By Claire West

You’ve probably heard a lot of noise recently about Unified Communications, but some business are still getting to grips with how this can be implemented within their business processes and what benefits it will bring.

First of all Unified Communications is basically the convergence of voice, data, video and software applications over a single IP network. With this, it opens up a whole world of possibilities to enable new ways of working and creating more efficient working processes. Offering solutions such as Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) where your telephone system is integrated within your computer software or applications (i.e. your customer database), allows screen popping of incoming callers details on your PC screen, providing a superior customer service.

CTI solutions can include click to dial which adds significant value and improves productivity if your business makes a number of outbound calls and eliminates outbound calling errors.

Unified Communications greatly improves external/internal communications and call handling, by incorporating presence, availability and collaboration solutions into your business processes. Giving real time visibility over the availability of your work colleagues, displayed on your pc desktop. This shows a list of all your work colleagues, if they are on the phone, available, idle or away from their desk. Giving your employees the tools to communicate internally, share information and management an overview of employees working activities.

With the growing popularity of home and remote workers, and employees becoming more widespread and on the move, it is essential that your workforce is contactable, and have access to the same business critical applications and information they would within your office environment.
Using IP Telephony, home workers are able to simply plug their IP telephone or headsets into their laptops (soft phones) through a broadband connection and use the same contact number, settings, presence, availability, documents and software applications as they would within their office, through a secure virtual private network. Bringing significant benefits in unifying your workforce and giving your customers more ways to contact you.

To bring further unity to your business communications, you can twin your telephone number to a number of landline or mobile devices, giving one contact number for your colleagues or customers to contact you, whether you are in the office or on the move. This is a great solution for smaller business workers who need to be out and about but still taking advantage of every opportunity available.

Giving your business the competitive edge by simple, cost effective and easy to implement solutions is the main focus of Unified Communications. Give your business the feel of a nation wide presence with a Non Geographic Number (i.e 0845). These do not tie you down to an area code and gives the feel of professionalism and a large spanning presence. A NGN overlays your existing telephone number, with real time online statistics of inbound call activity, (i.e. received, missed and engaged calls). NGN’s can also be diverted to your mobile phone, again allowing you to be contactable anywhere at anytime and great for disaster recovery planning.

Add further integration through SMS messaging as a way to contact colleagues, customers, suppliers and other important contacts. SMS messages can now be sent directly from your computers desktop, to individuals, to specified groups or out on mass, also integrated with your Outlook contacts, and receiving replies in your email inbox.

Unified Communications are ideal for a growing business who wants to provide an enhanced customer service, unify their workforce, improve productivity and mobility, whilst using a flexible, cost effective IP telephony platform that will grow with the requirements of your business. Not forgetting the best part of introducing IP Telephony if you have a number of business sites, your site to site calls will be free! This is only the tip of the iceberg to how Unified Communications can revolutionise your business.

[i]Source: Britannic Technologies are an award winning specialist in IP communications, systems integration and applications development with over 25 years of experience. Our core offerings are segmented into IP Telephony (VoIP), Contact Centres, Voice and Data Networking and Software Applications Integration (such as CTI). These are all supported with comprehensive and professionally managed Service Level Agreements.

Our "Holistic" approach to technology enables us to work with our customers and world leading partners to maximise investment in ICT. www.btlnet.co.uk; 0845 056 2000; Enquiries@btlnet.co.uk

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