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White Paper How to accelerate business processes through communications-enabled applications In a recent survey, 700 corporate managers, CIOs and VP-of-IT-level executives were asked, “What do you see as the main opportunities before CIOs today?” The number one answer was “to improve and/or innovate new business processes.”¹ One of the fundamental steps in achieving application innovation is to recognize that human delays slow business processes and that this costs enterprises real money. By decreasing or eliminating these human delays, enterprises can experience a significant

and positive transformation by accelerating “time to X” — time to decision, to revenue, to service, to support, to product; and by delivering increased business agility, accuracy, service velocity and business productivity. As more and more users make the transition from “sometimes available” to “always on”, some of the issues related to human delays should be reduced.

36 percent of highly connected users waiting in the wings) use multiple devices, and must also deal with a plethora of numbers and passwords, inboxes and security environments. But rather than accelerating business, this Hypercon­nectivity can lead to missed calls, tele­phone tag and security exposures — just some of the challenges that slow down business processes.

A Nortel-funded IDC survey of nearly 2,400 information workers worldwide found that 16 percent of those termed hyperconnected users (with another

These challenges are being addressed by unified communications (UC). UC combines presence, real-time communication modes (e.g., telephony, video and application sharing) and near-real-time communications modes (e.g., instant messaging (IM), email and voicemail) into a single experience — anytime, anywhere and from any device. The result is a collaborative environment that decouples communications from the location of the user and his or her device, and streamlines communication through integration with personal productivity tools such as calendaring.


InformationWeek survey (June 2008)

Enterprises can maximize the business opportunities of UC by viewing it as “communications integrated to optimize business processes,” a definition promoted by UC Strategies (, an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts and consultants. For enterprises, UC can deliver numerous business opportunities, including: shortened sales cycles and increased revenues for big-ticket items by shortening approval time; increased customer satisfaction through faster problem resolution times and more responsive customer service; and improved enterprise productivity through access to key decision makers and experts. And the list goes on. This white paper explores what it takes to improve business processes and identifies four key areas through which organizations have the opportunity to accelerate their business. The paper also discusses Nortel’s approach to delivering software solutions and services. This approach is centered on the Nortel Agile Communication Environment — communications integration software that works across multivendor-infrastructure and UC environments and provides a number of key enablers for business process acceleration. The paper concludes by describing Nortel’s Application Solution Framework and highlighting some practical real-world examples.

Business acceleration: Four key areas Human delays are often a bottleneck to timely completion of business processes. Who among us hasn’t encountered lengthy approval processes in our dayto-day lives, whether we’ve attempted to get a loan, apply for a passport or secure purchase approval? Who hasn’t waited patiently on the phone to get connected to the right person to resolve a problem? And, of course, who hasn’t experienced prolonged internal decision making because the right information doesn’t get to the right people at the right time? Not surprisingly, these personal experiences often lead to dissatisfied customers, lost revenues and higher costs for organizations. How can organizations systematically minimize the impacts of these delays on both the top and bottom line? In her thesis work at the Technical University of Berlin (2005) (http://edocs.tu-berlin. de/diss/2005/haseloff_sandra.pdf ), Dr. Sandra Haseloff identifies four areas that are critical in information logistics: 1. Time management: Just-in-time or scheduled delivery of information is of utmost importance. 2. Communications management: Using the most appropriate method to communicate with decision makers, and adjusting to the preferred device of the user.

3. Content management: Ensuring that each person is supplied with only that content he/she really needs, while minimizing information overflow including duplication. 4. Context management: Encompassing the interrelated conditions in which the business process exists. These factors come to bear in accelerating a broad range of business processes. Let’s consider an approval process across each of these areas. This could be for approval of anything from discharging a patient from a hospital tosecuring budgetary approval for a project. Time management is clearly critical, both in terms of meeting the expectation of the customer/client/patient/ citizen and managing resources to ensure that the appropriate decision is made. The process starts by identifying the urgency of the matter at hand, and notifying key parties in the decision chain. For example, in the hospitality industry, a hotel dealing with an early arrival would affect reception, housekeeping and the reservation personnel. Organizations are becoming increasingly virtualized across disparate workforces, external partners and suppliers, which means that communications management is a must for determining the best medium or mix of media to reach the decision makers — recognizing that some may be mobile, while others are in their office. Content management ensures that pertinent information is delivered to decision makers in a timely and concise fashion, thereby allowing them to make the right decision.


Finally, there’s context management. This includes identifying the people (by name or by role) that need to be involved based on the situation at hand, the reachability and availability of these people and, in some cases, their location. Context is at the heart of accelerated decision making and is made up of the following components: • Identity/role: Knowledge of the identity and respective roles of individuals in a work flow is essential to any context-aware communications. The preferences, interests and other attitudes of a user may have a great influence on how relevant information supply is delivered and what data is provided. Consider, for example, how enterprise policies influence which information is delivered to whom. • Presence/reachability: This captures information about the state of the user, and includes physical activity and the applications being accessed. It also includes the disposition of the user, reflecting his or her priorities at a particular time. Reachability denotes the sum of all communication media that a person has at his or her disposal and is able to use at a given point in time. Consider, for example, how the type of device, cost, quality of service and available modalities can affect reachability. • Location: This covers where, in which direction and how fast. It also captures information related to the surroundings, such as people and objects/devices near an entity. Consider, for example, a confidential message that is not displayed on a user’s screen when other people are near, or a high-resolution display that could be used by a mobile user.

• Situation/activity/event: This includes any relevant real-time and/ or historical content, potentially delivered as notifications and alerts. Consider, for instance, how external conditions (e.g., financial or market data) may impact decision making activities. Let’s look at these elements of business acceleration in one specialized area — contact centers. Over the decades, contact centers have evolved into powerful customer service channels, not just for voice but also for media such as email, chat and fax. • Time management: Calls or requests are routed as quickly as possible to any available agent (with the requisite skills) to service the customer. The caller’s interest can be captured based on customer profile, recent queries on the web and/or an advanced speech front-end. • Communications management: Skill-based routing across different media (e.g., voice, fax, email and IM). • Context management: Self-service interactive voice response helps identify customers (e.g., high-value repeat customers or first-time potential customers) and their concerns, needs and interests, and enables consistent handling over time and across channels (e.g., retail branch, web or phone). • Content management: Screen pops provide customer account, history and preference information. Time, communications, content and context management provide the foundation for assessing opportunities for business process acceleration, by adding communications and context into business applications and processes, and thus creating communications-enabled applications.

Communications-enabled applications usually come in two forms: • Users have the ability to initiate communication sessions (e.g., a phone call to a team member) directly from within the business applications they use, including desktop applications, business dashboards and portals • Business processes are accelerated by directly initiating communication sessions (e.g., IM notification to a decision maker) without human intervention (i.e., triggered by some event) In either case, these may be existing or new applications and processes.

Nortel’s architectural approach to communi­ cations-enabled applications To integrate various communications functions, enterprises must leverage multiple communication services, which are typically provided by the following: • Underlying (often multi-vendor) telephony infrastructure • Existing video conferencing systems • Enterprise contact centers, web portals and branch/store systems • Emerging UC applications, based on Microsoft® Office Communication Server, IBM® Lotus® Sametime® or telecom vendor solutions such as Nortel Multimedia Communications Server • Public or private network infrastructure, as would be required to provide location-based services Application developers generally aren’t interested in knowing what technology and which vendor provide the underlying communications functions. This requires expertise in: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a communications 3

standard with many vendor variants; various forms of Computer Telephony Interfaces (CTIs) such as Java Telephony Application Programming Interface (JTAPI); interfaces to data networks based on Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) or on application programming interfaces (APIs). This is just a sample, but the message is clear — directly interfacing applications and business processes into the complexity of the underlying communications infrastructure creates a fragile and inflexible all-to-all (versus hub-andspoke) connectivity and can be costly in terms of time, risk and resources. Nortel Agile Communication

The Agile Communication Environ­ ment enables organizations to combine, mix and match communication services with IT applications to create new and richer value-added applications. In its current release, Agile Communication Environment is integrated on IBM WebSphere® Application Server, adapts to multi-vendor environments (including Cisco and Tandberg),

and integrates with Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007 and IBM Lotus Sametime. In future releases, it will integrate with other environments including Avaya and Microsoft. Agile Communication Environment is not only an end-to-end solution customized as needed, but is also available as a toolkit for enterprise and SI application developers.

Figure 1. Nortel Agile Communication Environment Professional Services

Applications and Solutions


Application Development


IBM Retail Framework IBMIntegrationMicrosoft COTS Applications and Solutions

Hosted and Managed Services

Other partners ACE Toolkit for CEBP


Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the current state-of-the-art style of architecture that can abstract the communications technology and present its capabilities as a set of services or enablers. This SOA approach provides needed scalability and agility, accelerates customization to meet business and IT needs, and allows businesses (whether an enterprise, an SI, an ISV or supplier) to take advantage of the large ecosystem of developers familiar with Web Services and SOA technologies. Nortel’s lead product in this space is the Nortel Agile Communication Environment (see Figure 1). The Agile Communication Environment is communications integration software that exposes and organizes communication services (e.g., IM, voice and video) and network services (e.g., location, presence, policy and context) as SOA-based enablers to the application environment. Through the Agile Communication Environment, these services can be quickly and easily integrated into business applications and processes.


API — XML Web Services

Abstraction Layer

Service Orchestration and Composites Infrastructure Adaptors


Nortel Call Server/ softswitch

Third-party data products

Nortel data products

Nortel IMS Application Server

• Notification • UC orchestration • Role/ID, aggregated presence, location, situation management • Media transformation, reporting

Third-party application servers

Third-party call server/ softswitch

Media servers

Table 1. Agile Communication Environment enablers and their business value Process acceleration dimension

Agile Communication Environment enablers

Business value

Time management


Provides broadcast or assured delivery of event-driven information to key stakeholders

Communications management

UC orchestration

Context management

Identity/role management

Manages identity of persons and roles in line with corporate policies

Aggregated presence

Provides presence information across wired and wireless, private and public domains


Identifies location of key assets and tracks them across premises and WAN

Situational management

Provides situation, activity and event information relevant to the business process

Media transformation

Allows application content to be transformed to the appropriate media channel (e.g., voice, IM, SMS, video)


Delivers analytics on business process performance to the organization

Content management

Establishes and schedules communi­ cation sessions across multi-vendor and cross-domain environments

With the Agile Communication Environment, application developers can easily access communications services and reuse them across a number of enterprise applications. The SOA-enabled communicationsintegration software approach leverages existing communications systems, which enables organizations to add new services without completely replacing their existing infrastructure. This translates to lower development and implementation costs, higher ROI, and the elimination of disruptions and retraining. With this approach, organizations can harness real-time communication components in a Web Services environment for integration into applications and business processes. The Agile Communication Environ­ ment exposes and organizes communication and network services, as a set of Agile Communication Environment enablers, to the application environment (see Table 1). These enablers address the areas previously identified to be critical in information logistics, namely: • Time management • Communications management • Context management • Content management Agile Communication Environment enablers can be mixed and matched to accelerate business processes across a range of vertical industries (see Table 2).

The Nortel Application Solution Framework The objective behind communicationsenabled business processes is to eliminate human delays in order to accelerate the business. However, the reality is that in most enterprises, many of these processes are not automated end-toend, but are rather a hybrid of human and system processes or, in some cases, completely manual. The good news is that, in addition to communications

Table 2. Examples of communications-enabled business processes Vertical Industry



A patient is discharged more expediently than usual because the patient-care application can reach the necessary authorizing medical personnel, wherever they are.


A policy is approved in half the time it usually takes because the insurance application allows the agent to initiate real-time communications with the people who have reviewed the policy or are required to approve it.


A brokerage team can respond faster to the stock market dynamics through a communications-enabled brokerage application, which orchestrates real-time collaboration triggered by a market event.

Government (and general enterprise) Education

Paramedics can respond faster and more effectively to an emergency because the first responder application recognizes the availability and location of key resources. A university student’s tutoring request is met quickly through an application that identifies the most appropriate tutor based on skills, proximity and availability.

Figure 2. The Nortel Application Solution Framework

Application solutions Across the virtual enterprise and to employees Applications for enhanced user communications and business effectiveness Applications for richer collaboration and enhanced group effectiveness Applications embedded in workflows for better asset utilization and accelerated business processes

And to customer’s customers Applications for revenue growth and more engaging customer service (across multiple service delivery channels: web, phone, in-person)

Nortel Services

Multi-vendor voice/data infrastructure (wired/wireless, public/private)

enablement of automated business processes, real world customer- and employee-facing business processes can also be accelerated by: • Automating certain communications tasks • Embedding UC into desktop applications and certain parts of the work flow • Integrating UC into application front-ends, including the user interface to business applications, portals and dashboards

Nortel has developed an application solution framework that helps organizations understand how business processes can be accelerated in their environments and to better position various Nortel solutions and services (see Figure 2). This framework can be positioned on whatever voice and data infrastructure a customer has, whether it’s based on Nortel, another vendor, or is multivendor in nature. Nortel believes that enterprise needs are best met in the short and long-term through the 5

deployment of vendor-agnostic, bestof-breed software solutions. In contrast, vertically integrated solutions lock customers into a single vendor, thereby creating a bottleneck for application innovation. Whether the enterprise is a corporation, a non-for-profit healthcare institution or a government agency, a critical area to consider is applications for the enhancement of customer services across a range of service delivery channels — in-person, over the web or by phone. Nortel delivers many applications that drive revenue growth and elevated levels of customer service across multiple service delivery channels. For example, Palm Coast Data, a publication fulfillment provider handling more than 40 publisher clients and 275 distinct magazines, has deployed a multimedia skill-based routing application on top of its Nortel Contact Center to handle over 75,000 emails per month. By doing this, the company serves its customers better while making more effective use of its resources. Nortel also helped a tier-one financial institution deploy one of the most sophisticated advanced speech applications in the world, through tight integration with its business applications. This institution handles more than one million calls per month, providing its clients a consistent personalized experience in accessing their accounts, including mortgage, investment and card services. There are three distinct areas that should be addressed in looking at business acceleration across the virtual enterprise — including partners and suppliers. The first area entails applications for enhanced user communications and business effectiveness. This goes beyond the personal productivity 6

enhancements that can be realized through UC, whether it’s based on a Nortel end-to-end UC solution (i.e., the Nortel Multimedia Communications Server), a Nortel and Microsoft UC solution based on the Innovative Communications Alliance, or on a joint solution from Nortel and IBM. For example, a global financial institution with more than 300,000 employees is making its management team more productive through a Nortel hot desking application. The solution is based on the Agile Communication Environment working across multi-vendor voice networks and desktop video systems, with tight integration with IBM Sametime. Benefits include shorter time for customers and fellow employees to reach mobile executives, shorter decision intervals and faster problem resolution.

The second area entails applications for richer collaboration and enhanced group effectiveness across an increasingly distributed work force. Again, this goes beyond UC group collaboration capabilities in the form of desktop audio and video conferencing and web collaboration. For example, Deloitte has selected Nortel to provide managed global telepresence, video conferencing and associated multimedia services across 130 sites around the globe. Benefits include a substantial decrease in travel costs, recovery of lost productivity and a reduced carbon footprint. The third area includes applications embedded in workflows for better asset utilization and accelerated business processes. CN Rail, with more than 22,000 employees across Canada and

Table 3. Examples of Nortel application solutions Category

Customer: Applications for revenue growth and more engaging customer service (often integrated into a business process)

Application solution • UC-enabled contact center — Opens new channels to customers and enables up-selling and cross-selling via Expert Anywhere • Communications-enabled Sales Portal — Eliminates abandoned shopping carts and customer frustration by bridging web with the contact center • Customized Customer Self-serve — Provides more effective speech access to contact center and web services

Virtual enterprise: Applications for enhanced user communications and business effectiveness

• Communications-Enabled Application Front-ends — Provides user access to UC from within existing application front-ends, portals, forms and dashboards • Communications-enabled Corporate Portal — Increases personal productivity through click-to-call/ presence in employee portals and directories • Centralized Unified Messaging — Provides highly scalable, customizable and reliable messaging

Virtual enterprise: Applications for richer collaboration and enhanced group effectiveness

Virtual enterprise: Applications embedded in workflows for better asset utilization and accelerated business processes (often having positive revenue impacts)

• Multimedia Conferencing and Web Collaboration — Provides rich collaboration capabilities for faster and higher quality group deliverables and training • Telepresence — Provides an immersive point-to-point and multi-point experience delivered as a servicepowered holistic offering • Healthcare Alarms and Alerts — Delivers faster and more effective responses to medical emergencies and clinical situations • Asset Tracking — Provides better utilization of assets leveraging UC wherever appropriate • Customized Communications-enabled Workflows — Delivers business process acceleration by embedding UC

16 U.S. states, uses advanced speech technology tightly integrated with its business processes to allow workers to report their labor activities, and to accelerate work assignments using speaker authentication. The company realized cost savings by significantly reducing the manpower required in its call center. Another company, Orlando Regional Health, has accelerated patient discharge by four hours, saving millions of dollars in the process by communications-enabling its Clinical Order Entry application.

Services Integrating communications into business and customer applications requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Nortel Services, directly or through Nortel partners, is an intrinsic part of Nortel’s application solution offerings. In addition to implementation and management services, Nortel Services offers:

Why Nortel? Nortel understands the challenges of aligning IT investments with business strategies, and how these challenges can be met. Accelerating the business through communications-enabled applications and business processes can enhance top-line results through enhanced customer services, and boost bottom-line results through increased business effectiveness. No other vendor can integrate with existing enterprise systems and processes better than Nortel. We do this through: • Market-leading and unique partnerships with Microsoft, IBM, Tandberg and Polycom • Nortel Agile Communication Environment across multi-vendor environments • Solutions that are based on open standards

No other vendor offers Nortel’s combined level of reliability with security and performance, delivered to some of the world’s largest missioncritical communications environments. And, no other vendor can pull it all together and deliver the solution, the way you want it delivered. Nortel as a communications integrator has a complete, end-to-end portfolio across UC, voice, data, applications and services with flexible deployment choices including premises-based, hosted and managed options. By understanding your business, Nortel can work to identify areas of opportunity for communicationsenabled applications and business processes, which will lead to improved agility, accuracy and speed, as well as higher productivity, employee and customer satisfaction.

• Consulting: Business Analysis, Architecture Assessment and Formu­ lation, Requirements Analysis and Definition, Call Flow Design, Appli­cation Definition, Integration Planning, Training • Integration: Application Install and Configuration, Application Implemen­tation and System Integration, Call Flow Implementation, Application Perfor­mance Assessment • Custom Development: Application Design, Development, Custom­ ization, and Testing, Test Case Development, Application Documentation, Technical Assistance, Hosted and Managed Solutions


In the United States: Nortel 35 Davis Drive Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA In Canada: Nortel 195 The West Mall Toronto, Ontario M9C 5K1 Canada In Caribbean and Latin America: Nortel 1500 Concorde Terrace Sunrise, FL 33323 USA

In Europe: Nortel Maidenhead Office Park, Westacott Way Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 3QH, UK Email: In Asia: Nortel United Square 101 Thomson Road Singapore 307591 Phone: (65) 6287 2877

Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our customers. Our next-generation technologies, for both service provider and enterprise networks, support multimedia and business-critical applications. Nortel’s technologies are designed to help eliminate today’s barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people to the information they need, when they need it. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at For the latest Nortel news, visit For more information, contact your Nortel representative, or call 1-800-4 NORTEL or 1-800-466-7835 from anywhere in North America. Nortel, the Nortel logo, Nortel Business Made Simple and the Globemark are trademarks of Nortel Networks. All other trademarks are the property of their owners. Copyright © 2009 Nortel Networks. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Nortel assumes no responsibility for any errors that may appear in this document. NN124033-010909


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36 percent of highly connected users waiting in the wings) use multiple devices, and must also deal with a plethora of numbers and passwords...