Art Rosenberg Talks Unified Communications
Art Rosenberg has been working as an analyst in the Unified Communications field for decades, both as a UC Expert for UCStrategies and as Principal Analyst for The Unified-View. As part of our series on the UC Experts and their views and predictions for UC, we asked Art for his thoughts.
UCStrategies: What are you most excited about in the UC space?
Art: UC is finally become practical for all forms of business communications. Firstly, that is because most end users are carrying multimodal smartphones and tablets with them at all times (BYOD), thus enabling the flexibility of UC for both initiating any kind of contact, as well as for being a recipient of a contact. This will be particularly useful for near real-time messaging communications, which will be more efficient for mobile end-users' accessibility and time.
Secondly, I’m excited because UC as a Service (UCaaS) is making it easier for organizations to easily and cost efficiently implement UC capabilities, rather than requiring big technology investments and internal IT expertise to implement and support such new capabilities.
Thirdly, because UC is finally expanding to direct interactions with mobile, online business process applications, which can easily be UC enabled for contextual and flexible click-for-assistance when needed. In particular, the opportunity to optimize business processes with timely and personalized mobile notifications will provide huge benefits in the operational performance of all types of end users involved in a business process use case.
Finally, because business communications usually requires the exchange of visual information during a voice conversation, the ability to show such information on a screen while talking will make the conversation much more productive and efficient.
UCStrategies: What are you most disappointed in?
Art: The confusion surrounding the definition of UC. Every service and technology vendor has to provide their definition of it, especially to clarify its functionality to end users. (I feel a bit guilty about this, since I started using the term back in 2000 to expand upon the old unified messaging (UM) notifications, storage, and retrieval for voice mail and email messages, which has also improved its role with screen-based mobile devices. Even that has improved significantly to include IM and social networking messages.)
I’m also disappointed in the slow migration from legacy, location-based telephony because of existing technology investments. We are just now starting to see new service capabilities that can support interoperability with legacy telephony functions and new UC-enabled communications.
Lastly, the legacy focus on person-to-person voice contacts, when end users can do so much more cost efficiently by themselves, in terms of accessing information and performing simple transactions. As long as they have an option to flexibly access live assistance when needed, there is no reason to start a business interaction with a blind phone call to someone who may not be available, or to restrict the conversation to just voice.
UCStrategies: If you could give one piece of advice to UC customers (those already using UC or looking to start), what would that be?
Art: Look at which business use cases need what UC capabilities (especially mobile BYOD), and which end users will be involved in those use cases. Then, look to providing Mobile UC capabilities selectively where needed and integrating Mobile UC functions with existing business communications technologies.
Also, plan to implement any new facilities in a cloud environment, where software can be more quickly integrated, trialed and managed. Hybrid clouds will be particularly useful for such migrations. Obviously, finding the right cloud service provider will be important, especially when they are specialists in your vertical market use cases, or when your trusted wireless service providers provide them. Independent communication consultants in your vertical industry and who are up to speed with Mobile UC and cloud services will be a big help.
UCStrategies: What do you think UC needs to get to the next level?
Art: It needs to become integrated and personalized for all forms of business communications, as well as easily integrated with online self-service applications. It should also become a capability that can be exploited in a contact center environment by both customers initiating an interaction, as well as by the customer support staff that will be interacting directly and dynamically with a customer in the customer's choice of modes.
We can't expect organizations to provide all the internal expertise to implement and manage the complexities of evolving UC, especially for its role in mobile apps and CEBP. Putting software into a cloud will facilitate the use of external expertise, including vendor channel partners, for customizing ongoing, evolving use case changes for all types of end users, employees, business partners, and customers/consumers.
As one can see from Art’s answers, UC is becoming easier for businesses to implement, and easier for employees to use, thanks to UCaaS, the cloud, and BYOD. However, there is still much room for UC to grow, so we can look forward to more advancements and developments, and our UC Experts will be there for all of it.
Also on UCStrategies.com in this series: