This year, you can be sure that enterprises will continue to focus on ROI. The new ROI, especially for Unified Communications, will manifest itself in several ways, and Frost & Sullivan articulates four.
What I found most compelling in this white paper is how IT can set expectations with executives, other business units, and the users themselves about which benefits will be realized, when and how.
Frost & Sullivan says, “For many companies, the value of UC can be found in a hierarchy of return, similar to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Just as people must meet certain basic needs (hunger, thirst, shelter) before they can enjoy more advanced rights (freedom, education,self-actualization, etc.), companies must ensure first and foremost that the technology they deploy is cost-effective and utilitarian. Once that basic requirement is met, they can start looking for ways to leverage technology for more advanced benefits, including improved productivity and revenue acceleration.”
Here are highlights of the Frost & Sullivan hierarchy of return to help IT organizations justify their UC investments.
1 – ReduceCapital Costs of Communication
Meet the most basic cost-cutting needs of the organization at the network foundation: leverage IP and open standard solutions, SIP Trunking, MPLS, server virtualization, etc. SIP Trunking for one, is not only a cost-cutter, it is a great UC enabler.
2 – Improve Operational Efficiency
Reduce operating costs by leveraging advanced communications on a regular basis. This requires working outside of IT with other business units. Think in terms of a permanent transformation. Equip employees with web conferencing, for example. Leveraging this technology will reduce travel costs and enable more employees to work from home or from low-cost satellite offices. Says Frost & Sullivan, “Efficient management, security, performance and control can save companies as much as 30 percent on their operational expenses on a day-to-day basis.”
3 – Enhance Productivity and Collaboration
Enable real-time collaboration by implementing advanced communication solutions like desktop multi-media conferencing, mobility, IM, and presence. Productivity increases from the use of these tools will drive down costs. This is the stage where the employees within business units will first likely realize the benefits of UC. A critical component of success here is to ensure internal users are trained and educated.
4 – Gain Competitive Advantage
For enterprises to fully realize the benefits of UC, solutions will need to be integrated into business processes and applications. It is in this stage where business is transformed – where it is done differently, faster, with more collaboration, and in real-time. The critical component here is UC interoperability across networks, devices, applications, and social networking tools. This stage is where UC becomes the game-changer, creating new competitive advantages and revenue-generating opportunities.