While I do not doubt the potential business benefits of unified communications (UC), it is users feedback that validates what UC vendors claim. However, we are not hearing enough of such feedback perhaps due to insufficient understanding of UCs benefits in the organisation.
UC may be seen from two angles, namely the perspective of enterprise decision makers and employees themselves. From a top management level perspective, UC solutions would be considered based on cost, relevance and raising efficiency of business communications.
Obvious benefits include seamless communication across devices and company ability to reach employees anywhere and anytime. For example, unified messaging integrates different communication channels like e-mail, SMS, voice and video into a single functionality accessible from various devices.
With communication efficiency and potential cost savings being the main drivers behind UC adoption, surely enterprises would jump onto the UC bandwagon, right?
However, the reality is that while many enterprises have adopted some aspects of UC, full end-to-end deployments across all business functions are still uncommon. I will not attempt to ask why this is so because only enterprises themselves can decide whether UC is the way to go for internal operations.
From the employee perspective, it would be reasonable to expect some staff resistance to UC adoption perhaps due to lack of user knowledge or fear of being overly controlled by top brass. For example, a business call automatically forwarded to the staffs mobile might be interruptive if the worker is already engaged in another activity.
Consequently, specific arrangements will be needed to ensure that UC integrates well with workflow. One thing is certain, UC is here to stay and the challenge for enterprises is to find ways to leverage on the technology to maximise competitive advantage.
Jared Heng is staff writer for Fairfax Business Media, where he covers hot topics in the IT industry such as green computing, unified communications and software as a service. As very wide topics worthy of further exploration, virtualisation and open source issues currently capture his interest. Based in Singapore, he also seeks to keep himself updated on pertinent IT issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region.
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