Brief Guide To Unified Messaging

The convergence of communication technologies is having a significant impact on the way in which business users stay in touch with one another.

The days of having to use disparate platforms that work against continuity in conversations have ended and communications have become far more unified.

Unified messaging is a small but significant part of this emerging market and many companies have already adopted this type of platform in order to streamline certain aspects of their operations.

For those who are still in the dark about unified messaging, here is an overview of the benefits it can bring.

What is Unified Messaging?

As is implied by its name, unified messaging is a type of service that allows you to combine multiple messaging services via a single, easy to use, interface.

This allows you to more easily organise your various strands of communication whilst giving you the opportunity to access other advanced features that further enhance the convenience of the set-up.

Unified messaging can intermingle multiple text-based technologies such as email, fax and SMS messaging. It is also able to integrate voicemail and video messaging services if you so desire, giving you a holistic approach to communications that you might not find elsewhere.

What are the Benefits?

By removing the distinctions between different types of messaging, it is possible, for example, to receive your voicemail messages to your email inbox.

From here, you can do as you please, choosing to play it back from your PC or perhaps catching up with it later via your smartphone or tablet.

Because boundaries have been broken down, there is very little to stop you from accessing your various messages in whichever way you see fit.

Since messages can be handled in a unified, digital environment, there are a number of other advantages to take onboard.

For example, it is possible to add notes and attach documents to voicemail messages which may be relevant to a particular conversation, giving it a kind of multimedia interactivity that was not present in the past.

This all creates an environment in which collaboration between colleagues and communications with clients are far easier to appropriately manage. Your business will benefit from improved efficiency and productivity in projects, allowing you to hold onto your most valuable customers more effectively.

How simple is it to adopt Unified Messaging (UM)?

If you are interested in integrating unified messaging into your business, then there are a number of avenues available to you.

It was traditionally necessary to host UM services locally. This meant that being able to handle everything internally was imperative.

However, the emergence of a variety of hosted packages has given businesses the opportunity to hand this responsibility over to a third party provider.

This might be beneficial for a number of reasons, the most significant of which is cost. Your budget may not stretch to hosting UM internally, but the economies of scale mean that providers can achieve this for you without charging extortionate amounts for the privilege.

Externally hosted unified messaging has the additional benefit of reducing the likelihood of compatibility issues with internal hardware. In summary, the adoption process should be relatively painless and inexpensive.

Unified messaging is part of the wider unified communications market. However, until these terms are more clearly defined, they may seem a little confusing as they are currently still lacking a degree of specificity.

Providing that you take the time to consider the assets of a particular service, you should be able to invest in a UM platform that is in keeping with the needs of your business.

The author, Jamie Garner, is an employee of the UK business telecommunications company, Daisy Group.