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FCW : March 15, 2013
he concept of uni ed com- munications is taking on new life in federal agencies. At one time, the idea of manag- ing voice, video and data on an integrated network was primar- ily seen as a matter of ef ciency. The case for ef ciency is certainly compelling because an integrated network is easier and less costly to maintain. But federal agencies are begin- ning to realize that the real payoff from UC is a matter of perfor- mance. By integrating their differ- ent streams of information, agen- cies can build an environment in which employees can work both ef ciently and collaboratively. This is especially important with the emergence of increasingly so- phisticated collaboration technolo- gies, including video, mobility and enterprise social networking tools. In such a complex IT environment, an integrated communications strat- egy is more important than ever. Market research rm IDC expects to see more and more large organizations upgrade their networks and invest in UC and col- laboration technology. "For many end users, UC&C has moved from an 'if' to a 'when' proposition for making strate- gic plans for their organization's deployment," wrote Rich Costello, senior research analyst for UC and enterprise networking infrastructure at IDC, in an August 2012 study. That is certainly the case at the FBI. As part of its Next Generation Workspace (NGW) program, the FBI is consolidating a four-tiered network design into a common IP- based network core that can sup- port voice, video and data traf c, and related applications, according to the bureau's scal 2010-2015 IT Strategic Plan. "NGW will equip FBI users with new and ef cient ways to com- municate and collaborate with their fellow employees across the globe," the plan states. As part of its strategy, the FBI is also looking to break down exist- ing information silos at the bureau by streamlining systems develop- ment and data repositories across different mission areas. The plan also calls for the development of a knowledge management strategy, with hopes of fostering a culture of data and information sharing. UC is also expected to play a major role at the Defense Depart- ment in the years to come. In its 2013-2018 strategic plan, the Defense Information Systems Agency describes its vision of a Joint Information Environment that would support collaboration and information sharing across DOD. DISA of cials see UC as part of the foundation of JIE. One of DISA's t op objectives is to "deliver integrated voice, video and/or data services ubiquitously across an interoperable, secure and highly available IP network infrastructure...to provide mission effectiveness to the war ghter," ac- cording to the strategic plan. DISA has developed a Uni ed Capabilities Master Plan to guide defense organizations in moving toward this vision. Sponsored Report UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS A new way of doing business Agencies are tapping into the power of UC-based collaboration tools FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to FCW.com/2013UnifiedComm 2. Budget woes strengthen unified communications business case 3. Beyond telework: The making of the virtual workplace 4. Videoconferencing comes of age 5. Agencies get serious about voice over IP Other Unified Communications Report Articles
March 30, 2013