Last week, I spent two information-packed days in steamy Philadelphia. Wainhouse analysts shared their vision for the future of UC (unified communications) and collaboration and IT leaders from companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Mayo Clinic, and Depository Trust described the challenges they are facing in the real-world application of these technologies.
Here are the nuggets that stood out for me …
Make it Work Together, Damn It!
One loud-and-clear message was that interoperability between technologies is absolutely crucial. It’s no surprise that different users have different needs: a team of developers on Linux boxes and using Campfire as their team workspace may want to work quite differently than a sales executive who lives in Salesforce and conducts online demos with Fortune 500 prospects. IT leaders don’t want to cram a one-size-fits-all solution down their throats. Yet, they certainly don’t have time to waste getting best-of-breed solutions from different vendors to ‘play nice’ together and with other business-critical applications. For companies to realize the true potential of collaboration technologies, vendors need to invest in integration and interoperability. ReadyTalk couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ve already built an open API and integrations with applications like Outlook, Salesforce, and Eloqua and while we’ll continue to invest in interoperability in the future.
Deploying Unified Communications is a Challenge
Many organizations are deploying Microsoft Lync and other UC solutions and most are rolling out the IM and presence piece of the puzzle first. While this is a great start, IT leaders are running into challenges as they move to the next stage in their UC journey. Michael Obiedzinski, VP Network Technology at Depository Trust talked about his users’ reluctance to adopt soft phones (what if my computer crashes?!?) and the problem of tying Lync video conferencing into his in-room video systems. Wainhouse analyst Bill Haskins discussed how companies he has consulted with are struggling with the question of what to do with audio and web conferencing to create a seamless UC experience for participants within and outside of the organization. On another front, Christopher Morrish, a technologist from Facebook, questioned the value of subscribing to one single brand versus selecting the mix of best-of-breed tools that will make employees most efficient. And, in the end, isn’t that what’s it all about?
Transform the Way People Work
Years ago, the argument for audio and web conferencing was all about travel cost savings. Today, collaboration technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the way people work and live. Folks can call wherever they want home (while still earning a living). They can collaborate with peers in far-flung locations – when they want, how they want, with minimal boundaries, and without interrupting their thought process – to innovate and make better decisions. Companies benefit from a happier workforce plus an expanded talent pool. No longer limited to the local market, they can hire the exact right person for the job without regard for geography.
In line with this vision of what could be, Wainhouse analyst Andy Nilssen painted a picture of what he called the Web-Enabled Team Process 2.0:
He also identified three advancements in audio and web conferencing technology that will help make this way of working a reality:
- High-quality desktop video and VoIP audio
- Richer team workspace capabilities
- Next-generation mobile clients
ReadyTalk is on board; check out our slick iPad client; and stay tuned for more exciting enhancements later this year.
What’s your vision for the future of collaboration? What can ReadyTalk do to help you get there?