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Personal vs. Collaborative UC – Identifying the Benefits

Every day, my schedule is booked up with calls and meetings. My direct reports, located in Atlanta, Boston, San Jose, Miami, and Dallas, often need to reach me in Chicago or Phoenix to request approvals or discuss projects. How can these employees contact me when I’m in meetings or traveling?

Since we’ve begun executing on our unified communications (UC) strategy at Aspect (News - Alert), these direct reports now have more effective methods to contact me. We’ve deployed Microsoft OCS 2007 Release 2 across multiple sites, enabling our dispersed workforce to identify executives’ availability – helping our business see more benefits on two fronts: the individual productivity and the workforce productivity side.

In my last column, I mentioned the four destinations of the UC journey. The first destination, individual productivity, primarily impacts one employee, enabling them to explore more efficient ways to initiate phone calls from their desktops with a simple click of the mouse using “click to call” – no need to look up numbers and no dialing required. Furthermore, that same employee can be more efficient by accessing their email messages and voice mail messages from a common interface. The second destination, workgroup productivity, builds on individual productivity to deliver improvements across an entire workgroup. For instance, when one of our account executives is developing a customer presentation and requires input from finance, she can check the presence status to determine who is available, and begin a video conference to collaborate and make revisions to the presentation material using tools such as Sharepoint. Workgroup productivity can result in significant cost reductions, up to 40 percent in travel costs or 10 to 40 percent in telephony charges.

Individual Productivity and Workgroup Productivity are just a precursor to the other stops on the UC journey: Communications Enabled Business Processes and Enterprise Transformation.

The company that explores the benefits of the full UC journey can realize benefits far beyond just individual productivity, such as enhanced business processes, increased business value, and ultimately, a competitive advantage. IT

Mike Sheridan is Senior Vice President, Strategy and Marketing, Aspect Software ( Follow Mike on

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