Advancing Unified Communications

By Noel Wong, SVP&CIO, XO Communications

Noel Wong, SVP&CIO, XO Communications

A Movable Era of Hosted Services

Initially, Unified Communications (UC)was conceptualized as a result of the development of interactive voice response (IVR), voice messaging, and e-mail systems. The needto optimize business processes and enable efficient employee collaborationin real time,while employees work from anywhere,has been a key catalyst and driver ofthe evolution of advanced UC capabilities.

“Collaboration…has been a key catalyst and driverof the evolution of advanced UC capabilities”

For example, today employees can work from virtually any location as effectively as working from their office using UC technology. UC features are embeddedinto enterprise applications, includingERP software,to enable seamless collaboration and operational efficiency.As a result, untethered employeescan collaborate with others to complete, for example, apurchase order and manage it through multiple approval levels withinan organization with a few simple “clicks.” Companies understandthat as employees leverage moretechnology into their work routines, they become more efficient and the endresult positively affects the organization’s bottom line.

Collaboration in the Enterprise

As the speed of adopting emerging UC technology quickens, CIOs are under pressure to deliver better tools to simplify work processes for employees so they can be more productive. You will learn that once UC tools are in place, they can easily be adopted to address otherunforeseen needs.Ultimately, UC will fuel momentum within your organization to adopt a more collaborative culture.  For example, we initially needed to incorporate social collaboration as an enterprise tool. We learned that the technology we adopted also helped us improve some of our less structured business processes, enabling employees to work more efficiently.

For Emerging CIOs

As CIOs plan to adopt UC technology for their companies, they should first develop a strategy based on the specific needs of their organization. They should also assess the company’s culture and willingness to adopt change and embrace new technology.  In order to accelerate the process, CIOs should consider leading by example by championing business transformation in partnership with business leaders,rather than simply injecting technology into the workplace.