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Better Collaboration Seen as Top Unified Communications Value

July 13, 2010

Better collaboration was the top benefit telecom and enterprise executives cited for unified communications, Forrester Research reports. Some 62 percent of 444 executives said improved collaboration between dispersed teams, especially the 'presence' feature, was especially important for remote workers and frequent travelers.

Faster problem resolution was cited by 46 percent of respondents as a significant advantage. For managers who must resolve issues across multiple locations, this is a major benefit and can be applied to virtually every type of industry, said Elizabeth Herrell, Forrester Research analyst. 
'Regardless of industry, most companies realize that internal delays cost money and ultimately affect customer service,' she said.  In making a business case for UC, organizations should focus on how UC can help employees who must contend with delayed and missed communications on a daily basis. 
To be sure, hard evidence of most UC features is difficult to produce. Enterprise managers might be more inclined to buy the 'soft' benefits of better collaboration and faster decision making. Sales people who work in the small business space will more frequently have to rely on 'hard dollar' cost savings. 
At least in part, this is because most small businesses do not have the collaboration issues virtually every larger enterprise encounters on a routine basis. Also, small businesses tend to buy based on hard dollar cost savings or fairly easy to understand marketing and sales capabilities. 
In an enteprise context, managers seeking approval for UC deployments should rely on expected value to end users, who may have the most realistic estimates of UC savings.
Employees who have implemented UC are typically its most ardent supporters, as many UC users tell me they would not want to communicate without its many capabilities within their work environment, said Herrell. 

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Alice Straight

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