Re-Envisioning Enterprise Communications for Today

Enterprises today clearly are facing new challenges with rapidly accelerating technology change coupled with difficult economic conditions and increasing competition. Larger businesses have the additional problem of legacy communications infrastructure -- mostly PBXs -- that no longer fits their needs, and represents significant ongoing expense. New technologies, like cloud and unified communications promise to help, but often just cost more -- and so are deployed slowly. Meanwhile, as everyday work becomes more complicated, and efficiency drops.

What has happened is that human communication itself has reached an inflection point that larger enterprises haven't addressed. The way we work, play, and interact has dramatically changed with the ubiquity of mobile devices and the broad adoption of new apps we use to connect. We don't even think about communication the way we did in the past. If you need something from a colleague, do you reach out with a phone call? Or do you instead use an e-mail or instant message?

This leaves the enterprise with a dilemma. Typical unified communications solutions are offered as large, monolithic mega-packages that propagate a vendor lock-in strategy. They require a multi-year replacement project that costs millions of dollars. This is difficult for a business to justify, creates a widely scoped effort that is challenging to manage and introduces significant risk. Further, it ignores the fact that technology continues to advance rapidly. Indeed, the solution may be out of date by the time the deployment is completed.

A better way to approach such a transformation is to break it into manageable pieces. Instead of trying to justify a single enormous project, the enterprise can start with a smaller project that only replaces the PBXs with equivalent cloud functionality -- at a much lower cost. Once this platform is in place, the enterprise can add other capabilities with independent business cases. These include unified communications, collaboration, and integration into other applications. Smaller projects limit the risk exposure, and create a strong connection between measurable business benefits and the investment required.

Most vendor offers are not structured to allow this approach, but some are. Nokia's Rapport Enterprise Communications product allows the enterprise to replace legacy PBXs with a robust cloud solution that replicates the PBX's functionality -- including all the subscriber features enterprises use for their business processes -- within the current PBX maintenance budget. In addition, the platform relies on open standards, and modern interoperability approaches that allow the enterprise to launch the additional related projects and incorporate new technology as it is invented.

If you'd like to learn more about the communications challenges and opportunities facing large enterprises, take advantage of a free, on-demand webinar, "Modernize Your Enterprise Communications – And Stay on Budget Too!," featuring Irwin Lazar, a VP with Nemertes Research, and Bryan Davies, head of strategy for Nokia Rapport Enterprise Communications, at Nokia. Watch it now.