Shell: Cash on the OCS Telephony Barrel

At his VoiceCon keynote in Amsterdam earlier in the month (Amsterdam), Royal Dutch Shell's Group IT Architect Johan Krebbers positioned UC (built on OCS) as a key element of Shell's global collaboration strategy (80% of teams in Shell are global!), tightly linked with their information sharing strategy and built around a single user experience.

He also stated that OCS was Shell's voice platform of the future, stressing that even today, the OCS feature set is adequate for many employees, many of whom are mobile and comfortable with soft phones.

Traditional PBX vendors should be worried by Microsoft's entry in the PBX market.

But Nortel is not among these. You see, we agree that the future of telephony is as a software UC application, and the future of Nortel is in software and services. To accelerate our transformation, we have developed unique alliances with Microsoft under the Innovative Communications Alliance, and with IBM with a particular focus on SOA.

But as William Gibson wrote: "The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed", and clearly Shell is at the tail of the curve.

In contrast, I am meeting next week with a successful insurance company that is 'very risk averse' in both financial and technology terms, and is just now starting to look at how to evolve their TDM telephony system, focusing predominantly on hard phones. They are just not ready for OCS-style telephony and UC.

So Nortel's unique value proposition is to help our customers meet their immediate telephony needs, while helping them evolve at their own business-driven pace, towards a suite of best-in-class UC applications, whether based on OCS, Sametime or Nortel's. Furthermore, we provide communications integration software (the Nortel Agile Communication Environment) and services that accelerate the business through communications-enabled business processes across multi-vendor networks.

Contrast this with the likes of Cisco and Avaya, which talk about software and openness, and then push the customer into a vertically integrated silo'd approach.

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