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Unified Messaging: Seven Tips on Selling It to Clients

July 07, 2017

Unified messaging (UM) is a solution that allows for the handling of voice, fax, and regular text messages in a single mailbox that a user can access either with a regular email client or by telephone. This provides convenience to the user by allowing them to check messages from wherever they are. The PC user can open and play back voice messages, presuming the PC has multimedia capabilities. Fax images can be saved or printed from the desktop. A user can gain access to the same mailbox by using a telephone or mobile device. Emails are converted into audio files and played back to the user on the phone. Unified messaging is convenient for mobile business users because it allows them to reach colleagues and customers through a PC or telephone, from wherever they are. Some services offer worldwide telephone access.

Unified messaging provides a number of benefits for users to manage their businesses using email, voice, and messenger services. VARs can highlight the following benefits to sell UM to their clients:

  • A single inbox – Unified messaging can deliver all types of messaging and communication to a single inbox, which is easier for administrators to provision and maintain and provides flexibility for users to manage and interact with all of their communications.

  • Efficient communication – Users can realize more efficient communications by having access to all communications at once and being able to share, forward, or manage them in any way that's most convenient or effective for the given communication.

  • Cost savings – Merging message access streamlines communications administration and centralizes the infrastructure onto fewer physical servers, thus reducing costs for the enterprise.

  • Universal access – Unified messaging provides several methods of accessing communications. By merging the receipt of email, voice, and other communications into a single mailbox, users can get voice messages in email, have email dictated over the phone, or access communications via the web.

  • Flexible access – Unified messaging can be offered from the existing PBX vendor in most cases or from a service provider or VAR as an adjunct, managed, or hosted product. This allows enterprises a choice in the way they procure an UM solution, thus allowing them to choose what works best for their situation.

  • Easy to sort – The ability to share voice messages more easily with colleagues through the email channel, or being able to sort through messages in a non-sequential order via the visual email interface allows for enhanced user productivity

  • An important component of UCC – The push toward IP telephony, and the fact that UM is regarded as a key component in an effective unified communications strategy, has recently helped push the deployment of UM in conjunction with the replacement of established voice mail systems.

In its most basic form, unified messaging makes voice mail, fax, and email messages available through a single user interface. The goal is to streamline and expedite message handling by improving how end-users receive, reply to, and manage messages, regardless of delivery mode. The ability to successfully use these solutions with key business applications and processes can be a competitive differentiator for companies. VARs can become effective at selling this portion of the UCC solution by being able to articulate the benefits of UM.

Are there UM topics you would like to see discussed in this blog? Comment below.