With the launch of Adobe Connect 9, I have talked with many customers and prospects over the last few month. They gave me unique insights into their Unified Communications deployments. One key observation they all made was that the “one stack from one vendor” approach to unified communication does not work. They gave me three fundamental reasons to explain this.
#1: Single stacks are not so seamless
For the last ten years, the Ciscos and Microsofts of the world went on convincing customers to buy a single stack unified communcations solution from one single vendor. Audio, Video, Web from one single vendor. The promise was to provide greater ROI and faster deployments from one single unified stack. But the only thing that is truly unified in their UC offering is the price list. For the rest deloyments are incredibly complex and difficult to scale. The different pieces, directory, IM, voice, web conferencing are not at all seamless neither on the server side or client side, creating very poor user experience which slows user adoption.
#2: UC was built for PC era
UC was built on the premise that voice would integrate with web application on the PC. But in the meantime, web application have integrated with voice on mobile devices which are procured in a completely new paradigm that does not fit the traditional UC stack: Bring Your Own Device. UC vendors are struggling releasing UC mobile apps across devices that will work the same across all the highly custom UC deployments of their multiple customers. In the mean time, users are resorting to Skype …
#3: Communication is about culture, not technology
Communication is fundamentally NOT about technology, it is about culture. Within a same organization, you can expect each group, business unit, department, to have their own collaboration and communication culture influenced by cultural differences of course, but also their different needs: do they collaborate in small group, large group, do they use the tools for training, for webinars, do they prefer to collaborate live or a-synchronously. The one size fits all of single UC stack solution does not work in these environments, as it struggles to meet all the requirements of these different group. And in an era of consumerization of IT, no business group is going to wait on IT to deploy a solution that fits their need. They will go an buy it themselves. So as a result a lot of UC deployment are actually not used by many group of users.