Monday, December 21, 2009

UC@EDU

Some readers might get the impression I go to church every Sunday and do Bible study on Wednesdays. Uhm, no. I am Bulgarian, Eastern Orthodox and go to church on two occasions – to find my inner peace before I make an important decision or... to get away from my wife… just kidding. “Amen” for me is what “Eureka” was for Archimedes – “I got it”!


Enough said on this, let’s move on.

Georgia Military College is a two-year liberal arts junior college, a high school and a middle school. The main campus is located in Milledgeville, GA. We have campuses in every major city in the state and recruiting centers in every military base as well. Everybody in the Educational area knows what the telephony is as a part of the business flow… I am constantly amazed by the ability of our staff members to joggle between the kid on the counter, keyboard and the phone. I personally will not last a full day in this environment. As IT person, however, I am responsible to provide the tools available out there to optimize the business process, with other words, to get more work done with the same staff for the same working hours as yesterday. The good old capitalist way to “work people to death” is not an option (any more) and so, optimizing the work flow by introducing the concept of Unified Communications seems one very logical choice.

Let’s look the following example (the EDU people will recognize the situation right away):

A student in Valdosta campus goes to the business office to inquiry about his/her degree. Because the degree processor is located in the Main campus in Milledgeville, Valdosta folks have option to either:

     1. Say “Can you stop by this afternoon for an answer” (bad customer service - hell knows no fury as a student mistreated in the Business Office)
     2. Jump on the (PSTN) phone and dial Milledgeville (Long Distance charges) and hope:
        a) The other party is there
        b) It is not on the phone already (busy signal)
        c) It is not busy (“I have enough of my stuff to deal with”) with something else
        d) It is not in a bad mood in the moment
        e) Send an email to Milledgeville and… go back to a)

We can extrapolate from here to eternity the possible outcomes. However, the key here is – user A attempted to communicate with user B while they are physically separated by location and network. The essentials from the example above are:

     1. Is the user at his/her desk (Presence)


     2. Is it already on the phone (Availability for a particular task – a phone call in this case)

     3. Was anyone else tasked with this work flow




By introducing this part of Unified Communications concept (part of Office Communications Server 2007), we just solved one fundamental problem:

1. We located the right person

2. Asked the question




3. Received an answer and served the student



More on UC@EDU tomorrow...

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