02-Oct-2013
Today, long hours, hard work and the “on-the-road” culture has become the norm in the business world. Numerous organizations from publicly traded corporations to SMB’s feel the increasing pressure to work smarter, faster and with more creativity on every front. The objective is to make the best decision in the shortest time period while utilizing minimum resources for the project of the day.

From the beginning of its development, the main goal of a unified communications (UC) solution was to increase productivity, maximize the end user’s ability to connect to the business world, and to provide access to messages on the go in the synchronized rhythm of the professional’s day. Unified communications has evolved since its inception, and now, these capabilities are there to meet these many needs.

Within the unified communications space, the complexity of the organization becomes somewhat irrelevant, as UC is built to bridge the differences. In one way or another, the typical organization has some sort of UC component that helps them unify messages, whether it is voicemail to email, fax to email, automated attendant or other UC features. The historical problems that numerous organizations experience across the globe are the same: lack of ease of use, difficult deployments, questionable reliability and poor cost effectiveness. Now, the best UC solutions provide an out-of-the-box set that utilizes the full suite of UC features that enable companies to work and respond more efficiently.

Many decision makers do recognize the need for a true UC solution; unfortunately they don’t know what components or features they should consider or why they are crucial to the company’s success. In this post we’ll go over 8 UC features that enterprise level companies must have to enable success in today’s corporate environment. Let’s start!

1. Unified Messaging – This is one of the most important features that any robust UC platform must have. A solid UM feature has several main components:

  • Ability to deliver unified messaging to multiple e-mail systems (premise-based and cloud) including Google Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, Lotus Notes, Novell GroupWise and any IMAP4 compliant e-mail system
  • Support multiple e-mail servers simultaneously
  • Integrated e-mail, voicemail, and fax into a single view
  • Access via mobile device, e-mail client, web interface, speech or DTMF telephone
  • Flexible storage model options to meet organizations security, compliance, and confidentiality needs; Server-based unified messaging, Client-based unified messaging, Secure unified messaging and Simplified unified messaging
  • Voicemail-to-Text
  • Text-to-Speech
  • Localized desktop clients

2. Speech Recognition – even from its early introduction, speech recognition became one of the most important features for the unified communications platform. It provides the ability for users to access an inbox on-the-go without limitations or a loss of productivity.

Key Benefits

  • Keep up with all voice, e-mail, fax messages and calendar anytime from anywhere – such as in the car, airport or hotel
  • Focus on profitable tasks rather than administrative call handling and unproductive rounds of phone tag
  • Access inbox and manage calls, by speaking commands to:
    • Access your messages (“Get new messages”, “Get new email”)
    • Navigate your message queues (“Next message”, “Previous message”)
    • Process your messages (“Delete message”, “Forward message”, “Reply to message”)
    • Place calls to other system users (“Call Smart IP”)
    • Place calls directly to phone numbers (“Dial 905.759.2660”)

3. Personal Assistant – helps you get through the day by fulfilling your communications and mobile needs. There are a very limited number of vendors who can provide this feature at an affordable price point while delivering true robust UC elements. This information will be expanded on during the upcoming webinar, register today!

This feature can be delivered in two ways:

  • Visual View of Personal Assistant on Android or iPhone
  • Speech-Driven Personal Assistant on Any Device

Some key benefits and features of Visual View Assistant:

  • Mobile Number Protection
  • Single Number Reach
  • Place, Receive and Manage Business Calls
  • Visual Call Screening
  • Visual Access to Enterprise Voicemails
  • Settings Management

Some key benefits and features of Speech-Driven Assistant:

  • Listen to, create, change, or delete meetings and appointments
  • Accept or decline meeting requests from others
  • Call and manage contacts
  • Route calls to the most appropriate telephone based on location and availability
  • Missed calls notification
  • Interactive call screening to divert an incoming call to another person, or acknowledge a call with a brief message that is played to the caller before they are transferred to your voicemail
  • Transfer calls from mobile phone to office phone and vice versa
  • Record a conversation

4. Presence (Location, Context-Aware, Information) – this component enables a location-based service that knows when you’ve arrived at the office, reached home or are anywhere in-between — and will deliver your calls to the optimal device. It is truly one of the unique features as it helps to reduce time between the caller and receiver of the call. This increases employee productivity and customer satisfaction as the individual is able to get the call at the moment of customer’s need.

5. Mobile Client and Mobile Administration – it used to be that applications only allowed you to have a limited set of communication features and even less administration features on the mobile device, however it is not the case anymore. A true UC solution now has full access to numerous administrative and user operations that make your day on the road as seamless as if you were at the office.

6. Segment Personal and Professional Workflows – Wouldn’t it be ideal to carry one mobile device instead of separate devices for your business and personal use? With proper mobile applications, you can efficiently manage business communications, leaving your device’s native applications to manage your personal communications. A UC mobile app helps you securely manage inbound and outbound calls, contacts, voice messages, and personal preferences, while keeping all business communication data off of your device.

7. Multilingual – a unique feature that allows you to have various language modules integrated to the system for various regional or cross country activities and language recognition.

8. Secure Access to Corporate Data – security is a hot topic for all organizations regardless the size, complexity or type of activity. Securing data is a key component for unified communications settings as messages get transformed from one device, client, or tool to single or multiple devices. Well-designed UC facilitates all business data securely on application servers behind the protection of the firewall. In addition, it allows single or mixed unified messaging architecture for various needs: Server-based Unified Messaging, Client-based Unified Messaging, Secure Unified Messaging, and Simplified Unified Messaging.

Unified communications is critical for many organizations. It’s crucial to do proper research analyzing the importance of UC elements to the company; feature set, ease of deployment, backbone limitations, requirements, process flow, provider limitations, delivery methods and many more important components.

To provide you with more information we are hosting a 45-minute educational webinar, which will be focused on numerous must-know aspects of the unified communications solution. Our mission is not to confuse and overwhelm you with info, but to simply provide solid in-depth and easy-to-digest material that is helpful to anyone interested in learning more about the benefits of unified communications.