‘Time is money’, wrote Benjamin Franklin in his advice to a young tradesman in 1748, an adage more relevant than ever in the digital age. The greatest ‘time-wasters’ in the corporate world are seemingly innocuous tasks associated with communications. For instance, employees waste more than 75 minutes each day juggling multiple channels of communication (emails, phone, instant messages) (Sage Research). Failure to contact a co-worker on the first try 36% of the time (Sage Research), accounts for 50% of project delays each week, because a key decision-maker could not be reached at the right time (Forrester Research). Inefficiency, duplication and time spent in using isolated channels of communication not only drag down productivity at the workplace, but also reduce the ROI for the technologies.
Effective communications can result in increased collaboration within the workforce, especially geographically dispersed function groups, leading to greater productivity. In an age where employees and clients communicate through different channels (email, instant messaging, VoIP and video conferencing), a unified approach to communication and collaboration is no longer a luxury, rather a vital necessity.
UC (Unified Communications) has been making impressive inroads across enterprises and SMBs over the last couple of decades. According to the Global Unified Communication Market 2015-2019 report, analysts forecast the global UC market to grow at a CAGR of 14.08% over the period 2014-2019.
UC’s growth is spurred by trends defining the 21st century workplace – a mobile workforce immersed in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture, consumerization of IT, increasing use of enterprise messaging, video, and cloud computing.
Mobile UC solutions are a must for organizations today, given that two-thirds of all employees are mobile 25 percent of the time. A report cited by Network World reveals that nearly 70 percent of companies are already integrating UC with cloud computing. Video is now relevant not only for simulating in-person collaboration, but also for users to leverage information in verticals such as health care, finances and banking, law, and engineering. This demand for HD video could in turn drive cloud-based UC adoption, with HD Video Meeting Rooms in the Cloud.
Mobility is also ushering in the growing adoption of hosted UC solutions, to help businesses establish connections with the staff, partners and customers, regardless of time and location. Cloud-based and hosted solutions will make rapid strides by 2020, triggered by demand for anytime, anywhere communications.
From the management’s perspective, the strategic value proposition of UC understandably becomes more apparent when existing communication processes (money saved on buying new applications and reduced travel cost) are neatly bundled onto a common platform (hosted or cloud-based), and used optimally to increase productivity and drive revenues.
Competitive enterprises and SMBs aren’t shying away any longer from adopting innovative solutions to provide a unified and personalized user experience for their growing mobile workforce, thus ensuring the productivity and agility of their organizations. With the mainstreaming of UC, industries now find themselves wrapping their heads around the next big trend, UCC (UC and Collaboration) or Collaborative Communications. The UC landscape is constantly morphing, paving the way for virtual workplaces and a whole new way of ‘going to work’.
 Global UC Market 2015-2019, November 2014
 Source: http://www.sangoma.com/unified-communications-can-improve-productivity-study-says/