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The key to flexible working: unified communications

The explosive growth in mobile devices and cloud services is driving new flexible working practices. But traditional siloed enterprise communications are often impeding this change. A solution to this is a move to cloud-based unified communications and collaboration – but what does this mean in practice?

One of the most fundamental changes to the modern business has been how employees work. Once the exception, mobile workers in Western Europe will comfortably outnumber their fixed counterparts by 2016 according to IDC research. The reason for this transformation is simple – employees with the freedom to choose when, where and how they work are happier and more productive.

However, this is contingent on employees being able to communicate and collaborate effectively wherever they are. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. According to Forrester Research, 50 per cent of workers experience project delays on a weekly basis because a key decision maker can’t be reached . A Vodafone study found that 67 per cent of multinationals claim that multiple platforms, networks and suppliers are making it hard for them to provide effective communications.

The response has been the development of unified communications and collaboration services. These bring together all fixed, mobile and desktop communications services in one integrated platform that is accessible from any device. This means each employee has a single incoming and outgoing phone number across their fixed, mobile and desktop phone as well as one voicemail box and contact directory.

This unified approach extends to collaboration tools so employees can easily share ideas through instant messenger, video conferencing or through enterprise social media tools on any device through the same unified application.

But unified communications can do more than integrate a variety of different communications channels – it also facilitates provider consolidation. By using one provider for all fixed, mobile and desktop communications services, businesses can make major savings as well as simplify their telecom expenditure.

By going through a cloud-based unified communications provider, organisations can adopt a future-proof approach that delivers even greater savings as they can gradually move away from using on-site PBXs at all their offices which are expensive to buy, maintain and upgrade.

Taken as a whole, the move to cloud-based unified communications and collaboration can have a profound impact on businesses. By enabling flexible working, it creates happier, more productive employees who can work from anywhere on any device as well as collaborate more effectively. Crucially, this is a future-proof approach that can be embarked on at a time when budgets are being cut.

Source: Enterprise Vodafone