A recent study by Nemertes Research found that 77% of companies are considering unified communications (UC) consolidation or have already begun the process.

Businesses are under pressure to do more with less. The days of unwieldy IT estates are coming to a close. With a targeted UC strategy, IT departments can consolidate existing services and communication technology to create a more agile organisation.

As Irwin Lazar at Nemertes rightfully states, UC isn’t a commodity that you buy but rather a business objective. Everything needs to be unified – company culture, technology, people, business objectives.

Unified Objectives

UC is a blend of integrated visual and audio communications technology, virtual concierge services, IT managed services and aligned company culture.

It has, as Lazar writes, been driven by mobility. The ability to work whenever and wherever means technology has reacted to end-user demands but with the business having to keep pace with user expectations, it can be challenging.

Selecting a UC provider is more important than ever before, especially as Nemertes found that, “of those who’ve already picked their consolidated vendor, 41% are going with Microsoft, 29% Cisco, and 12% Avaya.”

There is substantial choice out there, but which is the right option? Do the above match your own UC consolidation objectives? Microsoft Lync or Cisco might be right for those interviewed, but for you?
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Unique IT environments, budget restrictions, legacy equipment and business objectives can make the process painful without any support.

UC consolidation is about choosing the right deployment model to deliver long-term success, but also a provider with the expertise to address the following considerations:

  • Cost – CAPEX or OPEX; Managed, centralised or internal; cloud or hybrid – the right model is the one that aligns with your business aims
  • Risk mitigation – retain flexibility and avoid vendor lock-in, choose a provider that supports your IT choices and business growth
  • Wider IT – the entire collaborative and communications estate is as important as the UC technology you consolidate
  • Managed approach – seriously consider cloud-based delivery models or managed services to lower long-term costs and reduce complexity

Once those demands have been met, there is one final point that requires addressing, which Lazar summaries perfectly – do not rush the process.

He writes, “Remember as well that consolidation doesn’t have to happen all at once. Gather your workers’ primary pain points, establish common themes across worker and collaboration types, and prioritize your consolidation strategy to provide building blocks that address the maximum number of themes.”

Listen to staff and then pursue consolidation cautiously, rushing the process will only result in future issues.

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