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.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
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.
The Unified Communications industry changes daily. We keep track of it for you.
UCStrategies is an industry resource for unified communications enterprises, communications vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing unified communications arena.
A supplier of objective information on unified communications, UCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of unified communications since its inception.
This was my first UC Summit, but as you may know, I’ve been following this space for some time. You don’t have to look far for recaps of the sessions, the Zen-like setting of the venue and the first rate food and wine – and I won’t bother with that here. UCS Experts like Blair Pleasant and Art Rosenberg have been posting their thoughts.
I’m going to take a different route with an overall takeaway that I hope will be inspiring for our target audience, the channels – dealers, VARs, Sis, consultants, etc. These are the folks who actually bring a lot of UC to market, and aside from the underlying technologies, they need to understand what this really means for their business. As Blair noted in her recap, there were no end users in attendance, so the summit was very much for the channel and about the channel.
So, what can I add that hasn’t already been said? My overall takeaway is that it’s time to rewrite the rules. More to the point, there are no rules, nobody’s really in charge, and nobody really knows the right answers. Could there ever be a more perfect storm of uncertainty and opportunity at the same time in this market?
On Sunday, Dave Michels and Marty Parker did a great job bringing examples from other industries to show what disruption can do, with the message being that the channels can learn from this. Telecom is no different from other businesses, whereby technology-driven innovation that creates the most disruption almost always comes from outsiders. Whether it’s Amazon with books or Apple with tablets, these companies don’t have the legacy baggage that holds back breakthrough thinking, and sometimes starting from a clean slate is the way to go.
Just when you thought I was going to continue that familiar techno-disruptor thread, I’m going to turn south and give you another frame of reference for where I think UC is going. Do you remember the early days of rock and roll? I’m talking the British Invasion and early appearances on Ed Sullivan. When the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, etc. initially played over here, it was a totally new experience – for everyone. The music was fresh, the kids were young and eating it up, the Establishment didn’t like/trust it, and TV was the key channel for bringing popular culture to the masses.
We all remember how tame those early appearances were. Rock and roll was about 10 years away from becoming big business, and TV held all the cards as a visual medium for bands. Until the Who came along, bands were on their best behavior on TV – they knew how Elvis had been censored, never being shown on TV from the waist down. Fashion being what it was, they all wore suits with those skinny ties – gotta be respectable and respectful – everyone was watching those shows, not just the kids.
Beatlemania was in full swing, and the rock and roll genie was coming out of the bottle. The postwar youth generation of the 60’s had no precedent, and everyone was trying to figure out where all this was going. Interestingly, the emergence of TV as a mass medium was happening at the same time, and aside from Marshall McLuhan, nobody really had a handle on what this bundle of unharnessed energy was truly about.
Is this starting to sound a bit like UC? It sure does to me. Let me bring this into sharper focus and get to the most relevant catalyst – the Rolling Stones. They started out all prim and proper wearing those skinny suits, but more than anyone else, they could smell that teen spirit and understood the power of their music. Money has a way of changing everything, and as they matched the Beatles with one hit after another, they knew what they had as market makers. It didn’t take long for their confidence to become strut and swagger, and with that the suits and shaggy hair gave way to the original Bad Boys of rock and roll.
The Stones and UC – huh? Well, how did the Stones make that shift that has made them the most successful band of all time? Simply put, they figured out pretty fast that there were no real rules and nobody was in charge. Both the music and television were evolving faster than anyone could manage, and they discovered the more they pushed back on convention, the less resistance was there. They were connecting with youth in powerful ways that no one could really control.
Their record label was making money, the networks were getting great ratings, and kids couldn’t get enough of them. They had just the right mix of rebellion and great music that allowed them to play both sides of the fence. The more they realized nobody was in charge, they took charge, and before long, they weren’t breaking the rules – they were making the rules. Not only did they write the book on classic rock, but they learned how to run it as a business and invent a brand new career option for kids.
Still don’t see the connection with UC? Well, it was clear to me from the Summit that nobody is in charge here either. There was a strong view that the vendors generally have comparable offerings - they all cover the core bases and differentiation is really not that great. That said, nobody has all the answers with UC, and the value proposition is still pretty fluid. Mobility, video and social media have hit the market faster than anyone can manage or monetize, and in short, this market is still up for grabs.
In the middle of all this is the channel. Nobody is better positioned to make sense of all this for businesses and along the way either break the rules or make new ones. Businesses need help on many fronts – choosing the right vendor, integrating all the pieces, adopting the cloud, training employees, responding to the new waves – mobility, video, social media, etc. – just to name a few.
In short, businesses really don’t know what they want or need, and vendors are too far removed to have the answers. My main message here for channels is to take a page from the Stones – push back, push out and start making new rules. This market needs leadership and if you can show businesses the way, they will follow, especially if you’re brave enough to flout convention and break with the status quo.
The Stones did it, and so can you. If they didn’t, they would have gone the way of so many other bands of the time who played by the rules and lasted a few years at best – take your pick – Herman’s Hermits, The Troggs, Peter and Gordon, etc. Playing by the rules is fine, but once you realize those rules are out of touch with the market, risk becomes opportunity and the moment is yours for the taking. If I was a channel partner attending the UC Summit, it’s pretty clear which band I’d rather be. How about you?
All Content Copyright © 2013 UCStrategies.com. All rights reserved.
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?