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All the right moves with unified communications

What is unified communications? Never mind, don’t answer that.

Sometimes when I”m talking to vendors, I sense that unified communications is whatever they can convince you to buy. “Here, install our IP PBX and you’ll be on the cutting edge of unified communications?”

Oh really? How about a presence engine? How about a desktop client that combines voice, video, messaging and everything else that I need to stay in touch with the members of my team who are scattered all over the country?”

Yesterday I was talking to Shane Yu, the head of Avaya’s unified communications consulting practice and one thing he said really stuck with me. A lot of IT organizations treat a UC initiative as a science project. They just buy a piece of it and put some users on it and see what happens. If that’s your approach, how do you measure success? Gee, people like it. It works. That will make you popular among the cubicles, but executives won’t be impressed when you bring that message into their offices. They want to know why the company needs to change the way it communicates.

This conversation dovetailed nicely with my plans for a new series that I’m writing for  I’m calling the it simply “Success with Unified Communications.” Not particularly catchy, but it’s to the point. Each story in this series will look at a key step in a unified communications deployment and explore how to execute it. I’m going to look at everything, from vendor selection to design & build. I’ll explore how to assemble the right team to run your UC project and what management software you should have in place to deliver good quality of service and experience. I’ll also explore what you need to do in order to stay ahead of the curve and to make sure your UC deployment ages gracefully.

Part One of this series hit the wire today: The Technology Needs Assessment. I hope you find it helpful.

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