Are you still waiting for a compelling reason to integrate unified communications (UC) into your business? Let me give you three: enhanced communications, rich collaboration and a competitive edge.

UC delivers all of your modes of communication – phone, fax, email, text, video conferencing, document sharing and more — into one simple to manage interface to enhance productivity.  You can easily control the data and relay any or all of it to others – customers and prospects, suppliers and staff – at your convenience. You also can seamlessly move between all modes of communication. For example, it’s easy to transition an instant message (IM) exchange into a phone call or even a conference call.

One of the key innovations and advantages of UC is presence. It provides real-time information about someone’s availability and the best way to get in touch based on the situation. If you are trying to reach others on your team,  you know if they are available and whether or not to call them on their office, home or smart phone or whatever other means they choose to be available at any given time.

Advanced data sharing enabled by UC facilitates collaboration. Everyone in your organization — and even your suppliers — can be connected regardless of where they are – in the office, on the road or at home – to exchange ideas and share data. You and others even can work together on a document or presentation through online white boards and document repositories.

UC boosts your competitive edge because it enables you to interact with customers and prospects as effectively as larger organizations. You can be more responsive, overcome communication bottlenecks and make decisions quicker; and you can audio or video conference –even on the go with a smartphone and headset – to brainstorm over a customer problem or need.

UC adoption is growing

UC adoption is growing. CDW’s third annual UC Tracking Poll indicated that UC implementation rates doubled from 2010 to 2011 to 16 percent among a range of business, government, healthcare and educational organizations.  Many of you already are on the path to adoption (51 percent) as indicated by the Plantronics Spiceworks IT Pro community survey that we conducted earlier this year.

Businesses also are turning to the cloud for UC implementation. CompTIA’s “Second Annual Unified Communications Market Trends” indicated that seven out of 10 companies are considering a cloud system model for their UC needs.

Getting started

Several things to consider before you implement your UC solution:

  • Consider different options. You may opt for some combination of cloud services and on premise infrastructure, if that makes more sense for your organization at this time.
  • Have a comprehensive security strategy
  • Support emerging platforms, such as tablets, whose adoption is growing.  Forrester Research estimates that 375 million tables will be sold by 2016 compared to just 56 million purchased worldwide last year.

Also find the right partner. A trusted solutions provider will offer options and explain how to maximize solutions to ensure you get  A+ performance from the 3 Cs.