Long before the business lexicon was full of technical jargon and acronyms, it was riddled with football metaphors — and for good reason. There are many parallels between football teams and enterprise decision-makers.
Both are under pressure to adapt to ever-changing playing fields, differentiate themselves in highly competitive environments, and develop strategies to overcome any obstacles. Thus, both invest in the tools and training their team members need to work together and wow crowds.
For enterprises, that includes new technologies in business communications: cloud solutions that let teams work from anywhere, seamlessly collaborate regardless of location, and deliver a stellar customer experience.
New Technologies in Business Communications
The telephone is as timeless as football. There are now plenty of other ways to communicate or to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, but people still like talking to others, and if the ratings for big games are any indication, people still love football.
However, telephones alone don't provide the user experience both employees and customers have come to expect in the digital age. If all a business phone system does is make and receive calls, it probably won't take a team into the end zone on today's competitive playing field.
What other business communications capabilities do modern enterprises need, and how do these solutions help teams score touchdowns?
50-Yard Line: Cloud VoIP
Efficient communication is critical in football and in business. Athletes can't stop midplay and ask for clarification, nor does anyone have time to call three phone numbers looking for a colleague who's out of the office.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a virtual phone system that works over the internet rather than traditional phone lines. When a company hosts that virtual phone system in the cloud, its employees can access their work lines and calling features from anywhere with an internet connection. Whether they're traveling, working on the go, or collaborating remotely, they'll have the same communications tools they have at their desks. Not only can they easily reach one another, but they also never miss important customer calls.
40-Yard Line: Call Recording Capabilities
When football players are on the field, they're not thinking about the past or the future; they're focused on that play. That's why they record their practices and games — they review the footage later and discuss possible improvements.
On-demand call recording gives business teams the same ability to focus on the task at hand. By recording team meetings and brainstorming sessions, they can participate actively in conversations, without taking notes or trying to remember everything people said. Call recording also helps preserve knowledge and loop in team members who miss meetings.
30-Yard Line: Video Conferencing
Football players get up close and personal. They look their opponents in the eyes right up until the snap, and then they collide. It's important for business teams to get face-to-face, too — without colliding.
With video conferencing, even teams that work from home, from the road, or from separate offices can have face-to-face chats. There's less chance for misunderstandings or misinterpretations that can lead to wasted time and poor decision-making. Teams can also record video conferences to review them later.
These are just some of the new technologies in business communication that can land your team in the end zone.
20-Yard Line: Business Instant Messaging
In football, it's important to get the right guys in the right positions. If a kicker tries to replace an offensive lineman, he's probably going to get hurt. In business communications, people need the right tools for the right conversations. Some interactions call for something more urgent than email but not as urgent as a phone call — something like instant messaging.
Instant messaging has emerged as one of the most popular communication tools for consumers, and employees want the same option at work. When teams don't have business instant messaging tools, they're likely to communicate through shadow IT solutions such as third-party messaging apps.
10-Yard Line: CRM Integration
Football is an aggressive game, but like any team sport, it also requires the ability to work well with others. That's something business technology hasn't traditionally done, but thanks to emerging technology, cloud communications can now be integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) and other business applications.
With CRM integration, calls are automatically logged within the CRM, users are prompted to update information about customer interactions, and more. That way, teams can keep customer records up to date and see the same information across departments. Not only does this boost productivity and collaboration, but it also leads to more personalized marketing and more informed conversations with customers for a better customer experience.
End Zone: UCaaS
No matter how talented individual football players are, they're better together. The same is true for communications technology.
With unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), a company can streamline its entire communications suite — voice, video, instant messaging, and conferencing —into one platform, allowing teams to access the tools from anywhere. Employees can also switch seamlessly between one tool and another, using whichever is best for the conversation, without dropping the call.
Extra Point: CPaaS
These tools can help enterprises score an internal communications touchdown, but why not go for the extra point and boost external communications, too?
Communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) lets businesses synchronize the real-time communications features that they use to interact with customers, including voice, video, text, and instant messaging. Then they can use developer-friendly APIs to add the communications features to their websites, mobile apps, and social media pages. This way, customers can reach out to the business from the channel they're already using, rather than having to log in to a separate messaging or video app.
These are just some of the new technologies in business communication that can land your team in the end zone. Are you ready to go pro?
To learn more about the benefits of unified cloud communications, speak to a Vonage Business representative.