CompTIA’s Unified Communications Community was challenged Thursday to re-think what they think about unified communications.
“Unified communications as we define it is a myth,” Lawrence Walsh, president and CEO of The 2112 Group, told the group. “We talk about it as if it’s a product, but it’s an outcome. It’s whatever the end user wants it to be, the outcome desired by the customer.”
Because of that, unified communications should be viewed as a dream by IT solution providers and system integrators, according to Walsh. “You can make the product by building a solution that includes all the things the customer wants, making communications part of the fabric of the customer’s workflow.”
While unified communications solutions can deliver cost savings to customers, Walsh said users may experience even greater benefits by making communications more manageable and productive.
“What does productivity get you if you implement unified communications?” he said. “It’s about agility and time to market. If you can move faster than your competitor, you can win.”
New UC Research from CompTIA
The community also had a preview of some results from an upcoming CompTIA study on the unified communications market. Among the positive findings: 80 percent of business and IT executives surveyed say unified communications have a moderate or high value proposition; and 41 percent say communications budgets are growing relative to other parts of IT budgets.
But the flip side to the good news is there seems to be a disconnect between what people feel and say about UC, and what’s actually happening, according to Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA.
Email and voice (analog, mobile and VoIP phones) remain the predominant ways in which communications occur. Instant messaging, video conferencing, collaboration applications, web conferencing and social tools are used to a much lesser degree.
“It appears that if unified communications tools are being bought, the end-user behavior is not changing from what they’re comfortable with,” Robinson said.
Robinson also noted that boundaries between various emerging technologies – unified communications, mobility, cloud computing and social are a few examples – are becoming increasingly blurred. “It’s very difficult talking about any one of these things without the others,” he said.
Members of the Unified Communications Community agreed that there are opportunities for more collaboration with other CompTIA communities.
The group also said one of the roles CompTIA can fill is to development fundamental educational materials and programs to clearly explain what “unified communications” means. This information would be valuable to IT channel companies selling unified communications and the buyers of technology solutions.