In the Information Age, data is the coin of the network realm. To optimize the value of data and navigate the ongoing exchange of information, networking providers must deliver insights to the end user in a speedy and easy-to-contextualize manner. In short, immediacy and accessibility are key for enterprise success. Collaboration and communication tools play an indispensable role in overcoming roadblocks, but implementing these services without a defined strategy can result in a whole new set of risks.
Unfortunately, enterprises often naturally gravitate toward layers of bureaucracy and heavily siloed IT departments that seep into all areas of business function and spin the organization off its axis. Additionally, the open architecture nature of IT infrastructure products and services has proliferated the IT service catalog and feature set. As a result of this agile environment, most teams experience product feature set overlap, cross vendor integration points, disparate functionality and soaring operations costs.
Enterprises should invest time into developing a coherent collaboration and communications infrastructure (CCI) plan that outlines a set of procedures and policies for employees to follow. Moving forward with a fractured or non-existent CCI road map will inadvertently spark a “civil war” between IT departments and leave an enterprise vulnerable to the following six risks.
1. Broken CCI user experience
With enterprise CCI stack diversity comes a more limited user experience. If the technology deployed is not mandated, users will follow the path of least resistance and utilize their own preferred tools. Non-standardized end-user consumerization will be rampant.
2. Multiple management consoles
The lack of uniformity with management consoles is a cardinal CCI sin that cries out for centralized architecture to more elegantly manage various IT communication assets. A natural byproduct of multiple session initiation protocol (SIP) session managers is the disintegration of quality-of-service (QoS) – especially with voice and video traffic end-user services.
3. Overlap and over-supply of CCI capabilities
Without standardization and a clear CCI strategy, separate purchases of collaboration, social networking, voice, video and conference systems hardware and software licenses often overlap in functionality. The obesity of such over-supply screams out for rigorous CCI diet and exercise found only in a structured road map.
4. Excess cross-vendor integration points
The enterprise CCI stack that has overlap automatically breeds more integration points and consequent data networking headaches.
5. Increased security vulnerabilities
The more enterprise systems running unified communication protocols, the more amplified the security risk. When critical integration points like XMPP gateways or SIP trunking are expanded, the risk grows exponentially.
6. Reduced ability to engage key CCI champions within the organization
Without a robust strategy and CCI road map to guide I&O, key stakeholders or an internal CCI champion’s enthusiasm will dissipate, leaving bureaucracy and lethargy in its wake.
If lack of a CCI road map causes a “civil war” among an organization’s I&O stakeholders, then the results of its non-implementation are the potential casualties of that war. In truth, the six risks of a broken CCI process are actually the six realities and natural consequences that occur in the absence of a CCI strategy.
The ultimate goal of CCI is to enhance enterprise collaboration capabilities and allow an IT team to derive the full value of network data. Failing to properly plan and equip employees with a strategy derails the entire process and negates the potential benefits.
Most technology enterprises’ business models are founded on principles of consistency and connectivity. Fractured communication and procedures are not only unacceptable for your customers, but also significantly expensive and dangerous to your organization’s bottom line.
Michael Segal is director of solutions marketing at NetScout. He is a seasoned product management, product marketing and business development professional with experience in all aspects of product and solution marketing. Technical areas of expertise include cloud, virtualization, security, IP networking, mobility, Wi-Fi / wireless, and VoIP / UC. Michael is an innovator and holds three patents in the areas of networking and wireless mobility.