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© Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
Exhibit 1
Branch Infrastructure Purchase Criteria
Source: Yankee Group 2006 Branch Spending Survey
Empowering Greater Branch
Productivity with Distributed
Communications
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All rights reserved. All opinions and estimates herein constitute our judgment as of this date and are subject to change without notice.
For many companies, their branch office is undergoing a
transformation. In organizations in verticals such as retail and
financial services, branch strategies are critical to a company’s
success. Yankee Group defines a company that spreads its
value across its entire organization—not just across its
headquarters—as a “distributed enterprise.” As further
support of the emerging trend toward distributed enterprises,
85% of employees now work outside of their corporate
headquarters; many of them are in branch locations. As this
shift continues, IT professionals need to keep the following
criteria in mind:
• The purchase criteria for today’s branch infrastructure
centers on ease of support, management and better
performance (see Exhibit 1). As the trend
toward the distributed enterprise continues,
scalability will become an increasingly
important factor.
• With 37% of downtime related to human error,
a solution designed specifically for the
distributed enterprise that enables centralized
control as well as distributed features is
required to ensure maximum uptime.
• The solution must be easy to deploy, require
little to no on-site technical support and still
provide the flexibility to meet the unique
needs of any individual branch.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Move intelligence to branch
Lower capital costs
Feature interoperability
Scalability
Lower opex
Increased performance
Ease of management
Ease of support
n = 202
Percent of Respondents
14
29
31
32
56
58
62
65
Note: Respondents selected up to three criteria.
This custom publication has been funded by Avaya.
by Zeus Kerravala | May 2007
Executive Summary
• Any purchase made today must have an eye to the future
as companies look to make advanced communications
applications a more important part of their business
process. The solution needs to deliver the features the
branch currently requires, but it must also be easily
adaptable to deliver future needs.
2 © Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 2007
Table of Contents
I. The Emergence of the Distributed Enterprise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
II. Meeting the Operational Challenges of Today’s Distributed Enterprise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Role of Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
III. A Look Ahead at the Strategic Branch Location. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
IV. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
T
he role of the branch office has changed during the past
few years. The continued growth of internet
technologies, network-based applications and IP-based
communications has made it possible for the branch to play a
much more important role today than it did a number of
years ago.
In addition, branch offices perform a variety of roles,
depending on the organization. Some companies are more
centralized, and they use branches simply to house employees
that do not happen to be in the same local region. For these
types of organizations, the role of branches is tactical and,
although important, they are not critical to the organization.
For other companies, branches are a much more strategic
component of their growth plans. Consumer-facing retail and
financial services firms are examples of organizations where
the operations of the branch play a key role in the
organization’s success. These distributed enterprises have the
following characteristics:
• The majority of employees reside in branch locations away
from corporate headquarters.
• Branch locations generate much of the organization’s
revenue.
• The decision-making responsibility for the operations of
the branch rests at the corporate level.
• Little to no IT staff exists at the branch. The administration
and maintenance of technology is often done by dispatched
technicians or remotely from corporate headquarters.
The structure of distributed organizations coupled with the
value that each location has created a unique set of challenges
for distributed enterprises:
• Because branches are geographically dispersed, there is
the potential for the operational costs to be much higher
than necessary.
• Because most branch office purchasing is done without
regard to the technologies in the other locations, the
customer experience varies widely from branch to branch.
A consistent experience enables customers to understand
what to expect whenever they visit the company.
• Solutions built for branch offices are often complex and
nonstandard. This makes remote maintenance difficult
and costly.
• Technology needs to be rolled out quickly. Branches often
need to “go live” with a new initiative rapidly, leaving
only a small window of opportunity to deploy new
technology. Lack of availability of a new technology could
equal lost revenue.
The concept of a truly distributed enterprise is gaining traction.
Organizations that fit this characterization need to evaluate
their communications and IT needs and determine how to
optimize the lifecycle of technology to maximize revenue
opportunities at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
3 © Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 2007
I. The Emergence of the Distributed Enterprise
4 © Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 2007
T
here are many operational challenges that distributed
enterprises face regarding their communications and IT
needs. To meet these challenges, companies must combine
their operational practices with the available solutions. In
most cases, historical solutions created for branch locations
were designed for small-office or home-office locations, or
they were large enterprise solutions that were shrunk to live
in a branch location.
Small-office solutions may be appealing from the perspective
of acquisition cost. However, these products were not
designed with networks in mind, so their operational costs are
often high. Large enterprise solutions are appealing because
of their range of features and scalability, but these products
are often far more expensive than is necessary for a branch.
What is required—and has only recently been addressed by
vendors—is a communications solution purpose-built for
branch offices in a distributed enterprise. A product designed
for a distributed enterprise should have the following
characteristics:
• Easy to deploy: Distributed enterprises can have
thousands of locations. They require a product that
enables distributed deployment but also centralized
management. Distributed enterprises should use templates
and wizards as a way of creating standardized
configurations for error-free deployments. Also, historical
solutions may have required multiple IT people for a
number of days to turn a branch up. Ideally, the branch
solution would enable remote deployment.
• Simplified management: Installation time is reduced
from a number of days to a number of hours, with an error
rate that’s potentially orders of magnitude lower than
historical solutions.
• Scalable solution: As the organization continues to grow,
so will its need for a solution that can scale with the
company. Organizations can manage complex hardware
configurations in low numbers, but these can become
quite arduous in larger environments. Unfortunately, many
companies realize this while they are growing, which
creates headaches for IT management.
• Improved administration: Although a distributed
enterprise may have globally distributed branches and
infrastructure, it still requires centralized administration.
However, this centralized administration is more than
simply using a remote console to access the product and
administer products on a box-by-box basis. True
centralized administration would enable bulk
administration such as moving, adding or changing users,
and setting up greetings, announcements and other
modifications. In other words, remote administration
requires making the change once and replicating it to a
predefined group or the entire organization with the click
of a mouse. The system should also enable local
administration where the enterprise may desire it.
• Long-term maintainability: The distributed enterprise
demands predictable and continuous long-term operations.
This requires the simplification and centralization of tasks
that enterprises use to continually optimize the
performance of their communications networks. The keys
to long-term maintainability are:
— Centralized inventory management
— Backup and recovery
— Software and firmware release management
— Remote reboot
— Product licensing simplicity
• Distributed fault management with centralized control:
Distributed enterprises need a real-time view of the health
and status of all the devices in the network. Distributed
enterprises should make configuration parameters
available system-wide to enable the centralized tools to
quickly define management settings such as data
collection, alerts and logs.
The growth of networked applications and IP communications
has created an opportunity for companies to change the way
they operate to gain a competitive advantage. Shifting to a
truly distributed organization can have tremendous benefits in
terms of improved customer satisfaction, higher up-sell
potential and improved efficiencies of the branch—all at a
lower total cost of ownership.
II. Meeting the Operational Challenges of Today’s Distributed Enterprise
Augmenting the skills of the current IT department with a
knowledgeable professional services team can help
enterprises implement a lifecycle approach to managing the
branch. Savvy network and IT managers will understand that
using a professional services partner will free valuable time
for future planning and other tasks that are strategic to the
organization and will allow the IT staff to focus on what they
do best.
W
ith the distributed enterprise becoming a reality, the
branch can play an even more important role in the
strategic long-term outlook for the overall company. Many of
the initiatives that occur in IT today are focused on lowering
the overall TCO of the branch location.
Although TCO is very important to branches, it’s critical that
companies focus on ROI-generating initiatives as well. This
will help enterprises gain an advantage over their
competitors. Some examples of key branch initiatives are
creating a predictable customer experience from location to
location, consistent branding, better customer service and
improved branch business process. The key technologies that
enable these key branch initiatives include:
• Corporate-wide instant messaging (IM): Instant
messaging today is ad hoc for most organizations and is
often delivered through the use of public IM tools. Using a
centralized, corporate-wide system can create a fast way
for employees to communicate with one another. A
corporate system also provides the necessary auditability
and security that the public systems do not have.
• Presence status of all users: Understanding the presence
of every user in the organization will enable workers to
identify quickly which users are available and which ones
are not. This can help solve internal problems and
customer service issues.
5 © Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 2007
As business needs have changed, so have the requirements
of the underlying technology that enables the branch office.
IT organizations need to think about a different type of
solution, one that is specifically designed for distributed
environments that will enable the organization to implement
the features today but also will provide future functionality
as the needs demand.
I
n addition to a solid product, there are many IT-related
tasks that are required to provide a distributed enterprise
with the communications and applications it requires. One
should think of the infrastructure that supports the distributed
enterprise as having a full lifecycle around it (see Exhibit 2).
Implementing all of the tasks across the lifecycle requires a
variety of skills. Many tasks require strong business skills,
such as business case and metric development. Other tasks
require broad and deep technical skills, which many
organizations do not have. As a result, many companies have
not altered the way IT supports a branch as the needs of their
business have changed. In addition, certain tasks require
strong operational and change management skills, an area that
many organizations perform ad hoc rather than by following
any kind of best practices.
The Role of Services
Exhibit 2
A Lifecycle Approach Is Required to Ensure Success
Source: Yankee Group, 2007
Im
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Plan
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s
i
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III. A Look Ahead at the Strategic Branch Location
T
he proliferation of high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity to
branch locations has created an environment where
branch locations can be much more strategic than before.
Companies that embrace the concept of the distributed
enterprise will have branch locations that are much more
consistent in the way they operate and provide better
customer service, which will enable them to quickly gain an
advantage over their competitors.
The infrastructure needed to support a distributed enterprise
that wants a manageable total cost of ownership has changed.
Products designed for small offices with limited network
capabilities are not sufficient, and neither are large-office
products that have been shrunk to fit into a branch.
Instead, what’s required is a solution that has been
specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s distributed
enterprise as well as tomorrow’s. Distributed enterprises
require a product with a broad feature set that enables
centralized control with distributed functions. Companies that
• Mobility integration: The variety and availability of smart
phones will explode during the next few years. Additionally,
while only 38% of a company’s mobile workforce has
corporate-paid devices today, according to the Yankee Group
2006 Transatlantic Wireless Business Survey—US Large
Business, 58% of devices will be corporate-paid by 2009.
As this happens, it will become important to deliver
corporate applications to these mobile devices.
• Unified messaging: IP telephony growth has created an
environment where a company can integrate all of its
messaging platforms into one. Unified messaging
integrates e-mail and voicemail, enabling users to access
e-mails through voice technologies and voicemails
through their e-mail platforms.
• Advanced application enablement: A strong developer
support system is required to enable third-party ISVs, in-
house developers and systems integrators to create
applications with embedded communications. This
requires a strong set of APIs and XML support, developer
toolkits and conferences, computer-telephony integration
(CTI) and telephony application program interface (TAPI)
service support, as well as all of the testing support
developer toolkits required by application developers.
This will enable vertically specific applications to be built
with embedded communications technology.
• A road map to communications-enabled business
processes: Intelligent communications combine all of
unified communications’ capabilities with
business applications (see Exhibit 3). In the
intelligence communications phase, web
services and service-oriented architecture
become the method by which applications
and communications “converge.” The
ability to respond to anyone in the extended
enterprise at any time, over any device,
with the right amount of business
intelligence will power a new wave of
productivity. Companies will see greater
customer satisfaction and more productive
users. In addition, they will be able to
create new business processes without the
human latency.
May 2007
© Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
Exhibit 3
Business Communications Evolution
Source: Yankee Group, 2007
Intelligent communications:
Communications embedded into
the fabric of the business.
Communications embedded into business
applications. Creates business agility,
process improvement and leads to
competitive advantage.
Unified communications:
IP-based communications integrated
with collaboration tools such as
conferencing, e-mail, instant messaging
and presence. Value is on streamlining
current communications process.
Business applications still in silos.
Converged communications:
Voice, video and data on one network.
Applications still exist in silos. Value primarily
focused on IT process improvement and
telecommunications cost savings.
Traditional communications:
TDM PBX, data network and business applications
all live in distinct silos. Business impact is minimal.
Evolution of Communications (Time)
Business
Value
IV. Conclusions
7 © Copyright 1997-2007. Yankee Group Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 2007
embrace the concept of a distributed enterprise and select the
right vendor achieve the following benefits:
• Faster, more accurate deployments, which will enable new
branches to be revenue-producing faster
• Centralized manageability, leading to a reduction of errors
and less downtime
• Increased branch uniformity, leading to a more consistent
customer experience
• Lower operational expenses from better management tools
and little to no on-site support
• Lower capital costs through consolidation of branch office
equipment
• Flexible products with a
longer life span than
traditional branch products
• Faster mean time to repair
through the use of
distributed fault
management
• More accurate capacity
planning from greater, real-
time visibility of all devices
in the network
• Rapid recovery of costs as communications-enabled
business processes become a reality, creating a much more
agile enterprise
• Easier long-term maintainability through better firmware
release methods, centralized backup and recovery and
inventory management
Companies that embrace the concept
of the distributed enterprise will have
branch locations that are much more
consistent in the way they operate and
provide better customer service, which
will enable them to quickly gain an
advantage over their competitors.
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