Does your team need a cloud-based unified communication and collaboration tool?

The debate is over – and the cloud has won. Most businesses have abandoned their diverse PBX phone systems and moved to a unified communication system (UC) that exists entirely in the cloud because they do not want to be confined to a specific place for communication. For today’s distributed and hybrid workforce, cloud-based business communication and collaboration tools make sense.

If your team grabs the phones at their desk or your IT team is reluctant to support another cloud solution, it’s time to give it up, especially if your company adopts a hybrid work model. Not only is dust likely to accumulate on those phones, but UC has become a technological glue that brings people together when personal collaboration is a challenge. Failure to do so may result in the entire business being stuck.

Hybrid work is the way forward

Distributed work is certainly not new, but creating a hybrid to the entire workforce presents a unique technological challenge for IT. As some employees arrive at the office – at least occasionally – and others stay away, teams rely on communication tools to replace personal connections.

According to a recent Economist influence In a survey conducted by Google Workspace, more than 75% of respondents believe that hybrid or flexible work will become standard within their organization in the next three years. A 2020 IBM survey further found that 75% of employees want to continue working remotely, at least occasionally, while 54% want work from home to be their primary way of working. Except for the service business and those who need a physical presence, the hybrid is here to stay. It is good for the workers. And since it keeps fewer cars on the road, it’s better for the planet.

As hybrid work progresses, IT departments are under a lot of pressure to adopt technologies that will help employees work and collaborate in this new environment. Legacy communication systems and exclusive software solutions were designed for a workforce that gathers in one place. Since that doesn’t happen anymore, your team has no choice but to leave them and embrace the tools that work from anywhere – the way people use them.

This means implementing tools that enable effective internal and external communication that makes it easier for staff and delivery teams to collaborate from any location. This is where cloud-based unified communication solutions shine. Combining Voice, Text Messaging, Video Meeting and more, Cloud-based UC, or Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), improves employee productivity and efficiency. Capabilities like video conferencing, team workspace, virtual whiteboard, and document and screen sharing allow your teams to work effectively from any location or time zone.

These devices range in price, but you can expect to pay up to $ 60 per user per month for initial calling and messaging anywhere, from $ 20 per month for calls, messaging, meetings, videos and more.

UC is no longer just a phone service

By providing mobile workers with a communication service tailored to their mobile work style, UCaaS solutions seamlessly integrate multiple locations and connect mobile workers with features that their deskbound phones could never even dream of. The UC tools that businesses are adopting today surpass the basic VoIP phones They integrate calling, messaging (business instant messaging), meetings, team collaborations, file sharing, mobile access from any browser and much more, helping to improve internal and external communication as well as employee productivity.

New AI capabilities that have emerged over the last two to three years have further improved UCaaS solutions, especially for meetings and conferences. These intelligent systems reduce background noise, understand natural language so they can provide meeting summaries and highlights, and automatically assign tasks to attendees based on conversations. These tools make for a greatly improved meeting experience. Since many employees do not have the same physical office with their coworkers and personal meetings are becoming less frequent, these tools bridge the gap while improving internal and external collaboration.

Cloud communication and great pivot

Cloud communication solutions showed their value during the epidemic. Companies that were already using them were able to quickly pivot to remote work without missing a beat, while those who had not already used them struggled to stay in touch and be productive.

Here are some examples from the case study published:

  • Using the Interstate Battery Vonage Communication Platform (VPC) is how employees communicate and work from the office or anywhere, providing flexibility and ensuring business continuity. It enabled teams to quickly pivot remotely and keep 600+ workers in safe contact
  • Bennett International, the sixth largest specialized transportation company in North America, communicates with 3,000 employees and contractors using RingCentral MVP (messaging, video, phone) cloud solutions. No matter where one is working, because contacts, video capabilities and team messaging are on everyone’s phone and computer.
  • The Seine-Saint-Denis division of France uses Avaya Spaces to facilitate communication between its 8,000 employees and partners without any location restrictions. The video conferencing and other collaboration capabilities of that tool are available on any one device, and team members can create public or private workspaces, share and store files, and manage project work. Spaces, for example, make it easier to visualize workflows through the Kanban board, allowing teams to collectively prioritize and track progress of work.

Going deeper into a hybrid world will probably change the way we communicate and collaborate with customers, colleagues, partners and suppliers. Once the UC tool has become the norm, location does not matter. Cloud communication and collaboration makes it possible to create and dissolve virtual teams by bringing them into a virtual workspace where they can collaborate and connect with colleagues via voice or video. Starting a new research and development project, launching a new marketing campaign, or thinking about a customer’s problem is inviting people to a workplace to chat, conference, and share ideas and documents. And since everything is cloud-based, employees can access workspaces and content from any location or any device.

All this leads to greater productivity for the hybrid group. Studies across the board show that user productivity for cloud communication and collaboration has increased. Enterprises have found productivity improvements ranging from 10% to 25% from cloud communication and collaboration, resulting in faster project completion, more efficient problem solving and improved innovation.

What tool to choose?

There is no shortage of new offers in this space from the growing list of cloud communication providers. From family names like Microsoft, Google, and Zoom, experts like 8×8, Avaya, Dialpad, Edify, Intermedia, Mitel, Nextiva, RingCentral, GoTo, and Vonage have many business choices.

And the sales community continues to add more power and functionality. As cloud communication services improve, you’ll see AI capabilities in your meetings, such as real-time transcription and language translation, to enhance collaboration across a global employee base.

The old way of working is changing, new tools and methods are needed. As employees redefine what spaces they will use for the office, they will increasingly return to cloud-based communication and collaboration tools to keep in touch with colleagues, customers and partners. For new hybrids and a distributed workforce, the cloud is the way forward.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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