What would happen if you were to apply these same principles of a precise, standardised assembly line to the challenge of developing an effective communications and collaboration infrastructure? Is it possible to gain similar benefits of quality, speed and profitability?
Large organisations depend on a solid communications infrastructure to improve performance and reduce costs. Companies are always searching for faster, more efficient ways to consistently connect people with the latest information. They seek to standardise their communication infrastructure on open, scalable technology platforms that can be implemented cost-effectively across their entire organisation.
However, a wide variety of software within one IT infrastructure can be a barrier to the kinds of efficiency drives outlined above. And this proliferation of software is a perennial headache for the IT department.
Desktop rationalisation is a critical step toward ensuring minimal support and service calls. Plus, IT managers can trim the costs of deploying and configuring multiple applications and training and supporting users on a variety of software platforms.
Providing a standardised infrastructure that enables information workers to be up and running without extensive customisation or costly third-party services helps to simplify the management burden and enables IT professionals to focus less on setup and maintenance of applications and more on developing other value-added functionality and project work.
Making the right choice from various communication and collaboration technologies is essential if businesses are to meet today’s business challenges. The single ‘assembly line’ technology they choose has the formidable task of unifying a disparate IT environment composed of multiple applications, solutions and systems into an integrated platform accessible by all information workers throughout an organisation.
This single solution must also ensure that the technologies deployed meet organisational standards for scalability, extensibility, security and manageability.
The Microsoft solution
Upgrading to Windows® XP and Office 2003 reduces support costs and creates a new platform for communication and virtual team-building.
The extended developer support, particularly using XML and the level of integration of features like task panes, smart tags and presence information and alerts means that Office 2003 is a better, cheaper platform to develop on.
For connectivity and firewall simplicity, Outlook 2003 using Remote Procedure Call (RPC) over HTTP is a great solution. The full rich win32 Outlook 2003 client can connect and stay online with the server over the internet, using just port 80 like a web application. This does not even require a virtual private network.