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September 13-14, 2023 / The Fairmont, Austin


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05 Jan 2023

How To Make A Business Case For Unified Comms

You’ve seen the new technology you want, you’re confident of the benefits to your business, and you believe in the intangible benefits.

So what’s holding you back from making an instant purchase?

Oh, right. It’s not your money and you need to make a business case first.

In this post, we highlight both the intangible and tangible benefits to help you make a business case for unified comms.


1 - Intangible benefits of unified comms

When it comes to a shiny new platform, the intangible benefits are those that the marketing teams have done a great job selling to you.

Key words like productivity and integration are common on almost every vendor’s website.

And for good reason.

Moving from on-premises to cloud or from VoIP to collaboration represents a huge step in the way you communicate with colleagues and customers.

Externally, we’re talking about things like HD calling which represents great value when serving customers, patients, or anybody you need to talk to on the phone. 

This very basic unified comms feature is a massive step compared to crackly lines and cutouts. But callers have an easier experience with you, and that’s worth something. 


HD calling is table stakes when making a unified comms business case


What’s more, you can record these calls for training or compliance purposes.

In the case of training, they say “you can’t put a price on training” which doesn’t help build your business case but it is 100% worth flagging. 

When you have to be compliant taking payments, you might have no choice but to upgrade—then the business case writes itself.


Call recording and compliance helps strengthen a unified comms business case


We’re also talking about other ways to call, meet, and collaborate with internal and external contacts. 

For desk and mobile workers mainly, but now even frontline workers, you can schedule a meeting or meet instantly with video, audio, and screen sharing. 

How many better decisions can you make faster with face-to-face communication? 

What’s the value of seeing what someone is showing you rather than explaining it over the phone?

All very valuable but hard to translate to $$$.

Outside of real-time communication, things like channel-based messaging and document collaboration make project-based tasks easier to achieve and reduces the time to achieve them.


channel bassed messaging and other unified communications features


There’s no more using the wrong version of duplicating tasks as everyone gets a holistic view from their single communications app.

With more and more teams working remotely (sometimes for the first time), having a temporary or constant space to socialize online provides many mental health benefits as people adapt to a lack of office camaraderie.

All these intangible benefits should have a section in your business case for unified comms—with or without a $$ assigned to them.


2 - Tangible benefits of unified comms

The tangible benefits of unified comms often fall into the cost per seat or cost per hardware category.


The easiest way to document your business case is by presenting your before and after states.


You might have spent $50,000 per year for five years on your previous phone system setup. This is a total cost of ownership (TCO) of $250,000.

Unified comms total cost of ownership


Calculate your TCO for the next five years by adding licenses from your unified communications solutions, call costs (which will reduce), and not a great deal more.

When thinking about using online meetings with customers, you can also reduce the calling costs. There is no charge to connect to an online meeting like there is calling a customer’s landline number. Expect your overall calling costs to go down by the % you expect to switch to online meetings.

When it comes to hardware, you can either pay for this upfront or wrap them into a service model too.

In this case, timing plays a part in your unified comms business case. If your handsets are hanging on by a thread, replacing those on a legacy system makes no business sense.

If you recently refreshed them, check that they’re compatible with your new system before making a business case with a big red line next to the hardware column.


3 - Making a business case for unified comms

Most business cases are based on return on investment.

How long is it going to take to get your money back if you spend $$$XYZ today?

A simple comparison of current PBX and meeting costs versus future predictions is the center point of your unified comms business case. And, thanks to cloud models and clever licensing, there’s often an easy conclusion to make.


Unified comms return on investment


If you need to make a bigger and better business case for unified comms, there’s plenty more to include.

A - No more maintenance

Aside from the TCO, take into consideration the cost (or lack of) maintenance. 

Today you might be spending $1,000 per month on maintenance contracts for servers and on-site equipment. That all goes away when you move to an as a service model (UCaaS).

Almost everything is software-based and you receive updates via the cloud. For any physical equipment, like handsets and headsets, manufacturers provide warranties and kit is strength tested to survive different conditions.

For example, wired headsets built for high-pressure call centers can be thrown around when an agent handles a bad customer. And DECT phones are tested for warehouse-type conditions where they could be dropped from a great height.

B - Reduced travel

Switching to virtual meetings makes a huge dent in your carbon footprint but also your travel expenses.

Most businesses reduce travel by at least 50% when they get online meetings included in their unified comms packages. 

Take your current fuel, plane, train, and taxi costs and half them in your future predictions. Then deduct the hotel and food costs you’ll be saving too. 

All of a sudden, the business case for unified comms looks pretty solid.

C - Serving more customers and patients

In healthcare, new use cases like virtual consultations for assessing minor injuries reduce queue times in doctor’s surgeries and allow more patients to be seen. 

If your funding is based on resolve rate or number of patients seen, this is an invaluable way to get your numbers up. You also save the patient the risk of infection in a crowded waiting room and an awkward journey with an injured limb.

The same applies to retail environments where the only previous option for a customer to see a product was to come and see it. Now, with video technology built into almost every unified comms platform, you can provide video tours so customers know exactly what they’re buying without committing to an hour’s travel for something they may not want.

While these are intangible on the face of it, an exercise to work out what those two metrics translate to in monetary terms makes the business case for unified comms.

Final thoughts

Making a business case for unified comms isn’t only about the numbers on a spreadsheet.

While there’s no getting away from their importance, it’s vital you consider how much money you will save by enabling digital collaboration across your business (as well as your predicted annual outgoings compared to current).

When reviewing a business case, your CFO is going to spend the most time in a spreadsheet. So make sure it’s bulletproof.

But also fight the corner of the intangible benefits. We’re humans at the end of the day, not numbers.

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