Don’t Ignore Your Unified Communications Strategy. It Could Cost You.

Don’t Ignore Your Unified Communications Strategy. It Could Cost You

Did you know, according to Gartner, 80% of firms do not have a unified communications strategy?

Hard to believe, I know, but think about your firm. Is there an overall UC Strategy?

When there is an urgent need from the C-Suite, what happens to your projects in the pipeline? How many become “top priority” because something else broke and the floodgates opened to a new calamity? How many “code red” projects moved up in priority because they were the project that screamed the loudest at the time?

In contrast, how many of your initiatives were truly driven by a strategic approach to your vision for your company and your department? Again, according to Gartner, less than one in five UC projects were driven by strategy and vision. Which means a good portion of us spend most of our day cleaning up rather than being strategic.

Interspecific Competition

Your time is finite and your network bandwidth is limited.

These are the two very scarce resources all unified communications projects compete for. There are going to be conflicts in which services get priority. Voice, data, video conferencing, chat, IM, presence, streaming, mobility, and WiFi are all competing for the same physical infrastructure – the pipe that connects all those 1’s and 0’s to the internal and external networks we can no longer live without.

In biology, this competition between species (or in this case modes of communication) is called interspecific competition. As species compete for limited resources, one species eventually dominates and the others go extinct. While it is not likely that IM would ever go extinct, per se, it is very likely that video conferencing or YouTube streaming could monopolize so much of a network’s bandwidth that voice quality would suffer.  Eventually the VoIP system would become unusable. If you think this isn’t possible, think again. Today, many companies have users – particularly remote workers or those always traveling – who have completely abandoned their company’s VoIP system and exclusively use their cell phones.  Interspecific competition is happening right now inside your UC closet. The worst part is, you may never know your employees have stopped using your infrastructure and use their own work-arounds.

Maintaining Voice Quality

As the CIO, you must protect the quality of experience for voice. When the internet runs slowly, or a file doesn’t download quickly, we see those problems as typical inconveniences we have learned to live with. However, if a voice call clips or has static, it’s immensely frustrating as communication is impossible.  The threshold of tolerance for voice quality problems is extremely low.

Proactive management of the network and all the components which affect unified communications is critical to ensuring all of the competing services get the bandwidth they need, but not at the expense of the other services. Without a UC strategy and a UC roadmap, CIO’s have a hard time knowing when they are working on an urgent need of the moment and when they are working on the strategic vision of the company.

The network will eventually crash unless we learn to be proactive in managing our scarce resources. Not all crashes are equal in size and ramifications, but ultimately more users and more services on our already overloaded networks will lead to some sort of disaster.  If the disaster is serious enough, the laws of nature dictate the result could be your extinction.

Does your firm have an overall UC Strategy?

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