UC Reference Library

This reference material provides some key building blocks of Unified Communications.  There are five categories of white papers that you can access from this page of our site:

  • UC Applications
  • UC Vertical Market Applications
  • UC Architecture
  • IT Organization for UC
  • UC Economics

UC Applications

These two white papers describe the applications for Unified Communications for business process optimization. The first is our most recent white paper on UC application categories and Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) published in March 2011. This paper is based on four years of UC successes as reported in vendor case studies. The second is included for reference back to our first publication on this topic in June 2007. It refers to some foundational principles coming out of Harvard Business School in 1986 and illustrates our method of mapping UC capabilities against enterprise value chains.

1. “Capturing CEBP Value: How Unified Communications Software Delivers CEBP to Reduce Costs and Improve Results for Your Enterprise” (2011) by Marty Parker and Don Van Doren.

Summary: Unified Communications (UC) capabilities deliver many benefits to business operations. Improvements in individual information worker productivity have been widely documented. More importantly, both private enterprises and public sector organizations are finding significantly greater benefits by integrating these new UC functions directly into their business process and business applications software. Such integrations are known as Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP).

This paper defines seven solution scenarios where enterprises are investing in CEBP. It outlines an approach by which an enterprise can assess how to apply UC in these seven CEBP scenarios. Typical benefits are defined and reference case studies are cited for each scenario. The paper concludes with considerations for CEBP implementation.

2. “Top UC Applications Are Now Apparent” by Marty Parker, BCR Magazine, June 2007.

Marty Parker and Don Van Doren were seminal thinkers about UC from its earliest days, as evidenced by this article written by Marty Parker in 2007. It identified five UC applications that were at the core of the market in 2007 and were likely to remain at center stage for three to five years. The UC applications and trends that materialized in the intervening years have shown that the forecasts were accurate.

UC Vertical Market Applications

The following two white papers are examples of vertical industry analyses that UniComm Consulting has produced in a dozen vertical markets. Some vendors have asked us to share our analyses with them, which we have done in six customized engagements with major UC vendors. Microsoft asked UniComm Consulting to convert two of our analyses into white papers, which are described below. To discuss vertical markets that are not addressed in the following papers, please contact us.

1. Unified Communications in Manufacturing (2011 for Microsoft)

Summary: Unified Communications represents new communications tools and capabilities that manufacturing firms are successfully applying to optimize their business processes. This form of continuous improvement is delivering operational breakthroughs as documented in a growing base of case study evidence. This white paper describes those communication‐based breakthroughs in five manufacturing functions:

  • Production
  • Distribution and Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Product Development and Marketing
  • Enterprise Management and Operations

Case study references to Microsoft Lync 2010 deployments are included for each of these functional areas. The conclusion is that UC deployment is an immediate business imperative for manufacturing firms of all sizes.

2. Unified Communications for Healthcare Organizations (March 2011 for Microsoft)

Summary: Healthcare is a communications-intensive industry. Advancements in Unified Communications create the opportunity for significant improvements in the communications elements of healthcare processes, ranging across inpatient, outpatient and administrative roles. This white paper identifies those opportunities and suggests how UC can provide healthcare organizations with improvements that are aligned with organizational groupings, including:

  • Inpatient care provider communications, consultations, and treatment management
  • Inpatient administrative communications, coordination of services, and throughput
  • Outpatient communications, appointment coordination, and resource scheduling
  • Remote patient contact, including post‐discharge and chronic condition management
  • Hospital and clinic administration and management effectiveness

The paper highlights customer examples and defines the application and technical requirements for each of the featured UC solutions. It also reviews Microsoft Lync 2010 as a UC platform for implementing the suggested UC solutions.

3. Unified Communications in Healthcare (Article written for Advance for Health Information Executives)

Summary: Effective health care delivery requires timely and reliable communication of accurate information. More than in most other industries, errors or delays in health care delivery impact people’s lives and well-being. As the national agenda focuses on health care, these communication imperatives must be met in an environment increasingly under pressure to lower costs, improve productivity, and provide better care.

This article describes the communications challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the UC communications breakthroughs that can improve communications. It provides examples of UC solutions that have been successfully implemented by healthcare organizations and describes the benefits they have achieved in supporting quality care, improving patient flow, and managing costs.

UC Architecture

Architecture Is Key for Enterprise UC (June 2010)

Summary: It is very important to have a solid architectural design to guide your UC implementations based on the UC strategy for your enterprise. This paper describes the benefits of UC architectural planning, and identifies and describes eight layers of elements typically found in UC architecture:

  • User interface elements
  • Directory and identity elements and policies
  • Middleware and workflow platforms and tools
  • Database elements
  • Communications engines
  • Business applications and BPM (Business Process Management) engine elements
  • Communications end-points
  • Network functionality

When the architectural design is complete, it becomes the guide to vendor and product selection, application development, and operational management.

IT Organization for UC

1. Organization Concepts for Unified Communications (2008)

Summary: IT Organizations must evolve as UC is introduced into the enterprise. This white paper suggests ways your organization might evolve as you implement UC, based on what we have seen in our client base and learned from other firms and industry resources. About six months after the publication of this paper, Gartner published a white paper on the same topic with very similar conclusions, together with a forecast for organization evolution to 2015.

UC Economics

The bottom line matters when it comes to any technology investment. In these papers, we address the economics of UC investments. UniComm Consulting can work with you to create the TCO and/or ROI analysis for your specific UC solutions.

1. Achieving Cost and Resource Savings with Unified Communications (August 2009 for Microsoft)

Summary: This paper highlights potential savings exceeding $5,000,000 per year for each 1,000 employees through the application of Unified Communications to business and IT operations. It identifies savings opportunities for three broad categories: reducing out of pocket costs for communications services; consolidating communications infrastructure to lower operating costs; and leveraging human capital by supporting individual productivity. The savings suggested in this paper can generally be realized in 6 to 9 months, and sometimes in even less time. The paper provides savings calculation guidelines, supported by case study references.

2. Maintenance Cost Comparisons for Major Vendors (2011)

This is an analysis of maintenance offerings and typical costs from industry leading IP-PBX vendors. To access this white paper, contact Marty Parker, using the “Contact Us” page.

3. Comparing Unified Communications and IP PBX Solutions and Costs: Premises-Based vs. Cloud-Based vs. UC Overlay (2013)

Note: This link takes you to an overview of the full document. The full document is available for purchase.

Summary: Many enterprises are in the process of creating their voice and unified communications (UC) strategy. Assuming that the enterprise has identified the business drivers for unifying their communications capabilities, they must decide among three competing deployment options for their UC solutions:

  • Option 1 – Premises-Based (Private Cloud) IP-PBX with UC feature servers
  • Option 2 – Cloud-Based or Fully Hosted IP-PBX and UC functionality
  • Option 3 – Overlay or Side-by-Side, adding UC without buying a new IP-PBX.

This document provides a financial comparison for these options and for multiple vendors for each option. It also provides commentary on the differences in functionality and implementation approaches between the three options and the vendors’ solutions.

The source information for the comparison is based on responses to a sample RFP created as part of the Enterprise Connect Orlando 2013 program. Twenty-three different solutions from fourteen vendors are represented. There are nine responses for option 1, seven for option 2, and seven for option 3. There are significant differences in the responses for the three options and among the responding vendors. The authors have gone to great lengths to normalize the responses so that you can quantitatively compare a consistent cost of ownership for each solution over a five-year period.

4. Transformation of Enterprise Communications Network Topologies

Summary: Enterprise communication topologies are changing because of the innovative communications technologies that are emerging at an unprecedented pace. These changes can be viewed as a like‐for‐like replacement of TDM trunks with SIP trunks, or as a redesign of the topology in response to the new communication patterns created by the shift to Unified Communications and the utilization of Ethernet IP bandwidth.

This paper describes the flawed assumptions behind the migration to SIP trunking, and the advantages of using Ethernet-based IP backbone services. It gives examples that illustrate the evolution of an enterprise from traditional TDM trunks to various versions of SIP trunks and to Ethernet-based IP backbone services. It also shows the capital and annual costs associated with each stage of evolution.

To realize the savings and benefits of these new topologies, enterprises should develop a Unified Communications strategic plan including a year‐by‐year deployment roadmap. This plan and roadmap will provide the details needed to redesign and optimize the enterprise’s communications network topology.