Barbara Grothe
Barbara A. Grothe, CTP, is a Sr. Consultant with The BAZ Group based in Toledo, OH. She received her CTP...
Read Full Bio >>

Barbara Grothe | August 07, 2014 |


We Must Re-Think the Business Process

We Must Re-Think the Business Process Enterprises need to know the importance of proper planning and preparation when making any technology change.

Enterprises need to know the importance of proper planning and preparation when making any technology change.

As an independent technology consultant, I have been advising clients and giving vendor-neutral options on technology for the past 28 years. In this article I wish to share with you our past experiences of why enterprises need to know the importance of proper planning and preparation when making any technology change.

In the early days of my career it was all about providing an apples-to-apples comparison of PBXs (how each box compared to the other box; how many different feature sets one had over the other; the pros and cons of each, the limitations, strengths and weaknesses, etc.).

Those days have diminished; though we still do comparisons on IP-PBXs, it's more about the convergence of all the technologies. Now the most important driver of change is technology advances and using these to your competitive advantage. We have shifted from mass production to mass customization.

When I first started consulting I read a thesis by Dr. David M. Runge titled, "Using Telecommunications as a Competitive Advantage." How visionary was he 28 years ago? Roll up to 2014 and the title of his thesis is in full swing. We now understand the importance of integrating all business processes for competitive advantage.

The objectives are simple: productive, motivated employees, more streamlined operations and a competitive business advantage. The capabilities that make it possible are here today: open, flexible technologies, high-speed networks and a choice of personal communications devices.

Several elements are converging rapidly. We have replaced aging PBXs to reduce the cost of doing business, streamlined the call center to improve customer service and helped increase employee productivity, or capitalized on collaborative technologies to enable collaboration.

Large and small businesses alike need to recognize the importance of re-thinking the business process. More than just phones or VoIP, now communications is about connecting, communicating and collaborating using almost any device, any media and any method of communications from voice to data to video - virtually any time or anywhere.

I have been forwarding my office line to my cell phone now for the past 7 years. It has reduced voice mail tag and made me more accessible to my clients. Last month I was at a technology symposium in California; one of my clients called to ask a question, and I answered the phone (he thought I was sitting at my desk) and responded to his question immediately, without him knowing that it was 6:00am in California instead of 9:00am when he actually called me. Now the only time clients get voice mail is when I choose to send them to voice mail, such as when I am in a meeting, instead of them getting sent to voice mail whenever I was away from my desk.

We just recently completed a project for a group of doctors in Ohio. After doing my research and preparation for a new system, we were asked to review the present way calls are being answered. We interviewed several employees and made test calls into the system. We reviewed call statistics from the voice mail and Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system and found that the practice was receiving approximately 4,000 calls per day.

However, over the years, the doctors had practically dismantled how the contact center was originally set up and had their individual secretary/nurse answering only their DID calls, instead of the group. From the reports, we observed only a 40% answer rate, so 60% of the time the caller was going to voicemail when all they wanted to do was make a change in their schedule that anyone could have done for them. They were not getting a returned call until the next day due to the load of voice mail messages to be returned.

It was awful. The patients were angry; the employees were stressed and unhappy. I had to tell these doctors that they had to change their business processes. They agreed with me after I explained that I had observed an angry patient who had actually got in their car to drive over to the practice to let them know they had to reschedule an appointment. This would happen up to 5 times per day, where angry patients would drive to the office to speak to someone after stating they could not reach a live person and the system in place was awful. I knew before we put any new technology in the practice that the business processes had to be changed before another step could be made.

Some companies' existing aging communications infrastructures may not support the increased functionality required by ever-changing employee needs and customer demands. Typically, these infrastructures were built in separate environments and have undergone modifications, customizations and upgrades. Most of the time they represent a jumble of different voice, video and data technologies that were never intended to work together but have to do so. Not to mention a hodge-podge of inaccurate phone bills for network costs that don't even match what is actually in place at the business.

We have also found that adding to this different infrastructure problem are the changes that businesses of today are experiencing:

• Doing business with employees, customers, and business partners dispersed around the globe
• Employees are mobile now, requiring new communications devices often with voice, video and data capabilities
• Employees want access to their company's networks anywhere, anytime from any device
• Managers want presence information of the status of employees, i.e. are they in the office, on the phone, in a meeting, on vacation, etc.
• Customers are demanding increased capabilities for communications and collaboration
• Employees want tools that make collaboration easier and more straightforward providing continuous connection and interaction with people, applications and information virtually anytime or anywhere using a range of devices and access points

Here are few steps to get started in understanding your business processes before implementing newer technologies:

• Know your business in detail before developing new specifications
• Sit with key employees to understand how the existing processes work
• Develop team consensus on the root causes of problems
• Provide a means for employees to submit ideas at all levels
• Develop a solid project plan
• Develop a list of well-defined tasks to be performed in a prescribed sequence
• All interfaces or integration expectations must be described in detail

We are just beginning to see what is possible when we re-think our business processes to take advantage of all the technology solutions available today. I hope this article has helped you assess projects in real time and decide whether to alter, abandon, or continue them with a clear understanding of the likely impact on your business.

Even with all these challenges, this is a very exciting time to be in this industry!

Barbara A. Grothe, is CEO and Principal Consultant of Telecom Resources, Inc., an independent IT and Technology Consultant specializing in giving unbiased advice to enterprise clients throughout North America on SIP Trunking, WAN/LAN deployments, Unified Communications applications, VoIP, and Cloud vs Premise. Barbara is a member of the Society of Communications and Technology Consultants International. Her web site is or you may reach her at [email protected].

The Society of Communications Technology Consultants (SCTC) is an international organization of independent information and communication technology (ICT) professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide


August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.