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.
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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.
In the market for communications solutions – voice, video, IP telephony, conferencing, collaboration, mobility, and social networking – there is always intense pressure on most VARs and SIs to continue to grow the value-adding portion of your business. Even when it seems safe, at the peak of the market, to just keep selling IP telephony with SIP trunks, there’s a real sense that the joy ride will soon be over.
Almost all vendors now have a UC software stack with a decent UC client, a functional voice/web/video conferencing solution, and a reasonable amount of mobile device support. Prices are coming down and the customers are learning how to install the gear themselves. The software is moving onto virtual machines, which are often run by an infrastructure department, not your usual telecom customer. And, even worse, the UC services are moving to the cloud, which takes out large portions of the installation and maintenance revenues. Is the picture clear enough?
But, you may say, the market is growing and the big VARs and SIs continue to consolidate into larger regional, national or international firms. So, there must be money in this market – where is it?
UC Applications are one of the most important growth engines in the market right now, and for years to come! If your firm can build and sustain the ability to show customers the many new UC applications and can then deliver and support those applications for the customer, you can have a very profitable and sustainable business model.
In some cases, you may be able to find and create "horizontal" applications that every enterprise – private sector or public sector – will need. In other cases, you may find an application's needed in at least specific vertical markets – such as manufacturing, healthcare, government, finance, or many others. In those cases, you can sell the applications as proven packages which still need some degree of customization and on-going support for the customer.
In other cases, you may find customers who want something unique to their business; something which will give them a competitive advantage or which is unique because of some specific business process or software application which they use. In that case, the customer will usually want to contract with a proven and experienced VAR or SI firm to build those unique applications so as to reduce the risks, manage the costs, and assure timely completion of the project.
This has happened before. Just think of the VARs and SIs who have built really solid businesses with applications and customizations of Contact Centers, Interactive Voice Response systems, or Web Portals. This same type of opportunity is now here in UC, C and S.
This article is the beginning of an eight-part series on UC Applications. Each of the next seven articles will explore one of the seven (7) Unified Communications application categories which my partner, Don Van Doren, and I wrote about in a white paper in 2011, as an update to my 2007 application guide. These seven applications define a thorough "taxonomy" of UC applications, especially in the CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Processes) category. These seven applications are:
Each article will describe the application, highlight the business value, indicate which vertical markets offer the greatest potential for the applications, point out a few case studies, and suggest the way to present the application to customers and prospects.
So, subscribe the UCStrategies UC Alerts and follow us through the seven applications. It’s a pretty sure bet that you can find the sweet spots for your firm to establish or grow your UC Applications business.
Since the way to create and implement these applications will vary for each UC/Collaboration/Social Business platform, we will not delve into those details. Once you have chosen the applications you want to focus on, you can get the technical details from the developer partner programs of your selected suppliers. If your vendor does not have a good developer partner program, then add a new vendor to your portfolio. Don’t struggle trying to make the old models work, just add the new capability; your current IP telephony vendor may not even notice that you have an apps business growing "on the side." But at least make a conscious strategic decision about your applications strategy.
UCStrategies is committed to bringing success to the UC (and Collaboration and Social Business) markets and to the channels that make those markets possible. One of our vehicles is our annual UC Summit, which will occur on May 6-9, 2012 in La Jolla, California. Qualified VARs/SIs will meet the leading vendors, top consultants, and UC experts in order to enhance, adjust or validate your business models. Please fill in the application today, so you can be there in May and discuss these UC applications with us and with your peers, with suppliers, and with consultants. Hope to see you there.
Also on UCStrategies.com in this series:
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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?