If you’re confused about unified communications and what it can do for your company, you’re not alone. Actually, you’re in the majority.
In a recent survey by Forrester Research, 55 percent of enterprise and small-medium business respondents confessed that there’s confusion inside their company about the value of unified communications. That certainly helps explain why more companies aren’t rushing to embrace UC, at least not yet.
Perhaps the biggest issue with UC is that it means so many different things to so many different people. Those in the hardware, software, and service provider communities tend to talk about UC as a product or service. It seems just about anyone who offers a communication product or service is saying that it is “unified” -- whatever that means -- so it’s no surprise there is such confusion about what UC means in the marketplace.
Adding to the challenge, every company has a unique set of communications tools and configurations, so in spite of what some might say, there is no single product or service that can “unify” them. This gap between the marketing of “unified communications” and the inability of those products and services to really “unify” all of a company’s communications has created this confusion and skepticism of UC in the market.
In reality, UC is not a product or service. UC is a concept, an idea to integrate multiple modes of communication. It only becomes “real” in a specific solution for a specific company. All the so-called UC products and services are not, in fact, UC at all, but rather tools to enable a UC solution or application.
As you look at UC for your company, keep in mind the business challenges you are trying to solve by linking or combining existing communications, and then determine which products and services can enable you to do that. By using this approach, with time and education, the details will clear up. It will become more apparent how UC can help streamline the way people inside and outside the company communicate.
The particular mix of wireline and mobile, e-mail, video, IM, presence awareness, and more will bring real and significant benefits. Faster access to information and people, better customer contact and care, reduced travel, and fewer roadblocks to completion of projects are just a few of the advantages for your company.
There’s no doubt that UC messaging in the marketplace will remain foggy for a while yet, but by keeping your eye on what you need for your own communications needs, you can burn through that fog.