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Improving Workflows for the Enterprise with UC

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 15:00
UC Enterprise Workflow

One of the biggest complaints I have heard from employees, throughout every company I’ve ever worked with, is how frustrating it is when the workflow process is interrupted, or slows down due to a delay in responses or next steps in the process.  As such, most companies are continually looking for ways to either eliminate steps in the workflow or to – at the very least – find ways to expedite the workflow process.

Workflows are generally defined as the sequence of administrative, industrial, or such other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.  In other words, workflows are about routing items between steps in the flow or process.  So if the problem is bottlenecks in workflow processes, what is the fix?

One Solution: Unified Communications

According to an article published recently in Network World, companies that have implemented Unified Communications have realized tangible savings of up to 75% in phone and equipment costs alone.  However, the long-term impact is a vast improvement in productivity.  The implementation of Unified Communications for larger enterprises is becoming a strategic component of daily workflows, and is making organizations more operationally efficient than ever before.  Moreover, Unified Communications tools can help the workflow process in myriad ways.

Unified Communications can Help Identify Inefficiencies

First of all, these tools can assist management in analyzing current processes and identifying inefficiencies.  Furthermore, UC reporting tools can provide productivity reporting for management detailing the way in which employees spend their time communicating; specifically, the time spent on calls, messaging, or using video or web conferencing solutions.  Using these types of UC tools, managers can track customer interfaces and meeting attendance, as well as figuring out the best way to route calls and schedule resources, among many other tasks.

For instance, your business might have a large call center that necessitates a way to manage the call volume and balance it with call flow and available resources.  A program like ControlMaxx, from West Unified Communications Services, gives managers the functionality of Unified Communications all wrapped up with a neat bow that provides the power to monitor and transform the way the organization communicates and operates.  ControlMaxx provides monitoring and control over the company’s communications infrastructure, including everything from network configuration to call flow settings.

Tools like ControlMaxx provide administrators with the ability to route calls based on holiday demand, geography, or outages.  The entire network can be managed in real-time and reporting can be provided on everything from voice call detail to network infrastructure and utilization.  UC management tools like these help improve workflows, reduce costs, and increase overall efficiencies.

Streamline Multinational Workflows with Unified Communications

UC tools can be used to improve workflows across multinational companies, with branches located across the globe, or those with remote workers.  Integrated and multi-functional communications tools are crucial to the workflow process in these types of organizations, requiring good communications synergy across all locations.  In these setups, your team needs access to a broad range of Unified Communications tools wherever they happen to be.

The best solutions are those that translate well across devices so that an executive on the go can simply access meeting audio and web content, for example.  And the more that companies can automate their business, collaboration, and communication processes, the less affected they are by “the human bottleneck” that can slow down overall workflow processes.  Instead of waiting for approvals from a call or fax, for instance, these types of repetitious communications can be automated and integrated into these processes and distributed across all devices.

Case Study Example

An example case study involves The Rose Group, one of the largest restaurant franchise companies in the United States. The group recently implemented a hybrid, hosted Unified Communications system, achieving immediate quantifiable cost savings.  These savings included: the removal of 99% of their fax machines (reducing fax administration time from an average of approximately two hours to 15 minutes per day), reducing office paper use from 1,000 sheets to less than 200 a day using fax-to-email UC tools, and reducing phone system management time from an average of approximately 30 hours a month to 1 hour a month.

But what was really interesting was that The Rose Group was able to identify inefficiencies in its complex call patterns, which impacted customer service and employee satisfaction. Executives were not being regularly notified of problems in a timely manner and sometimes were not able to respond fast enough to correct situations. The company changed the business processes so that executives are now automatically alerted through their Unified Communications solution when their intervention is needed. The Rose Group executives are more responsive to customers and employee complaints, improving guest satisfaction as well as their overall corporate culture.

“Before using unified communications, we didn’t have the technology we needed to communicate as quickly as we wanted to,” said Christine Hicks, director of administrative services. “By using Unified Communications features we are now connected and able to respond in real time to customers and employees. We are able to run our business faster, smoother, and with more consistency.”

Implementing and integrating Unified Communications in large-scale businesses can help modify processes and use these newer technologies to allow for faster cycle times, reduced waste, lower operation costs, lower rework, and significant improvement in overall efficiencies.  UC tools might just be the piece missing from your company’s workflow puzzle – automation and communication to bypass the dreaded ‘human bottleneck’!

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