The use of unified communications (UC) in the enterprise has grown significantly over the last few years, and is predicted to gain momentum in 2016 with a 10-15% growth rate. Companies are beginning to see the promise that UC transformation can bring to the organization, though the true benefits aren’t always apparent. It is easy to quantify a decrease in traditional PBX and conferencing costs, but what about the other areas UC can impact—the “soft cost” savings that you may not necessarily associate with deploying a unified communications initiative?
We recently sat down with one of our customers—a multinational Fortune 500 company—to help them quantify the ROI benefits they actualized from using Skype for Business services. In this study, we factored in both “hard” and “soft” costs associated with a UC transformation. The organization, initially planning to deploy Skype for Business over a period of five years, is projected to recognize a steady increase in hard cost savings with the reduction and eventual discontinuation of PBX and conferencing costs over that time. While these savings are enough on their own to present a business case for UC deployment, the soft cost savings are just as impactful and are often what tugs at the purse strings of those determining the cadence of site and user roll outs or even facing the decision to approve a Skype for Business monitoring project in the first place.
Consider the productivity savings our customer could recognize by leveraging Skype for Business for remote meetings versus traveling and using other conferencing solutions. If 20,000 employees were saved an average of 10 hours per month, and each employee earned an average of $40 per hour—the result is a cost savings of over $330 million over a five year deployment. Not only is that a significant value, those saved hours are now freed up and can be put to use in other ways—to get to market faster than the competition and ultimately, sell more units.
The question then becomes, when should you make the investment in transforming sites to full Skype for Business? ROI increases over a shorter amount of time if you invest more at the beginning of your deployment as opposed to investing the same amount, but spread out over the course of multiple years.
Of course there are many things to consider when deploying Skype for Business across your organization – network capabilities, user adoption & training, new device/infrastructure costs, policy compliance and, of course, IT bandwidth, just to name a few. ROI can be realized in hard costs balances, but don’t underestimate those soft cost benefits – they may be just the business case you need to finally build the perfect argument to justify your organization’s investment in a Skype for Business future.