In a previous post, we discussed some of the factors organizations should consider when adopting unified communications (UC) and selecting a UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS) solution. However, many organizations are still struggling with the decision to adopt UC at all. In a recent Osterman Research study, 39 percent of decision-makers said they are “very” or “somewhat” fearful about UC migration. Almost one-third confessed that their hesitation stems from a desire to see a full return on investment (ROI) from their existing communications technology.
This data points to a persistent mindset about phone systems: Many business leaders view a phone system as an investment with a longer lifespan than other technology. This conception lingers despite the fact that modern IP phone systems are built from servers, software and network gear, just like any other IT asset.
If you have an archaic phone system that lacks modern features, the decision to adopt UC is relatively easy. But if you’re still squeezing that last drop of value from your communications platform, you might hesitate to make the move. The key is to look beyond the traditional phone system paradigm, and consider how UC can reduce costs and boost the bottom line.
Granted, calculating the value of a UC deployment can be tricky. Many of the benefits of UC — such as increased productivity and enhanced customer service — are difficult to measure. It can be done, however. First, determine how much time UC will save each category of worker in your organization each year. In determining productivity gains, it’s important to consider:
- Streamlined workflows. UC makes it possible to integrate communications tools with other business applications. This helps increase operational efficiencies and ensure the smooth flow of data throughout the organization.
- Mobility. With UC, mobile workers are no longer disconnected from the company phone system. It enables them to access a full-featured communications platform from virtually any device.
- Team collaboration. Today’s virtual teams need tools that enable spontaneous, real-time collaboration. UC makes videoconferencing and desktop sharing easy and natural.
Once you’ve estimated the time savings, multiply that by the average labor cost for each category, then add up the amounts for all categories. In addition to the savings associated with productivity, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the cost of other communications tools your team uses. Be sure to consider cloud-based services — there are often “shadow IT” solutions in use that management is unaware of.
To determine the ROI of UCaaS, calculate the total cost of the solution for one year, including the service provider’s charges and any devices or adapters that must be purchased. Divide the total savings by the total cost, which should yield a number between 1 and 1.8. Subtract the 1 and multiply by 100 to get the ROI percentage (e.g. 1.43 – 1 = .43 * 100 = 43%).
And, by the way, ShoreTel’s UC platform consistently delivers the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) in the industry, plus productivity-boosting features that maximize ROI.
Calculating the UC ROI isn’t easy, but it’s an important exercise in today’s highly competitive environment. IPC’s experts can help you go from whiteboard to boardroom with a UC strategy that makes good business sense.