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

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

If your team is sticking to the phones on their desktops or your IT team is reluctant to support another cloud solution, it’s time to let go of it, especially if your company is embracing a hybrid work model. Not only is that phone likely to collect dust, but UC is the technical glue that holds people together when personal collaboration is a challenge. Failure to deploy will probably delay the entire business.

Hybrid work is the way forward

Distributed work is not new, of course, but a full workforce hybrid creates unique technical challenges for IT. With some workers coming into the office – sometimes at least – and still others completely isolated, teams are increasingly relying on a range of communication tools to replace personal connections.

According to recently Economic Impact study commissioned by Google Workspace, more than 75% of respondents believe that hybrid or flexible working will be standard within their organizations over the next three years. 2020 IBM study It was also found that 75% of employees want to continue working remotely, at least sometimes, and 54% want work from home to be their main way of working. Apart from service firms and those who need a physical presence, a hybrid is here to stay. It’s good for workers. And since it puts fewer cars on the road, it’s good for the planet.

As hybrid work emerges, IT departments are under enormous pressure to adopt technologies that will help employees work and collaborate in this new environment. Legacy communication systems and monolithic software solutions are designed for a workforce that gathers in one place. Since this is no longer the case, your teams have no choice but to release them and adopt tools that work from anywhere – as do the people who use them.

This means implementing tools that enable effective internal and external communication to make it easy for workers and distribution teams to collaborate from one location. This is where unified cloud-based communication solutions shine. By combining voicemail, text messaging, video conferencing, and more, cloud-based UC, or unified communications as a service (UCaaS), it improves employee productivity and efficiency. Capabilities such as video conferencing, team workspaces, virtual whiteboards, and document and screen sharing allow teams to operate efficiently from any location or time zone.

These tools come at a cost, but you can expect to pay anywhere from about $ 20 per user per month for basic calls and messaging to over $ 60 per user in per month for calls, messages, meetings, videos and much more.

UC is no longer just a telephone service

By providing mobile workers with the communications services that suit their mobile work styles, UCaaS solutions seamlessly integrate multiple locations and connects mobile workers with features that their desktop phone could never dream of. The UC tools being adopted by businesses today go far beyond basic VoIP phones. They consolidate calls, messaging (think of instant messaging for business), meetings, team collaboration, file sharing, mobile access from any browser, and more, into a tool that helps improve internal and external communication as well as employee productivity .

The new AI capabilities that have emerged in the last two or three years have further enhanced UCaaS solutions, especially for meetings and conferences. These smart systems reduce background noise, understand natural language so they can provide meeting summaries and highlights, and automatically assign tasks to meeting attendees based on conversations. These tools create a vastly enhanced meeting experience. Because many employees are no longer in the same physical office as their colleagues and personal meetings are becoming more frequent, these tools close the distance and enhance internal and external collaboration.

Cloud communication and the big pivot

Cloud communications solutions demonstrated their value during the pandemic. Organizations that were already using them were able to tackle remote work quickly without losing a beat while those who had not already used them struggled to stay in touch and be productive.

Here are some examples from published case studies:

  • Interstate Batteries used the Vonage Communication Platform (VPC) to change the way employees communicate and work from the office or anywhere, providing flexibility and ensuring business continuity. It was able to allow teams to quickly pivot to the remote control and keep 600+ employees in safe touch.
  • Bennett International, the sixth largest specialized transportation company in North America, keeps 3,000 employees and contractors in touch with usage MVP RingCentral (message, video, phone) cloud solution. No matter where anyone is working, as everyone has phone contacts, video and team messaging capabilities on phone and computer.
  • The Department uses Seine-Saint Denis in France Avaya Spaces facilitate communication among its 8,000 employees and partners without any location restrictions. This tool’s video conferencing and other collaboration capabilities are available in a single device, and staff can create public or private workspaces, share and store files, and manage project tasks. For example, Spaces makes it easier to visualize workflows through a Kanban table, allowing teams to prioritize and track task progress together.

The way we communicate and collaborate more deeply with customers, colleagues, partners and suppliers is likely to change as we move into a hybrid world. Once UC tools become the norm, location will not matter. Cloud communication and collaboration can create and dismantle virtual teams simply by bringing them into a virtual workspace where they can collaborate and connect with colleagues via voice or video. It’s a matter of starting a new R & D project, a new marketing campaign, or brainstorming the customer ‘s problem to invite the right people to a workspace to chat, conference, and share ideas and documents. And because everything is cloud-based, workers can access the workspace and its contents from any location or device.

All of this creates better productivity for hybrid teams. Studies across the board show increased user productivity thanks to cloud communication and collaboration. Enterprises anywhere from 10% to 25% found productivity improvements from cloud communications and collaboration, resulting in faster project completion, more efficient problem solving, and enhanced innovation.

Which tool to choose?

There is no shortage of new offerings in this space from a growing list of cloud communications providers. From household names like Microsoft, Google, and Zoom, to specialists like 8×8, Avaya, Dialpad, Edify, Intermedia, Mitel, Nextiva, RingCentral, GoTo, and Vonage, businesses have many options.

And the vendor community continues to add more capabilities and functionality. As cloud communication services get even better, you can expect to see AI capabilities like real-time transcription and language translation within your meetings to enhance collaboration across a global employee base.

The old way of working is changing, and new tools and approaches are needed. As workers continue to redefine what spaces they will use for office, they will increasingly engage with cloud-based communication and collaboration tools to stay in touch with colleagues, customers and partners. For the new hybrid and distributed workforce, the cloud is the way forward.

Blair Pleasant is a communications industry analyst, president and chief analyst COMFfusion LLCand co – founder of SIM Strategies.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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

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