Is there anything that could increase productivity and efficiency in the office more than unified communications? I'm beginning to think not. For me, the day I can skip the thought process in which I attempt to remember whether a piece of information was relayed to me through e-mail, IM (with whom???) or otherwise will be a happy day, indeed. Not to mention attempting to find it in each location (because, in the end, I cannot remember).
The latest Microsoft acquisition catching major headlines is Parlano, maker of persistent group chat software for the enterprise. MindAlign will now become part of the Microsoft Office Communications Server platform.
But does more communication, more chatting, mean more efficiency? Not necessarily.
In his blog, Parlano CEO Nick Fera addresses the efficiency vs. effectiveness argument; yes, communicating more easily, in real time, improves efficiency. What competitive organizations are after is effectiveness, which comes from knowledge transfer among employees, using the correct tools. Obviously, he believes his tool is one of the "right" ones, and Microsoft sees it as at least one that should be on the list of options for customers.
Also see TMCnet.com President Rich Tehrani's post from a few days ago, in which he interviews Parlano CTO Bob Serr. The interview came out about a week before this acquisition announcement. In it, Serr says Google and Apple's presence in the telecom market don't "matter," gives Microsoft a pat on the back for its integration focus, and predicts that over the next five years, fewer large companies will outsource critical messaging systems. Hmmmm.