Collins English Dictionary defines “wasted time” as “causing someone to spend time doing something that is unnecessary or does not produce any benefit.” At work, wasting time tends to be frowned upon—although it’s fair to say that not all wasted time is actually negative. 

Chatting with coworkers, surfing the web, and even daydreaming may not seem productive but can all have hidden benefits, from providing a needed mental break to allowing creative space for ideas to incubate. 

Then there’s true wasted time—spent on needless tasks that provide neither short- nor long-term value gains or benefits to the company. True wasted time can include lost minutes spent toggling between apps or searching through various platforms to find that one comment buried within a sea of conversations.

While those wasted minutes might seem frivolous, they actually add up fast. According to research compiled by RingCentral, the average worker loses a full hour each workday—or 32 days a year—simply toggling between the various apps they need to perform their jobs. Sound like a stretch? It’s not when you consider that three-quarters of employees typically have at least five apps open at any time during the workday and 16% of workers use 15 or more business apps per day.

The actual cost of all this app switching? Up to $500K in annual lost revenues. That’s money businesses can recoup through more efficient technology, specifically by choosing a cloud provider with an open platform.

Key benefits of an open platform

It’s safe to say the number of specialized business apps aren’t going anywhere. From email and calendar apps to CRM platforms, the beauty of this golden age of apps is that there’s a solution for every task. The downside is having to manage them all. 

But there’s a better way. Choosing an open-platform cloud provider that offers robust integrations essentially allows businesses to connect critical apps such as communication tools with other key solutions, seamlessly sharing information within a single environment and eliminating all that wasted time. 

Integrations can be customized or easily enabled via a plugin—but in both scenarios, working within an open ecosystem can recover truly wasted time and unleash important benefits

1. Greater productivity

It’s basic math: workers only have so much time in a day, and if it takes too long to complete basic tasks, they’ll have less time for high-value work. 

Take switching a conversation from Slack to a more conducive channel for deep collaboration: once you recognize the need for in-depth conversation, you have to leave Slack and open Outlook to find a calendar slot and create the appointment. Then you have to copy meeting details from your conferencing solution to the invite. Only after all this is done can you continue the conversation. 

With RingCentral’s Slack integration, however, workers can go from a Slack conversation to an audio or video call with just a click—helping to retain context and preserving more time for productive work.

2. Ease of use 

Working within an open platform means employees can get more done within the apps they’re comfortable using. Integrations can also enhance existing features, allowing employees to check tasks off their to-do lists with greater ease. 

For example, RingCentral for Okta enables Single Sign-on, allowing workers to navigate between apps without needing to input login credentials each time. RingCentral for Okta also creates a seamless onboarding experience, automatically assigning phone numbers and provisioning RingCentral services as soon as an admin creates a new user in the Okta Active Directory.

3. Improved customer satisfaction 

Customers expect a seamless experience—but without seamless integration between customer information files and communications tools, a CRM platform can only go so far. 

Connecting a CRM like Salesforce with your unified communications solution enables better customer service by putting key customer data at service reps’ fingertips, with automatic call logging and screen pops that display a 360-degree view of the caller, as well as robust service team performance reporting.

Qualities of the right cloud provider

The benefits of integrating unified communications with other business apps can improve both employee and customer experiences. But even if they offer integrations, not all open-platform solutions deliver the benefits described above. For ultimate flexibility, ease of use, and end-user improvements, here are three key things to look for.

1. A rich integration gallery

Merely offering integrations isn’t actually useful if the unified communications solution you’re looking at doesn’t work with the other apps your business uses regularly. Before signing on with a UCaaS provider, browse their app gallery to determine which other solutions can be integrated and compare those offerings to the tools your teams use every day.

2. Integrations that help you do more than you thought you could

When considering a UCaaS partner, it’s helpful to think not just about what you need to do but also about what you’d like to do. That’s because plugin integrations can help to deploy new capabilities such as automation, creating even bigger benefits.

3. Robust developer tools 

The true benefits of an open-platform UCaaS solution ultimately depend on the ease with which your developers can connect it to other tools—and that’s where rich developer resources are a key differentiator. 

From a robust API library to an active and helpful developer community, RingCentral Developers is a one-stop channel to help your business get up and running quickly and reap the greatest functionality gains.

An open platform for a more productive future

Today’s attention economy is overwhelming employees, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Merging your communication solution with critical business apps not only reduces headaches and workflow bottlenecks, but also saves tremendous amounts of time. And by giving your teams a break, you can supercharge their productivity.

A provider with an extensive open platform gives your business the flexibility and agility to meet the needs of a tech-heavy world, making it much easier to succeed.

Check out RingCentral’s collection of integrated apps and find the right app for you.