CEBP and the Open UC Ecosystem

    Many people still think Unified Communications is little more than unified messaging that includes mobile devices - and some vendors have been slow to offer much else. But today's UC technology is at the heart of a trend that Gartner calls Communications-Enabled Business Processes (CEBP), and CEBP requires integrating UC technology with a wide variety of applications and devices. Accomplishing this in a way that eliminates integration hassles and multivendor runaround requires working with a UC vendor that has established a rich partner ecosystem based on open standards.

    Let's back up a little. Integrating communications with business processes can take many different forms depending on the needs and size of the organization. It may start with a straightforward application plug-in. A sales organization may want to add inbound and outbound call functionality into a CRM application, such as, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, or RightNow Technologies.

    Or it may require tighter integration between UC applications and other solutions. For example, a consulting organization may need to provide desktop communications capabilities, such as a unified inbox, IM and video, to all its remote and mobile users so they can perform the same required tasks in the same way, no matter where they are. A small law firm may want to add call accounting and recording capabilities to its UC system. Or a manufacturing plant may need to implement high-quality, cost-effective videoconferencing to reduce the costs of travel to headquarters and to visit suppliers.

    The key is for the UC vendor to have an open platform and develop a broad partner ecosystem - complete with interoperability testing and certification. This rich ecosystem must include vendors with a range of innovative and productivity-enhancing technologies, such as advanced analog, digital and VoIP gateways, SIP and ITSP trunking, call recording applications, sophisticated switches and routers, wireless and mobility solutions, new technology for high availability, and more.

    That's why ShoreTel has focused on building its Technology Partner Program, which now includes more than 40 certified partners who work together to ensure our customers can expand and extend their ShoreTel UC systems with the technologies they need to grow and compete. Whether it's dual-mode mobile phones from DiVitas, switches from Extreme Networks, or a contact center from Syntellect, our customers are confident that the solutions interoperate seamlessly with their standards-based ShoreTel UC system and perform exactly the way they were designed to perform

    John W. Combs