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April 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 4
Thinking IT Through

Too Much for IT to Think About

With the economy in a severe recession, IT is under even greater pressure than normal to reduce costs and deliver value to the business. So, here’s another view of a few ways to prioritize how to invest that small amount of discretionary dollars that can still be squeezed — while contributing to better customer loyalty, happier internal users, improved profitability and building beachheads for UCC expansions when the economy improves. And the need for rigorous business cases for future deployments may be reduced as senior management clearly sees the benefits of the early deployments — better top and bottom line performance.

How about more responsive Customer support? Customer support (Contact Centers) enabled with enhanced presence and mobile UC to select individuals across the business — so that the best person can respond near-realtime to the troubled customer’s request? This accomplishes a couple of things — first, makes users less grumpy and whiny about support and gives you some early insight into how to enable some of the Unified Communications (News - Alert) applications you’ve been hearing about over the past year, or so, but didn’t know how/where to start. Supporting customers better is a great way for IT to contribute quickly to the businesses bottom line and, implementing UC solutions to support customers allows you to both gain experience for future deployments while cost-effectively deploying solutions. Remember, every saved/happy customer is one less new customer that needs to be sold. Customer support solutions can easily be extended to internal user-support (help desk) operations — the technologies are the same and the parallel implementation can be very cost-effective.

How about IT proactively supporting the use of teleworking/telecommuting — for green/energy conservation, work-life enhancement and office space-saving considerations? Virtually ubiquitous broadband (especially given the new administration’s support) and relatively easy and economical “home-office” outfitting with UC and collaboration technologies from many major vendors and service providers — again giving you a leg-up on remote worker support, mobility and collaboration technologies. And supporting more flexible working conditions can be important in keeping important talent. And being a leader in green, while saving costs, at the same time, can enhance IT’s reputation within the business.

And, with the tax benefits on depreciation and investment in the stimulus bill, the UCC solutions may even be very affordable to implement and allow your business to take advantage of the stimulus in a forward looking way.

I’m sure there are other creative ways IT can assist in this time of business and financial challenges. Please feel free to share your ideas and accomplishments so we can all work together to speed the recovery. Contact me with your ideas at [email protected] and I’ll include them in future articles. Thank you. IT

David Yedwab is a Founding Partner in Market Strategy and Analytics Partners (News - Alert) LLC. Contact him at 908-879-2835 or [email protected]

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