Validating the unified communications business case for Fruitways
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The difficulty in building a justifiable business case is preventing Fruitways from adopting a unified communication solution. Subsequently the research set out to determine the business value that Fruitways can expect to derive from implementing a unified communication solution before committing to a full-scale implementation. The results of this research have put Fruitways in a position to make an informed decision on whether or not to adopt unified communication. In order to answer the research question a unified communications pilot project was initiated within the Fruitways group using the introduction of Microsoft Lync (a unified communications application) as the event under study. The research described and analysed a unified communications pilot project in a bounded system, Fruitways (the case). The case study made use of abductive reasoning in order to synthesise a case for the business value that Fruitways can expect to derive from implementing unified communication technology. The literature study showed that unified communications provide value to an organisation on four levels; namely, the personal, workgroup, enterprise and infrastructure level. However, participants in the pilot project indicated that they experienced value from unified communication only on three of the four levels as identified in the literature; these levels were: • Personal level. Participants indicated that they felt more productive with unified communications at their disposal. The rich choice of communication methods empowered participants to choose the most appropriate mode of communication given the communication need and context. • Workgroup level. The main drivers of value for participants on this level was found in the increased speed of group tasks, working more effectively across distance and evidence of more effective work practises forming. • Enterprise level. The study showed improved coordination between departments in Fruitways with the deployment of unified communication technology. Surprisingly there was no indication that Fruitways could expect to save significant infrastructure related costs by consolidating communication onto a single data network. The infrastructure related cost saving value proposition that is most often cited by vendors of unified communication systems was not clear for Fruitways. Although the study showed that unified communication presents value to Fruitways, the literature also pointed toward the importance that this value needs to be aligned with the strategic objectives of the business in order to constitute true business value. The business value that unified communication presents to Fruitways does indeed support its strategic objectives.