Milking UC Myths?
What does UC really stand for (and what will UC customers stand for)?
It's still possible to hear or read people debating over the definition of UC, but I just reviewed a presentation for a webinar we're doing this Thursday, wherein there's a recasting of the acronym itself: "UC," it claims, may stand for "Utter Confusion," and when you add that second "C" to make it "UC&C," the acronym could become "Utter Confusion and Chaos."
They've got a point. UC has always been multi-faceted, leaving vendors and enterprises to their own devices (so to speak) when it comes to figuring out what it all adds up to in their particular case.
The slide explicating this new UC meaning also includes some very nice pictures of cows (get it?), but the more interesting pictures come later in the presentation, when some statistics are presented that offer a really interesting new take on where UC is headed.
One of our presenters, Michael Finneran, is going to discuss some fresh data from Webtorials on the state of the UC market. Here's one interesting chart, showing what enterprises take into account when selecting a UC vendor:
I'll be interested to hear Michael's take on this chart in Thursday's Webinar; what jumps out at me is that almost half the enterprises cited desktop video conferencing as a driving force in their UC decision. Respondents could give multiple answers, so video didn't have to be the biggest consideration. But the fact that it's up there for so many enterprises, and ranks ahead of things like IM/presence, softphones, and all other forms of conferencing, is telling.
My sense is that those other. lower-ranking UC components are more or less commoditized, or in the case of IM/presence, are really seen as just part of other core systems like your email (for which "unified messaging" seems to be a proxy in this chart).
Video, on the other hand, is still unsettled, at least at the desktop. It's not clear whether the client should be tied to your UC system (as with Microsoft Lync); or more of a standalone-type of system associated with your room infrastructure (Polycom). So it makes sense to me that video is a decision point where there's still something to actually decide.
And of course topping the list is still the good ol' Enterprise Voice system--though it's really pretty striking to me that just over half the folks see this as a decision factor for UC these days. Either people are completely decoupling the idea of "UC" from enterprise voice; or enterprise voice really is losing its dominant place in the communications world.
There's a lot more in this slide deck, and I'm expecting this webinar to offer a really compelling discussion. Finneran and I are going to be joined on the session by Hardy Myers, the always-provocative CEO of AVST. The session takes place this Thursday, January 31, 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific time; it's titled, "UC Myth Busters: Is Everyone Talking about the Wrong Thing?" and you can register for it here.