The Age of Acceleration

Convergence Corner

The Age of Acceleration

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  September 06, 2012

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

As you’ve thumbed the pages of INTERNET TELEPHONY over the years, you’ve been introduced to countless innovative communications technologies, their benefits, and the rationale for purchasing them. Very often, straight out cost savings has been the biggest driver and, for several years, that was enough to convince businesses to invest in these technologies, which led those early adopters to find even greater benefits and largely unquantifiable savings resulting from improved processes and a more agile business.

Lately, however, there has been an increased focus on those productivity enhancements and so-called soft savings that result from migrating to a unified communications platform and, as I found out recently, a need to quantify those soft benefits. It seems that, even though unified communications is becoming a mainstream technology, the basic cost savings aren’t enough.

I had the pleasure of presenting at Sonus’ Putting SIP to Work seminar series in Minneapolis and Chicago (TMC (News - Alert) senior editor Peter Bernstein handled the Dallas, Boston, and New York events), with a deck loaded with statistics supporting the need for businesses to start making the move to a SIP-based communications environment in order to increase the speed at which they are able to operate. The overarching theme of the seminar, which also included speakers from Sonus and its technology partner Arrow S3 and network partner Level 3, was a combination of the business case and technology basis for migrating to a SIP-based communications infrastructure.  

The realization is simple: There is no choice. It’s no longer a question of whether to make the move, but when, because the market demands it. The market – your colleagues, partners, suppliers, competitors, and customers – are all increasing the speed with which they communicate and expect to be communicated with. We’re witnessing an Age of Acceleration, where time wasted easily results in business lost, and where communications are rapidly moving toward the real time, without regard for traditional limitations, like location and connectivity.

The UC and SIP trunking trends support the notion but, what was most evident was the response to statistics from various studies commissioned by M5 Networks (News - Alert) (now part of ShoreTel, Fonality, and CDW). These studies demonstrated how much time the typical worker spends on routine tasks, like reaching the appropriate contacts, locating basic information, and scheduling; showed how much of that time can be saved through UC capabilities; and, most importantly, the savings derived from that time savings.

Not surprisingly, the most popular UC features and the biggest benefits mapped back very closely to the overhead tasks that are the biggest contributors to lost time – or activities that decelerate communications.

What was surprising was the reaction from the audience at these events, with numerous attendees indicating that, while the adoption trends and hard savings compared to traditional telephony costs are great and support the movement to SIP-based UC, there is a very real need to be able to quantify the efficiency increases enabled by the migration to packet-switched communications.

Both the Fonality (News - Alert) and M5 studies estimated the average knowledge worker can save just under two hours per day with unified communications. That’s two hours they can spend more productively, generating revenue and supporting customers by being able to communicate more effectively and having access to the proper resources at all times.

When you combine that with the trend data, which clearly shows SIP trunking and UC adoption continuing to climb over the next four years, and the hard savings that can be enjoyed and the fact that a legacy infrastructure won’t deliver the agility businesses need to stay competitive, the case is simple. In an Age of Acceleration, businesses can’t afford to slow down their employees with outdated technology.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi