Why does unified communication (UC) technology have such a bad perception?
Why do so many key stakeholders in a business not care, or understand the value of unified communications? The bottom line, the vendors of such technology are (for the most part) to blame for this. The focus on technology over user experience has led to a perception of complexity and too much technology for too little return.
Complexity and confusion is crushing the once promising industry of unified communications. Instead of embracing the the concept of collaboration and allowing UC technology to center the user experience around collaboration, many UC giants have tried to carve out a new industry focusing on facilitating technology. In fact, instead of facilitating collaboration, UC has become such a complicated, heavy investment to deploy, it typically stifles collaboration by driving low-adoption due to its workability and the general neglect of the overall user experience.
To fully deploy an enterprise-wide UC platform is onerous. Enterprises continue to wrestle with moving their deployment from the pilot phase, to full-scale production, to lost investments. The option of on-premise Microsoft Lync deployment coupled with major investments in infrastructure and desktop software are counter intuitive to an organization’s investment in off-loading servers, data and applications to be consumed through a browser or mobile device. Many organizations are investing in less desktop applications, and searching for more ubiquitous access to business solutions. It makes sense that UC and collaboration vendors would follow this trend. This allows the core infrastructure to remain in the enterprise, while applications and business processes are hosted in the cloud.
UC is important as long as it allows for exponential collaboration. This can be delivered if vendors focus on the user experience and seamlessly provide the ability to collaborate directly from an environment a user is already working in. World at Work estimates that about 44 million people work at home at least once a year, and according to IDC research, there will be 10 million telecommuters in the US by 2013. To sustain such increased demands for seamless collaboration vendors need to focus on technology that is simple, seamless and works effortlessly.
There is greater use of softphone technology as collaboration is taking place more frequently on laptops, tablets and mobile devices. As IT departments look to optimize their enterprise voice networks they can’t just fully migrate to softphones, a shift has to occur within their communities first. The legacy desk phone still lingers and if vendors are serious about investing in user experience they need to see the facts—tablets and smartphones outsell PCs! Integration to UC from these devices vs softphones is imperative to the adoption of UC as a critical technology in an organization’s collaboration strategy.