Unified Communications & Contact Center Options – Making the Transition

Imagine a customer calling for detailed, technical information about your services and products. These calls can be cumbersome for customer support employees who don’t contain the technical knowledge about a particular service or product. Now imagine those same customer support employees having a comprehensive menu on the computer screens describing the precise technical knowledge about that specific product or service, as well as other detailed information the inquiring consumer can use to make an informed decision right away.

In the wonderful world of UC (Unified Communications), technical customer support phone calls are handled and processed much differently than they were just a decade ago.

Transitioning to a UC program boosts communications both internally and externally by arming workers with better technology resources that add value to the entire communication process. This article contains helpful expertise and insights to work with you in the transition to a unified communications system.

UC is essentially a unified platform for communications in every its forms. Potentially, this may include land-lines and cell phones, e-mail, quick messaging (IM), VoIP, IP-PBX, fax, voice mail, conference calls, videos conferencing, whiteboard and unified messaging. Your employees could have presence within your business communications – whether they are physically in the office or not.

The concept of presence is easy to understand within instant messaging in which a “buddy status” is available at a glance. UC takes this a stage further more by grouping these “buddies” together by specialized abilities and attaching them to particular knowledge areas. All of this would be offered by a glance.

UC allows for real-time delivery of all these forms of communication inside a single environment that consumers can access inside a simple interface. For example, customer service staff could have a listing of employees knowledgeable about something, along with the most practical method for immediately contacting that person who has the correct answers about the information on the product.

By clicking on a contact icon, a contact can be made, or even a page or a whiteboard program accessed to bridge key info on the merchandise, customer and employee contacts simultaneously. If your business doesn’t already have it, Unified Messaging (UM) can provide communications integration, albeit on a smaller scale than UC.

Unified Messaging is capable of grouping together communications from unique sources, such as e-mail, faxes and tone of voice mail, but will not allow (in every instances) real-time shipping. Unified Messaging methods store these multi-system communications for the user to access information at his / her discretion.

Still, today, UM does provide improved communication synchronization to an extent that has been not available only a decade ago. It is very important understand that while UM possesses efficiencies by grouping communications along; it is not the same thing as UC. Oftentimes, these conditions are interchanged and interpreted to really have the same meaning.

Again, they are not the same. Tying communications jointly in a UC platform might have a tremendous positive impact on productivity at your business. Businesses with offices around the world have an excellent opportunity to synchronize communications as they occur around the clock instantly. Additional functionality allows telephone calls to be routed in accordance with preset rules.

For example, if an employee is doing work at a remote location outside the office, the UC system can route a call with their cell phone and then a voice message to their voice mail. At the heart of UC is the Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) engineering that allows analog cellphone conversations to be transmitted on the internet. UC basically expands that operation by allowing different communications through the same protocol. Transitioning to UC doesn’t have to be an overwhelming procedure.

First, consider what usable technology your business previously has and how those assets could be integrated into the new platform. Consider what communications already are transmitted using the Internet Protocol (IP). It could be that your business is only several steps away from integrating these into a truly unified format that drastically increases productivity.

Another benefit of introducing UC to your business is enhanced security inside your company’s communications that was never current before. Without UC, communications take place over multiple data formats using numerous protocols, and you may not have control over certain data. Integrating these data types using UC gives your company the ability to better manage the entire communications process.

The necessary equipment for creating a UC infrastructure includes various software applications and hardware apparatus. The Microsoft release of the UC solution is made round the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and the Microsoft Business office Communicator 2007 for the interface. Microsoft, needless to say, is geared toward the software UC solution. Its server program is designed to be deployed on a dedicated communications server.

Cisco, the IT hardware gear manufacturer most widely known because of its routers and switches and its own reputation as the “backbone of the Internet,” offers software UC solutions, combined with the necessary hardware products. Cisco is more well known as a hardware company; consequently naturally, the company’s UC solution is extra hardware-based.

The two big players in the wonderful world of IT are suffering from UC solutions. Which one is best for you is really a function of your specific requirements and your company’s monetary resources to support and maintain the technology. Keep in mind that there are tailored solutions obtainable from both Microsoft and Cisco tailored for the size of your business.

Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 comes in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. Agentie PR The Standard Edition is supposed for SMBs which have one server platform using one machine. Along with the accompanying Standard Client Access License (CAL) it permits messaging, peer-to-peer video and voice, and file transfers all to occur within an integrated and familiar Microsoft Office environment.