Plan and Analyze, Implementation and Rollout

Posted 2008-04-10 Print this article Print

Phase 2 Plan and Analyze (2-3 months): Produce a detailed feasibility analysis and business case, including a migration plan. View all communications technologies, including the telephone, as enterprise applications. The aim is to form a single, integrated network of these enterprise applications.

Unified communications and collaboration is not an off-the-shelf product, but rather a convergence of existing technologies and processes to yield new capabilities and greater speed. The migration plan therefore may require consolidation of network infrastructures to transport voice, data, and video communications, and a seamless merger of end-user network devices and protocols, collaboration technologies, presence and location services, and communications interfaces embedded in business applications (enabled by service-oriented architecture).

In further developing the business case, define the end state in quantifiable business terms. Focus on enabling critical business processes, not just technology-based productivity. Develop various scenarios that will apply to your organization.

For example, sales teams can shorten the time span between learning of and responding to new opportunities.  Jim, a salesman, was traveling when he received an e-mail about a new sales prospect. Normally he would have spent three days tracking down available people with the required expertise. But with unified communications and collaboration tools, Jim was able to pinpoint the right collaborators within the hour. After a few conference calls, the assembled team was able to build a proposal. The saved time in these types of situations drastically raised the company's win rate.

Another example might be a European global carrier enabling its merger-integration activities by using unified communications and collaboration high-definition video conferencing. The carrier's recent merger resulted in multiple geographically distributed corporate centers and significant demand for high-quality and real-time communications.  Telepresence video conferencing will be used to enable accelerated executive decision-making and to coordinate merger integration activities.

From the above scenarios, one can extrapolate real cost savings, supply chain efficiencies, and customer satisfaction benefits.

From a bird's-eye perspective, Phase 2 is part of planning for the "next-generation workplace," which will place employees wherever they need or want to work, from any device, anywhere, any time, through low- or zero-touch deployment of end-user devices and transformation solutions.

Phase 3 -- Implementation and rollout (1 year-18 months): This phase includes all the life cycle activities involved in transforming the network and business processes.

During this phase, your organization is managing change in how people communicate and share data, not just in the use of technology.  This process therefore is a simultaneous integration of business-process change and technological change.

Phase 3 itself may be broken down into further phases for transforming the infrastructure and finally tying all of the desktop, messaging and network transformation components together into a seamless communications capability.

Successful implementation of unified communications and collaboration likely will require the help of a long-term technology partner (as opposed to project-based vendors). The wise choice of such partners, and of the right level of services, will play a big role in your success.  Such advisors will aid in clarifying the business value you can realize, and help you turn the glitter of unified communications and collaboration into gold.

For more detail about the key projects an organization might expect in implementing unified communications, see:


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