Continuing on the theme of my last post…here are a few examples of the improved productivity Unified Communications (UC) can enable. As noted, productivity can be highly subjective, but as end users develop some history with UC, it will become easier to establish new metrics the business can use to quantify the benefits for going down this road. Until that time, let’s consider two scenarios that don’t depend on metrics to tell you that UC is adding value.
Here’s one example:
Bill calls Pam in the same office to discuss planning a product launch. While talking, Pam gets an IM from Mark, another team member from a branch office. His timing is good, and with a few clicks their chat session becomes an online voice call, at which point Bill switches from the phone to join them via his desktop. Now they have an ad hoc online conference call going, and since they’re working on the same project, they decide to share some documents to review together. During this process, Susan–another team member–picks up that this meeting is going on via her presence indicators, and decides to join as a video participant, as she has some mockups to show the group. After doing this, she announces she has to leave, but wants to stay on the call via her mobile phone. UC allows her seamlessly to transfer the call from the desktop to her phone, and she continues on the conference call after leaving the office.
Now consider another example:
Marlene handles administrative tasks for three executives. From her desktop, she has full access to all their calendars and presence settings. With UC, she’s able to manage their schedules in near real time, including automatic calendar updates and reminders to their various devices. She can also attach documents for them to review in advance and make changes on the fly based on their presence availability to consult with them. The same holds for managing their conference calls, and adding callers in the most efficient way possible–voice, video or chat. Since their UC solution is hosted, she’s able to do this without missing a beat when working from home or when traveling with the executives on the road.
Both of these are basic examples of what UC brings to the workplace. The first scenario is about teamwork, and making collaborative efforts more productive. In this case, there is both individual and collective benefit, so there are really two types of productivity to consider. The second example is more about personal productivity and how UC can help manage everyday tasks. This is a very different consideration, but it really draws on the flexibility of UC in the sense that each of us has distinct needs. We get the best results when we can customize the applications around them.
It should be clear that productivity and overall effectiveness are improved by UC in these examples. To some extent, employees can be measured on teamwork, such as time to project completion or consumption of resources to get the job done. Fair enough, but how do you measure the quality of the output, or the ease of getting things done due to the friction that UC helps remove from business processes? No doubt, productivity can be assessed in many ways, and these two examples illustrate how UC adds value here. The point is that UC can improve workflows in virtually any situation, and since most of these benefits are not possible with legacy systems, it is not fair to evaluate them based on legacy metrics.
Do you have an example of how UC has improved your personal productivity in some way? If so, how?