We’ve talked on this blog about the difficulty of quantifying the ROI for Unified Communications, since it’s tough to sell the concept of vastly improved productivity to those decision-makers who see the world in dollars and cents. There’s a new and interesting white paper on the topic by Irwin Lazar of Nemertes Research that offers advice on making a bottom-line business case for UC migration.
Lazar makes the point that building a case for an ROI of 12 to 36 months – the closer to 12, the better – is essential, and offers some advice on what to include and how to attach real numbers to it.
Among the examples are:
• Use of in-house conferencing instead of outside services, integrating this function through a VoIP system. Outside services are usually billed per-user/minute/line, but an in-house system avoids the incremental costs. Lazar cites one company that cut its audioconferencing budget by 90 percent by doing this, while others point to 40 to 50 percent savings.
• SIP trunking to eliminate the need for local carrier circuits and make a big dent in telecom costs. Putting all the company’s voice, data, and video onto one network has many obvious benefits, but being able to recoup the money paid to local carriers is the most measurable of them. Savings range as high as 60 percent over current costs.
• Telepresence instead of travel can rack up big savings in the long run. Setting up a properly equipped room for Telepresence can be a big investment, but saving all that time and money spent on travel can pay that back in a relatively short time for travel-intensive organizations.
• Support of a virtual workforce, with employees or contractors working from home rather than needing office space. The savings on office space can be easily tabulated and make a great cost savings proof point.
The article itself has a lot more to say, so it’s worth checking out, including some references to specific applications that companies have implemented to leverage the potential for UC. Sprint has first hand experience implementing UC, so we can vouch for the ROI, along with what Lazar cites in his report.
This demonstrates once again that if you want to “sell” UC into your organization, you are either going to have to show how it will lead to revenue growth or reduced operational spending through streamlined business processes. For those focused on the bottom-line, that’s going to take a detailed analysis of your total, not just telecom, spending and success at showing how UC applications can reduce that. So if you want UC anytime soon, you’d better get out your calculator and get to work.