There is a lot of talk about the shift in enterprise communications to a single platform including desktop and mobile integration aka the new “unified communications”. For enterprises this shift is long overdue, but unfortunaltely, unified communications and collaboration creates another layer of complexity for IT departments. I’m taking a look at what the convergence of voice, data, mobile and video is doing to the industry and what it means for the IT professionals on your team.
Why is this conversation important?
Communications at the enterprise level have come a long way since the days of just voice and data. The spread of video and mobile has led to a modification in the definition of unified communications to include incoming and outgoing communications in all media types.
The Unified Communications Tidal Wave
The expectations for IT departments have ramped up as well with the demand for better ways to communicate and do business more efficiently and productively. Anywhere, anytime access to any-kind of communication is happening everywhere regardless of the rumors of complex deployments, maintenance and and management of a truly unified environment.
Not all of the rumors are completely untrue however. It is true that the UC ecosystems of 2015 are often not solely on premise networks, but a mixture of desktop, mobile and hardware endpoint collaboration inside and outside of the organization. That kind of integration and interoperability requires some serious IT resources to manage effectively, (CIO’s and CTO’s for enterprises know this) leading to the decision of whether or not to go with outsourced services or take it on in-house.
Going For The Big Win
One example of this is when the Director of Technology Operations for Forbes, Scott Evon, pushed for a communications overhaul of the 100+ year old media company headquartered in New York City. “The flexibility of the platform and how we can use it to work more closely with our customers and our internal staff is the biggest win on this,” says Evon. Forbes moved ahead with unified communications for the big win (audio, video and mobile) and took a small loss with outsourced services – to free up more time for the IT department to focus on emerging technologies. This is a common approach, but it’s not the only way to handle the incoming storm.
Once global enterprises get wind of unified communications and begin to understand the impact it can have on the bottom line the, IT has to be ready to make it run like a well oiled machine. It’s a tidal wave that is coming whether we like it or not.
According to Tejas Vashi, director of product strategy and marketing at Cisco, “You really need someone who has a view and has an understanding on how to test, configure, deploy, maintain, troubleshoot the entire collaboration suite — voice, video and data. That’s the skill-set that’s been created in the industry.”CRN.com
Since this is a metaphorical tidal wave, my advice is to embrace it. Give your IT team the resources they need to build a better ship for your company to ride the wave of communication. In other words – empower your IT team by giving them the tools they need to manage, optimize and troubleshoot your UC and video conferencing networks. Use real time monitoring to help your support resources. Use historical analytics to free up some time spent creating reports, simplify management from a single screen, and maximize utilization to enhance the ROI of video. If you’ve already taken on video conferencing or unified communications at the enterprise level, you know what I’m talking about.