Blair Pleasant
Blair Pleasant is President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and a co-founder of UCStrategies. She provides consulting and market...
Read Full Bio >>

Blair Pleasant | December 13, 2011 |


UC and Social Business: More in Common Than You Think

UC and Social Business: More in Common Than You Think Does all this sound familiar--business process integration, tying in with back office applications and the context of people's work? It should.

Does all this sound familiar--business process integration, tying in with back office applications and the context of people's work? It should.

Move over unified communications, the new kid on the block is social--social media, social business, social software, etc. Social presents a whole new paradigm that is totally different from unified communications--or is it?

For a while now I've been finding more and more similarities between the two, and I recently realized that much of what vendors and analysts are saying about social is the same as or similar to what I and the UCStrategies team have been saying about UC for some years now.

At a recent IBM social business event for journalists and bloggers, Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business, kicked off the discussion, noting that IBM is "Taking the concepts of social networking in the consumer space and applying it to the transformation of business process." He added, "Microblogging and other tools need to be tied to context of the work people are doing. It's less about putting new channels in front of early adopters, and more about putting tools in next-gen business applications for getting work done."

At the same event, Jennifer Okimoto, Social Business Consultant, Organization & People Practice, IBM Global Business Services, talked about the importance of embedding collaboration and social media into business processes.

Does all this sound familiar--business process integration, tying in with back office applications and the context of people's work? It should--this is exactly what we've been saying about unified communications for years.

When I pointed this out and noted that UC hasn't taken off as expected, and asked why will social business be different, Rennie responded, "Customers don't have to make the major expense for social like you do with UC. You can start with a social tool without making a huge investment like with UC." Alistair may be right if you think that UC requires a major forklift upgrade of your entire PBX in order to install UC. But he may be wrong if you realize that UC is as simple as installing just a redundant pair of virtual IBM Lotus Sametime Servers with IM, presence and click-to-communicate.

Another similarity I found between social business and UC during the IBM event is the view of the way we'll look at these in the future. Rennie stated, "Three years from now we won't call this social business--it'll just be business." Jim Burton of UCStrategies has said this repeatedly about unified communications, noting that we’ll just call it communications.

Jennifer Okimoto also made the following statement, which sounded very familiar to me: "Social business is a journey, not a destination or implementation." Those of you who’ve seen my UC presentations at Enterprise Connect and elsewhere know that I always include a final slide that says, "UC is a vision or philosophy that leads to solutions--it is not a product!" Whether talking about UC or social business, it's important to recognize that this isn’t something you plug in and you magically have a solution. Rather, these are ways of changing the way in which we work and get things done, and these tools will be continually changing and evolving as new technologies are introduced and as the nature of work changes.

To hear more about UC and social media, and how companies are using them together to achieve business results, be sure to attend my session at Enterprise Connect, Case Studies: Creating the Social Enterprise. You'll hear from leading-edge end user customers that have successfully integrated these tools to help their workers be more effective and productive, improve customer service, and improve the bottom line. Hope to see you there!


July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.