This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
Many observers of the evolution of UC have concluded that complete solutions (whatever those are) will have to be multi-vendor, as no one vendor does everything. This was reinforced in Gartner’s (News - Alert) latest UC Magic Quadrant, in which Gartner concluded that, “there is no best approach, and no vendor offers everything an enterprise needs for communication.”
So, how does an enterprise get a complete solution? How do the best-of-breed components get integrated? How do they get installed and tested? Who isolates and fixes troubles? And, most importantly, who does the cost-benefit analysis to determine if the business case claims for enormous benefits for installing the solution are being met?
Wow. That sure sounds like a lot of questions – many of which have no simple answer and may be part of the reason, along with the economy, that UC deployments have been slower to grow than expected. I posit here that the reason for this slow take up is the sheer complexity around the issues that need to be addressed, and there really is no simple solution.
As my colleagues at UCStrategies have voiced and confirmed in many engagements, the road to UC needs to begin with a plan for what is wanted to be accomplished. The plan needs to be comprehensive and needs to include reasons, justifications, roadmaps, implementation plans and programs as well as how the budgetary needs are to be achieved. The plan may also need to show how this plan should be prioritized within all of the other plans/programs within IT – such as virtualization of data centers, investigation/expansion of cloud services, etc.
Should UC be started as a pilot/proof on concept within a part of the organization, such as mobile workers or product development – where UC benefits are likely to be clear and measurable? Actually, this might not be a bad idea, as such a pilot/trial may even be able to be self-funded by eliminating some other expenses (such as some travel or excessive cellular costs). Certainly the organization participating in the pilot needs to believe that there will be benefits and that their key business processes can be improved.
So, the first step to a successful UC deployment is either to build an initial UC plan and fit it into the overall IT plans recognizing that UC has been shown to deliver significant top-line and bottom-line benefits to many organizations in many industries across the globe; or, initially, use your knowledge of you organization to identify a logical pilot and move that forward rapidly.
I’m very interested in learning which road you and your organization choose.
David Yedwab, a technology marketing industry veteran with more than 25 years experience providing business strategy advice to major tech firms, writes the Thinking It Through column for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf