There are critical advantages that SMBs can (and should) expect when implementing the right UC solution – and these five key benefits are helping drive the strong adoption rate of UC by businesses, today.

  1. Ability to do more with less – with a solution that is easily managed
  2. Incorporating mobility to connect the growing mobile and remote workforce
  3. Savings money on overall operating costs
  4. Gaining uplift in customer service capabilities
  5. Moving beyond basic functionality

1. Ability to do more with less – with a solution that is easily managed

Particularly important to smaller businesses is the ability to implement any technology that provides enhanced functionality while also being both affordable and relatively simple to manage. As expected, smaller organizations typically have fewer or more limited resources, from budgets to staffing, and a technology, as is the case with a UC solution, is especially appealing if it enables the organization to operate as a bigger business, but without the same costs. UC is increasingly recognized as a technology that allows SMBs to take advantage of proven increases in productivity and functionality while realizing significant savings.

2.  Incorporating mobility to connect the growing mobile and remote workforce

An office is just about anywhere you need it to be, today, and it is increasingly important for remote and mobile workers to access the same phone system features, whether working form a desktop or a mobile device. By implementing a UC solution, it makes it easy to stay connected to customers and prospects, from any location, from any device. It also provides flexibility in managing off-site employees, using features like presence and conferencing, and having additional monitoring capabilities.

Important elements of a mobility feature in a UC solution include:

  • fixed mobile convergence and find me/follow me call capabilities
  • mobile applications for iPhone, Blackberry and Android
  • having access to company directories from any device the ability to make calls from your mobile device as if it is from your office extension
  • the capability to transfer and record calls from your mobile phone to another number or extension too.

Look for UC solutions that offer this as an included basic feature; you should not have to pay extra for the capability

3. Savings money on overall operating costs

One of the greatest benefits of implementing the right UC solution is taking advantage of the cost savings it provides. This includes both savings on the initial cost of the system, as well as savings on the long-term costs that leads to a good Return on Investment (ROI). To achieve the greatest opportunities for savings, it’s important to understand how to accurately compare vendor quotes. It’s easy to look at multiple quotes from UC vendors and assume that the final cost quoted includes the same parameters. But not all UC solutions are created equal, and not all UC vendors can offer the same cost savings.

To get a true “apples-to-apples” comparison of vendor quotes, SMBs need to be aware of key differences in quotes that can add thousands of dollars to the cost of implementing UC solutions – both in near-term and long-term costs, and in both hard and soft costs. For example, many vendors offer a quote for base features, but the business-critical features that an SMB needs, and the the features that make UC so useful – like mobility and third-party integration, require an additional fee. Licensing fees also often drive up costs, as well as maintenance and upgrade costs, down the road. To avoid these expensive add-ons, compare across vendors for biggest savings potential on overall operating costs in these key areas.

  • Avoid getting locked into using a specific vendor solution; check for true interoperability of the UC solution.
  • Confirm which features are included in the base cost of the system without additional fees or licenses.
  • Look for solutions with low maintenance costs, particularly when updates are software-based; always ask vendor for details about maintenance contracts and how updates are handled – especially if the updates require new hardware.
  • Calculate not only initial savings, but long-term ROI; productivity and staffing savings can add up to thousands of dollars, annually. A vendor should be able to show how to calculate these savings and provide examples of common savings from the UC solution.
  • Beyond IT budgets, consider how the savings extends across departments, in areas such as admin, sales, and marketing.

4. Gaining uplift in customer service capabilities

The right UC solution should be more than a phone system, it should be a better communications system that provides improved operational efficiency. A quality UC solution allows SMBs to serve customers more effectively using features such as call queues and IVRs, for example. SMBs should be able to use a UC solution to know more about every incoming call, in order to route each call appropriately, ensuring there are no more missed calls or lack of visibility.

5. Moving beyond basic functionality

Too often, SMBs evaluate new technologies based on whether or not the system can meet the organization’s current needs – in reference to both basic features included with the technology and in reference to the current size and structure of the business. That type of decision can cost an SMB thousands of dollars in future upgrade costs when choosing a business phone system. When considering “future expansion,” that term may not mean something as extensive as expanding physical locations; it could be as simple as adding or moving an employee. The right UC solution allows SMBs to opt for a flexible system that provides extended functionality and that will grow with the business.

When evaluating UC solutions, consider systems that can:

  • Easily accommodate future growth/operations needs of the business, without an additional, heavy investment down the road
  • Systems that include detailed reporting options that provide business-critical information about business operations and customer needs
  • Ability to integrate with third-party business applications, such as CRM, for a better user experience


The adoption of UC solutions by SMBs is being driven by far more than a current trend in the marketplace. UC is a business communications solution that meets critical business needs for organizations of all sizes. UC can be a competitive advantage for businesses that need a single system to manage multiple tools and platforms. UC allows businesses to be more productive, enhance customer service capabilities, and offer substantial near- and long-term cost savings.