Is your enterprise ready for unified communications (UC)?
There’s no better time. Between a recession and natural disasters like the Gulf oil spill and the volcano eruption affecting air travel, people are not communicating any less. In fact today, with unified communications, enterprises can communicate more for less.
To plan an enterprise Unified Communications (UC) Strategy, here are five pre-deployment considerations:
1 – Determine what you want the end result to be
Besides cost savings, the purpose of unified communications is to create a seamless collaboration and communication work environment. It is important to know up-front how you see UC transforming your business communication and business processes. This includes understanding the end user needs for communications and interactions with people both inside and outside the organization. Keep in mind too, that any UC solution deployed today should be one that will seamlessly work with tomorrow’s communications.
2 – Lay your foundation: SIP Trunking & Telephony Integrations
First, SIP trunking is a great UC enabler and cost-cutter. And, SIP-based IP Telephony, which is replacing TDM PBX telephone systems, can easily integrate with other UC communication applications. As UC Strategies says, todays enterprise UC migrations typically start with enabling more efficient and effective ways to initiate real-time communication and collaboration. This means integrating existing telephony investments with business process applications and other UC communication application software (email, voice mail, conferencing, click-to-call, IM, telephony presence, SMS, social networking, and mobile, etc.) It may also include access to live assistance within automated, self-service business process applications such as the Web and IVR applications.
3 – Decide which unified communications RFP model is best
According to TechTarget there are three possible unified communications RFP models:
• Building on an IP telephony system
• Pursuing a desktop-applications approach
• Evolving from an enterprise-applications environment
Choosing the model (as well as the internal author of the UC RFP) is important as the model will drive the requirements and platforms, determine how the unified communications solution will integrate with business processes, and ultimately affect the end-user experience with IP features as well as productivity.
4 – Think about the big picture
UC is not a not a single product, but rather a set of interoperable communication capabilities. For a successful implementation, consider these factors:
• Choosing your partners: equipment/device manufacturers, solution integrators, etc. Enterprises will likely need support for planning, configuring, installing, integrating, and UC-enabling all the hardware and software pieces in the UC solution.
• Ensuring existing communication technologies are compatible and continue to work.
• Training your end users, both inside and outside the organization, on the effective use of basic UC communication functions as well as customized applications.
• Integrating new mobile endpoint devices and interface designs for enterprise applications.
5 – Pay attention to what Google is doing
Why does this matter? As No Jitter says “Google is a giant in networking and online services and so anything they do is relevant to the Internet. They are also becoming a player in as-a-service or cloud technology, in mobile devices, and even in operating systems with Android and Chrome OS. You have to take them seriously in their enterprise aspirations” and tap into the resources where they are relevant to your enterprise. Google may just be a future UC partner for your enterprise.
For a real world UC success story, visit the UC implementation blog series by Michael Browne.