This syndicated post originally appeared at Yankee Group Blog » Zeus Kerravala.

IT executives looking to maximize their UC investments or searching for a way to gain budget approval should make UC a core component of a company’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

When I interview current or potential deployers of UC, the conversation typically focuses on cost savings and how to measure productivity gains. However, one thing that does not get brought up often enough is how organizations can use UC as a way to ensure continuous communications in the event of a disaster.

Organizations that haven’t been through a disaster tend to only think about the ones that gain national attention such as hurricane Katrina or 9/11. However, the majority of disasters occurs with very little media attention and can be just as harmful. For example, one enterprise I recently dealt with had a chemical truck spill directly in front of the building so workers were not allowed in the building. This meant none of the workers were able to get into the location even though there was no problem with the physical location; it was more of an access problem.

Planning for disasters with traditional communications tools is very difficult, if not impossible, overly expensive and not really feasible at all. Communication systems are especially difficult, as the systems will reach peak utilization in times of disaster. With many disasters though, even if the telephony systems are unavailable, Internet connections are often available.

Implementing UC gives workers a wide variety of communication tools to collaborate with other workers, partners, customers or others in the organizations extended enterprise. UC tools have the same experience whether the worker is in the office or working remotely. If the UC suite is coupled with a softphone, the worker can almost re-create the “in office” experience from where ever they are.

One of the reasons many disaster recovery plans fail is because the workers are not familiar with how to use the tools in the event of a disaster. Many applications use a browser or thin client interface to work remotely. With UC though, the applications are the same and should be familiar to the worker when operating in a disaster environment.

Any organization that is currently struggling to justify their UC purchase should consider using BCDR as additional justification for the purchase.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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