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How Well Do You Know Your Communications?


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Almost every large enterprise communications environment is sprawling, diverse, multivendor, and built upon purchase decisions made, in many cases, by previous generations of IT/communications leadership. IT decision-makers often have trouble getting their arms around all of this, even under ideal circumstances. And circumstances are never ideal.
For an eye-opening real-world example, check out last week’s No Jitter post by Denise Munro of CRG consultancy. Denise describes an engagement with a healthcare financial services client that began with a simple question: Why was the company paying 30% more for a cloud service than it had budgeted? The processes ended with a change of providers that not only captured savings, but also positioned the firm ideally to adjust when the pandemic hit (though the timing was a coincidence).
What struck me as I read Denise’s post was how much of the original situation — not just costs but service issues and SLAs — seemed, at the outset, opaque to the IT leadership that initiated the review process. To a great extent, they didn’t know what they didn’t know.
After a frenzied year of scrambling to keep workers connected and collaborating, I wonder how many other enterprises would uncover similar problems and excessive costs. Communications teams have been consumed with the emergency of the pandemic, and most probably have not had the staff or time to plan any kind of ordered transition to the new WFH environment. Routine practices like telecom audits may have fallen by the wayside in 2020, and enterprises may have been reluctant to decommission services even if no longer in use due to the WFH shift — no one really knew how permanent that shift would be, so the safest course had been to stand pat.
Enterprises are looking to 2021 as a year when they will attempt to craft and execute their plans for a new reality — one that likely features more WFH, more video, less telephony, and above all, more flexibility. Though some IT execs will see their budgets increase so they can implement necessary changes, they’ll certainly face pressure to make decisions aimed at reducing costs for services likely to remain underutilized or that are no longer the right fit for the way employees want to work.
Denise’s experiences show that when you turn over that first rock, you may find a lot underneath that you weren’t expecting. That may lead you in directions you hadn’t anticipated. But if like Denise and her client, you respond with a thorough process and clear direction, you may wind up with better services at a lower cost.