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Managed Services

Verizon Makes UC&C an Easier Sell

Verizon Enterprise Solutions is trying to make it easier for its customers to tap unified communications and collaboration services by offering new professional consulting that will spell out the business case for using UC&C and guide companies through the transition.

Businesses are attracted to the productivity and efficiency benefits of UC&C, says Michael Holtgrefe, senior consultant for UC&C consulting services at Verizon, but they need to be certain of bottom-line results, and they need help in training personnel and determining how to best use their legacy systems. “Our clients are telling us they really need help in planning these phases of transition,” Holtgrefe says. “They have insufficient resources and time, and they really don’t have a comprehensive UC plan.”

UC&C includes a wide range of legacy services, such as IP-based voice and data, but also video of various kinds, messaging, collaboration using documents, content management, and incorporation of mobile devices and mobility. The services needed will vary by company and business objectives, according to Holtgrefe.

Verizon is offering to provide expert consultants who will evaluate a business, including assessing its current technology deployments, the need for cultural change, required business process changes, and business objectives. Verizon, by working with strategic partners such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Avaya Inc. , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), can then help a business plan its transition to UC&C.

“UC&C is at a phase where everyone understands it, but they don’t know how to make it relevant to their business,” Holtgrefe notes. “What it means to an enterprise is vastly different, company to company. Customers have a difficult time proving the benefits on an individual case basis.”

Verizon Business will provide that business case, with measurable benefits, at the outset, and can provide ongoing assistance to manage the transition, he says. The portfolio of consulting services includes strategic consulting, financial analysis, and operational integration.

Verizon is able to provide specialized consulting at scale by reusing “relatively standard” components and reusable modules, Holtgrefe says, but the company will also draw on its growing knowledge of specific vertical business segments, including healthcare, retail, government, and education, to hone its advice. Verizon will bring in its security experts as well, to ensure protection of all services.

The service is available immediately in the U.S., in some European countries, and in the Asia/Pacific region.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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