Welcoming UC 3.0 – the Future of Unified Communications
Rob Scott explores a new approach to reviewing the UC stack
A well-connected team is the lifeblood of any thriving business.
In today’s ever-changing, agile environment, traditional solutions like email are no longer enough to facilitate fast and accurate communications. As workers become increasingly mobile and diverse, companies need a strategy that ensures real, consistent results.
Team collaboration software is a market with a growth rate of 9.0% CAGR between 2018 and 2025. This technology has quickly emerged as the ultimate way to keep employees on the same page. However, not just any team collaboration tool will do.
Companies need a system that supports the rise of UC 3.0.
Introducing UC 3.0 – The Holy Grail of Communications
We’ve seen numerous changes in the unified communications market in recent years.
When Unified Communications first began, organisations were limited to complex, siloed technology. Communications strategies existed in islands across the company network. Then UC 2.0 arrived, bringing with it concepts like convergence and omnichannel communications, where tools began to align.
UC 3.0 is where we’re heading today. It’s a global transformation of the unified communications market, where companies of all sizes are adopting the cloud, team collaboration apps, and even disruptive tech like AI.
Originally, it was only small and agile companies that could be flexible enough to take this new approach to communications. Enterprise businesses simply had too many existing tools and investments to replace. Smaller, digitally-focused companies could jump into the cloud with little or no risk of wasting any existing legacy PBX systems in the process.
However, though the situation between smaller and larger organisations varied, both were facing a change in the communication marketplace.
Innovation became the name of the game as vendors joined forces to create unified stacks of tools more comprehensive than ever before. Companies put aside their differences and consolidated, pushed into action as “experience” became the only way to stand out in a crowded market.
Features and price points are no longer enough to capture and maintain the attention of an increasingly demanding audience. Businesses need the pillars of Unified Communications 3.0 to stand out among their peers.
Aragon Reserach Predicts: By YE 2025, team collaboration will be the primary way that people collaborate and
UC 3.0: The Basis of Comparison for Today’s Investments
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a growing drive among all businesses, towards cloud-focused services.
An ongoing need for agility and flexibility made cloud the only real option for today’s communication stack. First, we saw hosted voice – a way for brands to adapt their calling solutions according to their changing needs. Next, applications on a hosted platform entered the market.
Many exciting new vendors have entered the marketplace with a vision to create cloud services on microservices architecture. They’ve built their systems form the ground up to provide agility, scalability, and innovative solutions to customer problems.
We’re seeing a convergence, unlike anything we’ve ever known before. Platforms are growing modular, and capabilities that once existed exclusively in their own islands are now appearing in the application stack as native services.
The new “as a service” framework is at the heart of UC 3.0.
It delivers a brand-new level of accessibility, mobility, and functionality, and transforms the way that we work with new productivity and efficiency solutions.
All the while, emerging technologies are also playing their part. Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and various other new ideas are also making their impact on our marketplace.
With so much change to account for, business communication decisions now come down to four essential pillars:
- Customer experience – Customer experience is the number one differentiator in the modern world. According to Deloitte, two-thirds of any company’s competitive edge is based on the experience they can give their clients. Today’s consumers demand omni-channel discussions, hosted on the platforms they prefer, and delivered at a speed that they appreciate.
- User Experience – In a fast–paced world, employees need as much empowerment as possible to thrive. This means that companies need to create a single-pane-of-glass approach with minimal distractions and the best possible context in every conversation. “User experience focuses on maximizing the user’s pleasure, satisfaction, motivation, efficiency, and productivity when using a product or service.”
- Team Experience – Unfortunately, only around 33% of today’s workforce are actively engaged at work. This means that most of the time, you’re not getting the best work out of your team. The easiest way to get your people to engage is to improve their teamwork situation. Invest in camaraderie and project ownership, and your results will transform. Aragon Research predicts that by 2025, team collaboration will be the primary way that people collaborate and communicate.
- Business experience – Finally, a business also needs every aspect of its organisation to be aligned in the context of experience. That means that it needs to be easy for IT teams and leaders to manage systems, maintain platform reliability and enhance security. Innovators should be able to innovate with API’s easily, connect machines and people, and transform strategies in an agile manner. The only way that organisations can deliver positive experiences to customers is to make sure they’re set up for success. After all, 67% of consumers state bad experiences as a reason for churn. Make sure your company processes flow seamlessly, and good customer experience will be a natural by-product.
It’s all about breaking down your new tech investments to match your business objectives with the solutions that can provide the right outcomes.
For instance, if your goal with implementing collaboration tool is to improve team experience, then you’ll need to make sure that your chosen software is created with your workstream in mind. Does it offer:
- Team collaboration: A scalable and searchable digital workspace with voice, and video calling, web conferencing, instant chat, file sharing, bots, and notifications?
- Video conferencing: A strategy to keep your teams engaged in face-to-face conversations through virtual meeting rooms on the cloud, meeting assistants, room kits for huddle spaces, telepresence solutions, video conferencing equipment, and effective endpoints?
- Supplemental tools: Can you take file and screen-sharing to the next level with interactive whiteboards, enhanced Artificial Intelligence assistances, screen capture, and recording and more?
Every collaboration system offers its own range of benefits. The only way to ensure the right results is to start from your personal company problems and work backward.
More to come on UC 3.0, watch this space. Comments welcome.