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A Practical Approach to Unified Communications

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Articles in Business Technology

Many companies are considering moving to pure IP-telephony systems in order to adapt their business communications, but some IT managers remain wary of the risks and costs associated with ripping out their current infrastructure and taking the IP plunge.

Unified communications (UC) means different things to different people. Examples include unified messaging (UM), fax, email messaging via a single interface, presence awareness, etc. UC systems can do more intelligent routing based on what's on the user's calendar, their presence status, and personal priorities and rules. UC can be overwhelming for many companies, because it is not a single product, rather a solution made up of many components, all of which need to be integrated together in order to work in a unified, seamless fashion.

Using a modular approach to adding UC capabilities enables companies to deploy features as the needs of specific workforce segments and/or individual users dictate.

Based on the experiences of early adopters that have implemented IP-based UC solutions, there are certain practices that enterprises would be wise to follow when migrating to UC:

  • Take baby steps, start with instances that need to be replaced, such as a legacy voice mail system that is reaching end of life, and migrate to a UC-ready or capable system
  • Enable UC capabilities only for those individuals and pockets of users that need the capabilities and functionality, rather than implementing it across the board

Unified communications solutions provide myriad benefits for enterprises and individual users, and provide a bridge between the TDM and IP worlds.

When migrating to UC, enterprises should be able to upgrade existing phone switches, or migrate to IP-telephony, with virtually no disruption to employees and the organization, and no need for retraining.

Marty Parker Marty Parker
Principal, Unicomm Consulting

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ITO Why You Should Consider Unified Communications
Business communications is undergoing a rather dramatic evolution. Today it has expanded to a broader universe of 'messages' which may take the form of e-mails, video clips, faxes and more.