Confusion over unified communications easily resolved

    In a recent Information Week survey, many companies admitted that they do not know what services unified communications actually provides. Michael Finneran, author of the report on the survey, says he believes this is due in part to UC vendor's marketing teams being unsure of which elements of the product to promote, using buzzwords to catch a potential buyer's attention, rather than detailing what the product does.

    "It’s restlessness amongst the vendors to try to look as though they have something different. That’s the core reason why they change," Finneran said, according to Network Computing. "To a degree, the users don’t seem to have come up with a good understanding of what UC is."

    This confusion lent itself to the slow adoption of unified communications solutions over the past two years, according to the news source. However, misleading promotion is not the only factor in clients' potential confusion over the role UC plays. Finneran said that UC products are continuously evolving and expanding. New services may include real-time communications such as hosted VoIP for one-on-one as well as conferencing, for example.

    "As the products have evolved, there are new attributes being continuously added to UC," Finneran told the news source. "From the vendor’s standpoint, you change your marketing to highlight those."

    Finneran said these changes are going to cause confusion for the simple fact that current professionals do not understand them, and have no previous exposure to them.

    However, when properly deployed and understood, these changes can provide substantial benefits. Improved voice over IP services can help reduce call audio complaints as well as lost calls, while hosted call center products can increase overall customer satisfaction through a variety of solutions, like better queuing and call recording capabilities.

    There is more to unified communications than unified messaging and collaboration, Finneran told the news source. He believes that in order to combat confusion and make informed, intelligent decisions regarding UC solutions, a company needs to be well-versed on what UC actually provides, as well as what the vendor in question offers. Otherwise, any potential benefit from deploying the service, such as increased productivity and decreased communication costs, is lost.

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