Microsoft Unified Communications - Improving User Productivity and Saving Communication Costs Whitepaper
WHITE P APER
Improving User Productivity and Saving Communications
Costs with Microsoft Office Communications Server and
Enterprise Instant Messaging
Sponsored by: Microsoft
Robert P. Mahowald Randy Perry
At its roots, instant messaging is text chat on the desktop, with a sophisticated ability
to display the real-time presence status and communications preferences of users.
Inside a business, deployed by an IT organization, with rich presence information and
integrated into other applications and data sources, it becomes enterprise instant
messaging (EIM). In the past few years, EIM has opened the doors of many
businesses as a new mode of collaboration with its own attributes, beyond email.
The combination of presence and EIM is emerging as a very powerful tool for
bettering the collaboration experience of business users, lowering costs for IT
managers, and creating an integrated continuum between work objects (documents,
presentations, spreadsheets), collaboration modes (Web conferences, voice calls,
video calls, instant messages), and workflow characteristics (scheduling, processing,
brainstorming, editing, approving). Users gain significant advantage in collaborating
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with more information about their colleagues and within the context of their work. IDC
calls these communications-enabled business processes (CEBP), and EIM can drive
more efficiency in these CEBP workflows, reducing the effect of "human latency."
Finally, presence and EIM provide the essential backbone for unified communications
(UC). Figuring out how to unify the communication infrastructure is often the single
biggest collaboration initiative facing IT organizations today. Identity, presence, and
instant messaging are the primary tools that help many firms gain an understanding
of how to build out and support a real-time collaboration system and put them on a
path toward a more comprehensive UC deployment.
To understand the benefits of rich presence and EIM, IDC conducted five executive-
level interviews with different current Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS)
customers that have been using the solution for presence and EIM for between 12
and 36 months. IDC constructed a detailed interview guide to compare end-user
experiences and business outcomes before and after the Office Communications
Server deployment. The result provided IDC with a delta that was built into an IDC
return on investment (ROI) analysis, yielding three key measures: annual benefits,
return on investment, and payback period.