Unified Communications Featured Article

Six UC Buying Influence Communities Complicate Decisions


May 02, 2011

Art Schoeller, Forrester Research analyst, has an interesting perspective on why it sometimes is difficult to get widespread enterprise agreement on the attributes any ideal unified communications solution provides. Put simply, users and stakeholders affected by any UC solution approach the subject from different and conflicting perspectives. 

Among the major stakeholders are telecommunication, data networking, facilities managers, collaboration specialists, application developers and end users. 

Telecommunications departments favor IP telephony features. Traditional private branch exchange features, call center, voicemail, and the choices for physical phones are critical for this group of stakeholders. At the same time, there can be a conflict between “return on investment” considerations that reduce enterprise communications costs, and feature richness.

Data networking teams emphasize management of real-time media streams, which tends to lead them to focus on how to maintain quality of service across the entire network, once real-time communications are carried on the enterprise data network. 

Facilities managers are concerned with conference room design and operation, and so will be most interested in room-based telepresence decisions. 

Collaboration professionals look at integration of UC with collaboration, so the issues include document sharing and editing, instant messaging and integration of voice with the other collaboration tools. 

Application developers are concerned with integrating UC into enterprise business processes, and so are more likely to place top priority on the application programming interfaces, software development kits and whether the vendor aligns with their enterprise applications platform strategy like Java or .NET. 

End users just care about what works for them, and may prefer consumer tools.  Users who travel extensively may use Skype to make free calls and avoid international roaming charges. Groups that want easy webconferencing to collaborate with external partners use GoToMeeting. This community will be strongly biased toward free, easy-to-deploy, and well known services and products.

All of that can make for a contentious or at least complicated environment for full-blown UC solutions providers. 




Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell




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