According to Spend Matters, businesses need to learn a few simple lessons before implementing a unified communications plan, or it could end up costing them more than they realize. While this useful technology solution can make communicating with fellow employees and customers much easier, it can have hidden problems that most people would not realize.
Unified communications combine telephone, email, instant messaging and sometimes video chat into a complete correspondence system. One employee can contact another by whatever means is most convenient, as well as easily share information and collaborate without halting work. Another important function of these solutions are presence indicators, commonly known as buddy lists, which can show if a contact is busy, idle or available to talk.
Problems can arise with this technology when workers are uninformed about how it works. An employee can accidentally ring up long distance bills or roaming charges while traveling, unaware of how the communications systems actually operate. These unknown mistakes can multiply rapidly in a larger company and create unnecessary overhead.
The news source gave the example of a professional in New York City contacting a colleague in London through an internal network. The first worker hits a single "call" button on her computer, but does not know that her peer is Dubai away on business. The system will then automatically reroute the contact. Rather than dropping the call, her unified communications system will try various ways of contacting the other employee, finally reaching his cell phone over an external network, rather than the company's free internal one, generating long-distance charges that the caller does not know about.
These types of situations can easily be avoided with forethought and planning on the part of the organization by informing employees of how the communications system works, ensuring that they understand any fees involved, and when it should be used or not. Rather than accidentally accruing unnecessary fees, a company can start saving money as its supposed to with a unified communications system. Not only will a business see billing decreases, but there is a potential for increased revenue from improved productivity and quality from employees who are will be better able to discuss work and solve any complications more easily.