What is “unified communications”?
That is a subjective, and fiercely debated question. I think it’s important for organizations not to get caught up in the naming conventions or even trying to define what unified communications is, or isn’t. This blog post points out that “Gartner publishes magic quadrants both on Unified Communications and on Corporate Telephony. They also have reports on CEBP, collaboration, and contact centers, to underscore the differences.”
At the end of the day, you don’t really care if what you are using is called unified messaging, unified communications, unified collaboration, etc. What you care about is whether or not it improves business processes, streamlines communication, and/or cuts costs–among other things.
Don’t get caught up trying to jump on the unified communications bandwagon just for the sake of riding with the in-crowd. Look at your business processes and identify areas that need improvement. Analyze the tools and solutions available to address those needs and implement the ones that make sense.
One of the best things about unified communications is that it is modular. You don’t have to buy it all today. Start from where you are. Implement the tools that make sense. As time goes on and your needs change, you can always implement more features later.
Only you can define what “unified communications” means for you. That said–you should have at least a general idea of the long term vision to ensure that the components you implement today will integrate and mesh well with the components you implement tomorrow and won’t cause conflicts forcing you to scrap your investment and start over.