The Channel Perspective

UC Is a Means to New Roles-Based Strategies in the Enterprise

By TMCnet Special Guest
Jay Krauser, General Manager and Senior Technology Strategist, NEC Corporation of America .
  |  August 17, 2010

Companies are leveraging unified communications to respond to constant evolution within the workforce. While it is certainly a worthwhile investment for competitive advantage, a well-planned UC deployment can set the stage for an even more expansive concept: roles-based communication. As new technology enters an already 24-hour enterprise, roles-based communication can help companies to respond better in a continually evolving economy and marketplace.

Most enterprises are now familiar with the benefits of leveraging UC to create communication-enabled business processes. Generally, the CEBP concept assigns communication technology consistently across the entire business process. Roles-based communication takes CEBP a step further by assigning the appropriate communication to each of the worker types involved in the business process. With a roles-based approach, companies assign the communication that best allows each person to execute and complete his or her specific part (or role) in a specific business process. By focusing on communication at the individual level, roles-based communication helps companies propagate their business processes across their organizations at a much deeper level.

Roles-based communication has been a part of most businesses for a long time, but traditional approaches are limited to the company’s IT infrastructure — the network and its devices. As a result, workers are assigned a standard communications configuration based on their overall or main job classification within the company. Front-desk workers receive an attendant console. Contact center agents receive a headset and a PC. Knowledge workers receive a PC and desk phone. Executives receive a laptop and mobile phone.

Newer roles-based strategies expand beyond infrastructure, to include applications and business processes as well. They acknowledge that while many workers within the company have the same general job classification, their duties and responsibilities can be vastly different. A finance manager and a contact-center manager, for example, can both be classified as knowledge workers; but their job functions require them to be involved in completely different business processes. Even when they do participate in the same process, their roles within the process may be different. In a CEBP context, this means communications applications must integrate with very different business applications to achieve the level of process automation needed to increase efficiency. Roles-based strategies allow companies to design the appropriate communication for each worker based on his or her specific role within a specific business process — not a general job classification.

With roles-based communication, companies can better coordinate the efforts of their employees and the various roles they each play within the organization’s business processes. It helps workers to better segment, control and process the flow of raw data, allowing them to conduct better analysis of the information to make better decisions and garner new insights in real time. This translates to quicker innovation, higher productivity, and ultimately higher revenues.

As the market continually evolves, the roles people play within the enterprise will become more paramount. While UC offers extensive value within the enterprise, companies should consider it the next step — rather than the endpoint — to more advanced concepts that deliver even greater benefits. With communications models of the past, technology dictated how people communicated and worked. Role-based communication completely changes this dynamic by defining the need for communication tools based on how people work. Role-based strategies put people — not technology — at the center of communications, empowering them to turn information into insight, transform ideas into action and drive the business forward.

Jay Krauser is general manager and senior technology strategist at NEC Corporation of America .

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi