Case Study: Unified Communications Review and Strategy

The Unified Communications Strategy was a project that a training organisation commissioned in 2010 to examine the potential advantages of Unified Communications and document this into a strategy and roadmap for its deployment.

For this type of engagement Business Aspect provided a team consisting of strong business analytical capability and also low level networking and unified communication capability with the project being overseen by a Business Aspect Partner.

The approach used in the strategy was a ‘top-down’ methodology. The aim of this was to ensure the business strategy and strategic requirements drove the underlying technology initiatives, as opposed to a purely technology driven outcome. Through this approach, technology initiatives are fully traceable through the business and information layers of the organisation.

The Business Requirements were developed from a review of the organisation’s 2010-2011 strategic planning documents and a series of stakeholder interviews held through April and May 2011.

The Unified Communications strategy provided a vision for unified communications within the organisation as follows:
“To see the organisation achieve it’s potential as a world class provider of trade and technical training by empowering our staff and students with a best practice working and educational environment through the prudent use of Unified Communications technologies and applications.”
Further, a set of objectives were defined as follows:
To promote the development and growth of training by:

  • provisioning our staff with the advanced, innovative business tools necessary to achieve their potential;
  • engaging with our students through a first-class, industry best practice learning environment thereby providing them with superior educational outcomes;
  • delighting our customers through high quality client engagement processes and an exceptional interactive experience;
  • enhancing our business processes and workflows thereby improving our operational efficiency and effectiveness; and
  • maximising the returns on our business development efforts.

A self-assessment by a stakeholder group, of the organisation’s propensity to gain business value from Unified Communications, identified that it was likely that the institute would gain a high degree of value from its deployment.  In consideration of this, the following position was taken in regards to the deployment of Unified Communications within the organisation:

  • they would seek to become an innovative and best practice participant in the adoption and use of Unified Communications
  • Unified Communications would be deployed only where identifiable business value can be demonstrated
  • an ‘on-premise’ model had been selected for delivering Unified Communications
  • an in-source model had been selected for deployment of Unified Communications
  • where solution alternatives were available from various other related entities or those offered from Unified Communications product and service vendors in meeting the Solution Requirements the relative merit of each was made based on a prudent qualitative assessment process.

With respect to the readiness of the organisation in deploying Unified Communications technologies, Business Aspect assessed that it was well positioned from an ICT infrastructure maturity perspective. However, it was identified that a level of aversion to change existed within the ranks of some staff groups. This resulted in several previous technology projects not being utilised to their full potential after being implemented within the organisation.

In acknowledgement of this, the following approaches were adopted with regard to the deployment of Unified Communications:

  • Unified Communications System Requirements were selected based on a ‘keep it simple’ approach
  • Unified Communications System Requirements were selected based on identifiable business value and their direct correlation and benefit to the business processes performed by staff
  • the Unified Communications Roadmap articulate that Unified Communications functions was rolled-out in clearly defined, progressive and measured stages
  • robust transition and change management practices were defined and observed
  • the business value of each Unified Communications function deployment stage was measured and checked against predetermined performance indicators

This strategy identified a set of 22 Functional Systems Requirements and 5 Non-Functional Systems Requirements. These functional requirements provided the inputs to the resultant developed strategy.