What''s in a Name? Trends in UC

UC Unplugged

What''s in a Name? Trends in UC

By TMCnet Special Guest
Mike Sheridan, Executive VP, Worldwide Sales, Aspect
  |  November 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

Shakespeare’s Romeo pointed out that a rose smells the same no matter the name; but in the UC space, names get a lot of attention.

Cisco started it a few years ago by renaming its IP PBX Cisco Unified Communications (News - Alert) Manager. And now Microsoft gets in the naming game. While the recent rebranding of Microsoft’s next release of its Office Communications Server suite to Lync (meant as a combination of link and sync) certainly seems like the right marketing tack – a simplified, more intuitive name with potentially greater brand appeal, for me it signifies much more than that. It shows that unified communications is key to connecting people, processes and ideas on a much broader and deeper level, as enterprises adopt technologies that bring siloed real-time communications systems together. It starts to create a conversation that is less about the technologies and more about people.

And recognition of how people want to link is critical to an organization’s rollout of UC. Here are my thoughts on a couple of applications.

Social media

You may be tired of hearing it but it is true. Increased adoption of social media, like Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter, among consumers is driving enterprises to try to catch up to the social computing trend. More organizations are developing strategies to engage with customers in conversations using social networking in recognition of its influence on driving brand equity and customer loyalty. But they are struggling with compliance issues, security and governance, as well as how to integrate successfully social networking tools with existing (and often disparate) communications tools. Advancements in integration between UC, collaboration software and social software will help address these issues and promote real-time social computing across the enterprise.

UC in the contact center successfully

While in very early days, the deployment of UC in the contact center is showing the promise to drive significant improvement in agent productivity. Giving agents the ability to connect through voice, e-mail, IM and video to supervisors and other agents on one side, and customers on the other, delivers better customer and agent satisfaction. Capabilities like Ask an Expert are gaining momentum, allowing agents to tap knowledge workers outside the contact center within the enterprise. And federation allows the same degree of communication to occur between contact center agents and business partners outside the enterprise. For example, an agent for an online retailer could click to connect a customer with a designated expert at a manufacturer to address quickly a question, significantly improving first call resolution. In addition, UC-powered workforce optimization is also being extended from the contact center to critical back-office functions to eliminate inefficiencies that increase cost and strain the customer experience.

Maybe even Shakespeare would admit that, when it comes to UC, a name could be much more than that.

Mike Sheridan (News - Alert) is  executive vice president of worldwide sales with Aspect www.aspect.com

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi