Building a Better Business Case for Unified Communications and Collaboration Part II

nec-unified-communication-collaboration-business-caseNow that you know the ins and outs of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), how can you make its deployment work best for you and your organization? For starters, you should know that your budget will certainly benefit. The reason: all UC&C solutions, whether hosted or on-premise, improve overall business efficiency and productivity through the integrated solution, thus providing a greater chance of cost reduction. According to data from Wainhouse Research, a fully integrated premise-based UC&C solution can save up to 97% more cost annually compared to similar externally hosted collaboration solutions. Additionally, when considering cost, be sure to think in terms of TOTAL cost of Ownership rather than ROI, as we mentioned in the last post. When considering the TCO of deploying a software premise-based UC&C solution, consider the following additional factors, suggested by Information Week, when justifying your decision and maximizing your TCO.

Key Factors in Determining and Justifying UC&C TCO

  1. Operational Expenditures
  2. Capital Expenditures
  3. Employee Productivity and Job Satisfaction
  4. Training
  5. Feature Adoption Timeline
  6. Increased Sales Due To Increased Collaboration
  7. Market-Share Increase

If cost isn’t enough to help build your case for UC&C implementation, then perhaps improved business efficiency and performance will. According to an Information Week survey, some of the specific drivers identified by enterprise customers who have deployed or are planning to deploy UC&C solutions are:

 

  1. Improved Employee Collaboration
  2. Improved Employee Efficiency
  3. Legacy PBX Retirement or Upgrade Technology to meet Business Needs and Stay on Par with Peers
  4. Create a More Mobile Workforce
  5. Improve Communications with Customers

How will you determine the right UC&C approach for your organization?
Based on your organization’s specific needs and budget there are many solutions to choose from and methods to deploy them. The growing trend of deploying fully integrated software-based premise solutions provides you with the greatest control and choice, as well as substantially lowering your TCO. This annual savings can be substantial when compared to a hosted solution. Although there are many factors to consider when determining an accurate and representative TCO, clearly developing a strategy and defining a deployment road map with the right vendor gives you the best opportunity for successfully realizing the benefits UC&C can offer your organization.

Building a Better Business Case for Unified Communications and Collaboration

nec-unified-communication-business-caseEver-developing technologies are causing business communications for today’s organizations to undergo rapid transformations. Developing an understanding of the basis of this shift can provide you with key insight into how to effectively leverage new technologies and build a business case for deploying Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) within your organization. UC&C has evolved over the last five years, with many manufacturers offering different solutions and delivery methods. From this evolution three main options have arisen: a fully hosted solution, an adjunct attachment to an existing PBX or IP PBX and a fully integrated all-in-one premise based solution.

So how do you view UC&C? Keep in mind that it should not be recognized as a specific product, but more as an integration of services and or an ongoing modular strategy that can be implemented or phased in over a defined period of time. The evolution of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) has evolved from basic features such as Unified Messaging, Presence and IM to an ever expanding set of new capabilities. UC&C provides many distinct functions and services, and thus should not be viewed as a single capital expense, but as an operational investment over time. In this case, consider your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) rather than your Return on Investment (ROI), as you would with other purchases.

A complete UC&C solution consists of a number of elements that provide users with a truly unified experience, enabling them to communicate in a timely and productive manner specific to their roles in the organization. These elements are generally categorized into 3 main categories. Let’s identify and describe these categories to determine which makes the better business case for your organization’s needs:

  • Core Foundational Elements: This category includes a Multi-Service Network, VoIP, and Pervasive Presence
  • Traditional UC Elements: This includes Unified Messaging/Voicemail/Fax, Text Chat/IM, Audio/Web Collaboration, and Video Conferencing
  • Emerging Elements: Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP), Mobility (Fixed Mobile Convergence), Mass Notification, and Social Media/Federation

Which category suits your organization’s needs? Do you fit strictly into one, or an overlap of multiple? In the next post we will further examine and focus on a current emerging trend in UC&C, which is to provide all of the above mentioned elements in a completely integrated software-based solution approach, thus allowing UC&C to be deployed in a more flexible and modular manner. This deployment will in turn give organizations more control in determining which solution elements they want to utilize across their company to best suit their needs.