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Speaking to the IT Department about Collaboration Solutions

April 07, 2017

Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) solutions allow customers to unify voice, data, video and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks. When speaking to customers about collaboration solutions, resellers must stress the benefits of improved workforce productivity that comes with employees having immediate access to the right knowledge workers and data; and the ability to make decisions faster and work more productively. UCC customers may often have multiple locations, mobile employees and a requirement for a high level of collaboration. With the assistance of Information Technology (IT), businesses can become more adaptive, flexible and competitive with the adoption of collaboration tools. IT groups often decide to adopt UCC because they understand the cost savings and business process benefits of converged voice, video and data networks. But how does a reseller start the UCC conversation? Here are some tips and examples to get the IT team’s interest:

  • Since the company's IT group can maintain a single network for data, voice and video rather than separate networks for each, IT network management requirements are reduced. Simplified management and configuration tools and end-user self-service configurations also make administration easier.

  • Stress the ability to eliminate time and money spent for moves, adds and changes (MACs) with the move to IP telephony as the foundation for UCC. IT groups will be able to handle MACs internally in a timely, cost-effective manner. IP telephony systems are also typically easier and less costly to maintain than traditional PBX systems.

  • Demonstrate reduced audio and web conferencing costs by showing IT how shifting from a third-party conferencing service to an internal conferencing system based on unified communications can reduce costs by up to 30 percent for participants. In addition, users can set up their own conference calls, freeing up IT to spend time on other projects.

  • Show cost justification for video conferencing. According to one study, 20 to 50 percent of in-person meetings held during a year could be replaced by video conferencing calls, which also tend to be 20 to 30 percent shorter than in-person, face-to-face meetings. The cost of a typical international business trip is $2,818, making the return on investment (ROI) of video conferencing attainable in a short time.

  • Discuss the benefits of reduced phone bills by consolidating lines. Using an UCC solution, tolls can be bypassed if a caller dials someone on the same network, such as a branch office employee. With off-network calls, companies still save because the call transfers from the IP network to the public switched telephone network at the latest possible opportunity. Lease lines in branch offices can often be eliminated, and the cost of adding locations to the network can be reduced. SIP and PRI trunks can be used to consolidate lines, reduce costs and improve functionality.

  • Mobile employees benefit as well. According to one study, 62 percent of those surveyed whose employees used softphone software on their laptops while out of the office on business saved $500 or more on a monthly basis on long-distance and cell phone bills, with an average savings of $1,727 monthly. Sixteen percent indicated that they saved $5,000 or more per month. Single-number reach and integrated mobility solutions can also save money and improve operational efficiencies.

  • UCC, including IP telephony, is basically just another service running on a network so all of the security policies and technologies that enterprises have deployed for their data networks can also protect voice services. Traditional telephone systems have often lacked security measures. Security is one of IT groups’ major concerns.

IT managers will be most interested in UCC when they are demonstrated the value of unified communications and how the technology meets top-level business goals, including ROI. The main point for resellers to convey is that UCC is not just a replacement for the existing phone system and collaboration tools; it also empowers business-process changes for competitive advantage, operational efficiency and cost management.

Do you have questions or comments about how to address IT about UCC? Please feel free to add comments below.