NCC Guidelines. Volume 3 Number 1. Unified Communications & Collaboration

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1 NCC Guidelines Volume 3 Number 1 Unified Communications & Collaboration

2 National Computing Centre About the authors Lead author Doron Youngerwood is the marketing manager for converged communications at Dimension Data and co-author Pete Menadue is the company s group general manager for Microsoft solutions. Dimension Data is a specialist IT services and solution provider that helps clients plan, build, support and manage their IT infrastructures. It is positioned at the forefront of networking and communications in 51 countries across five regions Middle East & Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Australia and the Americas. Website: The material in Part 1 of this Guideline is based on the white paper The New Collaboration Workspace, kindly provided by Cisco and 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. 2 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

3 Part 1 Summary & introduction The IT industry is undergoing one of the most significant periods of transformation in the last 20 years. This period of change is directed by a series of trends such as the explosive growth of powerful smartphones and tablets, the consumerisation of technology purchasing, and the move toward cloud-based consumption models. Each of these developments has been underway for some years now, but their effect is expanding as they move into mainstream adoption on a global scale. Examined as individual market forces, each of these trends has the potential to change the way organisations use technology. However, when considered together, the powerful combination of smartphones and tablets, innovative software applications delivered through the internet, and the flexibility of cloud-based versus on-premises ownership models is bringing an end to the supremacy of the PC as the centre of employees productivity and collaboration experience. With sales of smartphones already surpassing PC sales, tablet device sales forecast to eclipse desktop sales in 2013, and cloud-based computing models growing at a rapid rate, it is easy to foresee a post-pc world where a focus on the desktop is replaced by a new model where the workspace uses communications and collaboration software that runs on any device, any place and on any network. The new workspace model will enable communication and collaboration in ways that were simply not possible in a client/server desktop world, and in the process will create new opportunities for innovation, productivity and cost savings. Consider in more detail the technologies involved: 1. Universe of devices for collaboration. The business impact of the growth of mobile devices cannot be overstated. Phones capable of voice and text messaging and in some cases mobile have long been popular, but with the introduction of the Apple iphone and the Google Android mobile OS, a new category of devices designed for accessing the internet and collaboration appeared almost overnight. The market penetration statistics are staggering: Over 100 million Apple iphones sold to date. Over 10 million Google Android devices activated each month. Around 20 million Apple ipads sold to date. Unlike traditional desk-based PCs, this new class of mobile devices came equipped with all the capabilities required to enable people to richly communicate and collaborate with each other such as cameras, high-quality LED screens, Wi-Fi and emerging fourth-generation (4G) network connectivity, as well as software to maximise battery life. 2. The enterprise becoming social. The mobile device-led change to corporate IT has a parallel in the adoption of social software in the enterprise. The incoming generation of workers have grown up using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and wikis, and they expect to be able to use these same tools or their equivalents in the workplace. However, this shift from hierarchical enterprise content management and based communication, to community-built expertise and dynamic, decentralised interactions means another profound change for IT to reconcile with their traditional systems and policies. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

4 National Computing Centre Traditional corporate standard provisioning approaches are increasingly challenged to accommodate this new requirement. 3. Video becoming pervasive. Again, the value of business video as compared to voice or documents alone is increasingly being recognised as a means to improve service and save cost. And not just in traditional areas such as video conferencing and training, but in such applications as remote healthcare and banking, live problem resolution in manufacturing, global interviewing in HR, virtual receptionists and many others. Forecasts predict that by 2015 mobile video data traffic will represent two-thirds of all mobile data traffic, up from half at the end of 2010 (Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2010). As with social software, the new generation of workers will expect video to be an integral part of collaboration at work. 4. Rise of the cloud. The ability to take advantage of public clouds for common collaboration capabilities such as , instant messaging, web and video conferencing, and even complex business applications is further reducing the cost of software by exploiting the economies of scale in operations that most individual companies could never achieve on their own. Again, these cloud-based solutions are often made available globally, allowing IT organisations to provide remote and distant workforces with collaboration tools in ways that would not have been possible without the significant costs associated with building and maintaining a regional or local data centre. New workspace The new workspace created by these trends has natively provided a breadth of communication and collaboration modes including presence, messaging, voice, video and web conferencing capabilities. For example: Video ranges from a high-definition one-to-one video call on a mobile device through to fully immersive room-based telepresence experiences that join together multiple people from multiple global locations. Messaging ranges from basic one-to-one text messages on a mobile phone, through widely networked and voic systems, to high-definition video messages that are stored and shared widely through the cloud to any device type. Conferencing ranges from person-to-person desktop sharing, through scheduled team meetings that draw on audio, video and data-sharing bridges and global conferencing resource pools, to live meeting broadcasts that reach thousands of users simultaneously. Post-PC era Many organisations are recognising that with this kind of improved communication and collaboration, they will innovate more effectively. According to IBM s 2011 CIO Study, internal collaboration and communications is the number four priority for CIOs over the next three to five years. The CIOs who responded to the survey were asked where they will focus IT to help their organisations strategy. Nearly three out of four expect changes to their internal collaboration processes to have high transformative potential for their organisations. 4 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

5 Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) is fast becoming a serious business imperative and many organisations are recognising the benefits that UC&C brings to their business. These include operational and communications cost reduction, improved employee productivity and competitive advantage. The most effective collaboration occurs within project teams. Whether the business objectives are innovation or operational excellence, delivering the best results can only be achieved by enabling a diverse group of experts to work together. This is difficult enough when teams are based in one geographical location; all too often the right expertise may be based across the globe, making it difficult and costly to bring a winning team together. But knowing where to start with UC&C is still a real challenge understanding which technologies offer the most value and which employee groups to target. This Guideline examines: The technologies involved in UC&C. The possible benefits of UC&C. How best to implement UC&C. The barriers to adoption you might face and how to overcome them. Part 2 Technologies involved in unified communications & collaboration The scale of opportunity presented by UC&C is reflected in the range of technologies that it encompasses. But this technology range is also part of the problem for organisations seeking competitive advantage from UC&C it makes it more difficult for companies to co-ordinate their activity across this whole communication and collaboration space. Unified communications As described on Wikipedia, unified communications technology seamlessly integrates multiple modes of business communications. This includes real-time communication services such as instant messaging, chat, telephony, video conferencing and data sharing; integrated with non-real time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voic , , SMS and fax). Unified communications (UC) is a set of products that provide a consistent user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types. UC enables individuals to send a message on one medium and receive it on another for example, you can receive a voic message and choose to access it through or a smartphone. If the sender is online, you can reply immediately through text chat or video call; or via a non-real time message that can be accessed through a variety of media. Unified communications fosters collaboration (hence UC&C) and can include any of the following: Online chat virtual discussion platforms which manage real-time text messages. Internet forums also known as message boards or discussion boards, which manage online text messages. Instant messaging. Telephony. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

6 National Computing Centre Video conferencing telecoms technologies which allow two or more locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. Web conferencing. Application and document sharing and document revision control. , faxing and voic . Wikis websites or intranets that allow users to collaboratively create and modify content via a web browser or text editor. Web publishing. Electronic meeting systems (EMS) web-based, any time, any place systems that accommodate participants who are dispersed across several locations. Part 3 Benefits of UC&C Given the range of technologies involved in UC&C, how and why should organisations develop a strategic approach to their use? What are the potential business benefits? UC&C systems often boil down to this: they are the next best thing to being there. They bring together business-critical people (wherever they are located) more quickly and cheaply than using traditional methods. And people are often brought together visually with more impact so-called telepresence. Creating this instant communication and collaboration can produce the following productivity benefits: 1. Improved process efficiency and greater business agility. 2. Scaling of valuable people assets and improved productivity. 3. Accelerated time-to-market. 4. More effective supply chain management. 5. Scaling knowledge and improving decision making. 6. Greater customer intimacy and retention. 7. Talent management better work/life balance and attracting and retaining the best people. 8. Cost reduction and business consolidation. 9. Supporting corporate social responsibility. 10. Business continuity, including disaster recovery. Let s examine these in more detail: 1. Improved process efficiency and greater business agility. For businesses to remain competitive and responsive to change, it is essential that their distributed teams and extended supply chains can communicate effectively, to ensure good decision making, efficient processes and regular collaboration. Organisations need to innovate in order to become competitive, enabling people to accomplish objectives faster, more easily or with fewer resources. Senior managers recognise that their businesses are a collection of connected processes and, to be agile, those processes must frequently be realigned or reconnected. An agile organisation aims to continuously improve key business processes and adapt them to its changing circumstances. 6 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

7 When an effective communications strategy is implemented to support greater business collaboration, significant benefits can be achieved. The integration of visual and non-visual communications with business processes enables a higher level of performance by breaking down geographic barriers so that all team members can be included in the decision-making process. Being able to communicate visually builds stronger corporate identification, teamwork and trust increasing team efficiency and improving business continuity. 2. Scale your most valuable assets your people and improve productivity. Any organisation is only as good as its people. Every staff member, with the knowledge and experience they hold, is a valuable business asset. Enabling people to be consulted whenever required, and to be more easily involved in vital decision making, can transform business processes. Individuals can be made more accessible to the rest of the business through the use of collaborative communications. At the same time, this can help generate loyalty and improve the working environment of key staff, by significantly reducing business travel which has a significant impact on the individual. All this enables organisations to protect and retain these valuable human assets. By offering all employees more flexibility and greater choice in terms of how and when to work and how to collaborate, organisations can become more efficient. UC&C also enables people to immediately find and communicate with colleagues and partners, regardless of their location. This results in the ability to solve customer issues more quickly in real time, and to develop increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, whilst also reducing staff frustration. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

8 National Computing Centre 3. Accelerate time-to-market. Sales in the first few months after a new product s launch can be the major determinant of its overall lifecycle profitability, and this is particularly true for hightech products and services. New market entrants put downward pressure on prices and erode profits, so the longer a company can steal a march on its competition, the longer it can maintain premium pricing and recoup investment costs. Organisations that understand the strong relationship between time-to-market and profitability typically achieve superior financial results. For example, a leading pharmaceutical company was able to achieve almost 3.2 million in additional revenues by reducing time-to-market by one month for each of the four products it developed annually, based on an average of 26,500 earned per day per product. How? With heavy use of telepresence and video conferencing, which enables dispersed teams to collaborate easily, solve problems, speed up co-ordination and ultimately deliver faster time-to-consensus. Again, New World Fashion a small clothing manufacturer that supplies Primark, Next and Asda uses telepresence and video conferencing for regular client meetings and to enable its designers to manage production in Pakistan and Vietnam. This has reduced the company s average development time by two weeks and cut travel spend by 30,000 a year, delivering a more rapid return on investment. By improving internal and external communications, organisations can introduce products and services to market more quickly and so avoid, or at least delay, competitive pressures which may ultimately force lower prices and decreased margins. 4. Achieve more effective supply chain management. With supply chains accounting for 70% of a manufacturer s costs, there is an urgent need to develop a more cost-effective approach; one which improves real-time collaboration and so shortens product development cycles. The team-oriented structure of modern organisations means that decisions often require insight and approval from many different sources and the ability to instantly collaborate with remote teams, whether colleagues or suppliers, is essential to improve time-to-market. A UC&C-enabled supply management process can quickly involve key individuals, to escalate the cycle of problem solving and incident management globally when required. If, for example, suppliers can meet their distributors, customers and other suppliers using instant and/or visual electronic communications methods, it allows for face-to-face information sharing and rapid understanding, which only occurs when two operations are working side by side. Customers, colleagues, suppliers or partners can all collaborate far more effectively if they are all but in the same room, looking at the same presentation, product or document, all at the same time from anywhere in the world. The maxim which states that the majority of a product s costs are determined by decisions that occur very early in the design phase is a well-understood aspect of product development (Gary Cokins, Activity-Based Cost Management: Making it Work; 1996, McGraw Hill). With UC&C, the expertise within a company s supply chain can be integrated more easily during the early design phase of product development, supporting frequent real-time collaboration with key individuals who have the expertise to contribute during this critical phase. 8 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

9 Such communication ultimately leads to better supply chain management and reduced time-to-market, which is why manufacturers and retailers like Arcadia Group, All Saints, IKEA and Poundland are already using this type of business tool. 5. Scale knowledge and improve decision making. Inefficient communication wastes an estimated $297 billion each year in the US alone for example, through time spent travelling, waiting for materials to arrive, or trying unsuccessfully to explain complex issues over and voice. Business success is driven by the quality of decision making and skilful execution against those decisions. Both of these things are dependent on quality communications. For example, international development charity, VSO, uses a managed video conferencing solution to improve collaboration whilst scaling knowledge between international teams. Video conferencing systems from Cisco installed in Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines and the UK allow VSO to better co-ordinate the recruitment and placement of volunteers in some of the world s poorest communities, and provide a superior platform for training and human resources. Uzma Kazmi, systems manager at VSO, explained: Having face-to-face communication is proving increasingly important. Recently, one of our medical teams delivered training by video and was able to interpret facial expressions to know that one of the country teams had not fully understood it. She added: Without visual detail, they would not have immediately addressed the issue and overcome the language and cultural challenge. 6. Provide greater customer intimacy and retention. It s a well-known fact that people buy from people ; and there s no better way to enhance personal relationships and develop long-term mutually beneficial associations than through regular and face-to-face interaction. UC&C systems enable client-facing staff to meet their customers in person, without the physical, financial and time constraints of travel. An ordinary phone call cannot provide the same interactive capabilities the visual dimension and the body language is missing. However, a video call can be ad-hoc, unscheduled and facilitated within seconds. Technologies like telepresence and video conferencing bring greater impact, focus and persuasiveness to conversations, and increase trust between partners, suppliers and customers. Research sponsored by Harvard Research shows that more than 50% of human communication is non-verbal. So providing a more natural interaction helps build trust and empathy. Having the right visual tools enables all teams, especially those which are culturally diverse, to bond more quickly. 7. Talent management. UC&C can affect personnel management in two key areas, as follows: Staff retention. Employee expectations are changing and organisations need to compete for the best staff by providing a workplace that offers an acceptable work/life balance; with less travel and more options to work from home and remotely. Travelling all day for a two-hour out-of-town meeting means sacrificing business and personal time and can add additional stress through traffic jams, other delays and unscheduled interruptions. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

10 National Computing Centre Using UC&C software for remote meetings, or working from home and avoiding the rush hour traffic, means employees can maintain a healthy work/life balance while also saving costs, improving productivity and protecting the environment. A recent study among business travellers revealed that more than half suffer negative impacts on their life, sleep and general welfare. Here, UC&C provides a compelling argument for quality of life. This may seem like a soft ROI factor, until you consider the effect of employee happiness on an organisation s costs. People are a highly valuable asset which grows in value over time, since an individual employee s experience, talent and corporate value increases with length of tenure. Yet as people mature, they are less willing to sacrifice personal time for the job for example, for business travel or commuting. So, this pool of talent is attracted to, and must be retained by, organisations with more efficient and flexible working practices. Staff recruitment. The use of UC&C technologies as recruiting tools is common in large and small corporations. There are thousands of public video conferencing rooms available for rental throughout the world to enhance internal recruiting efforts. The cost to a US company of physically transporting a candidate for an interview is estimated to be around 1,000. This figure includes airfare, one-night hotel stay, costs for food, taxis, airport parking and all other hard travel costs. In contrast, room rental for a public, ISDN-connected video conferencing system typically runs to about 200 per hour. According to an Aberdeen Group report, for strategic hires, companies report an average time-to-fill duration (from requisition to offer acceptance) of 13 weeks. After implementing video conferencing, companies saw significant improvements in their time-to-fill, retention rate and their total cost per hire. 8. Cost reduction and business consolidation. The economic slowdown has forced companies to put capital expenditure plans on hold or cancel them altogether, and to focus more on operating expenditures as they try to do more with less. This has involved cutting jobs and other ongoing expenses, while attempting to maximise the lifetime value of customers and continuing to deliver a consistent or higher level of service because customer service leads to increased profitability. UC&C provides the ability to save significant costs by replacing huge amounts of unnecessary business travel, yet empower organisations to meet more frequently with more customers, thus enhancing customer service at lower overall cost. 9. Corporate social responsibility. Organisations are under increasing social and legislative pressure to consider the environment and shrink their carbon footprints, by travelling less and by finding smarter and cleaner ways to do business. It has been estimated that if all commercial air travel was grounded for one day, approximately 41,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions would be prevented from entering the atmosphere. In those parts of the world where strict penalties are being imposed on companies for emissions, reduced energy emissions can be translated into real bottom-line savings. UC&C technologies have been calculated to be capable of delivering savings in both CO2 emissions and energy consumption and can legitimately be held up as a silver bullet solution. As more companies use UC&C solutions, and are able to seamlessly connect with other companies that can do the same, the overall environmental benefit increases. 10 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

11 10. Business continuity. The increased frequency of business continuity issues whether it s snow or flooding, a pandemic outbreak, transport strikes or other threats has caused many organisations to reassess their disaster planning. Flexible and remote working practices play a pivotal role during periods of challenged business continuity, and more businesses are protecting themselves against the financial risks by modernising and becoming professionally equipped with the infrastructures, technologies and processes to facilitate remote working. In practice, these communication technologies can: Reduce physical exposure to illness and protect the wider workforce from spreading infections. Prevent employees being stranded by transport disruption. Maintain productivity when employees are unwell or caring for a sick relative. Maintain face-to-face communications with many different organisations and distributed teams. Record, archive and streams video meetings that were missed by key attendees. Part 4 Implementing UC&C Many organisations will be using UC&C for some of its features but they won t have deployed it fully throughout their organisations, or still need to integrate more advanced workloads like the video and voice capabilities. And simple and effective as UC&C is, a few common pitfalls can seriously hamper its rollout and adoption. Case study: Microsoft benefits from UC&C Microsoft provides a number of UC&C technologies to its 3,000 UK employees and managers, demonstrating how the technology can work in practice. Microsoft recognises that work is what we do, not somewhere we go. People can work at home, or at a relative s house while they care for them, and perhaps check-in to a vital meeting while on holiday. This can mean people save precious time by not travelling, and can choose how much of this extra time to devote to their careers or personal lives. The benefits to an employer are also clear reduced permanent office space, with the environmental and cost benefits this entails. Taking this approach has enabled Microsoft to recruit talent from across the UK without requiring employees to move within range of its offices, and to employ staff who may have caring or other commitments that preclude a normal 9-5 work day. Unplanned events like snow or the recent ash clouds from Iceland have also had less impact than they would if all staff had to be in the office. Travel expenses are reduced and each time a Microsoft employee books to go somewhere, the carbon cost of this is displayed, as well as advice on how to use UC&C tools to avoid the trip. This produces environmental benefits as the company pursues its goal to be carbon-neutral. Reducing travel also relieves over-stretched rail and road networks. Microsoft recognises that the downside to this new world of work is that employees may feel they are hard done by or left out when they aren t at work, and not everyone can adapt to remote working, while of course managers lose some visibility of what their staff are doing. The company feels the key to success is not the technology, it s about trust between employees and employers and this requires good direction from managers to stop staff from burning themselves out, and to respect when people have dropped off the grid for personal time. It also requires employees to be good at their own time management, to balance their work and personal lives. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

12 National Computing Centre These can easily be avoided. To achieve this, here are seven key actions for supporting your UC&C environment: 1. Understand what UC&C is capable of, and how it can support your business objectives and processes. Most organisations are familiar with some form of UC&C, such as instant messaging or presence. But they may not have kept up with the general direction and latest developments of today s UC&C technologies. Nevertheless, the level of awareness is rising steadily as a large amount of knowledge and activity around UC&C is being pushed into the market by vendors and their partners. Confidence in the maturity of UC&C technologies is also growing. As this develops, so deployment and adoption speed up, and organisations may quickly gain a competitive edge as their business processes become more streamlined, with all the cost and efficiency benefits this brings. As this is a strong technologydriven trend across the world, large businesses simply cannot afford to be left behind. 2. Understand the complete skills requirement for deploying UC&C. When traditional vendor products enter new or unfamiliar areas of technology, you need a broader range of skills to implement them, the scope of which may not be immediately apparent to everyone. UC&C is a new departure for the typical systems integrator in the sense that it breaks into the communications space, so it requires video and voice skills that haven t traditionally been found in the vendor s partner channel. Organisations should spend time and effort carefully identifying partners who have the right set of skills. When there s a high demand for a particular capability or competency, many systems integrators try to fill that gap as fast as possible, without really having the right expertise or experience. So what we re seeing is that integrators who may have solid skills in some areas are trying to cross-skill their engineers to meet the demand. But they re often unable to bridge the gap effectively. It s crucial to identify partners with real UC&C skills, knowledge and capability, summarised in their relevant certifications, plus actual UC&C deployment experience. For example, take the recent case where a business deployed UC&C, but the solution wasn t working properly. The company struggled with drop-outs, talking to the PSTN externally. This influenced all outgoing communications to third parties and customers. The organisation then asked for help from an inexperienced systems integrator, who eventually recommended the rewiring of an entire building. Yet after this was done, the solution still didn t function as it should have. Dimension Data eventually became involved and determined that the SIP trunking hadn t been configured properly: a very simple issue. The problem was fixed within minutes, whereas the client had been struggling for months before that point, spending money on a range of unnecessary fixes. The previous integrator simply didn t understand SIP trunking or voice, which is required to troubleshoot effectively in the UC&C environment. It may also be worthwhile considering UC&C as a cloud-based service, rather than a hosted on-premise solution. The question is, when is it appropriate, and for which organisations? It may not be a relevant choice for everyone, but could be considered as another deployment option, not only removing some of the 12 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

13 complexity of the deployment itself, but also offering a convenient first step on the journey towards cloud computing in general. 3. Understand the full spectrum of technologies that a UC&C implementation will need. Deploying UC&C has implications across the entire IT ecosystem requiring you to consider issues such as optimisation via video conferencing systems, voice gateways, specific voice appliances and handsets, service providers or carriers for SIP trunking, and so forth. It is about understanding the whole infrastructure connected to the solution which eventually makes it work harder and better. So consider whether you know enough to make the right choices around all these options, or whether you still need to gather more information, working with the various suppliers. Do this even before you ve started deploying UC&C, in order to determine the best configuration that will optimise your solution. You don t want to leave the decision about the right service provider to provide SIPtrunking to the last minute. It is important to think holistically about the whole deployment as this can influence its wider adoption. If the system is unreliable for whatever reason, no-one will want to use it. 4. Consider the impact of, particularly, video on your whole network and organisation. Many companies adopt UC&C fairly well for presence, instant messaging and even voice, but they stop short of opening up its video capability for all employees. This is because they re not sure what the impact will be on their corporate network. If video is to be deployed widely, an upsurge in its use can clog the network if there s insufficient capacity. But then if video is hardly useful because of network issues if it appears sluggish or intermittent it will simply not be adopted widely and the entire video rollout will be wasted, with a low return on investment. Video, in particular, must be implemented in a carefully controlled way. It s a mental shift for many organisations. People still regard video conferencing to be elite in nature, as it often hasn t been democratised throughout the organisation. We think conservatively of video conferencing as a camera in a dedicated room that should be booked, whereas these days video communication can take on a variety of formats, all used for various purposes and in various circumstances. Employees sometimes forget, or aren t even aware, that they can make a video call from their desktop and mobile device. Also, it s sometimes about maximising the investments you ve already made, such as in video conferencing units, before you implement easy-to-use desktop integrated video, which may prevent earlier devices from becoming white elephants. 5. Segment your end users understand who needs which capabilities within the organisation. One of the most powerful aspects of UC&C is its flexibility and mobility: it s useful whether you re working from the office, from home, or wherever you are. You can have your UC&C client on your PC or laptop or tablet. Employees who are frequently on the road can benefit from using UC&C for voice and video, whereas most others can do with just presence, IM and screen sharing. So it s possible to segment your users accordingly. Over time, you can start phasing out desktop phones, and move more towards laptop and tablet-based Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

14 National Computing Centre communications. But it makes most sense to divide the user groups and then roll out the full capability first to those who would benefit from it most, followed by a slower, phased deployment to the rest of the organisation. Having said that, exciting, useful new functionality has a way of going viral, so you ll soon find employees insisting on having the full suite of capabilities available to them, no matter who or where they are. So another approach might be to offer full capability to those who specifically apply for it, and the more basic suite for the rest. 6. Plan upfront how you re going to support the UC&C function. You want your UC&C solution to be well-supported, to avoid challenges with adoption. However many organisations won t deploy UC&C unless they ve put a support contract in place first. So you need to identify the appropriate support partner, then work together to create an environment that s easy to support for all concerned. In other words, use well-certified components and well-understood parts for your UC&C ecosystem. This will make it easy to fix when it breaks, or when it s underperforming. Choose the same gateways, rather than a variety of them, and only allow certified technology. You may also need to give thought to finding support partners who can offer either managed video conferencing services to look after your video endpoints, or even managed UC&C services that can take care of the entire UC&C ecosystem on your behalf. 14 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

15 7. Don t forget about adoption. A classic mistake is to deploy the full set of UC&C capabilities throughout your organisation, but then people only use a small part of the solution s full potential. This suggests you re not getting the full return on your investment. The last thing you need is to spend time and effort deploying UC&C, only to find that employees use it in the way they ve always used the old PBX. UC&C really has the potential to change the way people work. That s one of the key reasons why many organisations deploy it in the first place: because it s not simply a technology upgrade it s a new way of collaborating. However, to realise this potential you need to demonstrate compellingly how it could be used to make your employees lives easier. You can measure adoption and use through monitoring tools, but this needs to be driven through awareness and training. The idea is to build critical mass: once the majority of your workforce use UC&C to its full potential, the faster and easier the adoption will be throughout your organisation. It s human nature. But it s also advisable to partner with an organisation that s able to take lessons learnt from other deployment and adoption programmes, and can advise you on the best way forward to drive better and wider use of UC&C in your business. Part 5 Overcoming the hurdles to UC&C The difficulties around unified communications and collaboration are illustrated by an industry joke: if you asked 10 professionals what their definition of unified communications was, you would get 12 different responses because the first two people would change their mind after hearing all the others. For a technology concept that has so much to offer, unified communications has taken a long time to catch on. The term was first heard around the mid-1990s, yet the concepts including seamless integration of voice, IM, presence, video, etc have been locked into the state of being introduced for the last 20 or so years. So if UC is as compelling and transformative a technology concept as everyone says, why has the adoption been so patchy? The answer is due to the hurdles organisations need to jump over in order to deploy it: Hurdle 1: Impact on network performance. Just as consumer traffic will soon be dominated by video, global business communication will also be video-led within a short time. Adopting the necessary technology isn t a matter of if but when. As such, perhaps the biggest issue facing technical teams within companies who are committed to adopting the latest video conferencing and telepresence technologies is network availability and performance. To overcome this hurdle: Whether it is desk-based video, meeting room video or fully immersive telepresence, each type of video traffic places its own demands on the network. You need to carry out network performance optimisation in order to prioritise all network traffic and ensure performance of all applications. This will often minimise or even negate the need to buy more bandwidth. Again, your UC&C provider should be willing to work with you to plan the allocation of resources and bandwidth to cope with the new demands on the network. Network performance optimisation tools will help speed up overall network performance, provide a good return on investment and help network teams manage bandwidth better. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

16 National Computing Centre You may need to review your WAN strategies and consider new architectures to supplement your existing network. Only with this type of broad-range thinking will you be ready to cope with the inevitable growing demand for bandwidth. The latest research suggests business data traffic on the overall IP backbone has expanded by 60% in just 18 months. Hurdle 2: Silos. At any medium-to-large organisation, the odds are fairly good that a successful UC&C strategy will cut across some departments that have never worked well together and have no desire to start now. These can include network services, desktop support, voice communications, video conferencing, multimedia, facilities, event planning and a host of others that would be obvious to no-one. Each of these silos may be run by individuals who have no desire to change the status quo. After all, if a successful UC&C vision is implemented, there will probably be significant savings achieved through a consolidation of redundant parts of the team. These individuals can easily see that UC-driven improvements might put their own jobs at risk and/or diminish the size of their responsibilities. We have seen departments at firms spend months spinning their wheels in order to make progress with UC&C, only to see it shot down at the end because a gatekeeper in an affected other department refuses to allow some change with the result that nothing gets accomplished. To overcome this hurdle: The vision of what a successful UC&C implementation can bring needs to be understood by key people in IT and/or organisation management above these silos and their gatekeepers. Only with the buy-in and support of a champion who has the authority to make the silos comply with efforts that cross traditional boundaries, will a UC&C implementation achieve success. The champion must understand that this support has to go beyond the project initiation phase. At some point there will be one or more tough decisions cutting across the silos that they are the only person who can successfully push them through. This champion must be prepared to ruffle some feathers to achieve results. Hurdle 3: The weakest link. This should seem ridiculous to everyone, but all too frequently organisations choose to invest lots of money on new UC&C technologies, including voice and video components, only to make a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision to scrimp on the outlying components. Why would anyone risk such a substantial investment by relying on the free public internet as the network, or by selecting the cheapest available voice headsets? To overcome this hurdle: A UC&C deployment is only as good as its weakest link. Make sure these technologies travel over a robust network. Selecting high-quality headsets is as important as any other part of the UC infrastructure. The cheapest choice in these cases is usually the wrong choice, as none of the prior quality decisions will matter if the communication doesn t make it all the way through to the user. An organisation s investment in UC&C is only as good as the investment it makes in any one of its components. Hurdle 4: Usage and adoption. Many a product has failed because the developer thought it was just so cool that everyone would flock to using it. The reality is it doesn t happen that way. Just because the technologies have been implemented, doesn t mean that employees 16 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

17 will start using them. People tend to keep doing what they ve done all along. In physics this is referred to as inertia. How many This room is reserved for XXX signs have we seen taped to conference room doors at organisations that now have an online room reservation system in place? Maybe that room s user knew of the reservation system, but did their administrative assistant? Did the facilities team who set the room up know of the new system? To overcome this hurdle: To change habits and get people to adopt and use a UC&C solution no matter how easy or cool it is you need to develop and implement a detailed usage and adoption plan. This should include pre-launch announcements, user input/feedback methods and collateral materials developed for each class of user. And just to be clear a pre-launch announcement doesn t mean putting it on the organisation s intranet site on the Friday before a Monday launch (not that that ever happens of course). If the users don t feel they ve had input into the new process and system, they will be much less likely to adopt it. Conversely, if focus groups have been held asking the users what their opinions are, these users will be much more likely to feel a sense of ownership for it once it is in production. Hurdle 5: Metrics and targets. Once a broad new technology is launched at an organisation, management begin to ask questions about adoption and ROI. Is 25% utilisation good? Is 50%? Is there a specific meeting or travel habit that is targeted for change and/or productivity increase? What benchmarks have been established to measure against? The wrong time to start trying to work out the definition of success is after an implementation has begun. To overcome this hurdle: You need to develop and agree specific adoption targets tied to marketing and release time checkpoints, before the introduction of any UC&C technology. You also need to agree the calculations to measure ROI in advance. Then, as the implementation moves along, you can measure progress against these pre-determined goals and benchmarks. If the project is on track, it should proceed as planned. If it is not achieving the desired metrics, then a pre-determined set of actions designed to give it a boost should kick in. And none of this should be handled as an ad-hoc decision during the implementation. Hurdle 6: Ongoing support. All too often, organisations introduce a technology without any preparation for downtime and failures. Not everything works all the time. What is the operational plan during system failures? What are the recovery and support processes? To overcome this hurdle: The success of a UC&C deployment depends on having support staff with the depth of skills to focus on all the disciplines required networking, voice, presence, video, etc. This team needs to be able to operate and troubleshoot the integrated environment, and monitor and maintain its stability on a daily basis. This can be achieved using a new inhouse team or a skilled outsourced supplier. Don t assume that your existing helpdesk operation can provide the required maintenance and monitoring of the environment at the skill level needed to reduce or eliminate downtime. Finally...the obstacles detailed here represent the most common challenges, but they are by no means the only ones! Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

18 National Computing Centre Case study: Telepresence conference saves Dimension Data over $45,000 Dimension Data s converged communications line of business organises an annual internal strategy event which usually requires a small number of global stakeholders to converge at a central location. Recently, the pace of change in the market dictated more regular meetings but these were prohibited by the high cost of international travel, the high carbon emissions of long-haul flights and the time wasted in transit. The business decided to test whether a three-day intensive workshop for 16 international delegates, conducted via immersive telepresence, was a productive alternative. The results were better than expected. The conference connected Dimension Data facilities across five international locations: Johannesburg, South Africa (6 delegates). London, UK (5 delegates). Singapore (3 delegates). New York, US (1 delegate). Sydney, Australia (1 delegate). The infrastructure included a high-bandwidth connection, as well as advanced Cisco equipment optimally positioned and configured within immersive telepresence rooms at each location. In comparison with international travel, lower cost is one of the biggest benefits of telepresence. While it may initially be expensive to procure and install the necessary infrastructure and rent the required bandwidth per month, well-utilised infrastructure has the potential to show a strong return on investment. According to Craig Levieux, group general manager for converged communications at Dimension Data, the conference saved over $45,000 in travelling and accommodation costs alone. Given these costs, only a limited number of stakeholders could usually attend. With telepresence, we were able to increase the number of delegates invited, which enriched and enhanced the content of the conference for everyone and increased the value we derived from it as a business, Levieux added. Productivity gains are another major advantage of telepresence versus international travel and this event saved 490 flight hours and 250 transit hours in both work and personal time. All 16 delegates also agreed that telepresence is a more preferable conferencing solution than travel, even though the time zone scheduling presented some challenges. For example, for the delegates in Singapore, the daily session started at midday and finished at midnight. For the Australian delegate, the session started at 18:00 in the evening and ended at 04:00. However, even these participants concurred that telepresence was preferable to travelling. Thanks to telepresence, two important client meetings, one family member s birthday, one family dinner and a son s important hockey match didn t have to go unattended. The personal aspect was hugely valuable to me, says Ian Heard, client strategy director for visual communications at Dimension Data. My wife was eight months pregnant at the time, so I was able to go home every night and make sure she was OK. Another concern for some delegates beforehand was the technical quality of the experience. A normal video conferencing session of this length could be challenging, owing to technology fatigue when image or sound quality is not up to standard, or when the positioning of the cameras in the usual boardroom setting makes body language difficult to read. However, the high-definition, life-sized images and directional sound of telepresence ensured that the experience was as close to real as is possible. Another key feature of telepresence is that it enables direct eye contact among all participants, which supports strong interpersonal interaction. Finally, Dimension Data s sustainability strategy is to reduce travel, energy and waste. The 378,000 kilometres of flight distance saved translated into a 37,800 kilogram saving in carbon emissions. 18 NCC Guidelines 2013 Unified Communications & Collaboration

19 Part 6 UC&C best practice Summing up this Guideline, the last few years have seen dramatic changes in the worlds of unified communications, visual communications, mobile devices and cloud consumption models. Enterprises who once insisted on controlling every aspect of the devices that connect to their networks are slowly succumbing to the pressure of letting people connect from whatever device they own. Secure strategies around BYOD (bring your own device)-enabled networks are being developed and implemented. Many more video conferences will take place not on traditional PCs, but rather on these mobile devices. As a result, the concept of connectivity anywhere becomes more important. The target state is a world where individuals can move seamlessly between the office WAN, public Wi-Fi hot-spots and direct mobile carrier connections while maintaining a connection with full capabilities. Or in a more concrete sense, start a video call at home, continue it as an audio call on the drive in, have it switch to the less expensive wireless network route while they re in the coffee shop, then to a video call again on the display on their desk when they get to the office all without hanging-up and redialling. As organisations look to reduce cost and increase business agility, the concept of cloud computing now offers an interesting service delivery option to achieve those goals. Communications as a service can take many forms, including hosting, endpoint registration, bridging, managed services, scheduling services, concierge services and packaged suites of every combination. Mixed in with these are traditional deployments that are just creatively financed, where end users don t even buy their endpoints, but instead pay a single, monthly invoice for the use of all their hardware and software relieving the end users of any responsibility for the ecosystem that is technically still on their premises. To deal with this new world, here are our key best-practice recommendations: Get out of the silos. Video conferencing and telepresence should be viewed as key components of your UC&C planning. Such technology needs to be considered along with all other aspects of the integrated technologies to reach its potential effectiveness for transforming your organisation. Lead with people, not technology. Stop speaking with industry manufacturers first. All they want to do is sell you a thousand of their shiny, new devices. Speak with your users. Identify true business needs and opportunities, then seek out solutions to actually fit those use cases (instead of trying to find use cases for the product someone has already convinced you to buy). Look for mobile communications to just explode as in become so enormous and prevalent it will make current predictions seem timid. Be prepared for the revolution by following the step above: identify what use cases will be the ones your organisation will support and create a catalogue of those solutions. Look for partner organisations who can help you throughout the entire lifecycle of your solutions strategic advice, design planning, provision of hardware and software, maintenance and support, etc, and all of it with a global reach. Unified Communications & Collaboration NCC Guidelines

20 Since 1966, The National Computing Centre (NCC) has been helping organisations to manage IT processes and systems development, and equip people with the skills to ensure business effectiveness. We do this through a unique membership service that brings together professionals and experts to identify, create and disseminate knowledge and experience across the spectrum of IT issues. The National Computing Centre Limited Norduck House, Moat Lane, Aston Abbotts, Bucks HP22 4NF NCC Guidelines The National Computing Centre Limited Norduck House Moat Lane Aston Abbotts Bucks HP22 4NF Website: Tel: Fax: The National Computing Centre Limited 2013 No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or made available to the public in electronic form or by any other means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of the publisher. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the editorial content the publisher makes no representation and gives no warranty as to its accuracy and cannot accept any liability for any direct, indirect or consequential damage or loss howsoever caused arising out of or in connection with the content of this publication. First Published January 2013


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