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Find The Right Path To SOA, UC Convergence

Vendors are emphasizing two approaches to collaboration. One focuses on the architecture, the other on the desktop. Which is right for you?

By embedding communications within SOAs, vendors including Avaya, BlueNote Networks, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, NEC/Sphere, Nortel Networks, and Siemens say companies can dramatically improve personal productivity by enriching user interactions while increasing efficiency. Admins could be automatically notified in the event of an outage or slowdown, for example.

It's not a new vision, but in a tight economic climate these are the types of initiatives that help IT improve business processes--and the bottom line.

InformationWeek Reports

When we first reported on this blending of service-oriented architectures and telephony, back in August 2006, we dubbed the phenomenon "service-oriented telephony architecture," or SOTA. More recently the term CEBP, coined by Avaya for "communications-enabled business process," has become popular. Cisco prefers "service-oriented network architecture," or SONA. Whatever you call it, this next wave in unified communications (UC) focuses on melding communications with business processes.

But our analysis suggests the biggest challenge will be overcoming IT skepticism. Our recent InformationWeek survey shows that in the coming 24 months, only 20% of organizations will embed communications within their business processes. In response, vendors are increasingly bundling UC capabilities with their voice products, just to get the technology in the door. But will that be enough?

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