These days we’re spoiled for technological choice. There’s an app, platform and software solution for everything. If it can be done via a screen and the internet, there’s a tool capable of doing it.
But in some ways we now have too many options.
Think of how you communicate with other people. There’s the traditional phone call, SMS, and email. There are the slew of instant messaging apps, like Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and Instagram. Then there are the work collaboration tools, like Slack, Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. At their core, all of these solutions do the same thing: facilitate communication.
But what if this complexity could be replaced by simplicity? That’s the promise of a unified communication and collaboration strategy.
The whats and whys of unified communication and collaboration strategy
A unified communication and collaboration strategy – or simply, UC – combines communication channels and methods into a single intuitive interface. It allows email, chat, instant messaging, voice, and any other type of enterprise communication to be administered and deployed from a single platform. Any form of channel unification, from the simple to the complex, can be considered UC.
When UC is done well it saves staff from monotonous tasks, and it improves access to data and information that has the potential to create serious value. A well thought out communication strategy that improves workflows, processes and service delivery can do more than simply improve communications—it can fundamentally change the way you do business. Even simple workflow improvements have the potential to add speed, context and satisfaction at every contact point.
How UC strategy brings different parts of a business together
All businesses, whether integrated or severely siloed, depend on inter-departmental communication in order to function. For large enterprise businesses, every branch, franchise, or partner needs to communicate a great deal to management and the rest of the business in order to succeed. A strong UC strategy can ensure that time-sensitive communications can be delivered and acted on in real-time.
Other communications can benefit from connectivity to relevant organizational rules and data. Think of a hospital, where departments need to call on data from all over the hospital to deliver a pleasant and consistent patient experience:
- Patients first make an appointment with the front desk, where basic information is recorded.
- They’re then booked into a system which will send them a voice or text reminder about their appointment.
- They’re sent an email to confirm the appointment, facilitate triage, provide them access to a portal, and/or prepare them for their appointment.
- The doctor will need to access that patient’s records and send them results post-visit.
- Billing may need to facilitate payment (depending on the market.)
- Patients will often get a call from the hospital staff post-visit.
For all those interactions, different teams and departments need access to a single source of up-to-date records for the patient, and a way to communicate with the patient. A UC makes this faster and simpler for all involved: providers, hospital staff, healthcare professionals and patients alike.
The technologies that facilitate UC strategies
The greatest return on your UC strategy investment will only come if you choose a solution that utilizes strong omni- and multi-channel support, reliable availability, ease of use, and API capabilities. While some out-of-the-box UC enabling technology can be powerful, true value is dependent on how well your communication channels interact and respond to other systems.
Let’s return to the hospital example. For privacy and security reasons, a lot of health information can’t be sent using the most convenient communication channels, such as SMS. But there are other ways that UC gains can be made, like through integration and automation with the hospital’s native EHR (electronic health record) system.
Some of the major hurdles to implementing a truly effective UC strategy include:
- The need to replace systems to avoid duplication.
- The need to integrate systems.
- The need to change systems to reflect new workflows and tools.
Out-of-the-box UC software is ill-equipped to handle the often-complex integrations that a great UC strategy needs. So that’s where we come in.
At Soprano we have a wealth of experience facilitating large and ultra-complex UC integrations. Between our knowledge, experience and innovative CPaaS product, we can offer the sort of bespoke API development and integration that will ensure your UC strategy meets its almost endless potential.
Digital communication shouldn’t be complicated. With Soprano, it isn’t.