This is the last segment in a six part series highlighting Sprint’s deployment of unified communications. To read the previous segments click on the appropriate links: How We Got Started, Planning the Move, Successful First Phase, Where We Are Today, and Lessons Learned.
We are approximately 50 percent complete with Sprint’s voice deployment of enterprise employees on Unified Communications. I differentiate enterprise employees from all employees based on their business function. At this time we are not including our large call centers or our retail stores in current plans due to their enhanced voice feature needs. For the enterprise employee, the future of the tool seems full of potential, not only for internal process improvement, but as a competitive advantage.
In addition to moving forward with our aggressive deployment, we continue to handle the one-off situations that have traditionally relied on a PBX and some of its features. For example, our switch sites have gated, secure entry with badge access which today require the PBX to open. These types of issues are being found and addressed, either with the use of UC or by other currently available technologies.
The presence feature, which has been expanded into the mobile handset environment, holds much promise for the future. By giving our users the ability to see the status of their co-workers – available, busy, in a call, in a meeting – we have effectively changed the culture of our workforce. Users now decide how to communicate most effectively with their team mates according to their status. For example, someone in a meeting may be available via IM for multi-tasking and technical outage bridges might leverage IM and voice for updates and to resolve issues. Sprint is actively working to further integrate enhanced presence and other UC features into our mobile devices, furthering capabilities and providing developers a platform for process integration.
While our current emphasis is on streamlining and productivity, another benefit of UC is certainly how it has made Sprint more competitive. UC has driven down our ongoing costs, saving millions of dollars by moving to SIP trunking, VOIP conference bridge services and eliminating local voice circuits. Employees are empowered to work anywhere, vastly reducing our real estate needs and enhancing collaboration. UC is quickly eliminating our network of PBXs, along with their maintenance and upgrade costs, and has proven to be green based on the significant reductions in electrical power usage. Sprint’s salespeople rarely miss customer calls and are spending more time in the field connected to their data and have ease of access to knowledgeable support staff immediately.
Many of our business customers have expressed interest in our UC experience and questions have covered the full gamut from technical issues to training and user adoption. This interest has opened doors and sustained relationships for Sprint’s sales teams. Sales personnel now come with a full suite of mobile communication solutions that provide fact based cost savings and unlimited potential for productivity improvement.
UC has been a challenging and positive journey, and it is one that we look forward to continuing.