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Build More Collaborative Enterprise Teams with UC

Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 09:00
Unified Communications Team Benefits

Building More Collaborative Enterprise Teams through Unified Communications

Most people would agree that travel time both to and from meetings is generally a time waster, as is the amount of emails we have to filter through daily to get to useful information. Moreover, continually walking back and forth between offices trying to track down decision-makers can create a loss of productivity as well. With unified communications (UC), companies can utilize converged communications technologies to work more efficiently and effectively. UC is able to bridge the gaps between people - your teams, your clients, your suppliers, and your partners.

How Can Unified Communications Benefit Workers?

Implementing UC brings rapid ROI and can help prevent workers from getting bogged down in the daily task of keeping up with email and voicemail; instead, workers benefit from real-time messaging and communication methods. And, since employees can connect and collaborate from just about any location, using unified communications helps to foster work-life balance. In fact, in a recent meeting of Computer Weekly’s CW500 Club, leading CIOs listed work-life balance as the biggest benefit to using UC, resulting in a more content and productive workforce.

So with the benefits UC has to offer today’s companies, and the developments and expanded offerings in cloud and mobile Unified Communications, how can these enhanced communication products be used to create better team collaboration? And how can evolving enterprise team structures be supported and improved with UC collaboration tools?

Face-to-face or Real-time Communication in a UC Environment

Human nature often lends itself towards face-to-face interactions where you can obtain real-time answers and more accurately gauge a person’s tone and meaning. However, in the real world, communicating via this scenario is easier said than done. When team members are spread across different floors or across the globe, alternate communication and collaboration arrangements become necessary for effective team collaboration. This is where unified communications using audio, video, and web conferencing come into play.

Real-time communication tools allow you to plan your face-to-face time so schedules are not interrupted, employees are available, and timely decisions can be made. Distance and availability becomes less of a hindrance to effective collaboration when meetings can happen anytime and anyplace there is an internet connection.

Services like Cisco® Jabber™, delivered as part of VoiceMaxx Cisco Edition (CE) from West UC, can be used to bridge the communications and collaborations gap between team members. This tool supplies voice, messaging, and video - for desktop and mobile devices – all in one platform. Moreover, it works well for enterprises since it is an extension of the Cisco HCS platform and integrates well within a Cisco-based infrastructure. VoiceMaxx CE includes Jabber presence and instant messaging, so that team members can find the right people, determine their availability, and then connect in the appropriate manner. You can move seamlessly from desk phone, to softphone to mobile phone and via the mobile app, on-the-go and remote workers have one touch access to the people and information they need. Solutions like these help to simplify and expedite the communication process, leading towards team collaboration and ultimately – a more productive workforce.

Other collaboration tools like UC Exchange assist in building collaborative teams involving internal members, clients, and vendors, by merging connections amongst all three groups, regardless of local UC platform. For team members that want to interact with one another through fewer applications, solutions like Esna iLink for Cisco and Esna iLink for WebEx are available, allowing users to share presence, Jabber voice and video, IM, voice messaging or scheduling and/or starting a WebEx meeting - all through built-in applications like Google Chrome.

An added benefit to adopting the use of advanced voice communication and collaboration tools like those listed above is that they provide ways to communicate effectively at a lower cost, greater accessibility, mobility, and productivity, without compromising on advanced communication features. For instance, Jabber can make and receive calls over a corporate telephony and wireless LAN infrastructure, which reduces the number of mobile minutes that are used as well as saving on roaming charges.

Group Chat for Business Collaboration

Recently there has been a rise in the number of enterprise teams making use of group instant messaging, as these tools are beefed up and feature-rich for all types of collaboration. For instance, products like Cisco Spark allow users to interface by not only sending unlimited messages to one another, but by providing message history to track decision-making, and allow users to share files and see them instantly so they can attain important information quickly. Furthermore, collaboration is not limited by a PC or laptop – users can participate in face-to-face meetings and encrypted file sharing and messaging from mobile devices everywhere. Spark even has the capability to extend calling features to users through Spark Hybrid.

Microsoft Skype for Business is another advanced instant messaging and collaboration tool that combines the ability to send messages, hold meetings, or make video calls using a variety of cloud productivity apps and integrated web conferencing tools. This tool enables users to connect quickly, with clickable access from multiple devices and it allows you to conduct online meetings and share desktops, whiteboards, and presentations for ease of collaboration.

In today’s workforce, real-time collaboration with entire teams is the most ideal internal and external communication method to adopt in your company. Productive teams increase their level of efficiency by generating and handling fewer emails and can make more effective decisions when not bogged down by the daily drudgery of having to monitor and respond to outdated emails, voicemails, etc.

When building more collaborative enterprise teams, there should be one, simple goal: make communication easy, efficient, and effective. Whether connecting coworkers across the office or partner firms across the globe, every company should strive for optimized collaboration in their team building in efforts.

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