Unified confusion - I think not!

Graham Francis : The SIP School
Graham Francis
| The SIP Blog is just that; with opinion and analysis on all things SIP in the world of VoIP

Unified confusion - I think not!

Last year I kicked off something called ‘The SIP trunk challenge’.  The idea was to try to find a good clear description of what SIP trunking is and the challenge worked well with over 353 votes and a worthy winner – blog here.

So I got brave…  I tried again with the ‘Unified Communications challenge’ with the remit of:

“Define Unified Communications in a simple phrase that when used to explain UC to a new client, they ‘get it’ right away and then want to get their cash out. Don’t get too technical – remember to keep it simple!”

And then this challenge was sent out to mailing lists, added to a multitude of Linkedin groups and oh boy! What an amazing response and what a difference of opinions! Bearing in mind that this challenge was also meant to be ‘light hearted’ it did produce some heated debates so if you don’t agree with the winner, then please remember the words, ‘light hearted’….

Now, replies are still coming in as I type but I have to stop the challenge at some point and it’s today – Monday 20th February.

We do have a winner and with a total of 22%

Well done J. Scott Miller and your Plantronics Voyager UC Pro headset is on its way to you, thanks to Plantronics themselves.

And here is his description

Unified Communications is the ability to collaborate with whom-ever, when-ever, utilizing the most efficient vehicle (voice, text, e-mail, video, etc) using a single interface on any device (PC, laptop, smart-phone).

Now I just can’t end it here as the responses were so diverse from ‘one liners’ to multiple paragraph explanations, it has been amazing to read them all and of course they delivered some very important points some of which are here.

“All about the Business”

Meaning that you should closely look at the customers’ business and its communications practices and offer a UC solution that fits their model and would make their business - especially their staff more efficient.

“You can’t define it” and “It’s not a single product”

I suppose having so many responses that were so different has proved that UC is almost impossible to define in a single paragraph and although it should not be defined as a single product it is only by implementing a total solution from a single vendor that interoperability can be (almost) assured between all the forms of communication that are being used.  This being said, it is still unlikely that a single vendor can offer a UC solution that not only provides ‘unification’ of all forms of communication but also integration with other business process systems commonly called CEBP.

If you want to see more of the UC responses from people on Linkedin then you need to join the groups such as “Unified Communications” which had the most activity.

So to conclude, I think that trying to define UC is like trying to herd cats, not impossible but very difficult as each customer will have their own set of business needs that need to be met.  It may be that no one vendor solution will ever completely do that and it will be up to the systems integrators to find the best of breed applications and services that integrate ‘best’ in order to give the customer what they want.  Of course it shouldn’t end there.  As UC brings together all forms of communication, when others come to the fore such as Social media applications, then these apps and services need to be integrated into the customer’s unique environment to deliver information to people when they need it by utilizing the most effective communication method.

Now, do I dare start the “Define Cloud” challenge?

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