Copyright © 2006 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
September 28, 2006
How Are Enterprise UC and Business Process Applications Converging?
By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View
IP networking is enabling major paradigm shifts in how enterprise organizations will function in the future. While the technology will affect both the people and the business processes, the reverse is also true, i.e., the needs of the people and the business processes will dictate how the technology will be deployed and exploited. The basic “new” infrastructure technologies that are changing how enterprise business operations will function are Internet/Web network access to people and information, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for network-based application software implementation, and wireless mobility for communicating with people and business processes. These technologies will enable business organizations of any size to operate more efficiently and cost effectively in the future. Although business process improvement objectives are not really new, just more attainable with new technology capabilities, every enterprise must face the challenge of adapting organizationally to such changes.
Every enterprise will have different operational needs, not only based upon the business it is in (vertical markets), but also how the organization is distributed geographically and the kind of customers it must serve. In an increasingly global economy, local market differences must be accommodated by both customer-facing staff as well as by automated self-service applications (online Web and telephone). In a distributed user environment, which includes any business process involving two or more people, IP technologies will enable centralization of application software processes, while also “virtualizing” the people components of such business processes.
Business Processes To Contact People
There are really two areas in evolving unified communications where business processes will benefit from the increased flexibility in making contact with people.
1. Facilitating direct people to people contact within the context of online information or automated business processes
- This involves the ability to embed contact information links in any form of information, documents, pictures, etc., along with appropriate permissions for initiating different forms of contact. This is the area that Microsoft is developing for its online business tools in conjunction with IP telephony technology. A contact may be a single specific individual identified in the information for “collaborative” interaction, or could be a member of a “group” of assigned, qualified people available at that moment in time to handle any questions. (Sound like a call center?)
2. Facilitating time-sensitive delivery of information to people regardless of location and modality of contact.
- As automated business processes monitor and detect the need for some sort of people action, such processes will also exploit the flexibility of mobile and multimodal contacts with specific or available individuals. Example, being notified that a flight has been delayed or cancelled, or that a critical operational metric has been reached.
Both forms of communication activity will benefit business process performance and problem resolution by facilitating flexible and timely contacts with key personnel. Such “ROI” will pay off in enterprise “macro-productivity” involving collaborative tasks. Identifying specific end users in an enterprise, whose job responsibilities are mission-critical, require being accessible and responsive, will be one of the top prerequisites for cost-effective UC migration planning.
Marty Parker’s well-attended panel session at VoiceCon Fall on migrating to UC was highlighted by the speakers from Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, and Nortel who underscored the need for enterprise management to prioritize the operational business application requirements selectively for those end users that will benefit from the flexibility and efficiencies of new UC functionality, particularly when they are mobile.
Voice/Unified Messaging, as a key component of UC, is one area that is in the midst of a challenging transition for virtualization and business process integration. Some companies are showing the ability to make messaging a valuable part of improved business processes; these companies have typically integrated voice messaging with e-mail to create unified messaging and have extended the functionality to desktop and mobile clients. Other companies have not made such transitions and find the voice messaging is usually declining in use, displaced by IM and e-mail. These issues will be a focus during the upcoming IAMP Conference described below.
10th Annual IAMP Conference to Highlight Free “Virtual” Sessions on Enterprise Migration to UC
The International Association of Messaging Professionals, an independent enterprise user group focused on the convergence of telephony and messaging, will again host several free webcast sessions at their annual conference taking place in Las Vegas, October 16-18. IT management responsible for telephony, and voice/text messaging technologies in their organizations are invited to participate free of charge. Check the IAMP web site for more information at:
There are three webcasts scheduled as follows (Pacific Time):
Monday, October 15, 2006 – 8:15 – 9:30 AM
Keynote- Bern Elliot, Gartner VP Research,
“Unified Communications - What is it and why you should care?”
(Webcast information not available, but will be posted on the IAMP web site)
Tuesday, October 16, 2006 – 10:45 – 12:00 Noon
“Virtual Session #1” – Provider panel discussion (hosted by Nortel)
“Everything you wanted to know about migrating to UM/UC but didn’t know who to ask!” – Moderated by Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View
Invited panelists from Avaya, Nortel, AVST, Microsoft, Interactive Intelligence, Cisco
Register online at:
Questions to be discussed by UC technology providers include:
1. What are the 3 biggest drivers for enterprise organizations to migrate to UM/UC?
2. What are the 3 biggest barriers for enterprise organizations to migrate to UM/UC?
3. How important will existing enterprise text messaging server and client software technologies in choosing UM/UC solutions and what migration changes will such existing messaging technologies have to undergo?
4. How will UM and UC integrate with automated business process applications?
5. How will federated presence technology fit into UM/UC technologies for the enterprise and what impact will that have on users and on enterprise infrastructures?
6. What are the most significant changes to enterprise IT responsibilities needed for consolidating administration and end user support for UM/UC?
7. What new communication productivity metrics and tools are needed for enterprise operational management to evaluate user activity?
8. What kind of objective, external assistance do enterprise organizations need to realistically plan their migration to a UC operational environment?
Wednesday, October 17, 2006 – 10:15 – 12:00 Noon
“Virtual Session #2” – “Messaging Migration Customer Experience Panel”
Moderated by Marty Parker, Communication Perspectives
Invited panelists are enterprise IAMP members who have already started or are planning to start migrating their messaging systems and will report on the operational impact experienced, as well as the migration challenges they have encountered.
The audio bridge number is 1-641-696-6699 with a participant code of 101806 (the mmddyy date).
What Do You Think?
Read our articles on UC for Customer Contact applications
The Math of Customer UC: blog. (http://unified-view.blogspot.com/)