The Strategic Business value of Unified Communications

If we look back through Economic history we see examples of how the use of technology could help organisations be more successful in their core business. The smart companies will recognise these as strategic opportunities that can make a real difference to their competitiveness.

Ford and the mass production line, it was the way the line was organised was the key to Henry Ford’s outstanding success, not just the car itself. In the oil industry, it was the transport of oil , Shell Transport and Trade was formed specifically to transport the output of their sister company, Royal Dutch. In both these examples we see companies recognising that their key business required them to have expertise in other areas.

With many companies today their strategic asset is not physical – but knowledge. It is their people that are the key to their success. Developing systems and processes that can harness this knowledge is the most important strategic competitive weapon business has today. And this is why Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) is so vital to business today. It is a technology that can be literally the foundation of a knowledge powerhouse. I have heard of many examples of how it can help customers achieve this strategic advantage here are a few examples…

– Enhance their market reach

It is possible to use Unified Communications (UC) Platform to underpin the communications, of a new start-up or for an established company in a new local market. How often do we see companies try to enter new markets over reach and over commit themselves before they know the conditions of a new local market? Using UC we can build a local presence with very low overheads, but have the appearance of being local. The company has a local presence, local telephone number but with almost no local infrastructure.

– Build centres of Excellence (COE’s ) with a physically disparate group of people

Companies know they get synergy by putting their best people together, they also know a physical re-location causes disruption and removes the local subject matter experts from their local ecosystem. Employees can resist re-location, as they have family ties that keep them in one locality. UCC can help companies strike a balance, use Collaboration Technologies to build a community and leverage the scale of a larger team, but ensure that the local talent pool is not drained in one local area, and keep individuals close to their local customers and communities.

– Get closer to their Customers and their Supply chain

Today we are really seeing a move towards not just Email as a way that companies can keep in touch, but secure channels of communication via Instant Messenger, Voice and Video. The expectation going forward will be that this will BE available, and it will be hard for companies to manage their customers effectively if these tools are not available. The use of public bureau services like, “WebEx”, “Goto Meeting” and “Skype” all demonstrate that this trend has already gathered a pace. A company with its own platform can save money and reduce costs by not being reliant on these public bureau services.

– Extranet

Extranet is a platform that can be used to communicate with partners and close business associates. When combined with UC Federation it can make a powerful collaboration tool for businesses that need to collaborate outside of their own direct organisation

The expectation going forward is that both B2B and B2C communications will become increasing multi-modal, so organisations need to start preparing for this now.

Twitter: @iainb0408

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