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October 08, 2010

Logicalis Identifies Five IT-Related UC Myths

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

Any new technology, no matter how beneficial, drives the perpetually seemingly overworked and underbudgeted IT staff into the “can’t do” bunker, in which to cope they either generate or propagate amongst themselves myths about it that provides them with rationales for recommending against or not adopting those advances.

Unified communications (UC) is alas no different. And Logicalis, which provides integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, has called IT departments out on this by developing a list of the top five myths IT managers need to understand to accurately assess a UC strategy for their companies.

“If you’re not using unified communications today, you’re losing out on the efficiencies and productivity gains that your competitors now have,” said Jim Dossias, Cisco (News - Alert) practice director and unified communications expert at Logicalis. “The great thing about unified communications is you don’t have to buy the whole enchilada at once. You have the building blocks available to you today – all the infrastructure, the scalability, the redundancy you need - and that means you can add applications and tools and fold them into your organization as quickly or slowly as your diverse user community wants to accept them.”

1.    “Video is an unnecessary bandwidth hog.”

You’d be surprised, said Logicalis (News - Alert), how many IT leaders think that no one in their organization wants or will use video, and that it’s simply going to eat up too much bandwidth to justify giving it a try. The truth is, lower bandwidth video is adequate for everyday uses like chats, cross-country virtual management, and performance reviews. Higher bandwidth may only be necessary for important client meetings. There are sub-$80 cameras available and the UC apps that will support them that will effectively take down the cross-country barrier for regular, day-to-day communication needs.

2.   “TelePresence will eat my IT budget alive.”

When IT leaders think “TelePresence,” they think of high-end units that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but they don’t realize there are much more affordable options. All of the endpoints in a telepresence solution, for example, don’t have to be the full-sized, 65-inch screen, fully-immersed graphical presentation you get with the pricier big-room options. There are plenty of mid-range units that cost a fraction of the larger units’ prices, and even desktop solutions that are fully interoperable with the larger, more sophisticated systems, so users can combine a variety of endpoints to meet their needs.

3.    “We don’t need that instant messaging stuff.”

If you don’t have instant messaging capabilities in your organization says Logicalis, you’re a member of the “have nots” in terms of IT sophistication and real-time business connectivity. Some IT professionals think it’s too much work, there are bound to be compliance regulations for message storage that are too restrictive, and that it’s not a fully realized technology. But instant messaging and presence technology is becoming the norm in communication etiquette – employees can check each others’ status to avoid disturbing a meeting. And it changes how the phone is used – phone calls are no longer one or two minutes – all that kind of communication is handled through IM. Instead, phone calls are reserved for lengthier, more in-depth discussions.

4.    “UC quality just isn’t up to par.”

Today, so many applications run on the local area network that it has become a business critical computing environment with stability and redundancy like never before. As a result, the quality available on unified communications or voice over IP (VoIP) is often superior to traditional phone lines.

“With enhanced sound codecs, you hear everything more clearly and in a wider range of audio – headsets, for example, plugged into computers running over a unified communications network provide fabulous sound quality when compared to traditional telephone lines, and clearly point to the fact that UC’s day has come,” said Logicalis.

5.    UC doesn’t fit into my virtualized environment.

IT leaders balking at unified communications implementations may tell themselves UC is a huge investment requiring multiple servers – but that’s not the case. In the past, Logicalis had separate servers for every purpose. But today, the firm says you can take a UC application and roll that directly into your virtual data center, which also translates into massive cost savings as the need for separate, dedicated servers for each UC function is eliminated. Customers who currently have dedicated UC servers that are starting to age are finding it easy migrating existing UC applications to virtualized environments and having them run redundantly for a time before eliminating their legacy systems.

 “Unified communications takes all the ways people communicate and wraps them into a neatly defined, user-friendly package,” said Dossias. “It’s technology that’s come of age in acceptance, affordability and quality. Business happens fast. If you’re an IT manager who’s still on the fencepost about UC, it’s time to get off and get on the bandwagon.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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