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Companies need to consider user preference in UC setups

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When businesses establish their unified communications deployments, they often focus on the actual technological tools used to enable collaboration. While this process has its merits, a recent ITWeb report said organizations need to switch their focus to user preferences to gain the full benefits of a UC solution.

According to the news source, many office communications efforts are fairly inefficient, even with unified communications. A worker will often go through a chain of SMS text messages, voice chat, email and other collaboration forms with a colleague before being able to settle on any official decision about a topic. While this is far better than having to have in-person meetings, it is not taking full advantage of current communications capabilities.

The report explained that advanced unified communications systems are able to use presence tools to establish a clear concept of an employee's availability. For example, a worker trying to get a hold of a colleague can use presence tools to find out if that individual is available via email, phone, mobile device or video chat. That employee can also select preferred contact methods. As a result, it is easier to not only to get a hold of co-workers, but also to contact them in the easiest manner possible, ensuring quick results. This can improve productivity by getting rid of the wasted time associated with leaving messages and dealing with other collaboration challenges.

Rob Sussman, joint CEO at managed services company Integr8, explained that establishing a unified communications system can be difficult because various tools, sometimes from the same vendor, do not always work well together. He told the news source that pruning a UC setup is important to avoid spending on tools that are rarely used and difficult to manage. This points further to the need to optimize a system for worker preferences, as the process ensures the company gains the most from the program, regardless of how difficult it is to manage.

Organizations struggling to implement a unified communications solution that meets their operational needs while being technically manageable may want to turn to the cloud. When a third-party cloud vendor hosts the UC applications, businesses benefit from all of the front-end collaboration tools, but the vendor handles all of the IT management and maintenance, alleviating interoperability concerns.