Recently, articles in this newsletter have discussed ACORD’s new technology implementations. While not using the term “unified communications” that’s part of what it is — bringing together disparate components to increase efficiency. And ACORD isn’t the only one rolling out such technologies.

Unified communications is a term being used more and more these days. What it is and what it does for a company varies based on implementation.

As a recent Information Week article points out: “For some, it’s just a matter of replacing consumer chat tools like AIM and Messenger with enterprise versions. For others, it’s going all the way to deploying high-end desktop videoconferencing. For most, though, what’s important is the ability to pick and choose the pieces of UC to implement.”

At ACORD, the IT department has been hard at work selecting and deploying UC technologies across the enterprise to promote collaboration and increase efficiency. This includes electronic faxing, voice mail through email, desktop videoconferencing, instant messaging, and VoIP telephony. All of them are integrated at the desktop level and accessed using a single user sign-on.

“What we needed to do was find the technologies that helped make us more efficient and coordinated. The more efficient we are internally, the better we can serve our members. While free apps work in their own ways, they don’t provide an integrated capability, stability or overall efficiency. ACORD is about collaboration and UC provides that collaborative platform,” said Frank Neugebauer, CTO, ACORD.

Information Week’s article concurs. “Another interesting data point from our survey is that the two business considerations that most commonly drive a UC implementation are improving employee collaboration and improving employee efficiency. Those two factors outdistance all others by 25 and 18 percentage points, respectively.”
“ACORD staff work and travel worldwide. The ability to communicate easily, coordinate efforts, share desktops and documents to get the work done is essential,” said Neugebauer. “Today, ACORD staff all use one communicator system and have desktop phones that integrate with Outlook and Microsoft Office Communicator. ACORD members seamlessly plug into this environment using their regular telephones.”

Unified communications is here. Information Week’s survey found that 30% of those polled have already deployed UC and another 30% plan to do so in the next couple of years. “ACORD is taking advantage of the technologies available today and their ability to increase operational efficiency,” said Neugebauer.

Read the full article here

Author: Michael Carroll

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