But many CIOs and IT professionals quickly realise that IP offers even more opportunities. For example, it allows customers to implement an advanced set of integrated voice and video applications, including high-definition (HD) video conferencing. Moreover, IP facilitates unified communications (UC), an evolving technology that automates and unifies multiple forms of communications with a common experience, thus enabling greater productivity and better business results.
Many businesses and government agencies that have seen their organisations expand geographically look to their IT departments to find new applications that keep them unified and competitive in the global market. With this in mind, here are my top 10 tips for CIOs and IT professionals to consider when leveraging and managing IP networks for advanced collaborative applications:
1. Have a Plan: Assess business plans and existing infrastructure to determine what type of collaborative application best suits the needs of your organisation across geographical boundaries to help increase productivity and profitability. Only by cultivating an environment in which collaboration is second nature will today’s businesses succeed in a 24 x 7 global economy. Consider seeking the help of a service provider with IP expertise and professional services capabilities to provide critical planning, deployment and ongoing management.
2. Tap the Hidden Power of Convergence: With IP and mobile networks converging, the UC approach enables applications that run on the same network to share presence, information and data, fostering a greater level of collaboration among users as well as driving new network efficiencies.
3. Understand That Mobility Is King: For organisations with a highly mobile workforce or with plans for making the workforce more mobile, confirm that the architecture enables the integration of wireless and wireline communications for seamless operation of UC and collaboration applications.
4. Think Globally: As a business expands geographically, embrace applications such as VoIP, messaging, conferencing, mobility and contact center services that can be used by the workforce across the entire IP network. Consider working with a managed services provider to help maintain network and application availability and performance.
5. Keep It Simple: Consider a communications solution that supports remote workers and mobility with real-time call routing and control and provides the same functionality to sites across multiple geographies to simplify network management.
6. Get the Message: E-mail and instant messaging (IM) are proven collaboration technologies because they greatly improve response times among members of the workforce – especially those members of the workforce who are considered “road warriors.”
7. Save Time and Money Through Virtual Meetings: Companies can leverage their IP networks to take advantage of the latest virtual meeting solutions, such as net conferencing, HD video conferencing and telepresence. By reducing the time and costs associated with business travel, companies can help lower carbon emissions.
8. Enhance the Customer Experience: Large multinational companies should consider how new IP-based contact center applications enhance the way agents communicate with customers who speak different languages and live in different time zones. Today’s contact center applications support Web interfaces, voice, chat and e-mail to handle customer queries in real time.
9. Employ Comprehensive Security: While IP and mobile networks are enabling a new age of voice, video and data applications, security measures shouldn’t be overlooked. Think about the extended enterprise and securely reaching partners, customers, employees, suppliers and vendors.
10. Use Remote Management Tools: For applications to operate smoothly across the IP network, IT administrators should use remote monitoring tools to quickly identify and troubleshoot problems.
Collaboration and application convergence will become a fundamental part of the way we work. The real challenge will be instilling the culture to fully leverage the benefits of collaborative tools. With these tips, we hope businesses that utilise IP networks for mission-critical business operations will unleash the hidden power of unified communications and collaboration.
Michael Marcellin is the vice president of product marketing for Verizon Business.
Guest Column: Top 10 tips to consider when leveraging IP networks for collaborative applications
By Michael Marcellin on Apr 7, 2008 1:45PM