by April 1, 2009 0 comments

There’s been a lot of noise around unified communication lately. While the
concept sounds great, and does hold a lot of promise, one can’t blindly accept
it and proceed. It shouldn’t happen that your dream of enhancing employee
productivity and providing considerable cost savings turns into a nightmare. So
to prevent that, you need to take a well-balanced approach of analyzing the
benefits it will deliver, and the pitfalls it can cause.
The first challenge that comes to everyone’s mind is getting the management’s
buy-in for the technology. But even more challenging than this is gaining user
acceptance. Will your users agree to using the new technology? You could get
some of the most far-fetched excuses about not wanting to use it. For instance,
one reason I got from somebody about not wanting to use video conferencing was
that he didn’t want to see his boss’s face everyday. He would rather work in
peace and not with the feeling that his boss can contact him at anytime.

Technology mis-use is another challenge you could face. If you thought
blocking chain mails and joke attachments in emails was difficult, then what do
you think will happen after you provide even more channels for communication?
E.g. chat, online collaboration, video conferencing, audio conferencing, etc.
How will you control their mis-use?

Another key issue to seriously consider is performance bottlenecks. As you
add more applications to your network, they will consume higher bandwidth. Will
your network be able to handle so much load? Is it ready? Some of the
applications like audio/video conferencing would even require QoS. Will your
routers be able to handle them? If not, then users will start experiencing
performance issues, and form negative opinions about the whole deployment.

Integration issues also need to be looked into seriously. You would already
be using email and many other communication channels, like fax, instant
messaging, audio/video conferencing, etc. Will the unified communication
solution be able to integrate all of them with each other seamlessly? Chances
are it won’t. So, you need to asses how much of rip-and-replace will be

Anil Chopra, Editor

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