I Can't Talk Just Now
Unified Communication is helping to shape the way we work, with the greatest change being applied to how we choose to contact the workforce when they're out of the office.
It's now a given that modern business practice produces three distinct types of employee. Think of your colleagues and you can clearly identify; those that are always in the office, those that are always out of the office and those that are sometimes in and sometimes out of the office. For simplicity we tend to call these Ins, Outs and Nomads.
Getting hold of the Outs and Nomads when they're not in the office, in a timely manner, is critical to the successful operation of many businesses, especially in the age of the "streamlined" organisation. Take Housing Associations as an example. Coordinating contractors and getting repairs done on time is one of their fundamental tasks. Any member of their workforce involved in this function must be contactable wherever they might be, because lack of timely information inevitably leads to service disruption and mistakes.
Voice is still king when it comes to ‘real-time' communications. It's truly interactive and allows us to exchange the maximum amount of information in the shortest amount of time. However, sometimes a telephone call is just not possible or the ideal medium. This is typically because of high levels of background noise, on a building site in the case of our Housing Association example, or where privacy is required in a public environment; at the airport, train station, trade show or in a coffee shop.
Unified Communication has given us the ideal set of tools when it's impossible, or even merely difficult, to talk. Presence shows us if the person we need to contact is available and also where they are and what they're doing. Instant Messaging allows a dialogue to take place and critical information to be exchanged, between two or multiple parties. The beauty of IM is that it can be in "real time" or as soon as the person you need to contact becomes available. And you can keep a record of transactions, which is of critical importance for business management.
The unification of voice and IT technology has played a large role in the evolution of modern working practices for business over the past five years. It's given us greater choice, made us more efficient throughout our working day and reduced overall costs. The flexibility and freedom enjoyed by the Ins and Nomads in fulfilling their primary job roles, yet still being available to colleagues and customers alike, wherever they might be, has only been made possible through the availability of Unified Communication.