Unified Communications (UC) offer huge opportunities for the enterprise, with benefits including improved productivity, easier collaboration, better customer satisfaction and ultimately, higher profits through more efficient teamwork and competitive advantage. But UC come with their distinct challenges and not every project yields the anticipated ROI.
Challenge 1: UC implementations are a significant investment. If they are to yield a good ROI and deliver a suitable user experience, then their performance must be guaranteed as they rely heavily on the Wide Area Network (WAN). Recent research about Unified Communications deployments demonstrated an average Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of $36 per user and per month, without WAN circuit costs and large distance charges.
Challenge 2: UC are made up of data, video and voice flows with dynamic, variable traffic patterns that grow or subside based on user demand. A single desktop video flow means upwards of 300-500 Kbps between branch office sites. In turn, this can result in UC applications impacting the performance of other business critical applications during peaks of high demand.
Challenge 3: UC encourage desktop to desktop video communication which is wonderful for productivity, but they place enormous strain on inter-branch WAN links that carry this traffic. Traditional static Classes of Services (CoS) are not able to match such complex traffic situations and overall business application performance is put at risk.
Scenario – Let's consider a company with 5,000 employees in the Professional Services industry that is deploying Unified Communications. The company has an IT budget aligned to its industry standard, i.e. $975/user/month (among which $320 is allocated to applications). A full featured WAN Governance system will typically have a TCO of $3/user/month (including central devices, management opex and unforeseen project incidents), for the following benefits:
- Guaranteeing the quality of the UC applications (an investment of $36/user/month);
- Protecting the performance of the other business critical applications (ERP, CRM, file sharing, cloud apps, Internet, etc.) against resource intensive UC (an average investment of $320/user/month);
- Automatic incident prevention, better helpdesk productivity and IT governance will save a very conservative $15/user/month;
- Delaying bandwidth upgrades by a few years, saving an average of $15/user/month;
- Optionally deploying hybrid networks for accessing large resources at low cost (e.g. desktop video), dividing the cost of incremental Mbps by 3 to 5.
Not deploying WAN Governance would jeopardize not only the success of UC deployment but also the performance of the other business applications. Unsatisfied users and business managers will complain, lowering UC adoption and forcing IT to upgrade the WAN at a high cost (without being sure of the impact).
Alignment with the company's strategic goals – Guaranteeing the success of its UC project, WAN Governance leverages the company's investment to improve its efficiency and productivity through better collaboration. Moreover, enterprises in the B-to-C sector will significantly increase their customer satisfaction and their competitive advantage.