The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
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This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
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Siemens Enterprise Communications (SEN) just reported sales of its OpenScape Office increased 75% globally in FY 2012, following on from a 67% year-over-year (YoY) growth in SMB business performance recorded last year. A substantial portion of this growth is attributed by them to attentively listening and responding to the voices of their SMB customers and SMB-facing partners.
Prior to initiating development on its recently released OpenScape Office V3 Release 3 (OSO V3R3), a worldwide survey of its SMB-facing partner community and 250 SMB customers was initiated. In all five mega trends were uncovered which are driving current communications needs:
User Driven (Consumerization of IT)
Seamless Mobility: The most critical need of users was the ability to access information and communication services from anywhere, at any time, on any device. This is nothing new. BYOD is an undeniable trend affecting organizations of all sizes. These devices and their apps have become foundational tools for today’s workforce and a major influence on the use and direction of UCC.
User Experience: A common user experience is also demanded given the number of devices users now carry with them.
Social Collaboration: There is a difference between the SMB and the large enterprise here. In the SMB collaboration is more often externally focused because of the nature and size of the business. That is, SMBs collaborate with their customers. This is often P2P collaboration. In the larger enterprises, where teams are spread across various sites and even countries there is more internally focused collaboration. The same software is required, but there is a different need being met.
On the business side of things, the influx of so many new devices is driving concerns for reliability and security and the consequent need for flexible deployment options in order to keep Capex and Opex in check. Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) solutions would certainly be a plus here.
OSO V3R3 covers all three models – MX, LX and HX. The target market runs from 11 to 250 users. User concentrations are seen in the neighborhood of 35 users and 70 – 100 users, but OSO systems can go up to 500 users. Key competitors are Avaya and Cisco, with Cisco seen primarily in the above 100 market. NEC is seen in Asia and Alcatel Lucent in Europe.
All three OSO models contain all software required for voice, video, IM/presence, conferencing, web collaboration, messaging, fax, and contact center (CC requires additional licenses).
Voice and UCC networking between MX, LX and OpenScape Office HX / HiPath 3000 V9 was enabled through implementation of the Extended UC Domain with OpenScape Office V3R2 announced November, 2011. In general, with the Extended UC Domain capability in a distributed environment, the UC domain at each site is extended to the UC domains of the other sites so that they are networked together into one large extended UC domain. In this case, four digit dialing form one site to another is possible. And presence information is shared across the sites. Failover, however, form site to site is not a standard feature, though the networking can be engineered if desired.
Full business continuity including failover and branch connectivity to the PSTN in cases of IP/WAN failure is usually met by adding an additional small OSO system at each branch connected to a PSTN gateway. An alternative is via connection to the OpenScape public cloud or alternative competitive offerings.
The consumerization of IT is driving the Mac OS into the SMB market. As a result, customers are demanding its support. In response, the OSO UC client, myPortal for Desktop, becomes a single desktop app used by office workers with their favorite OS (Windows & MAC). In addition, there are five flexible UI skins which allow users to customize the UC client look and feel on either OS based on their current working behaviors and the specific needs. MyPortal clients for Mobile and Tablet support iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Nokia OSs. The open browser-based approach for the smartphones and tablets doesn’t require the installation of any dedicated app on either the smartphone or tablet device. Furthermore, in response to SMB needs, there are also “style modes” for mobile devices that allow the UC client to be configured based on the current calling rates to come up with the lowest call charges.
Integration capabilities consist of three components:
To Customers: There is no question that OpenScape Office offers a competitive UC solution. But so do others. What’s best for any particular customer depends on their unique circumstances. Clearly, a good solution should:
An even-handed assessment of solution alternatives should be based on response to an RFP. Items to consider in the evaluation of competing vendor solutions are:
To Partners: The OSO V3R3 GA will continue OpenScape Office momentum with SEN’s SMB partner channel – their go to market (G2M) vehicle. In particular, the availability of expanded IT integration capabilities will enable partners to offer additional pro services supporting SMBs in integrating communications with business processes to improve productivity and business agility.
The core components of SENs G2M strategy focus on partner enablement programs and promotions:
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?