Copyright © 2007 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
May 18, 2007
New Research On Enterprise UC Migration Confirms - Not A Question of “IF” or “WHEN,” But “HOW!”
By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View
Although the enterprise market is getting more serious about converging their telephone systems into UC, it is no surprise that enterprise IT organizations still have a lot of homework to do. A new market research study of enterprise unified communications by Nemertes Research shows that while a large percentage of IT executives (79%) may already be using or planning to implement some UC capabilities that integrate and converge IP telephony and IM applications with email and voice messaging, IT management is still very divided organizationally between the text messaging and voice telephony groups in 60% of the organizations interviewed.
According to Nemertes analyst, Irwin Lazar, the migration to comprehensive enterprise UC is not only being slowed down by the lack of IT consolidation of user administration and support management across all forms of communication, but also because “federated” presence capability and device-independent mobile services are not yet very available. This is reflected in the finding that, “Most enterprises are not yet planning to integrate their mobile users with their presence and telephony services.”
What Should Enterprise Management Do About the UC Migration Problem?
It should be obvious by now that migrating to UC is not just about changing the technology infrastructure nor just about reducing TCO, both of which are in the domain of IT responsibility. It is also not about changing business communications technology all at once, but selectively choosing high-value business processes, as well as key end users associated with those business processes, as migration starting points with real ROI to the enterprise.
Step One: Which Business Processes Need UC?
So, how do you identify initial high-value business requirements for UC migration planning purposes? There really are two answers. One source of answers is from Line 0f Business (LOB) managers, who should know which business processes are most critical to the enterprise bottom line and also suffer the most from inefficient people communications, better known as “human latency.” They can probably also identify specific job responsibilities of key personnel who are particularly affected by current communication contact inefficiencies.
In larger organizations, the CIO is probably the right person to coordinate the identification of business process priorities with current technology upgrade or replacement planning to interoperate with UC technologies. In smaller organizations, consulting expertise will be the way this task can be accomplished most efficiently.
Step Two: Which End Users Need UC?
Because the convergence of communication interfaces through multimodal devices, along with changes in communication procedures and etiquette, will impact end users, they must be properly prepared to use new UC capabilities effectively. End users will only do so when they understand how they will personally benefit from the change, i.e., it will be easier, and faster to communicate with others in performing their individual jobs responsibilities. “One size does not necessarily fit all!”
As enterprise business communications are becoming more diverse and “virtual,” where people are increasingly mobile, away from an office location, or away from a desktop, communication requirements are becoming more personalized, i.e., dependent on a combination of individual job responsibilities, changing communication relationships and needs, different user work environments, and personal contact preferences. That means that the requirements for new, converged capabilities of UC have to be more tailored to individual user needs as both contact initiators and contact recipients, not as a set of standard, siloed desktop devices.
For this reason, we see that practical UC migration requirements planning will need to include individual end user information about how they communicate today, including what major communication problems they experience with different types of business contacts (internal, customers, supply-side partners, etc.). This will not only enable UC planners to identify and plan for different forms of UC activity for the future, but also will highlight specific UC benefits and changes in user communication procedures that will require retraining.
UC Migration Planning
Because UC migration will usually be a slow and evolutionary process, it will be appropriate for enterprise management to start with specific groups of users that have the greatest need for UC capabilities. Typically these will be people who are heavy mobile communication users and whose job profiles include:
§ Key decision makers
§ Key action takers
§ Customer-facing experts who must be available to support real-time customer issues
UC capabilities, coupled with mobile capabilities, will have a major influence on how people communicate and will impact traditional telephone and messaging traffic that must be supported with network resources. For this reason, it will be helpful to both enterprise business management and IT technology management to survey their end users about their current business contact activities in order to identify where UC and mobility will make a difference in both business processes and individual end user needs.
It is the Unified-View’s opinion that UC productivity ROI to the enterprise will be maximized when all the people involved in a common workflow task can exploit the flexibility of real-time UC capabilities. This will apply to people within the organization and to people outside of the organization (customers, supply-side partners, etc.) This is because if there is a delay in making contact with any particular individual end user participating in a group task, this will cause the task to suffer what has been referred to as “human latency.” (The Unified-View calls it “human contact latency” because it is not because people are slow, but because they are often inaccessible for communication.)
A New Service For Enterprise UC Planning
The Unified-View, together with the industry experts at UCStrategies.com, is developing a standard end-user online survey service that will be made freely available to enterprise organizations to help gather UC/mobility profiling information about current end user business communications activities. This information will help enterprise management to:
- Gather information about which individual end users or work groups need UC capabilities the most
- Identify the related business process that will determine UC migration priorities
- Help align the value of improved UC capabilities with the ROIs of business processes.
- Help identify and quantify the mobile and UC activities associated with specific individual users and their business contacts that should also be provided with UC capabilities
- Enable the organization to plan specific migration training needs for individual end users or end user groups, in accordance with a practical migration implementation schedule.
- Enable the enterprise to compare before and after changes in business communication efficiencies and business process benefits by basically using the same survey for “migrated” users as a “before and after” comparison.
- The service will also allow enterprise organizations to “benchmark” individual users or different groups within the organization for evaluation purposes. In addition, it is planned to allow such information to be benchmarked in Unified-View market research reports across enterprise organizations, to identify differences in end user needs between different vertical market segments, and identify “best practices” for UC management.
Stay tuned to the UCStrategies.com web site for initial availability of the UC Profiling service. We are in discussions with all the major UC technology providers to support this initiative to help both their customers and sales channels plan their UC migrations properly and effectively.
Attention CIOs: Watch this great new Webcast from Avaya and Microsoft on the practical “Why’s” and “How’s” of migrating to UC!
This discussion with the two dominant enterprise communications technology providers in the text messaging and telephony worlds highlights the practicalities of migrating to UC and also underscores the UCStrategies.com industry-wide initiative for identifying individual business user requirements.
What Do You Think?
Send your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News From UC Strategies
To better understand the different perspectives and issues involved with implementing UC technologies, go to the UCStrategies.com web site for the latest, most practical insights on migrating the enterprise to UC.
You can also review the presentations given by the UCStrategies.com experts at TMC’s IT Expo.