Unified Communications ROI: Think Outside the IT Budget

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Finding the true ROI in UC requires examining hard and soft dollar benefits, savings and returns.

My 2014 prediction? Unified Communications (UC) will move to the front burner for many organizations. With almost limitless technologies changing the way we communicate—voice, instant messaging, text, email, presence, unified messaging, productivity tools, collaboration tools, video, conferencing, mobility—and an increasingly remote, distributed and mobile workforce, the need to unify and streamline communications is inevitable.

Although UC is already mainstream, the transition has been a relatively slow process for some. And the reasons for slower adoption vary—including the complexity of the task, concerns over compatibility with existing applications and the inability to adequately justify and communicate ROI.

In fact, in InformationWeek’s most recent State of Unified Communication study, 38% of respondents have deployed UC, but 31% of those who have rolled out UC, have done so for less than 10% of their user base. Among the top three barriers to implementing UC, 31% cited business drivers are insufficient to justify the investment. Still, 82% of respondents who followed up their UC implementation with a post-installation audit met or exceeded their ROI projections! So what gives?

It’s time to think outside the IT budget. Think hard (as in dollars) but also think soft. To find the true ROI in UC, you must examine the payoff of both hard and soft dollar benefits, savings and returns. Hard dollars savings are perhaps easier to identify calculate and quantify; soft dollars— not so easy.

UC hard dollar savings are typically the result of streamlined and more efficient network services and solutions.

  • Reduced carrier costs—for example, through MPLS networks, internal long-distance over WAN, use of instant messaging and unified messaging vs. voice services, reduced access costs through centralized VoIP and SIP trunking solutions.
  • Lower infrastructure costs—through consolidation and utilization of virtual servers and cloud-based solutions.
  • Reduced costs by eliminating overlapping software subscriptions and services.
  • Collaboration via audio, video and web conferencing versus the cost associate with travel can also be measured.

You get the idea.

Now, for the soft dollar savings.

  • UC improves communication and collaboration—we can’t argue that.
  • Better communications and collaboration increase productivity, efficiency and business agility—all contributing to the bottom line.
  • UC enhances connectivity and improves communications, accelerating business processes and decision-making.
  • With UC, employees are productive from any device, any application and any location using real-time communications.
  • Team collaboration, issues resolution and customer service dramatically improve.
  • Integrating telephony and IT can translate into more efficient management, staffing and support solutions.

We know it’s challenging to get a handle on all the benefits, both hard and soft dollar for UC— but we can help. Windstream works closely with businesses of all sizes to understand their specific challenges, developing plans to successfully implement UC solutions that help them meet their business goals—smart solutions, personalized service.

Are you predicting Unified Communications for your business in 2014? Consider one more statistic from InformationWeek’s State of Unified Communication report. Of organizations surveyed (February, 2013), 30% indicated plans for a UC deployment in the next 6 to 24 months. Delaying a transition and deployment to a UC solution could very well put your business at a competitive disadvantage as more customers, supply chain partners and competitors adopt and realize the benefits of UC.

For a closer look at the ROI on Unified Communications, register and download our free Windstream white paper, “Where are the Savings in UC?” and talk to a Windstream advisor. We’ll help you think outside the IT budget, find your true ROI for Unified Communications and help you make that 2014 UC prediction a reality for your business.