back to article Breaking down more IT technobabble: 'Unified' comms... say what now?

Business occurs everywhere, all day long. In the Western world, organisations where every member of a business shows up at a single premises, does work to a fixed set of hours and only deals with customers that enter the premises is quaint to the point of nearly extinct. Even in "Ma and Pa" shops, where you could reasonably …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully one of these days I'll work out what DevOps is.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Hopefully one of these days I'll work out what DevOps is.

      It is best to be vigilant. I used to wonder what an architect was and then all of a sudden I was one (until I waded back onto the shores of software development).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And why communications need to be "unified" rather than having (e.g.) separate phones, E-mail clients, and IM clients. And a separate videoconference app or whiteboard app for when it's needed.

    The one thing that you might actually want to unify is to get voice calls simultaneously with the videoconference or whiteboard - but in my experience, the quality of that is rarely acceptable.

    The current solution: dial into a conference bridge, and then everyone apart from the speaker puts themselves on mute.

    1. David Neil

      Well at our place we use Lync/Skype for Business for group chat, can spin up a conference call or whiteboard as needed. Quality is actually good now we've ironed out a few issues with edge connectors and people on remote connections v office LAN. Tends to be poor user connections for people offsite that causes issues with the apps.

      For us, it's saving a ridiculous amount of money - global access numbers for a dedicated teleconferencing solution v Lync handling it all.


      1. Mikel



        Most especially this. It might work in your org when you can push consistency, but in the real world even different versions of Skype aren't compatible with each other let alone different communications systems.

      2. Tabor


        I like it (apart from the "new" name). Integrates nicely with Polycom VC systems (though it took a while before Polycom caught up), quality is usually ok, clients available for all mobile platforms. The main thing seems that most users can actually understand it. And by "users" I mean the people that live in Outlook. The voicemail-to-text needs some work though. As does the client for OSX. And I really hope that they will integrate the Skype real-time (or near enough) translation thingie in the near future... I was hugely impressed when I tested it on regular Skype when calling a Chinese guy. Cloud-based, so a bit fishy, in a Babelfishy kind of way :-)

        All things considered : better than most, if you live in the Microsoft world. There are better tools for many components (IM, voice, conferencing, screen sharing, video) but integrating it all can be a real pain in the posterior.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And why communications need to be "unified" rather than having (e.g.) separate phones, E-mail clients, and IM clients.

      I think "UC" refers to customer facing more than the provision of back office technologies (although what the vendors are selling for back office sound very similar to what they tout for front office).

      The problem with customer facing comms is that (increasingly) they expect you to have proper multi-channel management, such that a contact that starts as email in response to (eg) a print copy bill can be continued via voice, chat and social media applications, including access to outbound and inbound hard copy communications.

      So that's a fully integrated back office technology stack, staff available to cover all of those channels, each member of staff able to see the previous contact and billing history, summaries of previous interactions, any outbound marketing (email, digitised print, possibly even untargeted media), any inbound letters or forms, and history of any self-service interaction. And all tied together with the CRM database and associated applications.

      To say that is complex is an understatement, but that's what UC means to me. For large customer facing businesses, this (risky, complex, expensive, resource hungry) development is becoming an expectation - the best customer service providers can do this, and if (eg) you have a bank who can and do this, you start asking why your gas, electricity, water, TV, phone companies can't do the same. You can of course stick your head in the sand and say "not in my company", but then you need a very clearly differentiated proposition that probably offers lower cost in return for having to deal with the company on its own terms. And being cheapest in your industry is rarely a sustainable business strategy.

  3. PaulAb

    I can't help but think...

    about all the eggs in one basket

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