Eight characteristics of successful UC projects

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Intact believes the need for a comprehensive UC infrastructure has become increasingly important as the market returns to recovery, and is being driven by a number of key industry transitions, including increased collaboration, the broader take-up of video within the enterprise, the requirement for virtualised data centres, and the rapid deployment of cloud-based services across the network.

“While business conditions have been tough over the last 12 months, we're seeing an increasing number of organisations that are now investing in technologies such as Unified Communications so that they can be even more competitive as the recovery gathers momentum,” says Tony Butler, CTO at Intact.

“Implemented correctly, UC helps organisations to move towards what Cisco (CSCO) refers to as ‘the borderless network’, however these Unified Communications projects are still extremely challenging and, for many organisations there are considerable risks in taking on such potentially complex projects.

“To encourage successful UC project delivery, we've identified what at Intact we believe are the eight key characteristics of successful Unified Communications projects. Follow these guidelines, and organisations will find that their UC projects stay on track, and that they'll be able to shorten the timescales needed for a successful deployment - allowing them to start enjoying UC benefits across their business even more quickly,” he adds.

Intact’s top eight characteristics for successful UC Projects:

1. Don't underestimate your company's existing communications culture – it’s important to understand exactly how your staff communicate with customers, and each other, before determining your ideal UC infrastructure

2. Get some UC project champions on board – Any next generation communications project will inevitably mean change, and it will be important to have some key users in place who can accelerate employee acceptance as well as support the project through the challenging implementation phase

3. Prepare your environment – You'll need to get some of the core building blocks in place, get a single authorative directory as a source of contacts, make sure it will be able to support your Corporate IM, that your PCs all have the right spec for new UC software, and that you've got the right bandwidth and quality of service to support your network

4. Make the right architecture choices – Are you going to go for a distributed or a centralised architecture many UC technology solutions rely on real time protocols and that can place serious demands on your network

5. Assess your security requirements – SOA is a great integration approach, but when applications are asked to integrate in ways that they never have before then it raises serious security issues that need to be addressed right from the start. Youve got to use all of your existing security functionality, and also make sure you've got the same standards in place for remote users such as home-working agents or mobile experts

6. Find ways to maximise enterprise integration – Today the enterprise is the contact centre, it's important to explore every opportunity to connect your UC-enabled contact centre with all the other parts of the business that feature customer touch-points

7. Ensure that you've got enterprise grade project management driving your UC implementation – UC programmes are wide-ranging and can impact many different parts of the organisation. It's essential to use a serious project management methodology such as Prince 2 to make sure that you can take advantage of all the processes, tools, templates and technologies that can help. You've also got to take any ISO standards or ITIL initiatives into consideration - done wrong, a Unified Communications programme can easily derail your hard-earned certifications

8. Don’t overlook your support infrastructure – The long term success of any Unified Communications project depends on its stability going forward. There are no short cuts here, so insist on contact centre SLAs, think about whether you need 24x7 support, make sure you've got third level support in place, and take advantage of some of the latest software-based remote management and reporting capabilities.


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