By Michael Segal, NetScout Director of Solutions Marketing

In the Information Age where data is the coin of the realm, the accessibility and velocity of that data are critical to enterprise end-users.

Unfortunately, enterprises often naturally gravitate toward layers of bureaucracy and heavily siloed IT departments that seep into all areas of business function, and occasionally spin the organization off its axis. Thus, the introduction of indispensable collaboration and communication tools that help lubricate business and organizational processes must be well coordinated and efficient.

There is an inherent problem, though. Managing services in multi-vendor environments, lack of collaboration across siloed IT teams, inconsistent or overlapping product functionality, insufficient network capacity, and soaring operational costs are some of the common organizational problems resulting in the lack of a coherent collaboration and communications infrastructure (CCI) strategy.

Enterprises should, therefore, invest time into developing a coherent CCI plan that outlines a set of procedures and policies for IT and end-users to follow. Moving forward with a fractured or non-existent CCI roadmap may inadvertently spark a “civil war” between IT departments and leave an enterprise vulnerable to the following risks:

1. Broken CCI user experience
Enterprise CCI stack diversity often results in degraded user experience. If the technology deployed is not mandated, users will follow the path of least resistance and utilize their own preferred tools. Non-standardized end-user consumerization will be rampant.

2. Multiple management consoles
The lack of uniformity with management consoles is a cardinal CCI sin that cries out for centralized architecture to more elegantly manage various IT communication assets. A natural byproduct of multiple session initiation protocol (SIP) session managers is the degraded ability to manage quality-of-service (QoS), MOS, jitter, packet loss and other service performance attributes that impact the end-user experience..

3. Overlap and over-supply of CCI capabilities
Without standardization and a clear CCI strategy, separate purchases of collaboration, social networking, voice, video and conference systems hardware and software licenses often overlap in functionality. Such over-supply screams out for a rigorous CCI regime found only in a structured road map.

4. Excess cross-vendor integration points
The enterprise CCI stack that has overlap automatically breeds more integration points and consequent data networking headaches.

5. Increased security vulnerabilities
The more enterprise systems running unified communication protocols, the more amplified the security risk. When critical integration points like XMPP gateways or SIP trunking are expanded, the risk grows exponentially.

6. Reduced ability to engage Key CCI champions within the organization
Without a robust strategy and CCI road map to guide I&O, key stakeholders or an internal CCI champion’s enthusiasm will dissipate, leaving bureaucracy and lethargy in its wake.

If lack of a CCI road map causes a “civil war” among an organization’s I&O stakeholders, then the results of its non-implementation are the potential casualties of that war. In truth, the six risks of a broken CCI process are actually the six realities and natural consequences that occur in the absence of a CCI strategy.

The ultimate goal of CCI is to enhance enterprise collaboration capabilities and allow an IT team to derive the full value of network data. Failing to properly plan and equip employees with a strategy derails the entire process and negates the potential benefits.

Most technology enterprises’ business models are founded on principles of consistency and connectivity. Fractured communication and procedures are not only unacceptable for your customers, but also significantly expensive and dangerous to your organization’s bottom line.