smb-tech-trendsSmall businesses are embracing unified communications (UC) to meet their need for affordable communication and mobility solutions, according to the just released “SMB Unified Communications (UC_ Market in the US 2012-2016” report from Reportstack.  The publisher of market research reports estimates growth in the UC  small-to-medium business market at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.18 percent over the four-year period.

If your small business hasn’t made the move to UC, which integrates voice, email, SMS, video conferencing and document sharing into a single interface that you can access from any one of your communication devices, here are five reasons to think about doing so

Gain in productivity and flexibility: UC boosts productivity since all of your communication tools are in one place with a single interface. You no longer have to check separate interfaces to place a call, retrieve email or send an instant message, for example  Also by virtue of having one interface, your team can work from anywhere and stay connected to all of your small business communication channels.Group_Collab_Blog_image_RGB_LR

Enhanced collaboration: UC makes it easy for your team to get together to work on a project if some participants are working remotely and others are in the office. The conferencing capabilities of UC enable everyone to meet over a video conference or share information on the screen through web conferencing while they communicate via audio. Advanced tools such as digital white boards also enable everyone to work on a document in real time.

Improved customer relations: How well your small business communicates with customers – as well as partners – can mean the difference in closing the deal or losing it to the competition. With UC, being away from your desk phone no longer means that a call gets left in voicemail. You can route calls to any device you choose – or more than one – including the softphone on your laptop, aided by the use of a UC headset for audio clarity, so you never miss a call no matter where you are. You also can coordinate different inbound phone numbers for complaints, inquiries, etc., and have those numbers ring to a specific desk so callers don’t get frustrated being routed until they get the right help. (See: Chieftan Harvesting case study)

Messaging options: Since a UC system integrates all your messages, your team can elect to conveniently receive a message by text or audio depending on whatever device they are using – phone or desktop in the office or mobile device on the road.

Cost reduction: UC offers several cost saving benefits. In addition to lowering travel costs through conferencing, UC reduces the cost of your remote workers placing a call since the system routes calls through your office cutting down on mobile roaming and long-distance charges. There also are IT labor cost benefits by virtue of integrating your various communication channels into one system.

These are just some of the benefits of UC for your small business. To see all the features that help you streamline operations and boost productivity and efficiency, read:” Must have unified communications features for your small business”:  Part 1, Part 2