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Analysis: Unified Communications


There's a knock-down fight brewing as leading software and telephony vendors vie for your unified communications infrastructure business. Cisco Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle--all have the resources and motivation to go the distance. For enterprise IT groups looking to keep critical communications systems intact, making the wrong choice could have a negative impact on competitiveness and product acquisition cycles for years to come.

UC encompasses virtually every piece of collaboration software, starting with VoIP, IM, Web conferencing and videoconferencing, and in many instances adding e-mail, data portals and group collaboration (see "UC Infrastructure Basics"). Indirectly, UC could also affect your underlying data network architecture, as infrastructure providers move to optimize their offerings for enterprise UC a pplications.

Vendors argue that UC platforms will be able to help business groups dramatically reduce the time required to react to changing market conditions by helping companies bring together the right people, at the right time, with the right technology and information. Forget pressing the flesh, get ready to press the button.

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