This article originally appeared in the August issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
SIP trunking is considered an enabler for unified communications. Moving a business’ communications infrastructure to SIP reduces cost, supports a range of UC applications, and simplifies integration. As such it is very important for VARs and IT managers to explain the added benefit and value of unified communications. Fortunately two studies released late last year offer supporting data that allows us to quantify in dollars and time the advantage gained by incorporating UC.
“Unified Communications Improves Business Outcomes, Lowers Costs, and Enhances Environmental Sustainability” by Microsoft (News - Alert) examines a UC implementation from the standpoint of an enterprise, Microsoft.
Microsoft identified the following after implementation:
- increased end user productivity – 28 minutes per day or $86 million per year;
- shortened sales cycle – through collaboration more proposals are generated resulting in an additional profit of $11 million annually;
- reduced traveling costs - $92 million annually; and
- additional benefits were either non-quantifiable or small.
Since the majority of businesses and our target market are SMBs, establishing a cost benefit applicable to them is also very important. During the Broadvox (News - Alert) 2011 Partner Summit, I pointed out that collaboration, an oft-stated benefit of UC, has little appeal to SMBs. Certainly, some SMBs have an interest in collaboration tools, particularly those that are geographically dispersed. However, it is not the concern of a majority. That was why I found the productivity summary offered by Digium (News - Alert) to be particularly pertinent.
In the Digium IP Communications Buyer’s Guide, five points are used to identify an average of 1.5 hours of time savings enjoyed by each employee using UC applications and tools. The five points are as follows:
- find-me, follow-me saves up to 30 minutes a day;
- unified messaging saves more than 40 minutes a day by providing improved access to e-mail, voicemail and fax;
- IVRs reduce hold times, saving 5 to 15 minutes per day;
- accessing office communications from a mobile device saves a minimum of 30 minutes a day; and;
- additional time-saving features include presence, built-in chat, business or web application integration, click-to-dial, and visual voicemail.
These productivity improvements are very consistent with my opinion of why SMBs should implement UC infrastructures. It is about accessibility and to be cliché, anyway, anywhere, anytime.
Now the reality is that a business is unlikely to gain 390 hours or 48.75 days of productivity per employee because they have implemented UC. I am sure employees will find ways to use some of those gains in other non-productive activity. However, consider if your business only saw a 50 percent improvement or 200 hours of increased productivity per employee then the result is a savings of $4,900 per year. That’s a lot of money depending upon the size of your business.
Transitioning to UC delivers a host of new applications, features and capabilities but improving the bottom line is the greatest reason to make the change.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi