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August 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 8
Inside Networking

UC Best Practices

Unified Communications’ (News - Alert) benefits go beyond personal productivity to group and enterprise productivity, through rich real-time collaboration capabilities and communications enablement of business process, respectively.

As enterprises move down the UC path, best practices have emerged. Here are my top 10…

Best Practice #1: Develop a vision and strategy for enterprise transformation through UC. It’s no longer just about how work is done, but how business processes are organized and accelerated for increased effectiveness. This means helping all stakeholders understand the business benefits of UC technology.

Best Practice #2: Develop a business case around how UC accelerates time to X (X = revenue, service, service, product, decision) and business processes in general. This requires you to engage with business owners to understand which user communities and application environments to target.

Best Practice #3: Converge telecom with desktop applications such as email and calendaring, for a unified client experience. The telecom and IT industries are converging, as are user expectations.

Best Practice #4: Get control of your mobility environment to enhance user effectiveness and to lower costs. You should only publish the business number, restricting the cell number for personal use, and then leverage your business telephony features and UC to the maximum.

Best Practice #5: Unify your UC infrastructure around software. UC has to be about both client and infrastructure unification, for maximum benefit and lowest TCO. Start eliminating silos, not creating new ones.

Best Practice #6: Add multimedia apps to your UC system based on business opportunities. Any UC system’s core is IM/presence and telephony, but rich collaboration comes through multimedia apps and conferencing.

Best Practice #7: Address needs to accelerate key business processes through communications enabled applications. Human latency in existing processes impacts customer service and increases business costs.

Best Practice #8: Establish an SOA-based communications enablement environment to improve agility, accuracy and speed. Vertically integrated and network-centric single vendor systems won’t deliver the agility you need.

Best Practice #9: Invest in critical network infrastructures to deliver consistent quality of experience for UC users and the new generation of applications. With growing enterprise reliance on UC and communications-enabled applications, you need to get the facts about performance, resilience, energy efficiency and TCO.

Best Practice #10: Partner with suppliers that have the strategic partnerships in place and the solution breadth and services to plan, deliver and operate solutions that best fit business objectives.

Following these best practices will allow you to realize the business benefits of unified communications. IT

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

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