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January 2010 | Volume 13 / Number 1
UC Unplugged

Readiness Assessments: Is Your Company UC-Ready?

Since implementing unified communications across Aspect, I get a lot of questions from customers on our deployment. One of the most common questions that I get asked is: “How was the move over to Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS?”

Many assume the transition was pretty rocky as we removed all of our PBXs and hard phones. On the contrary, for users it was a seamless process as employees moved to soft phones and headsets. Personally, I was easily able to start using the click-to-call, presence and conferencing functionality on day one.

However, I don’t want to downplay that a lot of effort had to go into the planning to ensure that 1,700 employees had a smooth transition to using UC. That’s why readiness assessments are so important in a UC rollout.

IT must do an in-depth assessment, usually aided by a third-party consulting partner, to define how UC capabilities fit into an existing environment and design a voice and data network to support business requirements. Assessments are critical because there are aspects of a UC deployment that must be considered before rolling out technology to an entire company.

First, a company needs to look at the underlying network that is being utilized. IT pros will need to understand fully WAN and LAN structures to ensure there is adequate bandwidth to support business goals. In our case, we needed to beef up our network capacity in some of our offices, but also across the WAN.

Companies also will need to plan for compatibility with laptops and with email environments. They also need to ensure that support personnel have the right tools and training to provide service to employees who have questions or run into any issues with their IM client or UC technology.

Readiness assessments and careful planning are essential to a smooth transition to UC. But don’t just take it for me. Our IT team discussed the importance of readiness assessments in UC World, an interactive online community (

Thanks to our IT department’s due diligence, I’ve been able to jump from using a phone at my desk to a full UC experience seamlessly. Do you know whether your organization is UC-ready? IT

Mike Sheridan is executive vice president of worldwide sales at Aspect (News - Alert) (

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