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Part 1 – How to create a business case for a Unified communication and Collaboration solution such as Office 365 (O365) – in a Small and Midsize Business 

In my experience when companies consider their business justifications for introducing Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies into their organisations they immediately think of the costs they can save by making their disparate systems redundant and reducing their company’s internal communication costs. These are all good and valid reasons to include in your Business Case but there is so much more to be achieved and as we all know if you don’t plan for benefits they don’t get realised.

This article is the first of multiple posts on writing a Unified Communications Solution and Collaboration Business Case, where this focusses on the benefits that should be highlighted in your business case. Future posts will include: The key costs to be identified in your project, business change considerations to achieve the benefits – it’s not all about the technology it also about people. Final post will be about the governance and delivery process that needs to be planned and costed in the business case to ensure you realise the benefits at migration of users and post project so that you get continuous improvement and benefits.

I have focussed on O365 because it has a richness of integrated features which will leverage the rest of the O365 suite to obtain benefits which other U.C and Collaboration solutions are not able to. Therefore, when writing your Business Case for your specific U.C and Collaboration solution beware you consider the points made below in the context of the wider feature set available to you. So, what are the benefit areas that you might be missing out on?

Technology

  • Think about what you are or would have to spend on Business Continuity. Add to the Business Continuity costs but also the avoidance of lost billable hours.
  • Avoidance of hardware upgrades including: servers, laptops, desktops.
  • The reduction in IT Support effort, this can be considerable, as if the UC and Collaboration solution is a cloud implementation your support model will change significantly and there will be opportunities to redeploy them in new roles which could be revenue earning.

Mobility

  • Increased mobile worker productivity, which can typically be 45 hours per worker.
  • Redefining the office desk as anywhere in the world where they have internet or mobile data connectivity.
  • A reduction in security, risk, and compliance costs.

Control and Compliance

  • A reduction in security, risk, and compliance costs.

Business Intelligence

  • Ask yourself how much time is being taken to make decisions within the business? You could be making a reduction in time spent on decision-making by as much as 17%

Enterprise Social – connecting the organisation

  • There is the obvious opportunity to reduce the average charges from web conferencing and long-distance phone calls.

Operational efficiency

  • Look at the key roles in your organization and identify personas that involve communication and collaboration. For each of these roles analyse the reduction in work flow and increased productivity.
  • The hardest and most neglected is the opportunity to look at your Target Operating Model (TOM) and consider can you change the way you work in your business? Can you operate smarter?

Revenue Generation

  • Do you have a CRM system and customer engagement process? Are there opportunities to increase revenue per contact from improved communications with the back office in your work flow?

Forrester Report with detailed explanation of the Return on Investment of Office 365

The benefits indicated above are just some of those that can be achieved and if you have challenges applying these to your specific U.C or Collaboration solution or would like to explore a specific benefits further please leave a comment or contact me and I would be happy to respond with my thoughts on your challenge. Meanwhile, please join us for our next post in this series where we will cover which costs to include in your Business Case.

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CoolHarbour are available to provide a Business Case development service for U.C and Collaboration technologies and would be pleased to provide further advise on how to get approval for your transformation and solutions.

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