As I have frequently pointed out, UC is really all about making timely and flexible contact with people, who are not always accessible or “available” in real time Business contacts may be both traditional “person-to-person” contacts, as well as “process-to-person” contacts, where automated business application services proactively “notify” (deliver messages) to individual end users/ subscribers about something that is important and time-sensitive specifically for them.
In either case, however, the ability of a recipient to be contacted more quickly because of mobile contact accessibility and/or a flexible choice of communication modalities makes UC technology useful for both contact initiators and recipients. It also pays off for the performance of business processes that depend on people to take timely actions.
Up till now, there has been a primary focus by enterprise technology providers on UC infrastructure as a means of reducing support costs, TCO, etc., which is of particular interest to IT management, but not to individual end users or even to business management (LOB) in any size enterprise. While budgets and lower costs are important for management and implementation planning, they are not the real strategic objective for business operations. As I have often questioned, “If you got UC technology for free, what would you do with it?”
UC Surveys Starting To Look At Individual End User Needs
In the past year, there has been a realization that individual business users are really key beneficiaries of UC capabilities, but their communication needs and benefits are not identical. And it is not just about voice communications, either! That means UC implementation planning must be geared selectively to high-value needs of end users (“UC-U”), that, in turn, will also pay off most to the business ROI (“UC-B (News - Alert)”). What should be recognized here is that if individual end user needs are not taken care of first, the business processes that depend on those users will suffer, because UC capabilities will not be adopted and exploited effectively.
From that perspective of end user needs as either a contact initiator or contact recipient in the performance of a business process, the size of an organization makes little difference in requirements for those person-to-person or process-to-person communication needs. However, the more individual end users that can significantly benefit from UC capabilities in doing their jobs, the greater the pay off for both the UC-U and UC-B aspects of UC investment ROI.
Siemens (News - Alert) started looking at such end user UC needs, by asking them about common communication “pain points” that can be minimized or eliminated by UC technologies. It’s not that what such “pain points” are will be a surprise, but rather to understand the relative impact on business process performance.
However, United Business Media did a similar study earlier last year, with somewhat different results, and CMP Media’s bMighty Publisher/Editor, Frederick Paul, compared the results in a bMighty article referenced in his blog. In addition, UC Strategies colleague, Marty Parker, also points out that the real challenge for business organizations is to help do something about those communication “pain point” problems.
Now that the spotlight is upon individual end users, regardless of where they work, it is clear that UC implementation has to help move traditional voice telephony into the converged domain of “virtual” and mobile IP communications, rather than the traditional wired, premise-based TDM networks. This change will also impact the carrier service providers, who have to let go of their “walled gardens” to support the mobile service application needs of both their subscribers (consumers) and business organizations. (More on that later.)
What Do You Think?
Art Rosenberg, a veteran of the computer and communications industry, contributes his column, The Unified-View to TMCnet. To read more of Art’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Greg Galitzine