Organizations are becoming increasingly dispersed across the globe with workers located in different offices, and time zones and in some cases working remotely from their homes or hotels necessitating the need for the best video conferencing solution.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate a methodology for developing a Unified Communications (UC) strategy based on effectively profiling worker types, and therefore maximizing their effectiveness in a collaborative, distributed video network workforce.
The ability to identify and address the individual video network requirements of today's workforce is the key to making the most out of your video network collaboration investment and maximizing employee productivity. Understanding the type of work performed and who the employee primarily communicates with is part of determining your UC video network strategy. This article will provide the guidelines for profiling your workforce, then applying the right video network collaboration tools to that workforce, and finally an example of how video network profiling works.
Business Importance of UC (Unified Communications)
The business drivers for UC are well known and organizations are already seeing the benefits of UC technologies within their organization's video network. But as CIOs and IT managers are seeing more demand for UC services, they aren't seeing many video network options for UC advice and business case development. Also, many organizations are tainted by unsuccessful past video network implementations which never realized their objectives and lead to underutilization of the existing video network investments made.
Whether embarking on a new UC initiative or re-vitalizing an existing video network implementation, organizations will require the following to realize the success of their investment and plans: a strategic approach, impartial consultation, and industry experience.
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How to Define Your Workforce Video Network Needs
These video networks can be customized based on your organization's structure but the following categories can be used as a starting point.
Executive video network users are the senior employees responsible for leading groups within the organization and ultimately deciding on the operations and strategic direction of those groups. These senior executives spend most of their time in video network meetings with their direct reports, peers within the organization or board members - all of which can be geographically dispersed.
These interactions are typically scheduled and formal and can be one-on-one or one-to-many meetings. Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine what type of video network collaboration tools the executive will primarily need to improve their communications and meeting productivity.
These roles usually include video conferencing and customer service, help desks, IT support, sales attendants and receptionists. By definition, these people spend most of their time at their desks but their communications can run across the organization or with customers located anywhere in the world.
Their communications are instantaneous and they require real-time access to CRM and/or ERP applications that store company and customer data. Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine how to improve their video network service either internal or external to customers. This will include evaluating the video network's speed of access to information and introducing unique mechanisms for personalizing their communications.
Information workers include R&D teams, elements of project management, product managers, launch managers, marketing teams, legal departments and trainers. Their communications are one-to-one and one-to-many interactions. Also, this working group is the knowledge base of the organization and the other groups within the organization require ongoing access to these workers and the information they provide.
As such, the key factor for them is maximizing their ability to be contacted or video network presence, communicate and collaborate with their internal or external customers. Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine how to improve the video network accessibility of the worker and their information to others within the organization.
Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine how to provide a complete mobile office video network which has real-time access to the company's systems/applications and allows video network presence regardless of where they are.
Applying the Right Collaboration Tools Based on User Profiles
Now that you have defined the worker profiles, the next step will be to decide what video network collaborative tools will make each worker profile more effective.
No single video network collaboration tool will meet all the collaboration or communication needs of a worker. The answer will lie in a combination of video network tools and therefore providing the right collaboration solution mix based on a particular profile can be very complex.
Defining the UC Device
When evaluating a UC video network device, it will be important to ask the following questions:
- How many video network collaboration applications can the device support?
- If multiple devices are in place, can they talk to one another and how integrated are they?
- Is there one management tool that can have a view on the setup, status and availability of all the UC devices?
- Will the user require a separate device (outside of their PC) for their voice and video network?
- Will the video network device need to be mobile and what collaboration applications are required to run on the mobile device?
Defining the Network
- Does your video network currently support the convergence of all your existing applications (i.e. voice, video and data)?
- Have you implemented VoIP and is VoIP integrated with all other video network applications (data and video network)?
- Can the collaboration devices chosen, support multiple networks if network convergence hasn't taken place?
- Do your workers need to communicate outside of the company video network? If so, will the collaboration devices and software was chosen to interoperate with the security elements of your video network (i.e. firewalls, gateways, gatekeepers etc.)
- Will you require video network optimization tools to support the new applications you are adding to the video network?
- Also, will you require new video network management tools that monitor the usage of all the applications running on your video network?
- Does your video network support quality and class of service for the different applications running on the video network?
This type of video network strategy is based on user-centricity - defining the right collaborative tools or video network technology based on user requirements and worker profiles. Using this methodology allows workers to be more efficient, more productive and easier to get in touch with, ultimately improving customer responsiveness and communications within the organization.