Simple things…

So as well as implementing Unified Communications solutions for our customers, we are embarking on that journey ourselves. We have been using Microsoft Office Communications Server for some time; I’ve become a huge fan and I am convinced it has made me more productive. Just being able to see if someone is at their desk is a great thing! Funnily enough it has had what I would consider a positive impact in that I am more likely to walk round to see someone if I know they are there and their light is green. Maybe that’s not a stated benefit of presence, but it works for me.

A couple of months ago we upgraded our phone system to a Cisco Call Manager solution. This tracks your calls, so you know if you have a missed call (we still don’t, and never will, use voicemail!). I was amazed by the number of missed calls I had from within the office when my OCS status was set to ‘Away’ (or worse: Do Not Disturb!). Surely it’s more productive to check the colour of someone’s OCS blob first?

Anyway, a few weeks ago we took the next step and integrated OCS with Call Manager using the gloriously-named and does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin Cisco Unified Communications Integration with Microsoft Office Communications (or CUCIMOC for short). I’ve noticed an immediate drop in the number of missed calls when I’ve been away from my desk.

What’s that all about? Well, one of the benefits of CUCIMOC is that you can trigger a call from your PC, which is far easier than tapping through the directory on the phone itself. Once everyone realised that, of course, they started using OCS to initiate the call – which means that by default they are checking the status of the person they are calling.

Obviously there is far more to Unified Communications than this, but I think we’ve seen a material productivity gain with this small step…

While I think about it, if you are a Softcat customer or partner, you can connect to us via instant messaging – just ask your account manager!

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