I recently attended a Nortel Contact Center Customer Advisory Council, involving a number of leading edge customers.
This included companies from a diverse set of verticals: for example, a healthcare provider, a pharmaceutical, a retail bank, a global semiconductor tools vendor, an SI, a retailer, a food services firm. These folks get UC, because they have been doing it for years.
Why do I say this?
I would offer you three rationales for the notion that to a large extent the contact center environment is a precursor of what we are doing with UC.
1) Contact centers is a great example of aligning IT with the business. This is pre-requisite to any successful UC deployment.
2) Technically, a contact center consists of a set of specialized capabilities that we now generally associate with UC. Sure the language changes: for example, in contact centers we speak of skill-based routing.... in UC, we speak of presence and personal agents. But many of these concepts are being extended from agents to the general employee base (at by the way a considerably lower price point) and then back to the contact center in the form of UC-enabled capabilities (as we are doing in OCS-enabling our contact center offering).
3) The real value of Contact Centers comes when they are tightly integrated with customer service processes, just as the transformational values of UC come with UC is embedded in business processes, what we call communications-enabled applications.
What do you think?