The Top 4 Benefits of Introducing Unified Communications into Your Business

Unified communications sounds like another corporate buzzword, the sort of thing that a bouncy, over-eager sales rep would try and sell to you with vague promises of efficiency and taking your business to the next level. Regardless, there are a number of perfectly valid reasons that introducing a unified communications system into your business is a smart move and one that virtually any business can benefit from.

Really small businesses, where you and your coworkers are few enough and close enough that you can simply speak to each other, won’t benefit from unified communications. However, any business that consists of multiple departments and requires that employees are able to efficiently and easy communicate with one another will benefit from unifying their systems.

Easier to Manage

Having a single, unified system is much easier to maintain and to manage than having a number of different, disparate systems. All of your unified communications go through a single server and can be managed through a single interface. You don’t need to have any hardware on-site, instead everything is hosted in the cloud. Should there be any hardware issues, then backups can take over, meaning that for your business there is little to no interruption in service.

Reduced Costs

Instead of paying for a number of different products, each of which have to be individually managed, a unified communications system is largely cloud-based and the only cost to your business is a subscription fee. For that fee you will be covered in the event of any issues at no extra charge. If yours is a business that needs to make phone calls to other branches or locations, then making these calls using a VoIP (Voice over IP) protocol, such as SIP Trunking as offered by Masergy, is cheaper and more reliable.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Consumers are more vigilant than ever when it comes to demanding that the companies they do business with minimize their carbon footprints. Even if customers are not actively selecting businesses because of their green credentials, being able to tell them that your company takes environmentalism seriously makes it much easier to market your products and services. Switching to a unified communications system is a simple yet very effective means of reducing your carbon footprint and boosting your business’s green credentials.

Improve Productivity

By unifying all of your communications systems you will make it much easier for your workers to get to grips with the most effective ways of communicating with one another. Even if every member of your team has to learn how to use the new system, once they have done so, you will notice some major productivity gains, gains which would be hard to obtain any other way.

A unified communications system offers numerous advantages to any business. The benefits that they bring more than justify the financial cost, as well as the time that you will need to invest in training your team in using the new system.

Project Management Best Practice 10 – Communication Plans

Projects represent change and change requires communication. In order for communication to be successful, it must be received, understood, and acted upon. Achieving these factors can require a substantially different approach when communicating with different groups and individuals. Consequently, effective communication is frequently difficult and time consuming. Thus, a clearly defined communications plan is needed to maximize the probability of each communication’s success while minimizing the overall effort expended.[wcm_restrict plans=”41134, 25542, 25653″]

Developing a Communications Plan

A communications plan is essentially a project within a project. In our experience, an effective communications plan may represent up to one third of an initiative’s project activities when developed to an equal level of detail as the initiative’s other major components. Developing the communications plan involves several distinct activities:

  1. Identify the key project stakeholders and influencers
  2. Divide this group into logical sub-groupings based on the communications to be made to these groups or individuals
  3. Further divide these groups into commonly shared work environmental factors such as office setting, industrial facility setting, computer access, phone access, cafeteria access/use, etcetera
  4. Identify the communication channels that reach each group or individual
  5. Identify group and individual communication channel preferences
  6. Identify the time sequenced key messages to be shared with each group and individual over the course of the project’s execution and output implementation
  7. Identify the activities needed to develop each communication, considering the time needed to make the communications and adjust each to the respective communications channels to be used
  8. Develop the communications plan
              a. Subdivide communications by group and individual to receive the messaging
              b. List the several communications channels to be used to transmit each communication to
                  each group and individual
              c. Logically sequence all communications
              d. Document the development activities needed to create each message and message type
              e. Identify the resource commitment to perform the activities
              f. Assign the personnel resources and tools, materials, and funding to perform the activities
              g. Add the communications plan to the overall project plan
              h. Evaluate and alleviate resource constraints within the overall project plan


Figure 1 – Illustrative Project Communications Plan for a Consulting Firm’s New Service Offering Rollout

Communications are typically not received and acted upon unless conveyed more than once. StrategyDriven Communications best practice article, Communicate 7 Times, 7 Different Ways, articulates this philosophy and lists several communications channels, including their benefits and shortfalls, that should be considered when developing the overall communications plan.

Final Thought…

Project communications should be made early and often, commensurate with the complexity and potential impact of the project. Additionally, forums for feedback should be provided so stakeholders and influencers can both confirm the effectiveness of the outreach as well as to identify additional information needs and communication approach improvement opportunities.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”41134, 25542, 25653″]

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