To stay competitive, businesses need seamless technology that allows unified communications and collaboration (UCC) from any device, in any manner (voice, video, chat, etc.) and from any place. In this Q&A Lou Chiorazzi, Vice President of UC&C Solutions Engineering for AVI-SPL discusses important aspects of designing, building and integrating a UCC solution.
Q: Can you give an overview of what the term unified communications and collaboration means?
LC: The term has grown over the years, evolving from voice communications to encompassing everything needed to communicate and collaborate in a business environment. The term comes from unifying all these collaborative technologies to an IP network. The move to the network allows for a lot of innovation and capability around voice, video, presence, and messaging that wasn’t previously possible.
Q: What benefits are there for companies that adopt a UCC solution?
LC: The biggest benefit of UCC adoption is historically cost savings. Unified communications lets organizations use assets or investments they already have in interconnected IT network technology or infrastructure for voice communications such as intercompany toll calling.
Benefits have evolved to enable speed and efficiency in communications such as visual collaboration tools. There’s the existing story around video collaboration saving money on travel, but what video-cultured companies have realized is the competitive advantage gained by enabling more modalities and more accessibility to video that allows for faster, better, and deeper remote collaboration.
Q: There are a lot of UCC options on the market. How does a company go about selecting the right one for their business needs?
LC: What is best for each company is usually very individualized and specific to what investments they have, what cost challenges they have, what opportunities they see in better communications, and what will fit their user constituency best.
The best way to find the right solution is to use a consultative approach with an experienced UCC expert and trusted advisor – one that understands both the AV and the IT world. You want someone who has AV integration plus IT service expertise in designing, building, operating, and maintaining the successful operation lifecycle of both AV and UCC services for an organization.
Q: What types of questions do you ask customers to ensure the right UCC solution for their current and future needs?
LC: You first need to understand the business objectives of the company. What are they trying to achieve? How do they communicate between employees? Is there an opportunity to improve that communication? What technology can they apply to those communication channels? It really comes down to understanding what their communication paths are between each other today, where there is room for improving, where technology can be applied, and what opportunity there is for cost savings or to increase their competitive position. Then, you can build user cases that talk more about the user’s needs.