A lot has changed in the last 10 years since we first started talking about unified communications. Today, the goal of communications is not to unify business processes, but to increase business productivity. We have also seen a radical shift in the expectations from different lines of business and how they use communications. For example, functional groups want an app that delivers what's relevant to them, versus some generic service.
This evolution in communications is really quite profound in terms of infrastructure, application costs and how to actually build a coherent communications platform for large enterprises. Yet, despite these shifts in goals and expectations, unified communications toolsets have not changed in terms of how they're delivered to the market.
In order to remedy this issue, we need to focus on the ability to move from a model of vertically integrated communication services into a platform model – one in which different tools and capabilities can be brought together in different business processes and different applications for managing a workflow.
There are three key steps enterprises must take to move communications forward and provide a framework for voice, video, messaging and collaboration services to all applications. These can be summarized as "cap, adapt and transform."
Step 1: Cap legacy investments
First, figure out what traditional PBX-type services you still require, understand how to manage those in a cost-effective way, and cap legacy spending to free up budget for an environment where you can actually move the organization forward. Then, you can begin the process of turning down PBX silos by deploying full-service telecom network capabilities that include global routing, session management, and fully featured, rich communications services.
Step 2: Adapt to a new approach
To "adapt," you must think about communications capabilities in a new way and decide how they should be provided to your organization. From a delivery perspective, how a service is brought to your end users is changing very rapidly. With the right platform, large enterprises can adapt the tools to meet the needs of the users, rather than having to train the users on how to use the tools.
Plus, the expectation set by consumer apps and BYOD is that technology "just works." Enterprises are constantly asked to deliver similar experiences or allow use of consumer apps, which raises other issues. That's why it's crucial to adapt the communications experience to meet the needs of your teams, clients, and business.
Step 3: Transform your environment
Importantly, you must truly transform, so your environment has the ability to provide communications tools to the varying organizations that require different capabilities with a common back-end infrastructure. This way, when a user is taking advantage of communications inside of application X, Y or Z, they can use their corporate single sign-on and have the same privileges within that app that they do for other network resources.
The ability to build and launch new apps quickly and easily to meet all your mobile, B2B, B2C, and B2E needs drives down the cost of introducing new services, which allows enterprises to be more innovative with the types of services they develop. This is because they can test these capabilities without having to stand up an entire backend. A private cloud-based communications framework allows organizations to transform their communications into a corporate asset that can be built into any service or application and can quickly enhance the user experience through new web-based services and mobile applications.
To thrive in an "any device, anywhere" world, you need an open communications platform, which delivers seamless mobile integration, best-in-class voice and video, rapid service innovation and business-class performance and scalability. Taking a holistic view can allow your organization to remove costly communications silos and move beyond unified communications.