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Editor's Note: In part four of this series on assessing mobile collaboration, we look at the importance of building the right UC platform. Nemertes Research analyst Philip Clarke discusses how use cases determine which UC and enterprise mobile platforms and architecture are needed within an enterprise.
The most critical component of deploying a mobile unified communications (UC) product is having a clear understanding of the roles and business processes employees engage in day-to-day. Without this knowledge, an otherwise successful UC implementation can quickly dissolve into an expensive project with "cool" features that does little to help employees.
It's vital to understand what kind of unified communications capabilities different user groups actually need. For example, a claims adjustor is more likely to need a tablet with a readily accessible application for form completion, ideally with integration into a shared document platform that is secure and accessible across cellular or Wi-Fi networks, than a team collaboration application. Within the same company, however, an executive is more likely to need to conduct a video conferencing call from a mobile phone while sharing a PowerPoint or PDF file with meeting attendees.
Understanding these use cases is absolutely crucial when choosing the right UC technology and supporting infrastructure. Companies should also review the usage of non-enterprise but UC-related applications that their workers are using. This information should empower companies with insights into use cases where employees have felt the need to adopt employee, department or even company-wide UC services to fulfill a need or requirement. Moreover, depending on the popularity of these apps, IT professionals will need to provision for, optimize or even fully integrate these applications into corporate infrastructure that includes Active Directory, wireless LAN, remote-access and even complementary customer relationship management software. Analyzing use cases, process requirements and how the two touch, UC will direct IT executives toward the type of UC and collaboration architectures that best fit their specific needs.
In addition to providing the basis for a more streamlined UC and enterprise mobile platform, defining these requirements will enable IT professionals to do the following:
- Discover the ideal use case or role for piloting UC
- Uncover why and how workers are using non-enterprise apps for UC tasks and provide a baseline from which to bring those apps into an enterprise contract (companies like Box and Dropbox have proved useful for this)
- Define the strengths and weaknesses of current UC architecture
- Provide IT professionals with a go-forward strategy for making UC a highly optimized, integrated and integral part of your enterprise infrastructure
- Look at jobs without UC applications where productivity could be improved if UC capabilities are added
Read part five of our series on mobile collaboration to learn how unified communications and collaboration extends mobile UC.