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CEBP Comes to Life

VoiceCon Orlando 2009 clearly demonstrated how customer and supplier creativity in applying UC to business processes is continuing unabated. In virtually every customer presentation, we heard how new Unified Communications capabilities are enabling business process optimizations--delivering "Communications Enabled Business Processes" (CEBP) solutions. The activity in CEBP is in addition to the many forms of productivity gains and cost savings available from standard UC solution packages.Below are some of the specific examples:

* Duke University is using its new IP Telephony system as a platform to improve health care access and physician interaction in its Medical Center.

* Kraft Foods is integrating mobile, remote and office IP communications into collaborative processes to create virtual teams working both from remote sites and from innovative on-site workstation configurations; results are major savings in travel and facilities costs, as well as faster time to market.

* Karen Bailey, Telecommunications VP at Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia), emphasized that new communications tools had to be linked to business processes improvements in order to justify the investments. She characterized the vendors' communications middleware to enable these linkages as "getting there," and cited a specific investor notification automation example.

* Avaya highlighted the CEBP catalog sales firm Crutchfield that is using Avaya Aura SIP technology to present products and take video agent orders through FaceBook - pretty creative.

* Microsoft had four customers live on stage during its keynote and all of them highlighted the business benefits they were achieving. For example, BT featured an advanced notification application for their mobile managers to accelerate business decisions.

* IBM highlighted collaboration effectiveness, featuring the time to market gains at Colgate Palmolive.

All of these examples, and more, can be seen in the keynote videos accessible on the VoiceCon site.

Even more application richness came out in "Communications- Enabled Apps in Action", a customer executive breakout panel. The executives provided details of applications that have impacted directly on major business challenges or opportunities.

* Steve Margolis, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Office, Orlando Health, pointed to the communications-intensive business process of patient discharge, which had required nursing professionals to make 15 to 25 phone calls per discharge for coordination and notifications. Using a Nortel IVR system with speech recognition capabilities, Orlando Health has automated that process and posts the results to the Health Care Information System.

*Arthur Brant, Director of Network Services, Abilene Christian University, showed how ACU adapted its Alcatel-Lucent My Teamwork system to create a very innovative student application portal for the iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing students to access class schedules, assignments, account balances and campus events. Instruction has improved, too, as students can participate in interactive polls during classes to provide feedback to the professor on their learning progress. Student retention -- and revenues -- are up.

* Wayne Porter, GVP ETI-Network Services, SunTrust Banks, showed a video of the bank's adaptation of Cisco Unified Video Advantage to bring experts immediately into contact with branch office customers to consult on and sell specialize financial products, such as home equity loans, resulting in improved service and revenue increases.

VoiceCon Orlando 2009 certainly demonstrated that both Unified Communications and the advanced UC CEBP applications are important and growing factors in our industry. Thanks again to all the customers for bringing these important examples to us! I am sure there will be more and even better cases at VoiceCon San Francisco 2009, November 2-5, 2009. See you there!