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Applying UC Architecture

Unified Communications projects require the integration of people, processes, information, and technology to be successful. Too many enterprises skip the UC architecture process and go immediately from business requirements to implementing technology. This is rarely successful, since most UC technologies are sold as products that need customization and integration in order to provide a UC solution.

This year at Enterprise Connect, I will be presenting a UC Architecture Framework again. Last year's focus was on how this architecture has come about through the combination of TOGAF, IMS, and Sorell's framework, and how to go about building UC Architecture. This year, we will focus on how to apply this UC architecture framework, and a few use cases. This framework is vendor independent, which enables organizations to fully leverage what they already have and best-of-breed products, versus trying to force a single vendor strategy.

A common cause of a UC project failing can be seen in the case of an organization that has a requirement from senior management to implement high-definition video conferencing and just goes out and selects a product and installs it. The architecture work of who was going to use it, when, where, and why, and what this solution was going to provide over and above existing conferencing solutions, was not done. Scheduling of who could use the solution and when, integration with 3rd party and desktop conferencing and calendaring, and enabling files to be easily shared were not thought through nor documented, resulting in the new video conferencing system being utilized less than 20% of the time.

Two successful use cases which we will be reviewing in more detail in at Enterprise Connect will be:

1) Tripling Sales Close Rates--A contact center that took sales calls used real time analytics to determine the probability of someone buying something and then matched the best opportunities with the best agents and saw their close rates rise from 6% to 18%, which added over $200M in additional revenue in the first year. The second year, they added additional speech analytics, real time reporting, virtual coaching, multi-lingual, and virtual hold, which drove their close rates to 23%.

2) Improving IT MTTR by 150%--An enterprise IT operations center deployed a solution that would alert the right technical people within 2 minutes when a system and/or application failed. The notification went out and the technical staff just needed to click a single button and they would be joined to a web conference that showed the alert, who was on and speaking, SharePoint site for the run books and all information regarding this system/application, and share logs and other information, real-time. Mean Time To Repair of major system/application outages went from 2.5 hours to just under 1 hour.

The mantra for IT Architecture is "design twice, deploy once", which comes from our fellow construction workers who "measure twice, cut once". While this makes sense, most folks want to see immediate results and will try and skip as much of the planning process as possible. For those of you who have ever built or remodeled a home, you know that coming up with that blueprint design is a critical step for a successful outcome. The UC Architecture Framework will help you develop the blueprint for your next UC project and help ensure its success.