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Unified Communications: a vital component for Collaborative Software?


Software has always been an enabler to achieve strategic objectives. Whether the aim was to improve business efficiency, streamline processes or automate aspects of the business; software has been able to help.

However, the way businesses operate is constantly changing and the majority of projects are now delivered by collaborative teams working cross-division and in many cases across different companies and territories. It is not uncommon for teams to be made up of internal staff, external consultants and third party companies based in multiple locations.

The need to improve communication is therefore vital for efficient working practises- and that’s where Unified Communications steps in.

What is Unified Communications?

Unified communications can be defined as the integration of real-time communication services such as IM (instant messaging), telephony, presence information, desktop sharing, video conferencing, speech recognition and call control. It is a set of multiple products across many devices and media.

In practice Unified Communications bridges over traditional communication channels such as snail mail, email and phone and integrates other communication channels such as Instant Messaging, eTicketing,

Collaborative Forums as well as SMS/Mobile solutions. All of these enable the team to interact in different ways to ultimately help them work together more efficiently. Conversations can be tracked and monitored and team members can contribute at the relevant time. Other examples include the ability to upload files or make amendments with tracked changes, allowing each team member to contribute to the discussion without overriding the primary document.

Is Unified Communications necessary?

In our view, Unified Communications tools enable teams to work far more efficiently. Tiered systems enable specific managers or consultants to be brought into discussion at the appropriate moment without having to hold external meetings. Communication channels can be kept open and team members can communicate clearly and efficiently. In cross departmental projects where collaborative working is of paramount importance to the smooth delivery of the project, Unified Communications helps to keep the team on track.

Whilst traditionalists might argue that email is the primary means of modern conversation, Unified Communications enables multiple communication channels to integrate together. Emails can be stored in a central system whilst Instant Messaging conversations can also be stored against specific entries.

How can Unified Communications be integrated into software?

The first step to think about when starting the discussion regarding integrating Unified Communications into bespoke software is to look at the way your team connect. This could be by email, phone, mobile or even SMS. Linking these techniques within software will streamline process management and give your Project Manager oversight over the project delivery.

Simple solutions such as the ability to Instant Message and open Group Chat can be a good starting point. The primary considerations should be the recording of communication into one centrally managed area that gives users the access to monitor their progress. Complex projects can be broken down into small chunks and then divided by the team based on skill set for example.

Examples of Unified Communications in modern software

BT is an example of a company which uses unified communications to provide technical management of the UK infrastructure.

Disney uses unified communications for effective project management. This enables them to communicate effectively throughout film production.

HSBC is another example of many organisations using unified communications. They use it to utilise possibilities with their trade management platforms.

Even the team at Geeks use Unified Communications strategies to help train our developers. If you’d like to get the ball started and you’d like some friendly advice then give us a call today.

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