Unified Communications Featured Article

If You Think UCC Integration is Easy, Think Again-Implementing a Solution Takes Considerable Planning

December 13, 2013

One of the more popular developments happening in IT departments worldwide is the growth of unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions. The cost-savings from integrating the many disparate communications software and hardware pieces typically found in a large organization is too compelling to ignore.

But there is a danger in underestimating the effort needed to roll out a UCC implementation that runs smoothly and efficiently. One could watch Michael Jordan and marvel at how he made playing hoops look so easy without appreciating the thousands of hours of hard work and practice he performed. In a similar way, IT managers run the risk of rushing into deploying UCC solutions improperly if they don’t thoroughly prepare for it.

According to an InformationWeek article by Dan Ferguson, three of the most important tasks an IT department should do when deploying a UCC solution are getting a well-defined scope statement, providing a proof of concept system and examining the possibility of cloud-based UCC deployment.

The scope statement makes it clear ahead of time what work a vendor will and won’t do in developing a UCC solution before a company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on it. A proof of concept system serves as an insanity check that the proposed solution will work at least on a small scale before implementing it across the whole organization. As with any solution, cloud-based UCC is something any organization should consider, given its cost savings and scalability.

Another important decision IT departments have to make is whether or not the solution consists of purchasing a new UCC product or buying products in piecemeal fashion that tie existing communications together. Cisco offers a UCC solution that falls into the former category. This approach will appeal to many IT managers, likely in SME setups, that don’t want to deal with complex integration headaches. For massive enterprises with tens of thousands of employees, gutting communication infrastructure and replacing it with a one-stop UCC product may be less attractive.

UCC is going to continue to be an important part of any enterprise that wants to simplify the various communications under its roof. While it can lead to cost and time savings, without proper planning, an organization may end up worse off with UCC than without it. 


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