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January 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 1
The Zippy Files

Be More Productive with UC in 2008

Sometimes Yours Truly thinks that IP and Unified Communications (UC) are not more fully adopted simply because people hear the wrong reasons (toll by-pass, making a little company look like a big one) instead of the right one. If a company is going to cajole its employees into completely changing the way they use their communications devices, it should be for a really good reason. And that reason exists – greater productivity.

Back when I was in college, a cultural anthropology professor, Bob Edwards, explained what happened when a new way of speedily planting a crop was introduced to farmers. In the U.S., the farmers planted twice as many acres of the crop as before. In many other countries, however, the farmers simply planted exactly same acreage as they had previously but in half the time – and then took a nap.

Here in America, the land of workaholics, UC can definitely increase productivity. How much so was revealed recently when Siemens Enterprise Communications employed Insignia Marketing Research ( of Toronto to perform a survey of 517 enterprise and contact center employees in North America and Europe (62% of which were in customer service and sales), whose workflows reveal the rather amazing true costs of “fragmented” communications: The report, entitled “Measuring the Pain: What Is Fragmented Communication Costing Your Enterprise?” actually quantifies the costs of conventional workflow disruptions and added costs to enterprises lacking unified communications. For example, enterprises of 1,000 persons could lose more than $13 million a year in lost productivity and avoidable expenses.

Other highlights of the Siemens/Insight report:

• Ninety-four percent of respondents waited an average of 5.3 hours per week on information from others to complete tasks. In 1,000-employee enterprises this can translate to more than $9 million yearly in lost productivity based on a $37 weighted hourly wage. Moreover, the negative impact of 5.3-hour delays in customer-facing activities impacts on customer sales, service and revenue realization.

• Respondents suffered an average productivity loss of 7.8 hours a month at offsite locations because they lack the same communication tools they have in their main office. Nearly a full day each month is lost because they are not properly equipped with effective, remotely-accessible collaborative communications systems. Therefore, as the workers become more mobile, they become less productive – unless they have some sort of Unified Communications / Fixed-Mobile Convergence / Telepresence system keeping them in the loop. Fully weighted, the annual 1,000-person enterprise cost estimate exceeds $3 million.

• Enterprises waste at least $3,400 per person each year in unnecessary business travel expenses because of ineffective or non-existent collaboration with existing communications systems. Managers must synchronize teams through expensive internal meetings requiring travel. In a 1,000-person enterprise, these costs can top $3.4 million a year.

So Gentle Reader, if nothing else, you can now be certain that the advanced technologies we advocate in the pages of our magazines here at TMC are not simply glitzy technological fixes to enliven your daily routine. Properly implemented, they have a huge positive impact on productivity, the bottom line, and all of those other increasingly life-and-death-of-a-company phenomena rooted in sheer competition. IT

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.

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