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GCN : October 2013
Full 10 question interview online at: gcn.com/2013Uni edCommunications Uni ed communications can be a transformative technology. By integrating their voice, video and data networks, agencies not only can save money but also can create a platform for facilitating collaboration among users across the organization -- and beyond. But it takes careful planning. In this interview, Matthew Schneider, operations director for U.S. Public Sector Collaboration at Cisco Systems, explains how agencies can realize the full bene ts of their uni ed Communications initiatives. Cisco Systems on Uni ed Communications QHow can the integration of voice, video and data networks help an agency improve its operational ef ciency and deal with increasingly constrained budgets? AMany agencies have a siloed approach to uni ed communications (UC), meaning that they deploy voice, video and data independently of each other and without a unifying strategy. As a result, they are challenged to deliver a consistent, high quality user experience, and they end up with a more complicated network to manage. By unifying voice, video and data services, IT organizations have the ability to streamline the management of the network infrastructure and deliver a high quality, integrated experience to their users. That means providing the ability to connect people, not devices -- connect them regardless of whether they are using a dedicated video endpoint, desk phone, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Whatever device they are using, users can be assured of a consistent, high- quality experience in which they are able to communicate in the most effective and ef cient way possible. When the experience is consistent across workers, whether of ce based, mobile or teleworkers, IT is positioned to provide a signi cant impact to the mission side of the business by being a true enabler of citizen services. QHow can agencies leverage uni ed communications to increase the productivity of their employees? A Given that a single uni ed platform can be used to communicate with peers not only within the organization but across agencies and with citizens, the possibilities for increasing productivity, while lowering expenses, are vast. UC can provide very tangible bene ts, such as expediting decisions, reducing travel, and enabling telework. It can also provide intangible bene ts, such as unifying a geographically- dispersed workforce, providing more ef cient meetings, and fostering a better balanced work/ life environment. As voice, video and information sharing tools become increasingly pervasive throughout an organization, we also see opportunities to integrate UC into government processes and to simplify the ways in which citizens engage with agencies. There are certain caveats to this, though. To maximize the Sponsored Content Matthew Schneider Operations Director, U.S. Public Sector Collaboration Cisco Systems