In the not too distant past, IT and pro AV were separated by a pervasive feeling that there was no real necessity to converge the two. As both IT and pro AV evolve and grow, the two fields are now experiencing more integration and system overlap than ever before. A perfect example of this overlap is what we now call UCC… Let explore how UCC brings it all together from both worlds.
Unified communication and collaboration (UCC) is a collection of technologies and software that combines enterprise communication with real-time, asynchronous cooperation capabilities. UCC takes the various methods used in individual communications and collaboration solutions and makes them available through a single interface to improve connectivity and productivity.
On the digital communications side there is email, voicemail, instant messaging (IM), desktop sharing and voice over IP (VoIP). On the pro AV side it might involve displays, audio systems, video conferencing, and collaboration technologies to name a few. The objective of all systems as part of an overall UCC strategy is cooperative access to communication through a single interface.
This interface becomes the gateway to sharing, hence the collaboration part of our tale.
Keep in mind, on the IT backbone side that UCC poses a number of challenges to networks with old infrastructure. UCC has changed the nature of enterprise network workloads.
These dynamic workloads can result in latency and congestion in old systems. As UCC and other dynamic workloads have increased, they have driven the adoption of hyper-converged networks to deal with the challenges.
Typical UCC applications
UCC can include numerous applications such as:
- Digital messaging one on one or one to many (any time, any place, and on any device)
- Unified messaging – the ability to retrieve all your messages from one central location
- Presence confirmation – knowing if a contact is free or busy
- Conferencing applications – to connect larger groups to share information and ideas
- Teamwork applications – to coordinate work on group projects
- Video conferencing – on your PC, mobile device, and using room-based systems
- Mobile applications – extending UCC to smartphones and tablets
Selling the Benefits of UCC
It is not enough to know that the convergence of IT and pro AV has resulted in this new level of communication. We must also thoroughly understand the benefits of UCC and sell those benefits as a tangible and measurable value to your clients.
Using UCC solutions groups and businesses can greatly enhance the way they interact and perform. This is done by allowing many different communication channels to be synchronized and by improving the operational efficiency of existing communication programs. It provides for more flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness.
For those working from home or field staff they can have the ability to keep in touch, communicate seamlessly, and respond in real time. UCC allows decisions to be made faster and helps cut down travel time and associated expenditures.
The use of UCC solutions therefore has a great impact on business practices, productivity, and ROI.
The combination of UCC tools into a single interface provides numerous benefits, including:
- Higher accessibility and productivity as employees with various devices from various locations can work together in a unified environment.
- Faster and more responsive service through real-time notifications and messaging.
- Reduced cost with less telecom, travel, and IT expenditures needed.
- Improved customer satisfaction and user experience.
- Easier to facilitate teamwork.
When selling UCC to clients, keep these three top tips in focus:
1. Emphasize the specific benefits of communication and collaboration as it applies to them. As one example, video conferencing can help improve collaboration among on-site employees and remote workers. Using interactive whiteboard capabilities, improves collaboration even further.
2. Prove that ROI in specific areas makes it real for them. As one example, UCC technologies can reduce travel budgets and expenses and speed up decision making on projects.
3. ROO or return on objectives is more difficult to prove. You will need to highlight the long-term benefits to your customers i.e. productivity gains, reduced employee turnover, and others specific to them that will provide significant value.
Unified communication and collaboration (and both IT and pro AV) are rapidly evolving markets. Recent reports indicate that over 80 percent of businesses expect to invest in some form of UCC in the next two years.
For you it boils down to selling value. Keep in mind that value is in the eye of the beholder and your message must resonate with them. Be sure to stay up to date on the latest trends, new products, and your customer’s expectations. That way, you’ll be prepared for the opportunities that are sure to come your way.