term cost savings for any organization because both email and telephony – the two most important communications tools – can be managed as a single entity, and because hardware and software costs are typically reduced. This leads to greater efficiencies in the use of IT staff time and lower labor costs, not to mention substantially hardware and software costs. However, an added benefit is that some portion of IT staff time is freed for other tasks or initiatives that can provide greater value to a company. However, using a hosted model for unified communications can yield even greater benefits, particularly for smaller organizations. Because hosted services are generally less expensive than deploying and managing on-premise systems, a hosted unified communications system can result in significant cost savings. The cost savings will typically be greater a) the smaller the organization is and b) the more geographically distributed it is.
END USER AND BUSINESS BENEFITS
Why does unified communications offer a better experience for end users and IT alike? There are several benefits that employees and employers alike can realize:
- For end users, having 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.
- The use of one interface for all communications allow employees greater flexibility in where they work. For example, using a unified communication 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.
- Unified communications can also improve the speed of decision making, since 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.
- For those organizations focused on “green” initiatives, unified communications 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.
1 Gartner, Inc. “Dataquest Insight: Teleworking, The Quiet Revolution (2007 Update)” by Caroline Jones, May 14, 2007