The most famous four-segment square in the industry – the Gartner Magic Quadrant – had some most interesting findings about Unified Communications in its latest iteration.
Between the Magic Quadrant – which assessed vendors of UC solutions – and Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Bern Elliot’s valuable insight on UC (read up on his thoughts in his interview with Destination CRM), there are several key points about where UC is and where (and how fast) it’s going. For example:
• UC is a term lacking a precise definition, which unfortunately means that each vendor defines it according to that vendor’s interests.
• Today, it simply isn’t possible to get everything an enterprise needs in terms of UC from a single vendor. But even if it was, Elliot emphasizes, the company should avoid locking into one vendor for the sake of choice, price negotiation leverage, and control.
• Better to have a number of key partners, each providing a piece of the overall UC solution, so long as those solutions and vendors can work together well for the benefit of the enterprise.
• Although enterprise adoption of UC remains on the rise, the rate of adoption is slow. Elliot attributes that to the inertia of leaving the legacy infrastructures behind, and also to the difficulty in quantifying the return on UC investments. Everyone knows it boosts productivity, but quantifying that has been a challenge.
I’ve made the point before that UC is a transformational change, one that will over time completely alter the way companies do business. If that sounds too “paradigm-shifty” for you, think about the pioneers of the Internet back in 1969. They could never have foreseen how an effort to simply link remote computers would evolve to the all-encompassing information-entertainment-commerce source that the Internet has become. We aren’t predicting THAT big a transformation, but then we aren’t ruling it out, either.
Two other points that Elliot makes – and which I agree with 100 percent – are first, that all the vendor and technology issues will sort themselves out in the coming years, and the UC focus will move to organizational and change management. Second, this is a key time to make plans – particularly plans that are comprehensive across the enterprise – to embrace and migrate to UC.