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Making Sound Decisions in UC Environment - Part 1

Friday, January 9, 2015 - 14:45
UC Decision Making

A recent joint study by Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), the research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI), indicates that chief financial officers’ influence over IT spending has increased by 44 per cent in just the past 24 months.  The growing importance of IT to the development and successful execution of business strategy has never been greater – as is the need for the finance team to participate fully and energetically in the selection and use of technology.

Organizations are tasking the CFO with leading efforts to enable the organization’s overall strategy, and given the critical role of IT in strategy, more than 39% of IT organizations are reporting up to the CFO – and that number continues to rise.

The ongoing challenge for CFOs in this environment, though, is to avoid becoming fixated on the noise created by the steady parade of the shiny and new and instead focus on outcomes, enabling key business processes with more effective tools, and on larger value-producing trends within the world of technology. 

Your CTO or VP of IT can sift through the never-ending deluge of new product and service announcements, allowing the CFO to consider those larger themes. In the world of enterprise communications, which has been subject to some seismic changes over the last decade, there are several key trends for the engaged CFO to consider:

Unified Communications

As evidenced by the continued high rates of UC adoption plus the considerable attention that industry analysis firms like Gartner have paid to it, the move to equip teams with a wider, more highly integrated suite of communications technologies is here to stay. Firms no longer question “If We Should”, but instead typically find themselves somewhere on the continuum of ‘How Do We?”  How do we deploy, how do we architect, how do we maximize the benefits across the organization?

The definition of unified communications continues to evolve, but for the most part, a UC solution consists of:

The Network

The underlying assumption for unified communications is that it will be tied together via an IP infrastructure – voice and data running over a converged IP network.  To maintain high levels of quality and service, that network is likely a private MPLS network vs. simply using the public internet.  A network optimized for real-time communications will result in an experience that your team and your customers will enjoy – and one that allows for powerful redundancy and monitoring/data collection.

Voice Functionality

Even as alternatives to voice become more common and widely adopted, voice remains at the heart of enterprise communications.

Telephony solutions include:

  • Telephony itself, typically a desktop appliance
  • SIP Trunking for cost reduction and BC/DR
  • Mobile Integration to empower your mobile workforce
  • Contact Centers to improve responsiveness and call flow management

Unified Messaging

Integrated Email, Voicemail, and Fax.  Email will always be a main source of enterprise communication. The ability to access voice mail and faxes from a single inbox can streamline processes in powerful ways and can enable mobile workers more fully.
Collaboration Solutions. Bringing your far-flung workforce together with voice, web, and video conferencing.

In Part 2 of the series we’ll look at additional factors, including the rise of the cloud and security related to your UC platform.

Read more Unified Communications blog posts >

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