Small businesses should consider several things when looking for a UC solution.

 First, identify the key features you’d like to have, such as routing voicemail to email, call routing and queuing, speech recognition, VoIP integration, etc. Then, look for systems that let you integrate calendars and scheduling, or that let people work on a single document at the same time, and then decide if your business needs these features.

Most importantly, consider scalability. Look for a system that has a large selection of additional components, accessories and software. You may not currently need every available option, but you will appreciate the opportunity to expand as your small business grows.

Regardless of the package you ultimately select, UC will help you locate your colleagues whether they are in the office, onsite at a meeting, on the road or teleworking  an ideal benefit for small business employees that are constantly on the move. Businesses can then field more mobile workers, know their whereabouts and cut back on outdated solutions like landlines. UC is becoming bigger and better thanks to enhancements made possible by mobility and cloud computing.

Adopting cloud-based technology further enhances unified communications capabilities. Does UC in the cloud sound complicated?  The truth is, you may have already tried it. Current data shows that 69% of organizations are evaluating, deploying or have fully deployed UC using a cloud model. Tools like Gmail, SharePoint, Google Docs and WebEx all harness UC through the cloud.

Current data found that deploying UC in the cloud made it both faster and easier to deploy; and 65% of respondents said deploying UC through the cloud is more cost effective, a big perk for small businesses with tight budgets.

It’s hard to find a small business that does not use mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Unified communication mobility options are a clear benefit in today’s mobile business world. A 2012 Unified Communications Tracking Poll found that the most commonly deployed UC solutions include smartphones and mobile desktops.

The same report also found that one of UC’s top benefits is its mobile support. The ability to access work email and voicemail via smartphones or to receive voicemail via email is priceless for any small business that is constantly on the go. Your remote staff will thank you too, since many small business teleworkers rely heavily on email, instant messaging, video conferencing and other UC technologies to stay connected.

Like other technology trends, mobility is not without its challenges. Now that employees have increased mobile access, small businesses face the additional challenge of securing data that is accessed remotely or through mobile devices. With strained IT staff and budgets, this can be difficult.

If your small business supports BYOD (where employees bring their own devices to work), be sure that your employees receive mobile security training – and require all personal devices to meet security standards before they can access your network.