Unified Communications: A Means to the Social Business End

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Unified Communications Converge with Social Networks

Results from a Yankee Group survey regarding the convergence of social media and unified communications.

Unified communications is one of those technologies where the reality has never quite lived up to hype. While unified communications is gaining some momentum, many people tend to forget that unified communications is a technology means to a business end.

According to John Del Pizzo, IBM program director of unified communications and collaboration software, the business outcomes need to be the creation of a truly social business that is using unified communications to transform the way the business operates for the better.

Unfortunately, Del Pizzo says too much of the unified communications conversation these days is still focused on replacing PBX systems with IP communications networks, as opposed to focusing on how to use technologies such as IBM Sametime to increase productivity. On one level, replacing legacy PBX technolgy is a significant concern, but Del Pizzo says it pales as an issue when compared to fostering the development of a truly "social business."

Del Pizzo says the real business value to be derived is from using unified communications along with social networking technologies to "scale" people. That means less time answering routine questions by making it easier for people to find information they might have once obtained by calling someone, while at the same time advertising the subject matter expertise of certain individuals to a broader number of people both inside and outside the company.

That latter capability not only allows companies to get more out of their intellectual assets, it makes work more enjoyable because all the routine nuisance inquiries get sharply reduced.

There is obviously lots of skepticism when it comes to anything related to unified communications and social networking. But as more people begin to master these technologies within the organization, something profound starts to take shape that ultimately makes the organization a whole lot more internally and externally responsive.

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