UC works for small businesses too

James Campanini
Managing Director, Cisco WebEx, EMEAR
Cisco WebEx
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I came across some interesting research this week into the adoption of UC (Unified Communications) amongst medium and large enterprises. It’s encouraging to hear that over three quarters of firms are now pursuing a UC strategy. However, it’s something smaller businesses shouldn’t be afraid of trying too.

UC is an all-encompassing phrase that covers instant messaging, video and voice conferencing and data sharing. The term and its meaning, like many technological acronyms, clearly aren’t resonating with a smaller business audience. Or rather, there are some of us who fail to link UC with its actual benefits.

The size of your business, or even team, will obviously dictate to some extent what a good and useful investment is, but the key areas of efficiency, flexibility and productivity are characteristics all businesses and indeed individual people as well should be striving to achieve. Their characteristics also happen to be benefits of adopting a UC strategy and, as recognised by half of the respondents in this survey, an improvement to how the business performs, saving both time and money, is not to be sniffed at.

So how can smaller organisations and teams adopt their own UC strategy? The three things I would suggest you start with are:

1. Ensure whatever technology you have in place is easily integrated into your business.
2. The technology is simple to use and intuitive.
3. Extra training or investment in key personnel to ensure it runs smoothly isn’t required.

UC doesn’t have to involve an overhaul of your business or the way you do things. It should simply enhance your activity and that of your teams. What I find SMEs and team leaders are often discouraged by is the daunting task of introducing a new method or way of working into their businesses. It is up to the suppliers to show how any new technology can bring business benefit rather than disruption. The cost-reducing and time-saving elements of tools that fall under the ‘UC’ bracket are invaluable.


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