Unified Communications Featured Article

Overcoming Unified Communications Deployment Challenges Enables Huge Benefits

June 27, 2012

When referencing unified communications, specific definitions can vary, depending upon the source. The concept, however, truly applies to the platform that supports a variety of communication modalities via  a single interface, while simplifying the process and reducing the cost. 

More specifically, unified communications refers to a platform to support video communications instant messaging, VoIP systems, email, voicemail and even fax communications, according to this Teo Tech report. And, while the benefits of UC continue to be touted in multiple information hubs, adoption is still lacking in a number of industries. 

Robin Gareiss, executive vice president of the Nemertes Research Group, told Computerworld that they have not witnessed a significant growth in the number of companies doing something with unified communications. The fact that this concept is still evolving could be causing a number of companies to take a “wait and see” approach. 

Still, other inhibitors to adoption exist, including the inability to calculate concrete returns on investment in some cases. Likewise, service providers are failing to make the process of integrating various components easier, something essential for the success of any unified communications deployment. 

Vendors in the UC space came together at Interop 2012 to discuss the user demand for interoperability between multiple providers. When convergence is not available between products or platforms, companies tend to delay implementation due to an inability to want to change. 

To overcome these challenges, Computerworld recommends companies partner with professional consultants who can aid in the quest to deliver complete interoperable collaboration through unified communications. With the complexity inherent in the integration of innovative solutions with legacy technologies, it’s critical to have expert assistance.

Those businesses worried about making a full migration all at once also have the opportunity to expand to unified communications through an incremental strategy. With this method, decision-makers have the opportunity to purchase licenses and capabilities at their own pace, using the savings achieved through early installations to fund subsequent application deployments. 

Once deployment is complete, only half the process has been satisfied. IT managers then need to implement an effective strategy for teaching employees. This includes those who have never used the applications as they need to understand why the move to unified communications was completed, why this use benefits them, and how best to use the platform in a way that is effective and efficient. 

When training programs are lacking, the benefits promised in the UC platform aren’t realized, making the deployment pointless. 

Like any other technology implementation and change within the enterprise, unified communications will have its challenges. Instead of avoiding the move because of these challenges, IT managers can embrace the tools available in the industry to overcome these challenges to realize the benefits. 

Just how powerful are the benefits? Constellation Research suggests that nearly two-thirds of businesses that have adopted unified communications have experienced a positive return on investment within the first two years of deployment. Another 30 percent of respondents broke even within that time frame.

With such powerful results waiting on the other side of unified communications, the time to develop the implementation, execution and training strategy is now.  

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend
ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

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Edited by Jamie Epstein

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