UC’s impact mostly hype?

If your organization isn’t thinking about unified communications, you may get that nagging feeling of being left behind in the latest communications technology promised to delivery positive business impact.

Well, don’t feel too bad now. InformationWeek surveyed a few hundred business technology professionals about UC’s impact, and the results are enough to rain on any UC parade:

The buzz around enterprise unified communications is loud, and getting more so as IT spending loosens. The problem is, in our experience and confirmed by our InformationWeek Analytics 2010 Unified Communications Survey of 406 business technology professionals, enterprise-wide UC programs that have a truly transformative impact on business processes are all too rare.

For example, videoconferencing has lately hogged the spotlight. But too often we see IT groups set up expensive video systems and walk away, with nary an hour of training or any plan to track whether employees even use the tool. From the CFO’s perspective, consumer-class applications, such as Skype and Yahoo Messenger, seem to provide much the same benefit as enterprise-class systems, without all the hassle and expense. No wonder we’re faced with frustration, misunderstandings, and elusive ROI.

Does this remind you of anything? Say, back in the days when CRM was taking off and was the buzzword in almost all business technology articles?

In the glory days of PeopleSoft and Siebel, there seemed no end to their high-flying potential. They hired almost anyone out of college who could be molded into a business/technical consultant. They signed on customer upon customer whose CTO drank the Kool-Aid and was sold on CRM’s transformative powers. The promise of cost savings, business processes re-engineered, and happy executives. Seemed like a no-brainer!

But as we all know, many of these CRM implementations failed miserably. Over time and over budget. Litigations ensued. In fact, there’s been stories of how failed CRM projects broke companies.

UC adopters: may past CRM projects serve as lessons for you. Like CRM vendors, UC vendors will promise the moon. It’s best for you to stay grounded in evaluating UC’s benefits for the organization. Executives are especially vulnerable these days because of the economic downturn, and vendors will certainly exploit that.

If you follow closely the developments in UC, you need to read the whole article.


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