By Jose Cornejo
With the array of new technologies being introduced each day, customers often have a daunting challenge sorting out the best solutions for their business. Sadly, it’s very easy to get lost in the maze and lose sight of business goals.
That’s where HP Unified Communications Services comes in. When we first sit down to talk about the challenges your organization faces, our first conversation might go something like this:
Me: “Talk to me about your business. What keeps you awake at night — today? And what are your short and midterm goals, 1 to 3 years out?”
You: “What keeps me awake at night? Employee productivity. Business continuity. Cost.”
As far as your goals one to three years out, you might say, “I don’t know; the environment changes each day.”
I would respond, “You know your business. Let’s map out the possibilities together. Without that goal setting, your ability to chart a path to Unified Communications will be impossible, and costly.”
What makes up a successful Unified Communications strategy? You must identify your true business goals and drivers — current, 1 to 3 years out, and perhaps even beyond. Once you’ve put a stake in the ground to establish those, you can form your UC requirements. The next step is to identify the technologies that meet those requirements. A solution can be derived to lay out key milestones and a timeline for when project pieces will be implemented. I’m sure you’ll be the first to agree that business continuity is of paramount importance during any IT transformation project.
Let’s assume for a moment that we have taken the first step together. You are convinced of the wisdom of a unified communications strategy. (Learn how you can gain better business outcomes with a cohesive communications strategy here.) Together we are working to get the project off the ground. This is when the Reference Architecture takes center stage. This is a set of proven solutions that demonstrate how functions interact.
In my current role as an HP Enterprise Network Architect, I get tremendous satisfaction helping a customer work through a well-developed Reference Architecture. Basically, there are six steps:
1. Vision and Strategy. This is a clearly defined set of expectations to support your business operations through efficient use of people, processes and technology.
2. Processes. IT processes, including lifecycle management, support the business strategy by identifying roles and responsibilities that align to your strategy and vision.
3. Data Management. This step defines and classifies information and is used in relation to key business applications and overall systems integration.
4. Business Applications. These provide the next building block. They are key business applications and their components (databases, middleware, etc.) that are used to process business transactions.
5. Integration Services. These are critical because they define the type of model used by key business systems and shore up risk tolerance features.
6. Infrastructure. A conceptual, logical and physical infrastructure with a targeted technical direction —this is the skeleton or backbone of your UC installation.
Applying a Reference Architecture will require the collaboration of people, processes and technology. It will mandate governance rigor and discipline, as well as coexistence between new and legacy environments. A disjointed organization or disjointed stakeholder input will likely have disjointed UC results, so we’ll work closely, communicating and educating along the way, to ensure that all of the moving parts are working together – WELL!
Find out more about how HP solutions can make your teams more connected and efficient at our Unified Communications solutions page.