The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
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At the annual Cisco Collaboration Summit in beautiful Miami Beach, analysts and consultants got to hear about several new product announcements, hear from Cisco customers about their implementations, and see some cool demos. For me, the best part was talking to two of my favorite people, Vishakha Radia and Bryan Tantzen, about Cisco and business transformation.
Several years ago I wrote about Cisco’s Customer Business Transformation Group (CBTG), which works with customers to help them understand how they can transform their businesses using Cisco technology (at the time it was UC, today it’s about collaboration technologies). By understanding and analyzing customers’ communication and collaboration pain points, the group helps customers identify how they can transform their business, based on their business goals and various user roles. At the recent Collaboration Summit, I got an update about the CBTG and how they’re developing a number of use cases and proof points about how real customers are experiencing real benefits using Cisco collaboration solutions, while transforming their businesses in a variety of ways.
While the focus of the group initially was about using unified communications (UC) to transform business, today it’s about using collaboration, which in Cisco’s definition includes UC, as well as tools such as Cisco Cius and Quad. As Vishakha explains in this podcast, the CBT team works with customers to identify use cases by looking at the customer’s communication and collaboration problem, and then identifies the solutions that can solve these problems, as well as their business value - whether it’s cost reduction, enhanced worker productivity, or changing their customers’ experiences. The CBT group found that the transformational benefits of collaboration can deliver 10-15 times the value, and that customers can achieve significantly more benefit if they focus not just on cost reduction, but on the impact to the business.
These use cases are utilized in several ways, including helping the Cisco sales people position and put together appropriate bundles for customers, and they also become the foundation strategy plan for organizations to implement collaboration solutions. Vishakha and Bryan noted that they have 40 validated use cases for the Cius, based on real-world customer examples, as well as about 20 use cases for Cisco Quad.
The primary use cases for Cius fall into the areas of education, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, high tech, energy, and retail, with subsegments in each category. For example, in the retail category, there are use cases for customer service, merchandising, operations, retail workforce communications, and sales. Cius use cases include horizontal examples such as virtual expert, field service, and field sales (e.g.; using Cius to enable sales people in the field to find and connect with the appropriate virtual experts to accelerate the sales process), as well as specific vertical examples, such as patient care and insurance claims.
The following are a couple examples, based on actual Cisco customers and their experiences. As mentioned, there are over 40 use cases for Cius, so this is just a small sample.
Whether it’s increasing real-time access to business intelligence, or providing anywhere access to key call center performance metrics, the results of these use cases have commonalities that can be attained in almost any vertical. The common thread of increasing mobile collaboration, accessing expertise when needed, enhancing mobility, enabling remote workers to feel more connected, and improving general productivity, all result in increased revenues and improved customer satisfaction.
I’m pleased to see Cisco’s emphasis on use cases that demonstrate not only the benefits of collaboration (and UC), but also help organizations understand how they can use these technologies to help them meet their goals. Technology for technology’s sake is irrelevant – it’s all about how best to use the technologies to meet business goals. Cisco’s CBT group clearly gets this, and continues to work with its customers to identify the business cases, and to help others get the “aha” moment and see how these technologies can be used in various parts of their organizations.
Also on UCStrategies.com on this topic:
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?