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How does unified communications (UC) actually do what it promises to do for a business? We answer that question in this third and final entry in our series on the state of UC. In Part 1, we identified the UC value proposition, and in Part 2, we explained how cloud-based UC solutions are helping companies overcome UC implementation challenges.

Keep in mind that UC is a solution—not a technology—that helps companies optimize business processes by integrating them with communications features. We’ll take a look at some UC use cases to better understand how UC enables transformative changes in an organization’s operations.

Primarily, the two basic UC use case types are user productivity and business processes. The former is focused on how individual users manage their communications more effectively. For example, users learn to hover over someone’s name in an email, click right to find the person’s availability, and then immediately launch communication. The latter regards changing how work gets done by integrating communications functions into business processes. The focus here is on eliminating communication bottlenecks to more effectively and efficiently accomplish business goals. Case in point, an insurance adjustor working on a claim can get expert assistance by simply clicking on a help button linked to the type of claim in question via workflow logic.

UC usage profiles run the gamut—from mobile field workers to production teams to contact center agents. UC implementations can be deployed in increments that follow certain profiles within your business’s communications system or all at once. The approach to UC as a set of solutions that can be rolled out in sequence may be more manageable for some companies.

Use Cases

Professional teams: UC allows teams—from policy making to marketing to R&D—to access collaborative work spaces for the sharing of documents and communication. The work spaces can include leading content management products and even social network tools. The UC capability enables collaboration teams to access the work space from any location via laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Mobile staff: In general, the UC implementation for this piece of your communication system involves the use of cell phones with plans that allow unlimited voice calls. Some of the UC functions enabled are contacts, directory, instant messaging, email, and presence. Calls are connected through a software application on the smartphone rather than through the PBX. This is a cost-cutting approach that also engenders a satisfactory user experience. 

Face-to-face workers: Primarily face-to-face workers such as clerks, food servers, bank tellers, and other retail service providers can benefit from UC functions such as text chat applications and voice calls. Their back-office communications can also be boosted by UC capabilities, such as presence management, HR calls, and training, provided by shared technology in a common work area.

Here, we highlight a specific retail use case from Star2Star that shows how a national pizza franchisee used UC to meet its communications system challenges:

Focused on takeout and delivery, this particular restaurant business was suffering from the costs associated with supporting multiple phone lines for more than 150 stores, as well as the cost of maintaining a call center to handle calls when store lines were busy. The franchisee determined that it would be more cost-effective to reverse the process: have incoming calls go to the call center, and have the overflow go to the individual restaurants.

Soon thereafter, unfortunately, the franchisee began having problems with its communications system, such as frequent service outages, dropped calls, and poor sound quality. In addition, the call center’s antiquated PBX/ACD system had a fixed incoming call capacity that was insufficient during peak call times and offered little to no room for future expansion of the franchisee’s holdings. What’s more, call center agents were restricted to working at a single call center location where the PBX/ACD system was housed, which greatly limited the franchisee’s potential pool of employees. 

Solution: The franchisee chose to replace its system with Star2Star’s Scalable Cloud Communications solution, with its rich suite of advanced UC features designed to boost productivity and reduce costs, due to its unmatched ability to provide reliability and scalability. Star2Star’s unique cloud architecture was also able to provide the franchisee with far greater flexibility and functionality. Call center staff can connect to the system from anywhere, so agents can be selected from a wider pool of candidates. Store staff can even back up call center agents during peak call volume times. Additionally, a customized call center dashboard and a screen pop solution were deployed to ease user adoption and improve order processing time and efficiency, respectively. 

In today’s digital age, UC provides the means for companies to harness the diverse range of communications functions available to individuals and businesses. For more information about how Star2Star can help your organization benefit from unified communications:

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