Sunday, November 15, 2009

Telecommuting and Unified Communications

I came across an interesting statistic while surfing the Telus web site. The article on Unified Communications is based on the premise that UC is not a product - it's a strategy.

Telus ran a telecommuting pilot and here were their results:

UC in Action -- TELUS Work Styles Program

TELUS’ commitment to the value of changing work styles comes from its own experiences using communication and collaboration to improve how people work and deliver results.
With the goal of encouraging the movement of ideas and information rather than people, vehicles and paper, TELUS piloted its own telework/UC program with 178 employees during a 10-month period. Results delivered corporate, employee and environment benefits including:
• 82% said telework had an impact on their desire to stay at TELUS
• Reduced attrition rates by 20%
• Enhanced agent productivity by 25%
• Lowered absenteeism by 60%
• 13,865 hours of commute time saved
• Saved $125,000 in fuel and car maintenance
• Reduced CO2 by 114 tonnes
• Reduced air pollutants by four tonnes
Based on the success of the pilot, TELUS now supports telework options for 18,000 employees across the organization.

What begs the question is why so many companies resist telecommuting. Is it a trust issue? I would be interested to hear feed back on why you think companies discourage telecommuting.

Here is the remaining exert from their web site:

You’ve probably heard a lot of different things about how Unified Communications (UC) can help your business. Confused? Most people are. And that’s because the market is saturated with competing definitions, jargon and big promises.
So first, let’s clear up the confusion. Unified Communications is not a product. It’s a strategy. And that strategy includes:
• Gaining new communication and collaboration capabilities
• Planning the process changes that will improve how people work
• Building a roadmap for implementing UC technologies
• Making new and existing technologies work together through integration
Unified Communications creates endless possibilities for realizing business value by enabling people to work more efficiently. With incremental improvements in communications and collaboration, you can align how people work to business objectives for measurable business results.
Trends driving UC
Business and IT Drivers
UC Benefits

Trends Driving UC
What is happening in your industry, market and business in general to make UC an indispensable strategy for driving value?
• Simple tasks take too long. Productivity suffers when employees spend too much time finding and connecting with the right person for answers, decisions or approvals.
• People are on the move. There isn’t a common “work experience” that extends from the office to the road, making it difficult to maintain an “office” level of responsiveness when working remotely.
• Everyone wants to save money. Running three separate networks for voice, data, and wireless means higher maintenance and management costs as well as the increased expenses associated with multiple communications devices and applications.
The trends may be common, but how they shape business drivers is specific to the individual organization. A strategic approach to UC maps capabilities to business drivers, so that improved communication and collaboration are always focused on moving the business toward improved performance and measurable results.

Business and IT Drivers
Within every company, different stakeholders care about different things. A CEO, CIO and Line of Business Manager want specific results based on their responsibilities to the business. And it’s no different when considering UC.
Satisfying these diverse demands within the organization is another reason why it is essential to approach UC as a strategy. UC is not only the domain of IT. The technology enables UC capabilities, and IT cares about that. But UC capabilities change business processes to improve how people work. And when people work better, results improve. Business leaders care about that.
Business Drivers
What do CEOs and Line of Business Managers care about? They focus on overall results - costs, earnings and performance:
• The bottom line – growth (accelerated sales cycle) and cost savings (technology, travel, training, real estate, long distance charges)
• Employee productivity - connecting people to people and people to information (remote workers, multiple locations, traveling workers)
• Improved customer service -- faster response, quicker decisions/project completion, more channels for contact
IT Drivers
What do CIOs and IT Directors care about? They focus on user satisfaction, optimizing the infrastructure, costs vs. budgets and technology performance:
• Integrating communication capabilities to improve user satisfaction and organizational productivity
• Eliminating communication bottlenecks across the organization
• Ensuring that the technology environment is supportable
• Leveraging existing investments in UC and communication applications
• Simplifying network management and maintenance

UC Benefits
The benefits of UC are diverse and multi-faceted. They really depend on the communication challenges a company targets and the specific business processes being transformed.
In broad terms, UC delivers high level benefits including:
• Makes it easier and less time consuming to find the right person for the right answer at the right time.
• Gives intelligence to improve employee communication and collaboration.
• Drives productivity in operational areas including mobile work and message management.
• Enables better response for mobile workers both internally with colleagues and externally with customers.