Dimension Data, the $3,8-billion specialist IT services and solution provider, has announced the availability of its Unified Communications Development Model (UCDM) that helps organisations to assess their competence and capabilities in the area of unified communications, and to develop a roadmap for implementation.

Developed by Dimension Data’s communications experts, the release of the UCDM follows growing demand from its clients to provide them with a model to measure their organisation against a set of operational and strategic competency areas, and then help them prioritise their investment in unified communications.
Cecil Thokoane, chief technology officer of Dimension Data Middle East and Africa, says: Solutions says, “Our research indicates that Unified Communications is high on global boardroom agendas for 2008 and beyond. Our clients see the value of deploying unified communications but don’t know where to start. They want help defining which technologies and projects to prioritise to realise the benefits.”
The research, commissioned by Dimension Data in August last year, surveyed 900 IT managers and end-users across 13 countries in the US, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, also indicated that up to 40% of end users were using their own UC technologies at work, rather than officially-sanctioned applications.
“Employees are under increasing pressure to remain productive, even when their roles require them to be away from their desks and co-workers. Unified communications applications such as instant messaging, presence, unified messaging and mobility play a key role in enabling productivity. However, they must be integrated into the corporate communications toolset for security and compliance purposes,” says Thokoane.
The UCDM helps organisations to understand their current state of performance, operational practices and strategic execution. Following this exercise, it helps them to develop a roadmap tailored to their specific immediate, and future business and employee requirements.
“During the UCDM engagement we work with business stakeholders to map each operational and strategic competency onto one of four maturity levels:  Basic, Converged, Unified, or Optimised. The output focuses on an as-is and a to-be desired position. Then, depending on the to-be position required and the path set out to achieve the objectives, the next actions could include technology purchases, deeper integration of existing technologies or projects that centre around corporate culture or end-user training,” Thokoane explains.
The UCDM can also be used as a starting point for an organisation’s strategic planning process, a progress-check against planned projects, or as a review of the projects already implemented.
“This ensures that initiatives in the organisation’s people, process and technology areas are founded in the correct strategic context, are prioritised correctly, and will work together to leverage the investment in unified communications.”