Unified Communications is still in its infancy more or less. Vendors are still fighting to define what UC even is, and to declare their stake in the industry. Some vendors are traditional voice or network infrastructure hardware vendors that are trying to extend into software and application integration. Some vendors are software developers and application integrators who are working to develop or incorporate voice and network hardware. But, what *really* defines UC?
Joe Schurman, Founder and CEO of Evangelyze Communications and a respected VoIP and UC visionary, explores this question in a recent blog post. Actually, Schurman’s post starts off as more of a vent against what he perceives as current marketing and sales efforts missing the mark. Essentially, Schurman feels that vendors are too focused on feature comparisons and ‘selling’ the underlying technology. Schurman says he believes that “…what will actually make a difference to people is how the technology can be integrated, how it can affect the business applications they use today…”
I agree with Joe. Enterprises like Cisco, Nortel, Avaya, IBM, and Microsoft should all know that one of the most fundamental rules of sales is that you “sell the ‘sizzle’, not the bacon.” In other words, ultimately what matters is how the product or service will benefit the company. What value will that product or service provide the customer? There are those within an organization who may care what protocol is being used, or the operating system that the product runs on, or how the technical architecture is put together behind the scenes. All of those things will need to be known and understood at some point, but they are not compelling reasons to buy or not to buy a given solution.
Joe sums it up in his blog post “The CEO of a company does not care about whether dual forking is obtained through two components or one. The CEO of a company wants to know if he or she is saving cost and will be impressed if the solution can integrate into the company’s business strategy, the process, and the underlying applications that support this strategy that have been custom-built by an internal staff.” The bottom line is that an investment in UC helps an enterprise to operate more efficiently. Operating more efficiently translates to reduced travel and communications costs as well as enabling companies to trim costs in other business processes. Operating more efficiently means that the organization can innovate faster than competitors and respond quickly to changes in the market.