How UC drove sales, rescued customers from voicemail hell

Ask your average CIO about his business case for unified communications (UC), and the likely answer will come down to cost reduction or avoidance--savings generated by voice-over-IP (VoIP) networks, bills lowered using instant messaging instead of toll calls.

But the real value in UC--improved communications among employees and with customers--is rarely best expressed in dollars and cents.

When Richard Buss began exploring UC in 2010, his goals were straightforward: simplify his telecom infrastructure, cut costs, harden his networks and reduce network redundancy. At the time, the vice president of technology for environmental testing company EMSL Analytical was managing a hodgepodge of phone systems scattered around the company's 43 sites.

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