So what exactly is this Presence thing?

As I continue my de-mystifying of Unified Communications, I want to talk about the idea or concept of Presence. It is simple enough to explain but a bit more difficult to capture the hard dollars behind.
Presence, at the base, is the ability to determine the availability of an individual no matter your location or theirs, no matter the device each of you happens to be on and at its most grand design, regardless of if you work for different organizations or are using different applications. Chances are that you have had a "Presence" client and you didn't even realize it both at home and at work. Do you use AOL Instant Messenger? Or Microsoft Live Messenger? Or Yahoo! Messenger? Technically you have a "Presence" client right there. At a glance I can see if someone is available, busy or away. It's rudimentary in nature but you get the idea. You've had Presence but just didn't call it that!
Take this concept and expand it out a bit. You have enterprise class instant communication tools such as IBM SameTime or Microsoft Office Communicator which can not only tell you if someone is available or busy, it can give you detailed information such as why they are busy. By scrolling over their name you see their contact information, their current schedule and when they will be free. It is extremely powerful information and allows you to immediately make the decision to go to someone else for the information you needed in some cases.
Expand this concept out a bit further with me. With fully integrated Unified Communications solutions, now I can simply click on a person's name and can call their office or cellular numbers, can send them an email or even a SMS message. All of the sudden the communication challenges that I talked about a few weeks ago become fewer and farther between. Take it a step further and with a few clicks I can have a two or three person "chat" session to work on a business challenge with a great chance of successfully solving it in a shorter period of time.
The challenge of course is to understand just how much a unified Presence client can save your organization and employees both in time and money. Studies from Gartner and Forester indicate that as much as 1.5 hours per week per employee can be saved with a Presence client. That is a lot of money for the organization but it's also a lot of frustration saving for the employees as they are able to solve business challenges faster (which in turn saves the company money). 
How much an enterprise wide Presence solution can save your organization will vary but it is clear that both time and money can be saved and higher employee and customer satisfaction can be achieved with it.
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This page contains a single entry by Clinton Fitch published on April 2, 2009 3:50 PM.

Why should your company unifiy its communications? was the previous entry in this blog.

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