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.
Articles from the UCStrategies.com UC experts, providing insights and analysis on UC products, events, market trends, and the state of the UC industry.
In a world where most communications first moved to PC-based and mobile e-mail and have now moved on to texting and instant messaging with presence and peer-to-peer voice, video and collaboration, one has to wonder why enterprise customers buy the limited hosted VoIP solutions. The case studies call out a huge list of benefits and cost savings when UC (beyond VoIP) is implemented and applied to “optimize business processes.”
The dictionary definition of the "endgame" is: the stage of a chess game after major reduction of forces. I would add that it is the point where the player with the advantage starts to push hard for the win, whereas the other player is now playing for a draw. I bring this up because I think we are now approaching the start of the endgame in the unified communications (UC) industry. I think that there are two parts to the endgame, the first is in the network layer.
Hopefully businesses will come to see the value of thinking about technology in the terms we do for both BPM and UC and recognize that “optimizing business processes” is about looking at the problem from a business standpoint and using the technology in the most effective way. In the end, business process improvement comes about by understanding the job and thinking creatively about how it can be done better, not by “piling on the technology.”
Just because business communications start off with a contact initiator, doesn’t mean that the contact recipient(s) don’t have operational needs too. That applies to both real- time (synchronous) contact attempts, as well as the myriad of modes of asynchronous and near-real-time messaging that are increasingly available to all kinds of consumers doing business on the Internet. With social networking, business organizations won’t have the same kind of control over how individual end users will communicate with others. Until now, business communications has been mainly focused on the contact initiators, because that is where communication activity originates. In either case, we have been primarily trying to make contact initiation more efficient by dynamically providing contact information and determining what mode of contact might be best for the recipient, thus making the efforts of the contact initiator more productive.
The experts at UCStrategies cover a lot of ground, including original market research. Blair Pleasant of COMMfusion has published several reports in the UC space, and her latest study was just released. Fellow UCStrategies analyst Jon Arnold caught up with Blair to learn more about the report, and their thoughts are shared in this wide-ranging interview, including what slacks, jackets and suits have to do with UC&C.
Microsoft has done what they have done in the past when changes in the market threaten their positions. They have adopted the changes (tablets), enhanced the position (Slate/keyboards), and extended from their dominance to re-define the competitive space with their advantage (Office 2013 across the platforms). Based on the Windows 8 and Office 2013 moves, Microsoft is making a real play to repeat the process as the multi-device user moves from being entertained to getting down to work.
Last week I attended the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto; this week Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its Office suite. Those events provided an almost unimaginable amount of new information to sort through and digest, but there is “gold” hidden in the stacks of new information. I see big opportunities for UC consultants, resellers and systems integrators brought about by this new release of Office and Office 365 exist in five key areas: migration to the cloud, training, support for new use cases with new devices, support for new use cases with new integration opportunities, and Office application add-ins.
One area of networking technology that has been heavily discussed, but less well actually understood is the topic of QoS or Quality of Service. Within the umbrella of QoS are a number of concepts, technologies and implementations, which all provide different mechanisms for solving fundamental bandwidth management issues. The key point of QoS is to assure that the network allocates resources based on the needs of the traffic and the business policies. One key aspect of this area is the difference between CoS - Class of Service, and QoS. While CoS is often part of a QoS implementation, CoS alone can provide a valuable allocation mechanism capability of many if not most of today's networks.
Brother, the typewriter, labeler and printer company has introduced a cloud-based video conferencing solution. If you are in the market for a video/web collaboration service for about $50 per month, their offer definitely deserves a look. But for me the most significant part of seeing the OmniJoin product was understanding how readily a new video/web conferencing offer could be introduced and how divergent the offers may be. It is another example of how the future world is changing.
As my new study, Unified Communications & Collaboration Market 2011-2016, shows, unified communications isn’t new, but it continues to evolve as workers’ needs change, with new elements such as social software being added to the mix, resulting in “Collaborative Communications.”
Isn’t it time for some innovation in communication system maintenance? Don’t you think that UC solutions might actually bring some new options for maintenance and support, just as they bring new approaches for communications methods and solutions? It seems that should be possible, but there is little evidence of this occurring to date.
Your clients are looking to you to leverage UC technologies to save money, maximize productivity, and contribute to their enterprise profitability. It is your obligation to match your capabilities with their needs. Your definition of value-add needs to extend beyond those of your vendor’s and become what defines your organization in your marketplace.
Large organization CIOs face the big challenge of migrating from premise-based computer usage to moving information, communications, and user applications to the clouds. However, it doesn’t have to be done all at once for everything. Fortunately, cloud-based applications can be integrated with legacy premised-based applications, and can either be hosted and managed by third-party experts or developed on “private” or “hybrid” clouds.
With the data and information in this white paper, it should be possible to optimize both the seating and distances for most video conferencing rooms. If possible, the telepresence orientation should be used, but for dual purpose rooms that must function as both normal meeting rooms as well as video rooms, choosing the right display can optimize the video experience.
In a much-anticipated move, ShoreTel announced they are releasing a cloud-based version of their ShoreTel Mobility product through its M5 cloud division.
The channel is shrinking. Enterprises are buying less, prices are dropping, models are changing. There will be fewer dealers tomorrow than there are today. There is still plenty of channel opportunity, in fact huge. Just not as huge as it once was. When the system works right, the manufacturer and the channel are perfectly aligned. Both parts of this equation need the other. But sometimes this relationship gets out of alignment or lopsided.
Last week I attended Interactions 2012, the biggest event yet put on by Interactive Intelligence. I’ve been to a few of these, and this was the first time they had both partners and customers there, so the crowd was big – over 1,500. Just like the cloud-based business they’re in, the event seems to have scaled effortlessly and everything came off smoothly.
This week an article by Sean Williams on Motley Fool caught my eye, “Will Polycom Ever Find The Bottom?” Sean’s message is that the video conference players (Polycom, Cisco, Radvision Logitech) have been significantly impacted by the shrinkage in IT spending since 2008; however, their stock is now fully discounted and the remaining three (Radvision having been bought by Avaya), stand to gain from any future upswing in the economy. Few will argue with that – but the title tells you that I am one of the few.
For most solutions integrators (SIs), transition is a constant source of stress and frustration because their business models are changing. How do you go about determining the kind of salesperson you need to make this transition with your clients? As we all know, there are many different kinds of successful salespeople. The key is fit. A common standard used for differentiating between sales types is competencies. Competencies can be measured objectively and that is why they are useful for shaping SI sales organizations.
From my perspective, Mitel is targeting AnyWare IaaS at organizations looking to implement virtualized voice, unified communications and collaboration without the capital necessary to deploy these virtual applications in their own data center. Mitel has stated that their model can be private or hybrid cloud models. Both hybrid and private cloud models being offered will provide customers with choices.
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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?