The ongoing global health crisis has precipitated the rapid adoption of the work-from-home model across many business sectors in the past year. A recent Gallup survey that tracks full- and part-time U.S. workers' activity and attitudes amid the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic would like to continue doing so.
With a national workforce willing to adjust to shifting definitions and processes of work well into the future, incorporating unified communication and collaboration (UCC) technologies across your remote staff can keep workflows tight and productivity high among team members. UCC tools also help organizations overcome common project management challenges with real-time interactions.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote workers increasingly used video conferencing and email alternatives as communication platforms. Businesses now use popular UCC technologies such as Slack, Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Google Teams in both remote and work collaborative environments. These tools are must-have integrations that provide several different modes of communications in one platform, including video, voice, and messaging.
A recent ResearchandMarkets.com report acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has “necessitated the adoption of remote work on a wide scale, causing virtually the entire employee base of many companies to embrace an employee work-at-home operational framework.” The report predicts that this operational shift will precipitate further adoption of UCC platforms and services — with subsequent business strategies zeroing in on long-term policies built on “remote employee productivity as a core human capital management requirement.”
With a surge in use as the work model evolves, the benefits of on-premise and cloud-based UCC technologies are even more stark. With the ability to boost productivity, increase efficiency, and improve revenue with ROI, UCC tools offer end users:
Sustained face-to-face engagement with remote colleagues
Real-time collaboration across teams
Increased productivity in a unified environment
Co-creation and content sharing of files and documents across the workspace
Integrated social networking
The User Experience in UCC
Simply integrating UCC technologies into your remote work setup is not enough. To be effective, UCC systems have to be easy to use, centralized, robust, efficient, reliable, and secure. Cloud-based and largely offered as SaaS (software as a service) models, UCC applications work most powerfully when end-user workflows are correlated with an organization’s use data. This analysis identifies opportunities where UCC integration can be a boost to productivity, collaboration, and ROI.
UCC Performance Management
UCC functions in a bedrock of bandwidth, routers, endpoints, and firewalls that allow real-time applications to optimally perform. IT managers have integrated performance management solutions to troubleshoot what can become complex networking issues. With 86 percent of global organizations who utilize UCC technologies believing that APIs extend business communications for their employees and customers and are therefore crucial to business growth, UCC performance management tools can take several forms, including:
Platform maintenance provided as part of the service subscription and that allows the customer to actively participate in troubleshooting. For integrated UCC systems, different maintenance tools might be needed for each provider.
Cloud-based tools that target cloud service performance, such as lapses in real-time data delivery. Unlike platform maintenance tools, only the provider has access to these tools.
Component tools that target specific aspects of the UCC system, including performance management of routers, endpoints, and networks.
Single- and multi-vendor specialty tools that provide data and analysis in a unified interface.
Whether choosing a single-vendor solution or integrating disparate but compatible UCC technologies for a multi-vendor solution, the implementation of performance management tools is essential to predicting and rooting out issues and outages. It is a proactive approach with residual benefits, including a reduction in operational costs and improved employee productivity as they will spend less time troubleshooting problems themselves.
UCC is Here to Stay
Before the pandemic, UCC tools were projected to change office ecology by expanding and reconfiguring the in-office space with huddle rooms and smaller meeting spaces designed to emphasize global communication and teamwork. While considered a growing sector tempered by the push to integrate AI and machine learning in the collaboration space, the pandemic has augmented the use case for UCC. With that mission shift, a new urgency has emerged as the remote-work model becomes the norm.
As with so many crises, a silver lining emerges. A rare growth sector amid a global work evolution, UCC’s roots have dug deeper into the future-facing, tech-driven business world and is clearly here to stay.