Understand costs before jumping on the Unified Communications bandwagon
The trend for Unified Communications (UC) is sweeping the world, with the UC market size expected to triple by 2023, passing the $96 billion mark on the back of growth in BYOD, cloud, virtualisation and increasing acceptance of video as a business communication tool.
Shamit Makan, Head of Business Solutions at Adapt IT, says South African enterprises are considering the opportunities presented by integrating enterprise communication services such as mobile, fixed, web and video under a UC banner. “We see many companies looking at UC solutions now, potentially investing heavily in developing a UC strategy, without having full visibility of their current technology and telecoms environment. UC as a whole makes good business sense, but if companies formulate their UC strategies without understanding their current environments: if the underlying infrastructure isn’t there to support the dream, it’s not feasible,” He cautions.
Before adopting a Unified Communications strategy, organisations must move to understand their current technology environment.
Only when organisations have effective Technology Expense Management (TEM) tools in place to give full visibility into the usage patterns and costs of the existing voice, data and vendor environment are they in a position to strategise around UC, says Adapt IT.
“The decisions have to be supported by accurate data,” says Makan. “You need transactional data: who contacted you, who you contacted, records of the events or communications, and what each transaction cost the company. You must understand how the company currently uses technology and how staff consume services. We often discover when we interrogate TEM data for clients that they do not have visibility into every line item, or that consumption and technology use is not what they thought it was. For example, they may find one cost centre is carrying all the expense in a particular technology; or that all the traffic they thought was being sent via their advanced and costly VoIP system is actually still being sent via legacy systems; or a video conferencing system is not being used because of some small implementation challenge and even more so that technology licenses are underutilized, costing the company unnecessary expense.”
TEM brings information to the fore as to how the technologies and applications are currently being used, and what the associated costs are, He says. “The cost is a direct result of a transaction – so if I download something from the internet, there’s a cost associated with it; if I make a call or send a message, there’s a cost. Companies must be looking at these transactions and asking ‘what will the cost be if I consume this service in a particular way?’ Based on this data, they are then in a position to make informed decisions about UC strategies and the most effective way for the company to move forward.”