After exploring the drivers of unified communications in a recent webinar, last week Rogers and ITWC explored the value of bringing your communications together through the data centre – and the benefits are tangible.
Unlocking the Benefits of Unified Communications was hosted by ITWC CIO Jim Love and Steven Van Binsbergen, senior director of solutions marketing with Rogers. They outlined seven specific benefits companies can realize by adopting UC in their enterprise, and how companies can realize savings on the $5400 they spend on every employee by enabling flexible and remote working and modernizing their connectivity and collaboration solutions.
- Worker productivity
Unified communications allows a company to be more flexible in its work policies, allowing employees to work remotely, either from home or on the road, from time to time as appropriate. Van Binsbergen said studies show this can increase worker productivity by 10 to 20 per cent, as employees will often use time formerly spent commuting to get work done, even if it’s outside of the usual work hours.
“Productivity gains are possible for a remote or flex work scenario but they need to be for the right kind of work,” said Van Binsbergen, cautioning each role should be examined to ensure flexible work would be a fit – a receptionist, for example, probably needs to be at the front desk. “Some also find it isolating.
- Real estate cost
When more of your workers are working at least some of the time on the road or from home, there are some interesting things you can do with regards to real estate – if all of your people aren’t at the office all the time, you don’t need a dedicated office or cubicle for each of them and you can have a smaller office.
Typically, a company spends from $2,500 to $5,000 per employee every year on real estate, depending on the city and office location. Van Binsbergen said moving some employees to remote work can save $3,000 or more per employee annually, while even a flexible work scenario can cut the bill by $1,000.
- Employee engagement
Research shows that employee engagement increases with flexible workplace programs. Flexible work programs had a 64 per cent positive impact on engagement, 65 per cent on motivation and 73 per cent on satisfaction. It also helps keep down employee turnover rates, with 33 per cent of companies with a flexibility culture reporting a low voluntary turnover rate, compared to 22 per cent of companies that don’t have flexible work programs.
“And 60 per cent of people say they make their job choice based on flexible work programs,” said Van Binsbergen.
- Collaboration tools cost
Cutting the cord on your desk phone can mean big savings, said Van Binsbergen.
“Why does anyone have a desktop phone and a wireless phone?” asked Van Binsbergen. “You can’t have two conversations at once.”
While moving all voice traffic to the mobile network will mean a larger spend on the data plan, Van Binsbergen said it’s more than offset by the savings realized by dumping the wired desk phone and all the analogue infrastructure required to support it.
By dumping the desk phone for a softphone and moving Microsoft Office and Exchange from an on-premise by machine license to hosted Office 365 in the cloud, Van Binsbergen said organizations can realize annual per employee savings of over $1,000.
“This is where IT folks can provide a more flexible and collaborative solution and take $1,000 out of their costs they can reinvest in more innovative things,” he said.
For a 2,000 employee company that makes those collaborative tool changes and moves its office environment to 1/3 remote workers, 1/3 hybrid workers and 1/3 always in office workers, the combined savings can reach up to $5 million every year.
- Connectivity cloud
Replacing legacy systems for voice and data can help you achieve communications-related savings of up to 25 per cent, or $100 per user.
- Seamless mobility
The seamless integration of mobility allows for the realization of flexible work, either inside or outside the office. The flexible office IT environment includes managed Wi-Fi, a softphone and call transfer, with a combination of floater cubes for isolated work and more conference rooms and open areas for collaborative work, with the technology moving between zones with the person. The remote office scenario replaces the managed WiFi with a cellular connection.
- Centralized control
As more and more devices enter the network, fueled by flexible and remote work and the Internet of Things, giving the IT department a single pane of glass to manage everything is crucial – and that centralized management is enabled by the unified communications solutions offered by vendors such as Rogers.
“As the network becomes more complex, IT professionals will be looking for better tools to manage it,” said Van Binsbergen. “They need a one pane of glass view that allows them to manage all devices, from anywhere, at any time.”