Strategy: The UC Identity Crisis

Feb 28, 2012


UC Moving to Collaboration

Judging by our InformationWeek 2012 Unified Communications Survey, vendors looking to sell IT on unified communications systems aren't making as much headway as they'd like. In response, restless marketing executives are tacking on new capabilities and adding modifiers, like "collaboration" and "social business," in an effort to gain traction while simultaneously abandoning the "UC" terminology. Cisco has already purged the term. So what does that mean for enterprise IT teams that just want to get everyone talking?

First, expansionism has been an ongoing trend. From the idea of unified messaging, where a single mailbox would collect all of a user's non-real-time communications, including email, voice mail and fax, UC moved into the realm of real-time communications, providing a dashboard to initiate one-to-one audio and video connections and instant messaging chats. The focus has now expanded further to include collaboration tools for conferencing via audio, video and Web, and desktop sharing to help employees work together more effectively. The next iteration adds a set of social networking capabilities aimed at leveraging a shared knowledge base.

So is all this "UC" or "collaboration" or simply looking at the same capability from two different viewpoints? Certainly users can collaborate, but they are working with those collaboration tools through an integrated desktop client that is, essentially, a UC product. That same integrated UC client is also used to view presence status, initiate text chats and even make phone calls. (S4520212)

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