Here is a Guest Blog from a long-established thought-leader and telecom expert Von Bedekian, Co-founder & CRO of VisibilityOne.
Consider the way corporate communications worked a mere decade ago — each component was a separate entity, and when you looked at the system as a whole, it sometimes felt held together by digital duct tape. Desk phones used standalone voicemail systems, and maybe they forwarded to cell phones. Email applications were isolated from chat or the phone network. Launching to video conferencing was basically impossible. Remoting a desktop into a conference room didn’t smoothly exist, and sharing a screen often entailed workers making a screencap and emailing it over. Other features such as supplementary contact information and calendar info all existed individually.
Since then, most corporate workplaces have gradually begun turning to solutions that brought that all together, and the idea of Unified Collaboration and Communication (UCC) is something that can transform the workplace. But as giants like Microsoft, Cisco, and Google have moved into this space, what does the future hold for it?
Perhaps the most critical starting point is understanding the importance of UCC as of today. There is no question that smart UCC integration maximizes efficiency and accommodates modern workplace needs. Similarly, there is no question that some companies are still using legacy communication systems, and those will suffocate under the weight of inefficiency if they haven’t already drowned out of business. Thus, it’s clear that a consolidated and integrated system — one where all the components work together seamlessly and organically rather than the stitched-together Franken-tech of legacy platforms — is needed for organizations of all sizes.
For large corporations, this simply requires movement from the CTO down. Once that decision has been made, it’s all about execution. But small and medium businesses, as well as non-profits, face a bigger uphill challenge, all while battling against superior equipped competitors or increasing customer demands on response time and availability. This becomes a catch-22: UCCs can maximize efficiency and increase profits, but achieving that requires an investment all its own.
So how do we make UCC technology of today readily available? And where will that point the UCC industry in the future? The answer, it seems, lies in the cloud.
From UCC To UCaaS
Cloud-based UCC (also known as Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS) can help smaller organizations get on board with a modern system without the need for an infrastructure overhaul; in fact, it UCaaS provides essentially the same feature range as hardware-based UCC. “The biggest change in UCC has been the way the product is consumed; UCAAS as opposed to ownership,” says Mike Conlon, Head of Mitel Communications. “But outside of that most of the features have stayed the same over the last several years.”
Once that threshold has been cleared, though, there’s a lot more to be excited about — and those next-stage early adopters will have a transformative advantage as innovative features become the norm. These include:
AI Natural Language: Virtual agents and operators currently work in pre-programmed replies while AI builds upon its understanding of user intake. The next evolution of this is using AI to create responses with natural language usage. The result is an improvement in both service delivery and customer experience.
Digital WorkPlace: UCaaS’s evolution means greater steps towards connecting the traditional office environment and DeskLess enterprise workers. As more and more people work remotely part-time or even full-time, UCaaS is turning into a necessity for the enterprise.
Common Operating Platforms: Corporate silos between departments have always been an impediment to efficiency. Decades ago, these were physically divided departments, and now the challenge is digital. Bridging the communication silos for departments — from Security Teams to Emergency Response to other critical personnel — creates better information sharing and true collaboration.
Self-Serve Service Delivery: With a single-source system such as UCaaS, the AI optimizing management and resources maximizes the potential for uniform and frictionless experiences. This service automation ensures that the system continuously gets better, evolving as the company grows and expands.
Because UCaaS consolidates information from many different areas, synchronizing them and flattening the elements involved, a new level of process automation can be enabled. The result is a new standard for process efficiency, and many tasks will thus be completed with self-service rather than any human interaction. One of the industry’s leading innovators for this is BluIP; their development team is nimble and has the foresight to bring to market relevant and compelling solutions for the forward-thinking enterprise. ”Self service at a human level without any human interaction will be the norm and expected outcome,” says Armen Martirosyan, Co-founder & CEO of BluIP.
All of this stems from the idea of unified communications. In fact, ten years ago, everyday employees may have thought it impossible to combine their desk phone, email, desktop applications, office conference room, and webcam into a single streamlined solution. But that reality has arrived and become so nimble that it can operate on a cloud level, opening the door to mass adoption.
The most exciting part? Now that UCaas has made this technology available widely, just imagine the innovations waiting to happen in a more efficient, more communicative, and more accessible workplace.