Blair Pleasant, the President and Principal Analyst of COMMfusion and Co-Founder of UCStrategies, used her No Jitter blog this week to take a look at how well the industry fulfilled her 2009 unified communications wish list.
This is an important exercise for a couple of reasons. The first benefit is to get a general sense of the overall progress the category under discussion is making. The other is to drive home the point that progress is not monolithic. Some areas evolve more quickly than others. Reviewing the subcategories that Pleasant wanted to see improve coming into 2009-and the grades that she ended up assigning the progress at its conclusion-is a good way for us to keep abreast of each of the many disparate challenges that UC faces as it grows.
Pleasant graded the progress made in encouraging channel training and incentives (C); development and implementation of ROI tools (B-); development of federation and interoperability (B); encouragement of involvement by line of business managers (C); product generation by application vendors (B+); and innovation by switch vendors (D+).
I enjoyed the list and the grading, despite the fact that it reminded me a bit too much of my high school transcript. All of the categories, of course, are important. I believe that the most important for 2010 is the development and implementation of ROI tools.
The recession and the painfully slow emergence from it will make finance departments, CEOs and CFOs more skittish than ever when it comes to signing off on new spending. The good news for the UC community is that it is seen as one of the categories that will benefit most immediately. For that to really happen, however, there must be rock-solid demonstrations of how quickly investments will pay off.
Of course, the numbers that those ROI tools produce will grow more attractive as progress is made in the other categories. But an inability to clearly demonstrate ROI will chill organizations' willingness to implement platforms, no matter how high the potential is. Progress in the other categories won't mean as much, simply because fewer organizations will be seriously listening.