Profiling your workforce for Unified Communications

Updated: June 11, 2009


Organizations are becoming increasingly dispersed across the globe with workers located in different offices, time zones and in some cases working remotely from their homes or hotels. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a methodology for developing a Unified Communications (UC) strategy based on effectively profiling worker types, and therefore maximizing their effectiveness in a collaborative, distributed workforce.

The ability to identify and address the individual requirements of today's workforce is the key to making the most out of your collaboration investment and maximizing employee productivity. Understanding the type of work performed and who the employee primarily communicates with is part of determining your UC strategy. This white paper will provide the guidelines for profiling your workforce, then applying the right collaboration tools to that workforce, and finally an example of how profiling works.


C2C is a consultancy group dedicated to providing impartial advice on UC. Specifically, C2C helps organizations define their UC strategy, focusing on the organizational objectives and suggesting solutions that are customized based on specific end user requirements. UC experience is another important part of C2C Analysis and who we are. All of our consultants have at least 15 years of experience in any one of the UC technology areas. Whether it is Video Conferencing, VoIP, Telepresence, Audio and Web conferencing, Unified Messaging or Presence, our consultants have the UC industry experience to provide you with strategic and impartial advice.

The business drivers for UC are well known and organizations are already seeing the benefits of UC technologies within their organization. But as CIOs and IT managers are seeing more demand for UC services, they aren't seeing many options for UC advice and business case development. Also many organizations are tainted by unsuccessful past implementations which never realized their objectives and lead to under utilization of the existing investments made.

Whether embarking on a new UC initiative or re-vitalizing an existing implementation, organizations will require the following to realize the success of their investment and plans: a strategic approach, impartial consultation, and industry experience.


  1. These can be customized based on your organization's structure but the following categories can be used as a starting point.

Executive users are the senior employees responsible for leading groups within the organisation and ultimately deciding on the operations and strategic direction of those groups. These senior executives spend most of their time in meetings with their direct reports, peers within the organisation or board members - all of which can be geographically dispersed. These interactions are typically scheduled and formal and can be one-on-one or one-to-many meetings. Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine what type of collaboration tools the executive will primarily need to improve their communications and meeting productivity.

Service Roles
These roles usually include customer service, help desks, IT support, sales attendants and receptionists. By definition, these people spend most of their time at their desk but their communications can run across the organisation or with customers located anywhere in the world. Their communications are instantaneous and they require real-time access to CRM and/or ERP applications that store company and customer data. Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine how to improve their service either to internal or external to customers. This will include evaluating their speed of access to information and introducing unique mechanisms of personalizing their communications.

Information Workers
Information workers include R&D teams, project managers, product managers, launch managers, marketing teams, legal departments and trainers. Their communications are one-to-one and one-to-many interactions. Also this worker group is the knowledge base of the organisation and the other groups within the organisation require on-going access to these workers and the information they provide. As such, the key factor for them is maximising their ability to be contacted or presence, communicate and collaborate with their internal or external customers. Based on this profile, the next decision is to determine how to improve the accessibility of the worker and their information to the others within the organisation.


  1. Based on this profile, the next decision to determine how to provide a complete mobile office which has real-time access to the company's systems/applications, allows presence regardless of where they are.


Now that you have defined the worker profiles, the next step will be to decide what collaborative tools will make each worker profile more effective.

No single collaboration tool will meet all the collaboration or communication needs of a worker. The answer will lie in a combination of tools and therefore providing the right collaboration solution mix based on a particular profile can be very complex.

Defining the Collaboration Application

Defining the UC Device

When evaluating a UC device, it will be important to ask the following questions:

  • How many collaboration applications can the device support?
  • If multiple devices are in place, can they talk to one another and how integrated are they?
  • Is there one management tool that can have a view on the setup, status and availability of all the UC devices?
  • Will the user require a separate device (outside of their PC) for their voice and video?
  • Will the device need to be mobile and what collaboration applications are required to run on the mobile device?

Defining the Network

  • Does your network currently support convergence of all your existing applications (i.e. voice, video and data)?
  • Have you implemented VoIP and is VoIP integrated with all other applications (data and video)?
  • Can the collaboration devices chosen, support multiple networks if network convergence hasn't taken place?
  • Do your workers need to communicate outside of the company network? If so, will the collaboration devices and software chosen interoperate with the security elements of your network (i.e. firewalls, gateways, gatekeepers etc.)
  • Will you require network optimization tools to support the new applications you are adding to the network?
  • Also will you require new network management tools that monitor the usage of all the applications running on your network?
  • Does your network support quality and class of service for the different applications running on the network?

This type of strategy is based on user-centricity - defining the right collaborative tools or technology based on user requirements and worker profile. Using this methodology allows workers to be more efficient, more productive and easier to get in touch with, ultimately improving customer responsiveness and communications within the organization.

A Profiling Example:


This section of the white paper is designed to provide you with an example of how to go through the above steps and define a collaboration strategy for your organization.

The Challenge:

Executive level management wants to make a top down change within the organization regarding travel. For years the organization has been trying to reduce business travel and year on year they continue to miss their travel reduction targets. Their efforts even included a previous implementation of video conferencing in all their primary locations around the world (7 locations total - 3 in the US, 2 in Europe and 2 in Asia Pacific).

To ensure the company meets their travel reduction targets as well as improve productivity among executive level management, the company has decided to restrict travel for executive level management. Going forward all board meetings and senior team meetings will be done without travel.

To support this initiative, executive management has asked IT to provide recommendations on the technology required to support their new travel reduction policy. They also require that IT integrate or leverage any new technology with the existing video conferencing network already in place. The final requirement is to analyze the under utilization of the existing video network and report on why the current network never had an impact on the initial travel reduction requirements.

Profiling the Organisation:

The first step is to determine which groups within the organization will be affected by this new travel policy. Initially because it is a top down initiative the executive and senior management levels will be affected but if successful, executive management wants to extend the technology to other workers who travel and can use the technology as a replacement for travel. In this exercise, it is determined that the technology recommendations need to be made for the executive and information workers within the organization.

IT also evaluated sales workers for this initiative but decided based on who they needed to meet with and the type of meetings they were conducting, that sales would require a different collaborative technology recommendation.

Once the type of workers were defined the next step was to determine the number of employees that fit into each profile and define their primary meeting characteristics (how many people, at what locations, content being delivered and whether these meetings were going to be scheduled or ad hoc).

Applying the Right Collaboration Tools Based on Worker Profile:

Based on the worker profile and the type of meetings required, the decision was made to expand the existing video conferencing network and purchase more video and audio conferencing systems to outfit more conference rooms. Currently there were only 7 video conferencing systems for the entire organization.

Going forward the plan was to have at least an audio conferencing system in every conference room and for every conference room seating more than 5 people, there would be a both a video and audio conferencing system. With this new plan, information workers would have more accessibility to video conferencing, there would be a reduction in scheduling conflicts as a result of more video systems, and therefore there would be a reduction in travel among information workers.

Also, an evaluation was done by IT to determine why the existing video network was under utilized. The result was a lack of awareness of video system availability and limited knowledge on how to use or schedule the video systems. To resolve these issues, IT integrated the booking of video conferencing/meeting rooms into everyone's outlook calendar. Also, a global address book for all the rooms and video conferencing systems was added to the interfaces of all the video systems and to outlook. The objective was to integrate the expanded video conferencing network to the existing methodology for booking or scheduling meetings.

In addition to the new audio and video conferencing systems, a decision was made to implement telepresence systems to support executive management and their no travel policy for board meetings and other senior level meetings.

  • The quality of the telepresence systems was required to emulate a face-to-face meeting and therefore replacing the need for executives to travel.

  • Additional video conferencing systems were proposed because of lack of availability and constant scheduling conflicts with the existing video systems. Based on the number of information workers and senior level management being affected by this new travel policy, more video conferencing systems were required. The number of systems recommended was based on an analysis of the number of information workers and senior management and the average number of meetings they had with their remote teams.

Each video conferencing and telepresence system being proposed needed to support content sharing devices in order to view presentations during the meeting. Also, to support the nature of the knowledge worker's meetings, web collaboration software was proposed. This software supported their requirement to make real time changes for all documents being discussed or developed in their meetings. Different to content sharing devices, web collaboration software enables real-time changes to documents and not just viewing capabilities.

Choosing the Right Video, Audio and Telepresence Solutions:

To make the decision on what manufacturer or vendor to choose, the IT group discussed the following requirements:

  • How well will the new telepresence solution, video and audio systems integrate with the existing video network?
  • Does the telepresence solution use standards based video?
  • Should we purchase a multipoint control unit (MCU) to support multipoint audio and video conferences? Or do the video and audio devices already support there own internal multipoint capability?
  • Can we use outlook to schedule the meeting room and video conferencing systems simultaneously?
  • Can we use outlook to provide dial-in numbers for multipoint conferences?
  • How well can these devices support the data collaboration element required for some of the meetings?

Defining the Network to Support the New Collaboration Implementation:

  1. The IT group had to look at the following network elements to provide a complete recommendation to support this initiative.

  • Are we going to integrate the new video conferencing systems with our current VoIP solution? Does the IP PBX integrate or support video call transfer?
  • What management system will we run to monitor the status and availability of all the new systems on the network?
  • Will the network currently support the additional bandwidth required?
  • Will we need a gatekeeper to register the new video conferencing systems on the network and do call management such as ensuring there is enough bandwidth on the network before a call is placed?
  • Are there any security implications with adding these systems to the network even though the systems will currently only be used to make internal network calls and will not be calling outside the network?
  • Can I prioritize the traffic on my network


Understanding your workforce, their responsibilities, how collaboration will make them more productive and ultimately how their utilization of collaboration will save the company money is crucial to development of a UC strategy.

By first profiling your workforce, your collaboration strategy will support a user centric model and ensure utilization. Also by evaluating the combination of collaboration tools required and then ensuring the devices/software and network integrate, you ensure a comprehensive but also a cost-effective collaboration roll-out.

The ability to identify and address the individual requirements of today's workforce is the key to making the most out of your collaboration investment and maximizing employee productivity.

It is important to anticipate the technology needs of the users based on the results of the profiling exercise. Through this process you will be able to determine which communication devices users require and which media these devices will need to cater for such as voice, data, web, SMS, instant messaging and voicemail to name a few. And across which network technologies - wired or wireless, IP, SIP or TDM.

The technology challenge doesn't end there; you need to align the media with applications. This not only includes communication applications but also your organization's business applications such as CRM, ERP and so on.

The ultimate goal of any plan to deploy unified communication or collaboration technology should be based on user-centricity - putting the user at the centre of your strategy and building the tools around them, so they can be: more efficient, more productive, easier to get in touch with, communicate internally more and improve their response to customers.

Proprietary and Confidential

The information contained herein is the sole intellectual property of C2C Analysis, No distribution, reproduction or unauthorized use of these materials is permitted without the express written consent of C2C Analysis. Information contained herein is subject to change without notice and does not represent commitment of any type on the part of C2C analysis.


While reasonable effort was made to ensure that the information in this document was complete and accurate at the time of printing, C2C Analysis., cannot assume responsibility for any errors. Changes and/or corrections to the information contained in this document may be incorporated into future issues

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