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Does Unified Communications Encompass Collaboration?

Unified Communications is still being defined by the industry. So which trends fall under the UC umbrella? By John Greene

When looking at the characteristics of Unified Communications (UC), one could say that collaboration naturally follows. The collaboration requires integrators to create a seamless process while using the devices in UC. The term “Unified Communications” has been used for a long time to express the convergence of voice, video, messaging, and presence within an organization. But just because we can reach people and see who is available doesn’t mean we are necessarily collaborating with them.  In order to utilize UC technology to the optimal level, it is important to start thinking more about incorporating collaboration from the very beginning. Think about how much more effective meetings are when we can see not only faces, but also visual content such as slides, spreadsheets, and other documents.

Content, Application, and Data Sharing for Collaboration is at the Core of UC

UC mobility can be a very effective tool if you are working to solve communication issues within your organization. Used correctly, it has the ability to create hassle-free collaboration both inside and outside of your company. However, there are a few things that you must understand when getting started. First, the content, application, and sharing should not be treated as an after-thought, rather they need to be at the core of UC deployment.

Many companies are failing to get proper results in this particular area. While they are starting to put meet-me spaces into their UC platforms in an attempt to simplify the communication process for employees, they are missing the entire strategy of using these spaces as a source of collaboration for things like content, application, and document sharing needs.  It would be highly beneficial if these strategies were developed at the beginning. Unfortunately, most companies are doing this backwards. They begin by introducing UC technologies first, and then attempt to come up with new ways to collaborate. Some of them even start placing meet-me spaces into their UC platforms before considering the core issues: how and what do they hope to share when using them? This method of UC deployment is not only time-consuming, but expensive as well.

Can UC Encompass Collaboration?

UC technologies generally do not encompass collaboration but, if required, it can be achieved. In working towards this end, the basic objective of creating a unified platform for communication among real-time and non-real-time devices can be attained through collaborative tools. Essentially, UC encompasses a number of communication systems, including collaboration and interaction systems. These systems include enterprise applications that help employees in a group communicate seamlessly with tools such as calendaring, scheduling, workflow, and integrated voice response. Since successful collaboration is at the heart of every efficiently operating organization, it is important to utilize the UC technologies in such a way that it creates a collaborative platform that is seamless and simple to use.

In an organization where collaboration is the core of all UC technologies, what follows is improved communication between employees, increased productivity, reduction of the cost of operations, and the ability to generate higher revenues. Once collaboration becomes the operational core, the flow of information also expands. As UC technologies have evolved, and the relevance of collaborative tools has been accepted by organizations worldwide, companies that have not yet started integrating UC with collaboration may need to rethink their strategies. It’s the only way that organizations can truly take advantage of the real benefits of UC and collaboration.

 

 John Greene is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Advanced AV. Headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Advanced AV has evolved with the advancement of technology into a specialized integrator of professional audiovisual systems for business, education, government, and worship facilities, serving the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.

 

This article was originally published by our content partner Corporate TechDecisions.

                                                                                                                      

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