Christopher Franke, senior manager, head of UC strategy at InterCall Asia Pacific.
It is no secret that a major benefit of unified communications (UC) is improved collaboration. But how exactly does UC help organisations improve the teamwork between business departments?
"Given the new way of working today, ubiquitous communication — which is enabled by UC — is important for effective collaboration," said Christopher Franke, senior manager, head of UC strategy at InterCall Asia Pacific, in an exclusive interview.
According to research firm IDC, firms in the Asia Pacific region will increasingly embrace enterprise mobility and flexi-work in 2015 by adopting the bring your own device (BYOD) or choose your own device (CYOD) concept. It is thus challenging to gather mobile workers in one physical location at a designated time for a meeting. Moreover, BYOD or CYOD means that employees are using different devices and apps to communicate, which may cause interoperability problems as some devices do not support certain apps.
Firms can turn to UC to overcome these challenges. UC integrates communication services — such as instant messaging, conferencing and email — and delivers them from one central location to provide a consistent unified user-experience across multiple devices. "UC is not a single technology, app or service; it is layered on communication solutions to connect them," said Franke.
With UC, users are able to see if their colleagues are available for a call, start a conference call and move to web conference when necessary. This results in ubiquitous communication as users are able to connect with others, hold discussions, and work as a team regardless of their locations and devices used, he explained.
Finding the right UC solution
"The benefits of UC can only be fully realised when the right UC solutions are implemented," asserted Franke.
Firms should work together with their UC providers to find solutions that best fit their needs. "Sharing information on your UC infrastructure and the business goals you hope to achieve using UC will help providers make better recommendations," he advised. By doing so, firms might also be able to avoid unnecessary investments. "Instead of ripping and replacing an old system, you can subscribe to selected components of a UC offering and match them to your existing solutions to get a UC solution that suits your organisation's needs."
To future-proof their UC investments, firms should look for solutions that allows them to scale. Cloud-based UC solutions, for instance, allows firms to add functionalities and users when the need arises, claimed Franke. Besides scalability, UC solutions on cloud eliminate the need for a substantial capital investment and reduce capital expenditure since they operate on a pay-per-use model and require minimal infrastructure. "Such solutions are especially suitable for startups as they need to stay lean (ie. doing the most with the least amount of resources) while scaling quickly," said Franke.
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