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April 23, 2015

5 UC pieces of expert advice for C-levels

CBR rounds up the wise words of unified communications experts at Cisco, Jive, AT&T, Dimension Data and Avaya.

By Alexander Sword

UC is rapidly becoming a complex space and it can be hard to work out where your organisation should be focused in its enterprise mobility and unified communications strategies. CBR spoke to a range of experts to find out what C-levels should have on their agenda.

Donald McLoughlin, Director of Collaboration, Cisco UK and Ireland:

"There’s actually still a big cultural challenge, and this comes back to the role of the CIO. They need to drive the cultural change through the organisation. If you take the analogy of young school children at the moment, they don’t care how it works. They don’t see IT as a career, it’s just a utility tool.

"Businesses need to do the same. They need to say to the CIO…yes, you need to work the machine, but you also need to become someone who drives positive change within the business. That’s how I see the role of the CIO changing in the future."

Kathryn Everest, Strategist for Communication and Collaboration Solutions at Jive Software:

"First of all, the ability to attract the right talent within your organisation. The reality is that people who have very specific skills are not the ones having a hard time finding work. Those people are becoming much more selective about the organisations that they’ll engage in. When you create a very restrictive workspace by not respecting how people work, it’s indicative that there’s not a very people-centric approach in your organisation.

"The second is how many more freelancers are going to be coming into the economy. Organisations look at their infrastructure and employees like a captive audience – they don’t have a lot of choice. As more and more contractors are coming in, that’s going to be a harder situation to sell. People need to think about how they’re going to work with people who are used to different environments."

Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP, Product Marketing Management, Unified Communications & Collaboration at AT&T:

"The technical capabilities of the technology are important. The IT and technical folk at the organisation need to perform due diligence to make sure that the requirements are checked off and it meets the right architecture. But if I’m a C-level, my focus should be on whether there are opportunities for me to affect business processes and affect business outcomes using a set of unified communications and collaboration technologies.

"The second thing I will say is there are a lot of tools and technologies available, but for an organisation to gain any meaningful lift out of it, there’s a significant cultural change associated with that. With increased transparency and collaboration, people up and down the organisation need to be comfortable with transparency. This becomes especially important if you’re being mindful of the millennial generation."

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Aaron Miller, EU Director & Chief Architect, Digital Enterprise, Avaya:

"I read a statistic that shocked me recently – since 2000 52 percent of Fortune 500 companies have ceased to exist. If we were biologists rather than technologists, we’d call that an extinction level event. Mobility, cloud and big data analytics are creating a perfect storm. Companies have to get a grip on their internal and external communications."

Jim Barrett, head of end-user computing at Dimension Data:

"Driving how employees use technology is starting to come more from the top down. If you look at what the most expensive things an organisation pays for, it is employees and real estate. If you can reduce corporate real estate expenditure but enable users to be more productive from elsewhere, you are saving money to be able to reinvest into other areas of the business."

The representatives were interviewed at UC Expo.

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