Taking the Headaches Out of a Unified Communications Project

By Lauren Fritsky

Why don’t more enterprises implement unified communications solutions? They perceive the task as being too complicated, according to a recent Computerworld story. There are certainly challenges surrounding adding new communications tools to legacy systems and sourcing multiple technologies from different vendors to complete the totalunified communications package. The good news is there are a few tricks for making unified communications deployment less messy, including prioritising technologies and thinking big with your strategy, but starting small with implementation.

Solve business problems with simple unified communications solutions

Some organisations make the mistake of attempting a complete overhaul of their communications systems. The truth is certain solutions might not make sense for your business right now or even down the line. It’s better to work toward implementing one or two technologies that will solve specific communications issues in your business. For instance, do you want to improve communication for offices or teams scattered around the country or world? If so, video conferencing might be the first solution to target.

Ensure a smooth transition from legacy

Unified communications is, in its essence, a mixed bag of technologies. You need to fit together different components to ensure they can work as a total solution, not to mention you have to integrate these new technologies with your legacy systems. For example, when helping one 1,100-seat organisation located across multiple offices in Australia become more mobile, Datacom understood the enterprise’s old OCS system well enough to enable a quick, smooth transition to Microsoft Lync 2010. It’s important to choose a provider that understands your legacy systems as well as the new unified communications technologies so you don’t end up wasting time and resources.

Roll out in stages

Undertaking a complete unified communications project can add costs in the areas of infrastructure upgrade, management and integration. Building in steps helps you test one piece of the unified communications project with one department or set of users to see where you save money and where extra costs might come up. Phasing the deployment will also help you work out any kinks with the technology and determine if extra training or an enhanced support structure is needed.

Take advantage of project management resources

So your unified communications solution is up and running – but how do you maintain it?

You can take advantage of management tools such as configuration, network and policy managers, which typically provide several different dashboards for operating and monitoring. These tools allow you to monitor the network, track inefficiencies and spot areas in need of optimisation. Having these resources in place can help decrease your unified communications implementation costs and maintenance headaches, especially when using multiple vendors to source your technology. Choosing an IT services firm that provides support for your unified communications implementation throughout the full project lifecycle can also be a worthwhile supplement to leveraging management tools.

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