A recent survey showed that only 10% of SMEs are currently using Unified Communications, even though more than two thirds of business owners want to adopt the system. There appear to be concerns about whether such a system might add complexity, or that the investment required both in times of cost and resources for implementation and training might outweigh the benefits. However, unified communications often simplify many aspects of communication and make it easier to adopt more efficient systems which also can cost less than running a traditional switchboard.
Switching to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone communications can have a lot of advantages for SMEs; the solution allows your team to make calls from wherever they have internet connectivity. That means they can still contact customers, join telephone conferencing or work remotely with clients wherever they are in the world. This not only limits the cost of international calls during business travel, it also means that as an employer, the SME can offer flexible and home working as a benefit to attract staff.
VOIP solutions are also more secure than traditional phone lines. Although the world of corporate espionage may have largely moved over to computer hacking, key product developments and market opportunities are often discussed over the phone. Having securely encoded calls which are not accessible via a public network can allow even the most confidential of conversations to take place, even if you can’t get everyone into the same room.
Both of these elements can also contribute to greener working practices by cutting down on the amount of time staff are commuting to work or travelling in for meetings. In theory, it would be possible to run a business without needing to maintain a central office. That’s unlikely to work for most organisations, which rely on team collaboration and interaction, but even allowing some staff to work one day at home, for example, can reduce the carbon footprint of an organisation.
There is a perception that such an effective solution may cost more to implement, but in fact the opposite is true. There are a number of VOIP carriers on the market and the competition means it is much easier to get a good deal. In contrast to leased lines, which are no longer required with a Unified Communications solution, you benefit from the open market and can shop around to find a solution that suits your team, your organisation and your bottom line.