Unifying communications applications within an organization to include every key interaction and exchange of data and information can create a wealth of benefits. These range from improved collaboration between employees to a closer and more durable relationship with customers and business partners. Although Unified Communications usually involves enhanced IP telephony capability, it also includes audio and video conferencing, data exchange, e-mail, instant messaging, and many other applications that can improve interactive business processes.
The central characteristics of Unified Communications are a common, simple interface for all types of remote interactions and access to data, and a single “phone” number for all forms of communication. Cisco Systems Unified Meeting Place, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Mitel Networks Your Assistant, NEC Univerge Communications Center, and Siemens OpenScape are among the leading UC solutions.
According to Allan Sulkin, president, TEQConsult Group, Unified Communications (UC) has become “a catch-all phrase for several different user productivity applications–presence management, integrated messaging, conferencing, and work collaboration, that can all be converged as a single offering.”
Presence Management incorporates call screening and information on the location and availability of system subscribers. Integrated Messaging combines the advantages of traditional voicemail, e-mail, and instant messaging. The inclusion of audio, video, and Web conferencing, with collaborative tools such as whiteboarding, can even further enhance productivity. The ability of the Single Number approach to reduce communication delays is central to this new way of doing business.
Business Process Integration
Beyond the immediacy of Single Number, and the productivity boost of collaborative communications, Business Process Integration (BPI) provides valuable convergence of communication system tools and everyday business applications. Siemens OpenScape, for example, can integrate the benefits of Unified Communication with major applications including Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus SameTime, SAP Netweaver, and Salesforce.com.
“The end result is on-demand access to people and information, and the removal of information bottlenecks,” says Eve Aretakis, CEO, Siemens Communications. “This helps organizations clean up communications clutter, speed up the decision-making process and free up valuable people and IT resources. Our customers can take advantage of many innovative methods of collaboration by seamlessly conferencing individuals and applications in real time, regardless of location or type of communications device.”
Mobilizing for Success
The promise of enhanced interaction between mobile managers and the rest of their business world is one of the exciting potential benefits of Unified Communications.
“Today, many businesses have a proliferation of mobile devices without the seamless, transparent simplicity that’s essential for ease-of-use and productivity,” says Phil Edholm, chief technologist and vice president of network architecture for Nortel’s Enterprise Networks. Integrated Mobile Communications can provide devices and services with this simplified, essential connectivity. “We achieve this by equipping devices and users with capabilities not just for communicating across networks, but for communicating with each other across databases of information,” explains Edholm.
The Enterprise Communications Association (www.encomm.org ) is a good place to learn more about the potential of these powerful new tools. The ECA is a national trade association of leading communications technology companies, and is chartered to educate business executives on how emerging communications technologies can make their employees more productive, their customers more loyal, and their companies more profitable.
Open up a new world of business efficiency
Information technology has enabled businesses to make quantum leaps in the way they share information and ideas. On-demand access to people and information speeds decisions and enhances efficiency, so you can be first to respond to customers, deliver products, act on opportunities or recover from threats.
Siemens’ award-winning Open Communications solutions unify information and user experiences, not only throughout your organization, but also between you, your partners and your customers. By using open interfaces and standards, our solutions integrate seamlessly into the applications your staff uses every day. The result: a voice and data environment that promotes more effective ways of working.
Help your business take off by embedding real-time communications into mission-critical processes. Learn how at http://enterprise.siemens.com/open/us/default.aspx