What is Unified Communications?

What is Unified Communications?

11/12/2014 1 Comments

Unified Communications (UC) has many definitions, so don’t get stuck on this. The results from UC are what matter, not the definition. As was well said in a panel at VoiceCon San Francisco in 2008, "Let's quit arguing about what UC is; let's spend our time focusing on what UC actually does."

The Definition of UC

UCStrategies.com defined UC from the outset in 2006 as:

   “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.”

We continue to see this as a sound foundational definition. This integration of communications can occur across a wide spectrum, from:

  • Users simply adjusting their habits, to
  • Manual integration as defined by procedures and training, to
  • Integration of communications into off-the-shelf tools such as Outlook, Notes, BlackBerry, Salesforce.com, and many others, to
  • Purpose specific integration into customized applications in specific operating departments or in vertical markets such as healthcare.

Categories of UC

Given this range of possibilities, two categories of the UC definition were defined in 2007-2008:

  • UC-User Productivity (or "UC-U"): Unified Communications tools that users adopt to improve their experience and/or results.
  • UC-Business Processes (or "UC-B"): Unified Communications tools that are explicity integrated into defined processes, either procedural or automated.

Read more about the two types here.

The definition includes "optimized" since the tools and techniques of UC enable transformative changes in an enterprise’s operations (business processes):

  • For-profit companies can earn more revenue with less cost and greater profits
  • Non-profit organizations can lower costs while improving service delivery

In both cases, the operations are significantly improved by changing how communications tools are used and by eliminating communication-related “hot spots” – those places where the operational activities are blocked, delayed, or complicated by communications issues. 

Learn More about Unified Communications on UCStrategies.com

 

   UC Resources Section             To add content or links to UC Resources contact:
Organized and Managed by         mparker@UCStrategies.com

   UniComm Logo             Text (c) 2014 M. F. Parker.  Content (c) as indicated.

 

1 Responses to "What is Unified Communications?" - Add Yours

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Art Rosenberg 7/27/2009 7:56:08 PM

I know your definition of UC has been around for quite a while, but I think it can be updated a bit to be more understandable to the individual end users. The biggest change that UC brings to the table is for real-time telephony in business processes. Except for traditional call center applications, callers have to know who they want to talk to and what location/device address to attempt contact with. Needless to say, something like 70% of such contact attempts fail, resulting in hangups or leaving voicemail messages. Because most contact recipients don't s sit till or are busy with other activities, including phone calls, both time "availability" and network/device accessibility are prerequisites for a successful contact. Otherwise, callers (contact initiators) will be wasting a lot of time ("human latency") in the performance of their task in a business process. The result, of course, impacts that business process in negative ways, ranging from simple time delays missed deadlines to complete failure and even loss of life in health care situations. Such operational performance issues should really take precedence over concerns for simple cost-savings, because those business processes are the essence of a viable business operation. So, I see changing the way we use the telephone and any other person-to-person form of contact becoming more "intelligent" and not relying upon people to know who to contact, where they are located, and what form of contact will be best. That is where the different elements of UC come into play to produce for an end user what I would characterize as a "contextual" communication contact, where the most effective form of contact with a person can be dynamically carried with minimal knowledge and effort by the parties involved. (This would include facilitating time-sensitive "notifications" generated by a business process application to a person or "CEBP.") The bottom line is th

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