A growing number of college and university IT departments are combining their disparate telecommunications systems in an effort to simplify campus communications. These efforts also have the potential to save schools thousands of dollars in yearly service or line fees, as we’ve experienced at Northcentral Technical College (NTC) in Wausau, Wis.
The term "unified communications" (UC) has been used to describe a wide variety of technologies and solutions in recent years, but according to a new study, the majority of technology professionals agree that UC is an end result–not any one product or solution. Specifically, UC is the result of integrating technologies that connect people with other people, with data, and with computing applications they need, anywhere they are. The 2009 CDW-G Unified Communications Tracking Poll reports that the primary drivers behind UC implementations are usually increased productivity and reduced operating costs. Additionally, UC technologies are often considered in conjunction with other organizational changes.
NTC certainly understood those key drivers as the college started its UC deployment in 2003. Serving 25,000 students on its main campus and six regional campuses in a 10-county area, NTC sought to provide its students with a top-notch curriculum delivered by high-quality instructors–regardless of where the students or faculty were located. Simply stated, distance should not determine learning outcomes, and the college considered an organizational shift that would centralize the flow of information.