Unified communications is not new, its been around for nearly a decade. My start-up Teltier 10 years ago was promoting services such as missed call summary, instant conferencing and messaging, as well as unified communications (UC). There’s nothing like being painfully too early to market 🙂 Unified communications is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), conferencing, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax).
With more than 100 million mobile workers in the U.S. workforce, more than 70 percent of calls are forwarded to voice mail, less than 16% leave a message and less that 4% are returned. Voice is no longer working, and to make matters worse, when voice doesn’t work we’re faced with tens of other un-integrated communication choices. We face the frustration of voice not working daily, just contacting someone can take days, which means decisions are delayed impacting the company’s operational costs and customer service. Globally mobile / remote workers now account for over 25% of the worldwide worker population, about 750 million workers – so there’s definitely a large frustrated market out there.
Hence this magical concept called Unified Communications, there are lots of suppliers out there including Cisco, Avaya, Mitel, Microsoft, IBM, etc. All promoting UC, based on their legacy business, which is never a good way to ensure a customer-focused solution is delivered, and is part of the reason behind UCs continued failure to launch.
Enterprises are faced with four critical pain points in their communications:
- Complexity of managing and securing multiple communication platforms, e.g. desktop phones, cellular phones, email, voicemail, IM, etc. Costs continue to rise at 5%-15% pa (Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft are all trying to milk the cash cow while expecting enterprises to pay more.)
- End-user complexity of IP-based communications, poor integration and inconsistent implementation has lowered the Quality of Experience in enterprise communications reducing productivity. UC is not demonstrating performance improvements (this is a critical barrier and has tarnished the existing UC vendors.)
- Human latency: people are delaying processes – generally the result of poor communication with decision makers and within workgroups. Human factors now account for 80% of corporate inefficiency, people are now the business’s greatest asset and greatest liability
- Total cost of ownership (TCO) increases mean communications investments remain stagnant – UC must lower TCO (existing vendor solutions do not lower TCO)
Something needs to change. To better understand UC requirements I’ve put this short questionnaire together. I’ll share the results on my weblog, as always. Please take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire, in helping us all understand what UC needs to focus upon, rather than what the incumbent vendor are doing to maintain their legacy revenues.