by Rikus Jansen, head of EOH NS Voice and Unified Communications

There’s nothing new about unified communications and collaboration (UCC). Yet recent developments have caused IT decision makers to formulate – often for the first time – comprehensive UCC strategies, and to invest in them substantially.

What is driving the need for UC?

Smartphones, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and strained budgets are compelling IT divisions to act.

At the same time, advances in enterprise video technologies and services, and the adoption of social media for business use provide more collaboration options for employees… and more headaches for IT.

Then there are the millennials – who have driven businesses to a point where UC is essential to productivity. Millennials now represent a majority of the U.S. workforce, according to Pew Research Center, and their expectations are of an “always on” experience. A seamless experience is practically the norm for them.

To stay competitive, businesses need to be aligned with their changing demands and expectations.

Finally, for organisations under pressure to adopt a more flexible and sometimes even remote workforce, the business case is clear: UC enables a more agile, cohesive and competitive workforce.

Effective UC requires thorough integration

Given these imperatives, it’s not surprising that IDG Enterprise says 56% of enterprise and 66% of SMB organisations plan to implement or upgrade unified communications and collaboration solutions within the next year.

Having the tools available isn’t enough, however; for businesses to gain an advantage from UC, they’ll need to get all their workers on board by encouraging a culture that embraces collaboration, offering training to those who are less adept with technology, and finding a UC platform that’s easy to adopt because it’s the right fit for the organisation.

The organisations that will most successfully navigate this evolving business landscape will be those that think in terms of integrated communication, not isolated or standalone tools.

Different generations have different expectations when it comes to communication. UC allows workers to manage their communications—emails, video chats, IMs or phone calls—in ways that work for them, from a single interface.

This helps save time, reduces operational costs, and boosts productivity.

Rikus Jansen is a Unified Communications specialist. He entered the South African technology space in the late 1980s, pioneering 3D animation and video effects in the broadcasting industry. This led to a career in corporate ICT outsourcing. He co-founded Ensync Voice Solutions, a unified communications company. After merging the Ensync companies with the JSE-listed ICT provider, EOH, he now heads up the EOH Voice and Unified Communications business, which is one of the leading communication providers in South Africa.

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