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Unified Communications and Collaboration White Paper

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Executive Summary

Businesses and their IT organizations are striving to improve workforce productivity by utilizing technology innovations to deliver relevant, real-time information and communications to whoever needs it - from customers and prospects, to corporate management and partners, to customer service and sales reps. For many organizations, most of the critical technology solutions are already in place: e-mail, instant messaging, video conferencing, voice over IP (VoIP), presence, Internet and intranet portals, and others. The challenge, however, is that many of these services are segregated into silos and reside on different networks, which stifles opportunities to improve enterprise wide collaboration and workforce productivity. With separate applications, organizations also have higher management costs.

With today's solutions for unified communications and collaboration, organizations can break down existing technological barriers and deliver dramatic improvements in productivity and customer satisfaction. Research shows that an effective unified communications and collaboration strategy can improve customer service by more than 50 percent and increase worker productivity by nearly 50 percent.

What does it take to achieve those kinds of improvements? Among other things, it takes a strong commitment, a sound plan and solid partnerships with leading vendors. This document looks at the unified communications and collaboration platforms and strategies of four of the industry's top suppliers and CDW partners: Avaya, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft. It also discusses best practices in deploying a unified communications and collaboration solution and how to get started. Finally, this paper explains why it is critical to do a full assessment of what you have in place and where you plan to go.

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