There has been a significant amount of technological convergence in the enterprise recently. Much of this has to do with the changing nature of consumer devices. Smartphones are much more powerful than their predecessors - the PDA and the cellphone - and in many ways they even have some old desktops beat in terms of capability and usefulness. Mobile devices have married many tools and channels together in a powerful way. As a result, business phone systems and other related platforms are becoming the clear territory of the IT department.
No Jitter managing editor Beth Schultz believes that enterprise IT departments need to build "centers of excellence" around communications applications. IT leaders need to be pushing for new developments in business communications systems, whether they be made up of adapted legacy circuits and managed on-site or are provided through the cloud.
"The CoE idea isn't new, not even to IT," Schultz wrote. "In fact, CoEs often bubble up around new enterprise technologies. And now, with increasing calls for applying analytics to all areas of the business, including the contact center, and loudening whispers of integrating communications into business apps, the time seems right for forward-looking IT organizations to pull together CoEs and begin influencing how the business thinks about these disciplines relative to the way it communicates."
Communications technology is no longer defined by landline telephone access. People need the kind of wireless, universal connections that only the cloud can provide. IT needs to get onboard and start pushing for cloud communications or SIP phone service in the organizations they serve.
The move away from traditional telephony is not just about swapping one solution out for another. Cloud unified communications and VoIP telephony represent a cultural shift in how people perceive connecting and collaborating. Even if your company implements the best system that money can by, it won't really be returning on investment if it is not being used in the new ways that make it popular. There have to be initiatives in place that help UC tools reach their full potential.
"UC has a collection of components as well as strategies which facilitates the companies to make half duplex and full duplex communication with multiple media," wrote Business Solutions contributor Manoj Mathialagan. "Companies rely on UC to be customer-centric, to reach more in markets, and to achieve high targets. It also plays a vital role in optimum resource utilization and time management among the companies."
But the good news is that, on a large scale, professionals are starting to evolve. Chances are high that these new networks are going to be welcomed with wide arms by the employees of offices that implement single source communications apps or VoIP connectivity. The consumerization of IT has changed the mindset of the people that leverage mobile devices in their personal lives. Smartphone users are naturally inclined to imagine how they can use their touchscreen tools to streamline or improve daily processes around the workplace. Being able to speak with colleagues on the office network while traveling for business, for example, may allow people to be more productive while they have downtime at an airport or hotel. Workers might even push for remote worksites that have greater geographical convenience in terms of their commute. The establishment of satellite offices can help companies expand and ease the strain of travel on employees.
But none of this will happen without support from IT. Even if cloud communications are sought out and implemented through an outside provider, IT will still need to lead the charge and find new ways in which these systems can be leveraged.
IT plus UC, VoIP
The role of IT is changing in an incredible way. Rather than being considered gatekeepers to technology and constantly responding to help desk inquiries, IT is becoming a leader in the enterprise by helping to enable limitless environments.
"This is a great opportunity for IT to gather key players across the enterprise and be a leader in what is sure to become a critical discipline," Schultz wrote. "IT should be evangelizing the idea of software-driven communications and partnering with business and app developers on what it means for them and the organization at large."
All areas of the enterprise should be excited about and interested in procuring unified communications or VoIP assets for the company at large.