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.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
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This is part seven in a review of the seven major applications for Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) as introduced in “UCStrategies VAR-SI Series: Building Your UC Applications Practice.” Part seven will address the CEBP applications that will “Enhance Collaboration Effectiveness.”
Many Information Worker roles depend on collaboration, i.e. the iterative sharing of information and ideas to create content, products or services to meet new or situation-specific needs. For those important roles, the communications steps in the collaborative process are very important.
Certainly, great progress is being made at this time in the Unified Communications and Collaboration marketplace with more readily accessible voice, web, or video conferencing, along with associated document sharing and social networking type tools. Yet, communication hot spots still exist such as the challenge of scheduling meetings or of getting complete attendance at those meetings. Or, the challenge of using single-dimension communication tools such as telephony or e-mail to share information or to discuss issues.
Basic Unified Communications is helpful in solving these problems by enabling easy, presence-supported access to expertise and resources so the collaborative project can proceed without delay. Also, presence capabilities as well as ad-hoc, drag and drop conferencing tools assist in the setup of collaborative working sessions (aka "meetings") without the delays of current methods of conference initiation.
In addition, communications tools can be linked into collaborative workspace products such as Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Quickr or Connections, or Google docs, as well as linked into all the basic business information worker tools such as document processing applications and e-mail clients. Many of the new UC solutions can also seamlessly involve parties outside the enterprise in secure team collaboration activities to assist in such functions as product focus groups or interaction with outside contractors (advertising, architects, attorneys, etc.).
Now, with CEBP, the collaborative processes can be even more effectively supported by software tools that manage the movement and sharing of information, track team involvement in review cycles, and provide action or escalation messages to only the appropriate team members.
CEBP can also be used to embed communication functions directly into the collaborative business applications, such as analytic tools, design tools, health care software, emergency/first responder software tools, and similar environments.
Additionally, other CEBP solutions can make collaboration more effective by recording and automatically sharing appropriate meetings, conversations, or message strings, or by automatically linking events in the collaboration workspaces with relevant enterprise data, news, or web references that add perspective to the project.
Benefits from Enhancing Collaboration Effectiveness include: significant reduction in labor costs per project based on faster and more efficient team operations; increases in revenue and margins when products or projects are brought to market or to production more quickly; reductions in asset requirements when capital intensive projects are completed more quickly; often, increased revenues and margins when higher quality collaboration outcomes improve competitive differentiation or lower risk profiles for the enterprise.
Here are two case study examples were CEBP is used to Enhance Collaboration Effectiveness:
Since collaboration-focused Information Workers are often highly trained, highly skilled and highly paid employees and since the collaborative processes often involve very large investments, this CEBP application to Enhance Collaboration Effectiveness can have very high returns on investment. For example, if a 10-person team is working on a project that historically required one year to complete, the use of UC tools and, especially CEBP, to improve that effectiveness by 20% would return 2 person years of resources in time savings. If that team were working on a project or product which is estimated to produce $15 million in revenue over five years (a typical ratio to the 10-person-year investment), the delivery of the product 2.4 months sooner might bring an additional $600,000 of revenues into the current fiscal period.
Collaboration-based CEBP opportunities may seem hard to find and to quantify, but the benefits can pop into focus by looking at records, which almost all companies have, of project duration or time to complete. With that information, it should be quite feasible to determine the value of the CEBP applications to Enhance Collaboration Effectiveness.
This is the end of the seven-part series. We welcome your feedback and your questions about these CEBP applications.
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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?