Unified Communications

08:00 AM
Scott Kinka
Scott Kinka
Commentary
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UC Adoption In The Enterprise

A recent survey shows that unified communications is growing in the enterprise, despite many IT pros' lack of familiarity with the term.

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Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2014 | 10:57:28 AM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role

Susan - Let me know what you find and what you think.  My point of view is that these type of cloud based solutions roll up many of the attributes that we see in various forms of communication.  If a team is working on a project they create a group, that group can modify documents and or assign areas of responsibility.  They are by nature collaborative and they "Unify" communications or workflow.  However in my opinion this does not replace sitting down together and having an interactive meeting, live or via a video call.  And what I see in my profession is that we are building out more collaborative spaces like all hands meeting areas where the whole company interacts, depending on the size.  And the outcome is pretty good in terms of solution based development.  So what is old is new again, actually talking with each other face to face, now that is communications unified, "CU" or is it "See You"?

Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 10:05:41 AM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role
Thanks, Jeff. I think that's a good summation. Coming from the infrastructure side of the house, I am less familiar with software platforms than I sometimes should be, but I will look into Oracle Fusion in more detail. 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2014 | 12:15:08 PM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role
Susan - In my opinon that is a great observation that communication is less important than app sharing, in the provided description of UCaaS.  And again it depends on the point of view so from my humble point of view Unified Communication is more about the ability to communicate via unified communicaiton portal that features Voice, Video, IM and data or applicaiton sharing.  It should also include a presence commponenet to determine the best method for getting in touch with the individual or even group.  There are more and more cloud based collaboration tools being developed for just that type of application.  They also include a social media componenet as well which ties in nicely to the collaboration piece.  Oracle Fusion is key example of how work flow is being affected by cloud enablement, social media and taking a leap of faith UCaaS.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 10:58:03 AM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role
Jeff, I have to agree with you on that one. With ANY technology that is more than just a physical product, views change depending on the eye of the beholder. And according to ArtR's description of UCaaS, it made me think that you wouldn't necessarily need to have anything unified at all. You could just pick and choose the apps you need and tie them into a back-end data warehouse. The "communication" part seems to be less important.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2014 | 3:12:09 PM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role

@ artr - Good information and relevant and points out a new point.  A purpose built UCaaS is one thing and especially if it is built based on a platform designed, or shoehorned to match the business needs.  It is yet another to take existing applications that are also UC capable (which in my opinion as the antagonist here was part of the conversation).  Talking only about UCaaS is a very different conversation than UC and again straight to my original point.  Define UC and your definition will vary based on who you are and your point of view.  Your view is very focused and specific but that is atypical if you ask me.  And remember where we started this exchange from, was it UC or was it UCaaS?

artr
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artr,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2014 | 1:58:00 PM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role
Jeff,

The big challenge for allowing a mobile end user to exploit the flexibility of UC for all interactions (business apps, communication apps) from a single multimodal  device, is to have all those apps being able to interoperate and integrate with shared user data quickly and easily. That's not so doable when those apps are in premise-based silos and using the PSTN for connectivity. By putting them into hosted/managed service "clouds" they are more easily accessible through IP connectivity and can also benefit from having unlimited amounts of storage.

So, basically UCaaS realy needs to be cloud-based service to provide all that flexibility to individual end users and their mutlimodal (but "dumb") endpoints, rather than be limited by job-related, premise-based hardware and software. When it comes to security, that is really a function for individual applications to control, in terms of authenticated identity access, user's rights, and using encryption-protected network connections. 

The application "smarts" and access controls to information should be centralized in the service provider servers, not the access endpoints or networks. That's my perspective for the future of personalized services for individual end users who will be interacting with all kinds of business processes and people, either as a contact initiator or a recipient, through IP connected "cloud" services.

IBM's recent partnership announcement with Apple in developing "mobile apps" for enterprise oganizations is clear confirmation that this is the future for mobile consumers and employees.

 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2014 | 10:53:19 AM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role

@ artr - Okay I will play the role of the antagonist.  Your comment "UCaaS is necessary to support both BYOD and what each individual end user needs for both their job roles AND personal business role needs as a consumer/customer ("Dual Personas")" frankly solidifies my comment that the definition of UC is dependent on your point of view, your role and if you are an end user, vendor or manufacture.  And UCaaS, I am curious about how does that integrate into disparate technologies?   Can you please unpack that for me?  I am sure that I am not the only curious one out there in UC land.

artr
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artr,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2014 | 4:15:57 AM
Re: Definition of UC
Susan,

Don't be surprised about IT pros not understanding what end users want from UCaaS. They are not the only ones. The flexibility of UC will pay off most for mobile users, who will be more accessible and, with multimodal smartphones and tablets, can exploit UCaaS for all their job and personal business contact needs.

Mobile business apps in the "clouds" are where flexible UC options will be increasingly embedded for "click-to-contact" with people, and CEBP will deliver personalized notifications from busines process applications to end users, wherever they may be.
artr
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artr,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2014 | 2:51:32 AM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role
Jerome,

Not exactly right!

UCaaS is necessary to support both BYOD and what each individual end user needs for both their job roles AND personal business role needs as a consumer/customer ("Dual Personas").

Handling all modes of contact and interaction between both people and with automated applications (not just person-to-person contacts) has become too complex and end users need communications to be more controllable as contact initiators and as recipients, more simplified, and more time efficient to avoid big mistakes, and more acceptable for the dynamic needs of all mobile users.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/24/2014 | 10:56:29 PM
Re: Definition of UC depends on your role
The term Unified Communications or UC means different things to different people.  And your use of or definition of UC is directly associated with your role and needs.  We all wear blinders at one time or another.  Ask Cisco what UC means to them, Ask Avaya what it means to them, Ask Polycom what it means to them ask Microsoft what it means to them and then ask a typical CIO who uses all those products and guess what?  Their understanding of the term may be skewed or even blurred.
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