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Unified Teams for Unified Communications

Back in 2008 as I was preparing for UCStrategies's first UC Summit, it became clear that organizational change was needed so that enterprises would be able to better address the adoption and implementation of unified communications solutions. Many UCStrategies enterprise consultants found that the different stakeholders in the decision-making process were not aligned and, in some cases, were actually at odds with one another.

As the market was breaking out from communications silos in which PBXes were essentially stand-alone solutions and moving to environments in which voice had become a UC feature, an organizational dichotomy had appeared. The person or team managing the PBX clung to the notion that moving to a UC solution began with the purchase of an IP-PBX. In the meantime, the person or team managing technology for the lines of business (LOB) was looking for ways to integrate all modes of communications into the business process.

Fast-forward seven years and the same issue and the same silos still exist, and may even have expanded.

Within an enterprise you'll find many teams with competing agendas that need to work together for the common goal of a successful UC implementation. For example, various members of the network, voice, video, A/V, email, instant messaging, social networking, business applications software, and facilities teams all need to pull together to deliver specific UC solutions, yet some of these teams are not even in the technology group. In addition, these folks need to work with LOB and technology groups to develop and deploy successful UC strategies.

In June, I did a podcast with David Danto, principal consultant covering collaboration in the Americas for Dimension Data and the author of the article, "Why Can't We All Just Get Along; Unifying Communications. In the podcast and the article, David discussed the need for organizational change to get the most out of a UC deployment.

David explained how Dimension Data develops a comprehensive UC roadmap, and told me about a recent engagement in which the first five steps in a 20-step plan required change in the business's organizational structure and governance. He described: "They were exasperated that they couldn't achieve their desired outcomes by writing a PO to someone. 'Where's the bill of materials?' they kept asking."

David further explained:

If your organization seeks to obtain the competitive advantages and the bottom-line benefits of UC, a wise beginning is to examine the organizational relationships of the groups that need to participate to achieve the goals. An external resource, such as an independent consultant or a solutions integrator with the vision and the change management expertise, may be a very helpful or even essential guide for such a transformation.