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Unified Communications For The Midsized Enterprise Wp101109


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Unified Communications For The Midsized Enterprise Wp101109

  1. 1. UNIfIeD CommUNICAtIoNs foR themIDsIzeD eNteRPRIseBEST PRACTICES FOR DEVELOPING A SOUND UC STRATEGYExEcutivE OvErviEwUnified Communications has been the buzzword du joursince 2007, but what does it really mean? More importantly, “Adoption of Unified Communications has risenwhat does it mean for small to medium sized businesses, from 17% in 2007 to about 60% today, and isand how can a business with limited resources and budget projected to increase to 80% by 2011. Thesedeploy UC effectively to capitalize on its many benefits— statistics are true across companies of all sizes.”namely, enhanced productivity, cost savings and flexibility in Source: Nemertes Research, 2009the work environment? This paper takes a look at UC andits components, and examines how midsized companies canexecute a cost-effective, viable UC strategy across their organizations.unifiEd cOmmunicatiOns trEnd takEs OffUnified Communications (UC) can be defined by what it enables. UC allows the integration of any or all communications,collaborative technologies and business applications. It provides presence capabilities to guide users to the mostappropriate means of communications in a given situation, and extends applications to the field and remote offices throughmobility. UC also provides communications-enabled business processes to improve productivity.These capabilities require a number of components—voice over IP (VoIP) technology, IP video, email, presence capabilitiesand user interfaces like the Web, handsets and dashboards, to name a few, as well as comprehensive security services toprotect the data. These components must be deployed and integrated across a robust framework. But don’t assume UC isjust for big guys. Although the idea of a UC framework may seem daunting to smaller companies who may lack resourcesand budget for major infrastructure overhauls, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. The beauty of UC is thatyou don’t have to deploy everything at once, and, better yet, you can leverage much of what you already have.Because of its deployment flexibility, the use of UC in businesses of all sizes is skyrocketing. According to NemertesResearch, adoption has risen from 17% in 2007 to about 60% today, and is projected to increase to 80% by 2011. Andsmaller companies are more likely to implement UC than their larger peers. In fact, 42% of companies with fewer than1,000 employees are implementing UC now, and about 30% are either planning to or piloting UC technologies1. Why arethey so aggressively deploying UC? Because it gives them a competitive advantage. UC allows smaller companies to act likebigger companies, be highly responsive to customers with fewer resources, have immediate and flexible access to data andmake fast and informed decisions, while still maintaining a small-company feel. The end result is great customer servicecOllabOratiOn is thE gOalIronically, the trend toward UC adoption is not driven by IT departments, but by executives and business unit managerswho want more mobility and ease of access from a number of new and different end devices. Fast access to subjectmatter experts, partners and suppliers eliminates phone tag and leads to informed decision making. IT staff knows thatUC solutions can meet many of these needs and create a more collaborative business environment. A collaborativecommunications model empowered by UC enables productivity gains, greater efficiency and money savings1 “SIP-O-Nomics,” by Irwan Lazar, Vice President of Communications Research, Nemertes Research, 2009. Copyright © 2010 Qwest. All Rights Reserved. Not to be distributed or reproduced by anyone other than Qwest entities. 1 All marks are the property of the respective company. January 2010 Document ID# WP101109
  2. 2. What are the key solutions? About 63.4% of companies surveyed by Nemertes use Web conferencing, and 62% use instantmessaging. Other key technologies are unified messaging, desktop video conferencing and room-based video conferencing, orTelepresence. These capabilities can be low-cost; many times they are enabled by features already built into existing systemsand phones, and it’s just a matter of turning the service on.crEating a cOllabOrativE infrastructurEThe foundation for UC is the converged network—indeed, it’s difficult to build a collaboration model withoutit. Convergence enables many of the key UC solutions like instant messaging, unified messaging, presence and videoconferencing. From there, operational, infrastructure and financial considerations will help shape your strategy. For example,do you have capital to invest, or will you use a managed solution to avoid additional equipment expenses? Do you haveexisting equipment that’s new or old equipment that needs to be replaced anyway? Is your infrastructure centralized ordecentralized? UC requires central management structure. Finally, do you have the in-house expertise to operate your UCsolutions, or do you need someone else—either a third party or new hire—to manage it?If you have legacy equipment you may choose to implement Integrated Access, which allows you to leverage and uniteexisting capabilities. If you’re updating your equipment, you should consider SIP Trunk for several reasons. SIP Trunk offers anefficient way to manage the cost of your call volume by aggregating multiple locations behind a single trunk group. It enablesthe expansion of your operations inexpensively by leveraging a single IP-PBX at a main site for new locations by supportingmultiple customer sites on one service. Fortunately, UC can be deployed in many scenarios; there are many options andstrategies that will work, and it all depends on your business requirements.Planning is kEyWhen implementing UC, 80% is planning and preparation. If you have sound initial planning, deployment is likely to gosmoothly. During the planning stages, it’s important to identify key end user functions and business needs and set up successcriteria. Often, success is measured by perceived productivity increases. With UC, every phone call made can be moreproductive, because you have the people and information you need to make decisions, at your fingertips.There are four main business criteria companies use when choosing UC solutions to deploy:1. reliability. Any mission critical business system, such as the phone system, must be reliable. The company providing the solution should be able to demonstrate a long track record of success.2. affordability. A good initial price is important, but the long-term costs are even more important. Features that support upgradability, management and maintenance can substantially reduces overall, ongoing costs.3. Ease-of-use. Any solution deployed company-wide should be easy to administer and use in order to be quickly adopted by staff.4. return on investment. Workplace collaboration offers businesses competitive advantages such as timely and accurate business process integration and more effective communication among their workforce, with customers, and with partners.In addition to these criteria, be sure to account for the size and breadth of your company and get buy-in from would-beusers on both the strategy and the implementation plan.bEst PracticEs fOr dEPlOying ucTo begin transitioning to an infrastructure that supports UC, consider these best practices:• deploy uc in stages. UC comprises many different technologies, and you may not need them all. Ask business unit managers about their specific challenges to determine which technologies to deploy.• have a strategy. Even if you’re not implementing UC universally, understand how each piece fits in with overall strategy. Consider where you want to be 3-5 years down the road, and purchase devices that will accommodate your long-term UC strategy. Copyright © 2010 Qwest. All Rights Reserved. Not to be distributed or reproduced by anyone other than Qwest entities. 2 All marks are the property of the respective company. January 2010 Document ID# WP101109
  3. 3. • Examine your business processes. Consider revising processes to make them more efficient. What possibilities can UC enable?• take inventory. Prepare by performing site surveys and evaluating existing WAN capabilities. Take a close inventory of and document telephone numbers and dial plans, and identify or update current user guides.• follow up. Be sure to communicate new features and the deployment schedule to users. Train and retrain users and follow up to ensure a positive outcome.uc at wOrk in thE mEdium-sizEd businEssHere are a few examples of how UC can improve productivity and reduce expenses in midsized companies:case study 1company: Mid-sized financial companydetails: Four locations, each with its own main number; 50 phones total.challenge: Wanted to create a unified front to outside world and streamline incoming calls to one phone number.solution: Adopted ShoreTel hardware with Qwest services, implemented a single number for all offices. Calls are now consolidated and queued up, and Desktop Call Manager integrates messaging, directory dialing, email functionality to enhance productivity. “Find me” presence capabilities enhance customer service.benefits: The solution’s flexibility enabled Halliday Financial to set up communications processes that ensure optimal phone interaction with study 2company: Morristown Utility Systemschallenge: After deregulation, the company needed to compete in the cables service market.solution: Integrated an Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) using UC solutions from ShoreTel and Qwest to balance the call volume.benefits: Use of the directory integrated with MS Outlook improves user productivity to manage calls and service customers. Receptionists can easily and efficiently process calls and ensure that callers reach the right person. Ease of use reduces phone system management from hours each week to study 3company: School Health Corporationdetails: Medical supply company for 60,000 schools across the country.challenge: To cost-effectively handle the increasing call volume, the company needed to replace its obsolete phone system with a UC solution and establish new processes.solution: Deployed 80 ShoreTel IP telephones, including 40 with ShoreTel’s Contact Center application.benefits: Various locations can login to a queue where calls are centralized. When there’s a surge of calls, at-home and remote workers can access the queue, and office space is not needed to accommodate additional employees. Monitoring and reporting capabilities enhances planning and resource management of individual groups. Directory, history and Find Me features of personal call manager plus Outlook integration minimizes time to identify high priority calls. Ease of management saves resources and time. Copyright © 2010 Qwest. All Rights Reserved. Not to be distributed or reproduced by anyone other than Qwest entities. 3 All marks are the property of the respective company. January 2010 Document ID# WP101109
  4. 4. CoNNeCt. sImPlIfy. eNhANCe. ®with Qwest Business Solutions®Qwest is focused on helping you work smarter, with services that leverage the latest technology and award-winning support.Here are a few solutions that can address the issues covered in this solutions brief:Qwest iQ® integrated access Package. Simplify your voice and data networks onto a single circuit that dynamicallyallocates bandwidth between voice calls and data traffic over an Internet connection.Qwest managed applications. Are you ready for business? Not just open doors—but open for communicationvia e-mail and through Web sites? With Qwest Managed Applications you can select from Qwest Web Mail, HostedExchange®, Microsoft SharePoint®, e-commerce capabilities and storage space at affordable prices.Qwest iQ unify™. Is a managed1 voice and data solution that combines the Qwest iQ® Integrated Access Packagewith the Cisco Unified Communications IP PBX (UC520). It brings together local and long distance voice and data in asingle, affordable platform with an extensive feature set including unified messaging2, auto attendant, and conferencing.managed iP communications. Is a managed CPE-based solution composed of IP Telephony, Voice Mail/ UnifiedMessaging, Wireless LAN, IP Contact Center, and paging.Qwest conferencing. Fully integrates audio and Web conferencing into one intuitive interface, using patentedtechnology to ensure that audio and Web are completely synchronized. Manage your conferences with simple point-and-click commands. All you need is a computer, Internet connectivity and a telephone.why QwEstQwest delivers reliable, scalable data and voice networking solutions, across one of the largest U.S. fiber footprints.Qwest serves businesses of all sizes, ranging from small business to 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies, with industry-leading SLAs and world-class customer service.lEarn mOrEFor more information about Qwest voice and data services for large businesses, visit or call(877) 816-8553 to speak to a Qwest representative. Copyright © 2010 Qwest. All Rights Reserved. Not to be distributed or reproduced by anyone other than Qwest entities. 4 All marks are the property of the respective company. January 2010 Document ID# WP101109