Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are fully embracing unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools as they take advantage of the benefits of new and growing technologies available today. These technologies make the way that SMBs communicate and transfer knowledge simpler and more efficient. Communication and collaboration among employees—and between clients, customers, and business partners—have improved using new software solutions and technologies, resulting in new business opportunities, improved productivity, and enhanced efficiency, regardless of geography or time zones. Let’s take a look at how value-added resellers (VARs) can help SMBs benefit from UCC today:
Support for Remote and Mobile Workers
Driving SMB UCC adoption is the desire to enhance collaboration, especially among remote and mobile workers and increase productivity; UCC achieves both. UCC supports collaboration by allowing employees to work anywhere with the devices they prefer, including mobile tools and softphones, and still stay connected to each other. In fact, through the use of presence, a status display, employees know when a colleague is available for a call or a video conference or to chat in order to resolve business issues.
Improved Productivity Through Unified Messaging
UCC also boosts productivity in a variety of ways. Whether the UCC solution is implemented on premises, in the cloud, or in some combination of both, SMBs can use any of a host of collaboration tools, including email, instant messaging, Web and video conferencing, and fax. Users can save time using a single, simple user interface as opposed to checking multiple interfaces in order to get messages. In addition, the built-in unified messaging capabilities of UCC allow for seamless connectivity between different modes of communication. As an example, unified messaging can send a voice message to a user’s universal inbox so that he or she can either play the message directly from the email message, play an audio file attached to the email message, or read a transcribed text of the message sent in the body of the email. In order to further improve productivity, any of these message types can be easily forwarded to other users, freeing up time for other tasks.
Integration with Existing or New Tools
UCC can be easily integrated with other SMB tools like knowledge bases and social media sessions. This allows workers to share files and documents stored on these sites and simplifies the task of finding information by enabling convenient search mechanisms. UCC can be used with cloud-based Web and video conferencing so that SMBs do not have to make major investments in equipment but can still have access to collaboration tools that improve productivity, both internally and across the globe.
Savings with Cloud-Based Applications
Many SMBs have been adopting cloud-based applications in order to improve business continuity and help realize business objectives in a timely manner. The growing adoption of cloud-based services is based on reductions in capital outlays; there are no up-front costs, features can be adopted or turned off as needed, and expenses can be billed as operating expenses for accounting purposes. In the end, SMBs will realize significant cost savings.
Brainstorming Through UCC
Instead of spending time on the phone or in meeting rooms brainstorming new ways to make money or build customer bases, UCC tools can speed up the process by allowing workers to submit ideas. Examples of this are enterprise social networking tools for teams to gather and share pertinent information and desktop conferencing in order to save time traveling, even on premises, to discuss issues. These tools can also prevent duplicate efforts by employees, further increasing efficiency and improving productivity.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
SMBs need to accomplish more tasks in less time than larger companies. One way to stay ahead of the competition and improve customer satisfaction is to implement UCC customer-feedback tools. These cost-effective tools simplify the process of collection of feedback and new ideas from customers so that the business can keep a finger on the pulse of the marketplace. The better an SMB can connect with its customers, the better the business performance and overall profitability. SMBs can get customer insights’ easily, serve them more effectively, and build customer relationships while reducing customer turnover.
SMBs have a better opportunity than ever to improve their communication and collaboration using the latest technology. Improvements in productivity, customer service, cost savings, integration, and connectivity are all available to SMBs with UCC applications and tools. VARs should work with their clients in order to help them understand how they can quickly grow their businesses into larger, more profitable organizations.
Does your company work with SMBs that are looking for ways to save money, improve productivity, and grow cost-effectively? Please comment below.