The role of a CIO in any organization is to find ways to enable the company to be more successful. This can include introducing new products quicker, reacting to changes in the marketplace faster, or even lowering the cost of doing business.
Underlying all of these different ways to assist the business there is one area that every CIO must master first: providing great internal communications. An opportunity to radically transform how a firm’s employees communicate has arrived and it’s time for CIOs to step up and lead the charge.
Just What Is Unified Communications?
“Unified Communications” (UC) is starting to take on all the characteristics of a high-tech buzzword and in the process folks are losing track of just what it really means. If you boil it down to its bare essence, unified communications is all about moving all of your voice, video, and data business communications to a single network. Instead of having a phone network, a LAN, and the Internet, you combine all three of these into a single unified (get it?) network that carries all business communication.
Is This Really The Right Time To Be Talking About This?
Hey, there’s a recession going on – right? Despite the current economic problems that the world is facing, CIOs still have a job to do and studying and implementing a unified communications solution is a key part of this. The world markets will recover and if the company is left behind while its competition zooms ahead because they didn’t stop innovating then there’s going to be an opening for a new CIO.
Nicholas Hoover over at InformationWeek has been asking around and he’s found out that:
- 57% of companies have not gotten past the pilot stage
- 86% say that they can make a good business case for it
- 55% admit that their company is confused about the value of UC
What Global Crossing Did
Just in case you need some more motivation to look into what unified communication can do for your firm, how about if we take a look at what the communication company Global Crossing did.
Global Crossing has embraced unified communications in a big way. Their chief operations officer uses it to hold weekly global staff meetings with his 16 direct reports. They use the video conferencing capabilities that they now have. The savings of using a unified communications solution for this type of meeting can be calculated in terms of savings on conferencing services, long distance calls, and even travel costs.
Global Crossing has taken unified communications one step further. They’ve discovered that the real hidden value to this new service is what is called “presence awareness” – who’s currently there for you to communicate with? They’ve integrated this functionality into their day-to-day business applications so that people using them will know who they can contact if something goes wrong.
All too rarely does an opportunity like this come along that will allow CIOs to clearly demonstrate their value to the firm. As existing PBXs and data network components start to become obsolete, there has never been a better time to start to analyze WHEN will be the right time to upgrade to a unified communications solution. Your company needs you now…
Questions For You
Is there a driver that you can use to start to build a business case for upgrading to a unified communications system? What features does your firm need most urgently: voice features, instant messaging, location awareness, video conferencing, etc.? Who do you think will be your biggest booster in the firm? Who will be your greatest challenge? Why? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
The job of a CIO and the IT department is to equip the rest of the company to move faster and do more. One of the ways that a CIO can do this is by staying on top of new and emerging technologies. One such technology is called Complex-Event Processing…