By Rikus Jansen, Head of EOH Voice and Unified Communications


To properly understand how unified communications (UC) can benefit an organisation, the decision making mindset must go beyond telecoms to the encompass the broader spectrum of communications.

The benefits, or blunders, of UC become clear when assessing how well employees are using all these communication applications. Simultaneously organisations must view UC through the eyes of management, as well the IT function.

UC – where’s the value for money?

More than just introducing new applications or saving money, UC provides richer value from existing communications processes.

One of the biggest user experience advantages of UC is that it provides a consistent user experience. Employees can work the same way regardless of the end point, operating system or network used to access the platform.

UC is not a one-size-fits all technology. Instead, UC platforms have the flexibility of adapting to each organisation’s specific needs. The onus will fall on IT to deploy and effectively roll out UC across the organisation, in alignment with these needs. Here UC also benefits IT staff, by allowing applications to be deployed in a common environment.

Furthermore, with UC it’s possible to have one communications provider for all your business needs. This means fewer account managers, technical support numbers, contracts and bills to worry about.

UC boosts all-round productivity

Employee productivity is where UC has the greatest impact, since all employees use communications applications. In addition to personal productivity, employees also work in teams. In these settings, the need for effective communication is even more important.

When both employees and teams are more productive, the organisation will be too.

Moreover, UC benefit indicators can be measured across a number of axes:

  • Project times before and after UC deployments
  • Correlating individual or team use of collaboration tools with task execution times
  • Performance metrics like customer satisfaction, sales generation or inventory turnover

3 requirements for UC success

Ultimately, achieving UC success means first identifying and establishing the business metrics that can be improved by investing in better collaboration capabilities.

After this, identify roles, personas and processes that can benefit most in the shortest period of time.

Finally, businesses should change the definition of success away from network and application performance-centric goals to business-centric ones.


Rikus Jansen is a Unified Communications specialist. He entered the South African technology space in the late 1980s, pioneering 3D animation and video effects in the broadcasting industry. This led to a career in corporate ICT outsourcing. He co-founded Ensync Voice Solutions, a unified communications company. After merging the Ensync companies with the JSE-listed ICT provider, EOH, he now heads up the EOH Voice and Unified Communications business, which is one of the leading communication providers in South Africa.