Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) experience some unique organizational challenges that position them to be prime candidates for the benefits of a solid Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) solution. Smaller companies tend to have more flexible, less defined employee roles than their larger, enterprise counterparts. In such, employees often wear many hats and are required to manage multiple, often disparate, systems while switching back and forth between various tasks. In addition to the antiquated business communication and workflow systems, employees are also inundated with fielding communications from a variety of devices. Emails, phone calls on the office line, mobile phone calls, text messages, instant messages and video calls coming in from all different directions only add to the chaos of managing their business processes and information.
While unified communications was traditionally regarded as a solution earmarked solely for the large enterprise environment, the evolution of UC&C has now made it possible for companies of any size – including SMBs – to reap the benefits that larger companies have been enjoying for years. Here’s a look at just a few of the major benefits of UC&C for the SMB landscape.
It’s no secret that the mobile workforce is on the rise. According to Strategy Analytics, the global mobile workforce is expected to climb to “1.75 billion workers by 2020, accounting for 42% of the total global workforce.”. As more employees leave the corporate office to take up workspace residency in home offices or manage their workload on the road in airports, hotels and coffee shops, it’s critical that the applications and devices used by these employees are designed to meet the needs of mobile workers while providing them access to all of the data, resources, communications features and functionality they would experience at the office.
UC&C gives businesses the ability to integrate hosted phone systems with mobile devices, allowing for much more than simply find me/follow me features. Access to company directories, call recording, CRM call logging and extension dialing are just a few of the features mobile workers can enjoy on mobile devices. But UC takes it a step further to include IM&P, video conferencing and business SMS capabilities traditionally reserved for in-office environments. Remote employees are no longer required to manage multiple workflow systems when they are out of the home office. Instead, UC&C provides a seamless experience no matter the location, device or network.
There’s no crystal ball when it comes to determining the future communication needs of an organization, no matter the size. But for SMBs, scalability and flexibility of a unified communications system is crucial to ensuring that the system is built to move in tandem with the company’s growing needs. Whether adding employees, office locations, mobile devices or additional SaaS applications for business workflow, UC&C gives SMBs the freedom and flexibility needed to ensure they can quickly and easily scale their system to accommodate the needs of today without forcing them to anticipate (and pay for) the requirements of tomorrow. For most, this provides the extra benefit of only paying for the endpoints, licenses, and features needed, rather than overspending on antiquated on-premise solutions that wreak havoc on their bottom line.
Limited internal resources plague small and medium sized businesses, but that doesn’t mean that business processes and communication technology should suffer. Traditional on-premise systems often require expensive ongoing maintenance as well as highly-technical IT professionals for provisioning, installing and troubleshooting. Couple those responsibilities with the constant equipment and software upgrades, and many SMBs simply can’t justify the financial investment required to keep systems up-to-date. This often results in antiquated, out-dated systems and devices, leading to less than ideal business systems.
UC&C takes the financial burden on the IT budget and leverages cloud providers to manage, maintain and support unified communications systems and applications. Rather than putting the burden on the already limited IT department, SMBs can shift from large upfront capital expenses to more manageable operational expenses.