Unified Communications Requires Faith

Updated: June 11, 2009

But UC seems pretty simple. It lets you communicate intelligently with anyone no matter where you are or what medium the other party is using. "Intelligently" means you have access to all the business intelligence data in your "business-critical applications." It doesn't necessarily mean you will say anything intelligible.

The question is: does UC work? It's not just a matter of whether the technology delivers what vendors promise; we all know that it never does so in full. But does UC, in the state of its current art, deliver greater profits to its users?

Few are saying that it does. You can read tons of case studies, market analysts' forecasts, press releases, and marketing collateral but very few persons will be quoted saying, "My firm is saving/earning an extra $X per month (or year) because UC did this for us…"

"That's competitive intelligence, companies won't reveal it or give permission to publish it," proponents of UC argue. I don't buy it, and not just because I pried exactly those sorts of numbers out of case study subjects for five years.

People love to brag about how much money they've saved or earned by being cleverer than the next guy, especially if the next guy is "the enemy"! They keep mum only when they know they haven't saved or earned anything, or are too embarrassed to admit that they simply can't tell whether they have saved or earned anything.

Which is not to say that UC is a fraud. It just requires a leap of faith, a willingness to do the only thing that ever earns profits - take risks!

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