By Joyjeet Bose, Sr. Vice-President, Tata Teleservices
While the demand for Unified Communications has been growing over the last decade, it witnessed an unprecedented rise after the outbreak of the pandemic. With the emergence of the COVID-19 digital transformation became an urgent requirement for businesses to ensure their survival, growth, and market leadership. Need for unified, frictionless, and secure access to data and applications anytime anywhere exponentially increased. Digital transformation initiatives were aimed at becoming more innovative, create new revenue streams and improve business processes. The goal of digital transformation is not limited to migration from traditional tools; it involves a conscious adoption of technology focused on producing transformational business outcomes. While most organisations have resisted change in the past, digital transformation requires them to embrace change and adapt to a new resilient business landscape.
A unified communications network is a growing business necessity that can enable digital transformation. Unified communications can facilitate a friction-free and intuitive collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Digital transformation may remain a set of fragmented processes and tools unless combined effectively with unified communications. An appropriate amalgamation of unified communications and digital transformation has the power to put users at the core of any situation and provide them with the ability to operate seamlessly across devices, networks and even apps. Unified communication can eliminate the barriers to communication that obstruct the transformation and progress.
In the present day and age, employees and customers may have distinct communication preferences. Unified Communications facilitates uninterrupted connection regardless of the location, device, or application they’re using. As long as the users have a valid user credential, they can access all communications services through a single interface, making it easier to adopt new methods of operating and collaborating. Unified Communications combines all communications channels- voice, video, text, instant messages, email, presence and collaboration applications- on a single unified platform. It remodels and streamlines the modern workplace to create a single digital environment that facilitates employees to connect, work and share while looking after customers.
While Indian companies have been using Unified Communications, its nature has changed with the emergence of cloud-based systems. Earlier, on-premises equipment was necessary to manage the Unified Communications process; however, cloud-based processes are replacing them rapidly. Furthermore, with the prevalence of COVID-19, the legacy systems are no more relevant making it pertinent for the organisations to opt for Unified communications in the cloud or unified communications as service.
UCaaS is a kind of “as a service” or “cloud” delivery mechanism for enterprise communication. Just like the traditional Unified Communication services, UCaaS also facilitates messages, voice calls, video calls, team collaboration, video conferencing, file sharing and a lot more. With UCaaS the user may host a video call with several people from within or outside the business. Meanwhile, the team can share, edit and approve working files, instant message each other and keep up with colleagues’ workload using the same service.
UCaaS can be made available from the cloud to companies of any size. All types of businesses- small and medium firms to enterprises can avail the benefit of UCaaS. Small and medium-sized businesses are also benefitted from the comparatively lower cost of UCaaS. While UCaaS can increase business efficiency, it also improves employee engagement, customer satisfaction and secures higher revenues. While UCaaS can be helpful to all the sectors, E-commerce, BFSI, Education, Government, and Public utilities are some of the prominent segments that can get immense benefit from this technology.
Managed Services is another most critical area closely associated with UCaaS adoption. With ever changing technology landscape it is difficult for businesses especially SMBs to hire and nurture tech talent to support cloud delivered UCaaS. It is advisable to have an integrated solution from single service provider for smooth functioning with managed service support and 24/7 monitoring.
Customer satisfaction is an utmost requirement for every business, and banking is no exception to this general rule. Relationship managers are the client-facing professionals who help banks improve customer engagement, retain, up-sell and cross-sell relevant services to existing customers. Some digitally advanced banks were using Virtual Relationship Management before the emergence of the pandemic; however, their operational scale was limited. With the prevalence of COVID-19, the digitisation of banks became necessary. Digitisation has helped banks boost their revenues, increase margins and their market shares.
VRM through UCaaS helped some banks scale up their businesses as it provided the customers greater ease during these difficult times when physical meetings are not possible. VRM has helped consumers get real-time access to their relationship managers (even during holidays or off-hours). In addition to that, consumers could communicate from the comforts of their homes using the device of their choice, make significant financial decisions (investments and loans) quickly and effortlessly without visiting a bank branch and gain a richer banking experience using digital tools such as web chats, video calls, phone and online banking services with appropriate encryption security measures.
From enabling anywhere, anytime access to addressing several other loopholes of the traditional telephony, UCaaS is emerging as the primary solution for businesses of all sizes. According to the 2021 Hybrid Cloud Report, the Indian market is upbeat about this advancement; more than 96% of organisations believe cloud services to be critical to their business needs. Growing at a rapid rate of 20 per cent annually as per industry estimates, the Indian cloud communication segment is expected to touch one billion dollars to become a significant part of the global 2.5 billion dollars market. Backed by the Indian government’s Digital India programme, increasing WFH and hybrid model of work and improved feasibility of UCaaS, it is set to become the preferred mode of communications for businesses in India.