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2/29/2008
02:22 AM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
Commentary
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Looking at UC from Two Perspectives

In his latest VoiceCon eWeekly newsletter, Jim Burton proposes that there are two ways to look at unified communications: Horizontal and vertical. As he puts it:The horizontal path focuses on integrating communication modes, channels, and devices; it is the click-to-communicate approach, and delivers personal and team/workgroup benefits. Put another way, it's what we've called UC's Personal Productivity benefits. The vertical path takes a broader view, and involves integrating communications into business processes. This can deliver enterprise-wide benefits--e.g., better customer service or faster sales cycles--but the key is that it is based on specific business processes. Some refer to this path as communication-enabled business processes (CEBP).Jim says that today, most companies are looking at UC from the horizontal perspective, even though most vendors are pitching the vertical approach. I think there are two good reasons for that:1.You need the horizontal in order to enable the vertical (there needs to be a C to enable CEBP).2.Embedding anything in businesses processes is a lot harder than deploying that thing itself. And then using it to change and improve upon those processes is tougher still. No wonder most companies start with the (relatively) easy stuff.I expect more companies to start down the path of CEBP eventually, but for the next few years, look for plain-vanilla implementations to come first.

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