Unified Communications, as much as we tout it here at Seamless Enterprise, is not just an end in itself, of course. It is the means to collaborative work. That point is well made in a recent No Jitter posting by Dave Michels, who focuses on what collaboration has come to mean.
A couple of key points jump out from his article. One is where he describes what the words “at work” now convey, in the sense that they describe a status, not a location. You can be on a train, or at home, or in a hotel room, and you are still at work because of what you are doing at the moment. As he put it
The single most important communications imperative today is effective distributed collaboration. We live in a knowledge economy, and the knowledge isn’t coming to the office anymore.
Now, of course the knowledge does at least occasionally come to the office, but it is no longer a requirement. As long as the knowledge stays under the corporate umbrella, if you will, that is what matters. He also makes the point, in discussing the way collaboration is evolving due to the influence of social networking models, that
The focus on collaboration isn't just a technology update--like analog to digital or digital to VoIP. It is the consequence of change in the way we work, or more specifically where we work. The new thrust around collaboration isn’t due to a technical breakthrough, but rather a social one.
Christopher Glenn and others have made similar arguments more than once here, and the evolution we’re seeing is pretty much inevitable. As Michels points out, the concepts themselves aren’t really new. Presence, for example, used to be expressed with an in/out magnetic board, and the ability to work simultaneously on documents took the form of people taking turns coming to the front of the room and writing on a large whiteboard.
Mobility, social networking, and the pace at which a company has to do business have wrought major changes in how we work together. Thanks to UC tools and the cloud, enterprises can embrace those changes and drive greater productivity and effectiveness.