Unified Communications = Opportunities for Service Providers
There continues to be lots of”buzz” in the marketplace around Unified Communications (UC). Just last week I met with several enterprise customers in Europe and there was consensus amongst them that service providers can play a key role in the delivery of UC. Some observations that I gleaned include the following:1) The definition of UC is all over the map. Some people include integration of identity management and presence in their definition of UC; others include desktop video and collaboration tools. Still others fall into the camp of defining UC just as simple IP telephony I see this broad interpretation of UC as an opportunity for service providers to provide leadership and clarity to their enterprise customers.2) Rates of deployment vary. Some companies have already deployed 60,000 IP handsets-.others are just beginning to roll out an IP telephony deployment across their enterprises. My take on this is that there isn’t one”correct” way on how or when to implement UC. Service providers have the opportunity to differentiate their offers in the marketplace and meet the needs of enterprise customers.3) It’s not just about technology. One thing that everyone agreed on is that UC requires security, regulatory compliance, and risk management. UC is a transformational technology which requires the enterprise customer to evaluate the business processes associated with these capabilities. UC is not about the technology, but it’s more about the business process involved and the implementation and operations of the technology.4) Interoperability is essential. The adoption of UC will only happen if vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, and others recognize that the enterprise customer wants an open platform.Overall, the demand for UC is high. Service providers have an excellent opportunity to consult with their customers and assist them in their efforts to apply UC to their business.