Unified Communications: Click to talk

Sep 30 2008   1:27PM GMT

Remember ROI?

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Ah, the ‘Good Ole Days’. Remember when business decisions and investments could be made based on ROI (return on investment). If a business invests $1 million in new manufacturing equipment that helps them produce higher quality widgets faster, thereby increasing output and bringing in $200,000 a month more in revenue, then the investment pays for itself in 5 months and after that its all gravy. Simple enough.

The problem is that many of the business decisions and investments on the table these days do not fit into ROI calculations. Investing in network security does not generate revenue. It just (hopefully) protects you from losing money. Investing in process automation does not generate revenue. It (hopefully) makes processes more efficient resulting in cost savings per process execution which reflects back to the bottom line. Unified communications is sort of in the same boat.

In and of itself, UC won’t generally make money. What it will (hopefully) do if implemented properly is allow employees to work more efficiently and be more productive. It will allow employees to collaborate more effectively and help to generate team synergy where it wasn’t possible before. It will enable the business to respond to market pressures and customer needs more agilely. UC is a tremendous investment, but companies need to understand the big picture and both implement and use the tools effectively. Oh, and don’t try to justify the investment with a straight ROI measurement. Your CFO probably won’t cut a check based on that argument.

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