5 Approaches to Unified Communications

By Andrew Garcia Print this article Print

The value of unified communications is realized when technologies are tied to business processes.

Unified communications is one of those technology terms that means different things to different people. Nonetheless, it is ultimately a driver for better business processes.

Properly implemented, unified communications, or UC for short, will bring together people (both internal and external to the company), applications and data in ways that increase efficiencies and create new opportunities.

On a technical level, UC may be viewed as an effort to tie together disparate communication modalities—presenting a unified interface for VOIP (voice over IP), instant messaging, real-time video, whiteboarding and presence. Users would then have the ability to efficiently navigate and migrate among the different communication channels, easily initiating collaborative work sessions with other employees as needed.

But from a wider perspective, UC should be viewed as the convergence of communications with business processes. The real value of UC becomes apparent when it is tied to business objectives and business applications to advance the company's competitive advantages and increase shareholder value or market share. The individual technologies comprising UC are but a bunch of moving parts working together to solve the underlying business challenges.

That said, a UC implementation is disruptive. An undertaking of this magnitude will likely touch every aspect of IT, requiring significant planning and cooperation between the teams responsible for the day-to-day operation and availability of numerous data services.

UC also will undoubtedly change the way workers do business on a daily basis—requiring them to learn new tools, adapt to the new technologies and recognize that seemingly simple communications and conversations will be archivable business assets.

To manage the disruption, any UC initiative needs to be carefully planned and considered in the early stages to keep the project on target and the disruption positive, instead of a distraction.

Following are the five steps eWEEK Labs recommends that any company take before undergoing such a herculean project.

Read the full article at eWEEK.

This article was originally published on 2007-11-13
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