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April 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 4
Inside Networking

CIO Priorities Dovetail UC Capabilities

Thirty-Five percent of respondents to CIO Insight’s survey identified improving business processes as a business priority in 2008, making this area top of mind only behind delivering better customer service. A similar number identified collaboration as the #2 technology that will make the most significant contribution to their business strategy.

In 2009, these continue to be front and center, as these can provide stronger alignment between IT investments and the business, particularly critical during these economic times. There are five strategic imperatives to meet these business priorities:

  1. Deploy Unified Communications (News - Alert) to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. Unified communications (UC) breaks down the barriers between various modes of communications and across various user devices. It is important that all future investments in communications be made within the context of rolling out UC.
  2. Target project teams for integrated collaboration through UC. UC solutions include various forms of conferencing and telepresence, and can improve collaboration and allow customers and employees to work together more effectively and quickly across a highly distributed environment. Rich collaboration can provide a powerful business case to justify UC investments.
  3. Communications enable your business applications. Human delays are slowing down your business processes and this is costing real money. Communications enabled applications accelerate ‘time to X’ – time to decision, to revenue, to service, to support, or to product. UC’s productivity potential is extended through communications-enabled business applications.
  4. Educate key business stakeholders. Enhancing business processes extends to environmentally-aware business applications that manage a broad range of assets (e.g., critical equipment, vehicular fleets, and energy-consumption). CIOs will have more success implementing these types of business improvements by educating key stakeholders about potential ROI and operational gains.
  5. Use technology to reduce TCO. There are three tools to simplify communications infrastructure:
    1. software-centric UC, not only unifying the client experience but also the infrastructure;
    2. Service Oriented Architecture enabling communications-enabled business processes;
    3. improved performance, scalability and reliability in the data network.

The above points to the need for openness in four areas: the desktop, UC applications, the back-office environment, and the underlying voice, data and video infrastructure. Anything short of this will result in bottlenecks to application innovation. IT

Tony Rybczynski (News - Alert) is Director of Strategic Enterprise Technologies at Nortel (

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