2012 will see CIOs defining their Unified Communications (UC) strategies for the rest of the decade, according to a recent Web Business article by Tessa Reed titled Unified communications and the year ahead. Reed quotes Wayne Speechly, communications services executive at Internet Solutions, who says “2012 will see an acceleration of VoIP uptake and that fragmented UC will start to take shape as sellable products.“
Unified Communications has been a hot topic during the last few month with everyone, including me, making predictions for UC’s future. Some of these perspective have been going off in many directions though, so I thought I’d try to help define a vision of the flow going forward:
Part of that vision is that much of the UC deployment activities will take place in the Cloud: From the same Web Business article, Bennie Langenhoven, managing executive at Tellumat Communications, notes that there will be more talk about UC in the cloud in 2012 but asks “Will companies actually make the move?” I believe they will, since the technology capabilities have advanced so far and their applicability to business are so direct. There is a degree of complexity that may not be readily apparent, so a cloud approach can help minimize cost and leverage the understanding of others. Organizations need to at least incorporate the current capabilities of UC into their maintenance and investment plans, so that even if they don’t make the move right now their systems will be ready.
Hosted Unified Communications (one way to have cloud based UC) is still in a state of flux, leaving many organizations to ask: "What is it and how does it work?" Frost and Sullivan put out a white paper on the topic of hosted Unified Communications last year. There is also a HP/Avaya presentation with some interesting facts that cover quite a bit more areas than what you might think of when you hear UC and hosted environments. For example:
- HP + Avaya are now serving 426 of Fortune 500 clients with UCC Solutions.
- Gartner believes that HP is one of the few vendors that can fulfill all Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services (COPS) opportunities independent of size.
- HP + Avaya manage 500,000 SharePoint & 500,000 Office Communications Server (OCS) seats globally.
For organizations that are thinking about the internal use of social media (SoMe) techniques and the effect of UC, you might ask questions like: “Will social media and unified communications become more integrated? Will companies be forced to adopt UC so employees can communicate/collaborate via SoMe?”
I believe the answer is yes to both these questions as well. Intersection of the personalization side of SoMe with the enterprise business context can drive a much more flexible and powerful enterprise business model. The addition of mobile apps and the consumerization of IT adds fuel to the fire under UC. Organizations that incorporate this more dynamic view of the interaction between the enterprise and the employee (and automation) will have a significant advantage.
So I have to asked "What game-changing technologies do you see as having an effect on whether or not companies define/adopt a unified communications strategy?"
There is more about how HP is helping clients implement UCC solutions from the following resources: