NGC combines unified communications features like voice, video, and IM with the practice of true teamwork. The result is often a better bottom line.
Unified communications has long appeared as the mythic Holy Grail of business communications -- the seamless integration of all communication channels: voice, voice messaging, email, SMS, text, instant messaging (IM), presence, video, fax -- with the ability to move a conversation effortlessly from one channel to the next.
Many organizations have not lived up to this promise, in part because of the lack of a compelling business case, and, until recently, a lack of industry standards that make agile, cross-channel business conversations viable. The relatively recent emergence of standards such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) has driven down the cost and increased the adoption of advanced communications tools.
They have also helped organizations integrate products from a variety of vendors, an approach Aberdeen has termed integrated communications (IC) -- see sidebar definitions. These insights are culled from a September 2013 Aberdeen study of 120 organizations, intended to uncover the business advantages of well-implemented UC, IC, and their hybrid, next-generation communications (NGC).
When survey respondents were asked to identify the top goals for their organization’s NGC plans, the majority (two-thirds) chose improving collaboration across the enterprise -- almost twice as many as those who chose the next goal: reducing communication costs. It's reasonable to assume that an improved communications environment fosters better teamwork, due to the sharing of knowledge across silos and faster access to critical information and subject matter experts around the company. But to ascertain whether there is, in fact, a correlation between NGC collaboration goals and improved business outcomes, Aberdeen measured business performance metrics for companies that listed collaboration as a priority and those that did not.
NGC Collaborators Achieve the Greatest Returns
The chart above compares the year-over-year change in business performance for those who identified collaboration as a top goal. Compared to those who did not prioritize collaboration, they achieved
Over twice the increase in customer retention
Over 7-times the improvement in employee productivity
Over 7-times the increase in employee satisfaction (non-collaborators' employee satisfaction actually decreased)
Over 2-times the improvement in sales cycle reduction
Over 2-times the increase in operational efficiency
These findings are a clear indicator of a strong correlation between communications, collaboration, and higher business performance. NGC by itself is just a technology platform -- but its true power is revealed when combined with the practice of collaboration.
For more information on putting next-generation communications to use, download the free Aberdeen report here.
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