The Future Channel for Unified Communications

Today I am happy to have Matt Hartley from our Solutions Engineering Group provide a great guest blog on the topic of UC and Social Networking. Thanks Matt for this informative post.

Social networking has become an Internet phenomenon and it continues to grow.  Web sites like Facebook alone have well over 200 million active users, and of those users, close to 100 million of them log on each day.  Those are staggering numbers and no wonder this type of online community is an advertiser's dream.  As a matter of fact, today many sales professionals use online social networking as a direct way of selling their products and services.  So, from a sales and marketing perspective the customer reach is vast on
a social networking site like Facebook. It only makes sense to jump on the band wagon.  Also, many organizations are moving to online social networking as a way to bring their colleagues together.  If you go to LinkedIn, you'll see thousands of company profiles available to be searched.  It's almost like having access to a big corporate directory in the sky, or in technical terms, the cloud. 
And to be honest, that is exactly what it is.  As more and more people get online and join social networks, organizations really have no choice but to follow them.  And in the not so distant future, more and more organizations will adopt online social networking as a way for bringing people together to communicate, to collaborate and to share ideas.  Heck, if the people are already online sharing photos, there is no reason they couldn't spend some time working on productive tasks for their company or organization, especially if they are getting paid.

So, what does this mean for Unified Communications?  Well, in order for organizations to fully adopt social networking one day as a viable
meeting place for getting work done, a couple things have to happen.  One, organizations must feel comfortable with cloud computing.  And we all
know the hesitations there: reliability, availability, and security.  Two, cloud based business services would have to be provided by the social networking site so that work can get done. These cloud based business services, or "Virtual Company Services" as I like to call them, could range from access to CRM's like, web conferencing tools like WebEx or access to an entire virutal computing environment like Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).  

In essence, the LinkedIn's and Facebook's of the world are well positioned, today, to be the future channel for reselling virtual company services
like Unified Communications.  Packaged and sold to businesses who no longer have a brick and mortar establishment, but rather a bunch of at home
workers who connect online with their co-workers in a virtual company, managed by a social networking site, doing all their work in the cloud.

Matthew Hartley
Siemens Enterprise Communications, Inc

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