As unified communications moves to the cloud, both applications and services are increasingly being hosted and managed off site. But the difference between the nature of collaboration applications and UC platforms sets the stage for how IT needs to manage them.
Typical collaboration applications include telephony, video conferencing, messaging and file sharing. Prior to the advent of UC, these were stand-alone applications viewed as point products. Each application had its own budget -- often separate budgets by line of business -- and was managed and evaluated independently of adjacent applications.
UC platforms, on the other hand, pertain to the overall technology that integrates all these applications and provides a consistent user experience across all the endpoints and networks. For IT, the focus is to ensure that the platform's applications are working and interoperate correctly and that users have a consistent experience.
While that type of management translates into a seamless set of tools for end users, IT should be more interested in what the network needs in order to deliver UC. Managing UC platforms should also include easing provisioning and bandwidth availability, prioritizing real-time traffic, and ensuring data security.
Managing collaboration apps is more about how employees engage with them. Metrics to measure engagement include the number of users, the length of time they used the app, who is using the app and on which devices they are doing so. Every application has business value, and these types of metrics can provide valuable insight into user adoption and overall use.
Over time, IT can make better decisions about how best to support each application, such as how many phones or meeting rooms their users need.
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