Leveraging Unified Communications to Thrive in the Post-pandemic World
The world is shifting to a new era that will be resoundingly marked by the new realities fronted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The great uncertainty that the world has been living through has forever upended work. Moving forward, workers will demand flexible work conditions that must include the ability to work from anywhere.
To meet the demands of this hybrid workforce and still remain productive and cost-effective, businesses have to deploy Unified Communications solutions. A mix of remote and office workers is becoming the standard for enterprises. The global unified communications industry will be worth a whopping 167.1 billion USD by 2025.
In Canada, the Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) market is forecast to grow 17.5% over 2020-2027. Without a doubt, unified communications will be at the heart of every business organization’s technology stack.
Understanding Unified Communications
Today, shareholders, employees, clients, and C-level executives participate in an array of conversations. Some happen via text, others occur through voice calls, while others demand high-resolution video conferencing. The communication stack is constantly evolving, yet businesses must keep up in a manner that manages those conversations effectively through routing, hold features, call-queuing, etc.
Queue in unified communications.
Unified communications refer to a framework that combines all channels of communication in an organization in order to work as one entity with no device or location limitations and where users can access all the necessary functionalities when needed. The functionalities include the ability to conduct video and audio conferences, generating and receiving messages asynchronously and synchronously, collaboratively and simultaneously managing content in real-time, and the ability to add other elements like continuous IM, sticky notes, among others.
Unified communications describe a system of interconnected enterprise communication applications and devices that can be used successively or in concert. The primary objective of unified communications is the integration of software that supports asynchronous and synchronous communication, giving the end-user access to all the tools they need to work regardless of the device they’re using.
UC supports the need for users to move from one communication channel to another within the same session, e.g. from email to real-time communication, then to voice call and video conferencing, each shift achieved with a single click.
Post-pandemic Unified Communications Trends
The following two trends are defining the post-COVID-19 business landscape:
Work from home (WFH) is becoming widely accepted
Already, companies like Dropbox, Facebook, Coinbase, and Atlassian have made WFH arrangements a permanent option available to their employees. Amazon is now allowing two days a week WFH arrangements for some of its employees. Microsoft employees can cover 50% of their workweek from home.
Cloud computing is becoming the norm
As businesses embrace the hybrid workforce, they’re resorting to services and infrastructure on the cloud instead of establishing permanent headquarters. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises. As a result, UCaaS has become the go-to unified communications solution allowing employees scattered across different locations worldwide to connect in real-time.
Endpoints and Platforms for Forward-leaning Unified Communications
The following are the endpoints and platforms that will define unified communications in the post-pandemic world.
Video — the main driver of UCaaS
Powered by platforms like Avaya, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, Fuze, Dialpad, Vonage, and 8x8, video is becoming the most prominent means of communication for the enterprise. Video calling has been the answer to the many limitations of voice calls, including body language, emotion recognition, and hand gestures.
Business executives will be hoping to seamlessly integrate UCaaS with an ever-growing list of business applications and programs in order to increase productivity. For instance, instead of manually inputting the contact information of a customer, a business can connect its UCaaS to its CRM where all that information is already available. This saves time and enhances efficiency.
Hybrid UC environments
While it is true that the future of unified communications is the cloud, many organizations will rather embrace a hybrid environment that allows them to retain and use their current legacy infrastructure instead of shifting their entire unified communications and collaboration environment to the cloud.
Workflows, APIs and CPaaS
Companies are exploring communications platform as a service (CPaaS) for real-time workflows and communications. Instead of having separate tools and apps for different functions, e.g. messaging, calling, and video conferencing, CPaaS offers a single-window environment. By leveraging APIs, businesses can embed the CPaaS communication features that they need into the business tools they already use.
The post-pandemic world will require that business enterprises leverage unified communications to keep up with the demands of their hybrid workforce. Companies that will lag behind this shift will have to deal with bad communications and the costs that come with it. On the other hand, businesses that will be quick to embrace the latest evolution of unified communications will reap the benefits of a thankful workforce, benefits that will include off-the-charts business outputs.
For more information contact our experienced UCC team today.