During a typical workweek, I tend to collaborate with the same 20 people; just trying to reach them used to take up a lot of my day. Since we’ve implemented Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, I’m much more likely to reach them on the first try, making me more productive.
The engine behind Cisco Unified Personal Communicator is Cisco Unified Presence Server, which constantly collects information about Cisco employees’ availability information, including whether they’re online, on the phone, in do-not-disturb mode, or their Microsoft Exchange calendar shows they’re in a meeting.
I’ve created several groups of contacts in Cisco Unified Personal Communicator. Before I click to dial, I check their presence information. If I see that someone is on the phone, I don’t bother dialing. Instead, I just click to send an IM saying, “Ping me when you’re free.”
Since Cisco Unified Personal Communicator is an optional application, Cisco IT had to show employees that it would make their lives easier. Salespeople are accustomed to using two tools, a desktop phone and cell phone, so they needed to know how a new tool would help them work more efficiently. The materials we created included video on demand and online training guides that explain how to use the features and why they save time.
Many Cisco employees are sold on Cisco Unified Personal Communicator because of presence alone. I’ve noticed that other people tend to have three “aha!” moments that make them excited about Cisco Unified Personal Communicator:
- Aha #1: A list of voicemail messages appears right on screen, including the sender and length. That’s very appealing for our mobile employees because it helps them manage their time more efficiency by responding to urgent messages first.
- Aha #2: Cisco Unified Personal Communicator is fully compatible with the Mac OS. Our Mac users love having presence, IM, and a soft phone in one application.
- Aha #3: You can also manage your desktop phone from within Cisco Unified Personal Communicator. I myself use the interface to set up call forwarding and start conferences on my desktop phone.
Initial adoption rate for Cisco Unified Personal Communicator was 25 to 30 percent in most countries, which is considered great for an optional application, and an unheard-of 50 percent in Japan and Hong Kong. Our analysis showed that the big variable in the rate of adoption is whether company leaders personally encourage employees to use Cisco Unified Personal Communicator. In Japan, for example, adoption rose to 35 percent within a week of the county manager’s letter to employees talking about productivity benefits from reaching people on the first try, and to 50 percent in a month.
Cisco Unified Personal Communicator works with all standard Windows and Mac desktops in use at Cisco except the very oldest, whose processors are too slow for voice.
In the near future, we’ll be integrating presence into other applications besides Cisco Unified Personal Communicator to transform our business processes:
- Our contact center agents will use presence to quickly find an available, qualified expert while the customer is still on the phone, helping to improve first-call resolution rate.
- We’re adding presence, click-to-call, and click-to-conference to other applications, a capability the industry is calling “communications-enabled business processes.” As an example, we’ve embedded presence and click-to-dial into our internal Quoting and Deal Management system. To add presence and click-to-dial into an application, we use Cisco Unified Application Environment.
- We’re in the process of enriching Cisco Unified Presence with location data, so that employees will be able to see if coworkers are in the office or on the move.
- We’re integrating our on-premise presence information with presence information from the global Cisco WebEx Connect cloud. When the integration is complete, all of us at Cisco, plus certain customers and partners, will be able to see each other’s real-time presence information and just click to connect. This is part of our Borderless Networks vision.
- The unified communications clients we’re rolling out for select mobile devices will also provide presence information.