SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Eric Krapf | July 25, 2014 |

 
   

Will Enterprises Be Left Standing on the UC Platform?

Will Enterprises Be Left Standing on the UC Platform? Everybody assumes the next stage is one where the PBX disappears somehow or other. But what comes next?

Everybody assumes the next stage is one where the PBX disappears somehow or other. But what comes next?

We've had some spirited debates going on here over the past few weeks, centering around some of the basic issues of Unified Communications. One such discussion takes off from Dave Stein’s recent post about the nature of the UC decision: Is it a platform decision, or a business case decision? Dave's position is that enterprises are adopting UC because it happens to be the next/current communications platform, rather than because they've identified specific business value to it.

I tend to think he's right about that. And it's not because UC doesn't have business value, or that the UC industry doesn't know where it's headed, or what UC is supposed to really be. It's because enterprises don't know where they're headed--and that's because no plausible "next stage" has presented itself. Use cases are in the process of being sorted out, but we're far from any broad consensus about what role voice is going to play in communications going forward.

When voice over IP (VOIP) technology emerged, it soon became clear that there would be a staged, orderly migration from TDM-based PBXs to IP-based PBXs. That made for a fairly clean decision: Keep the TDM stuff as long as you could, and migrate to the IP stuff when you had to. There would be cost savings in the form mainly of reduced interoffice trunking costs, bringing audio conferencing in house, and SIP trunks (eventually) for PSTN access.

You weren't looking to fundamentally change your approach to voice communications because it was 2005 and there was no such thing as the iPhone, and so most people were resigned to having desk phones and landlines. Cisco early adopters like Bank of America's Craig Hinkley were telling VoiceCon audiences that "dial-tone is a God-given right."

Everyone believed that IP could enable more than just old-school telephony, but nobody quite knew what that future technology was. And for the most part, while we know several things that it could be, we still don't have a compelling thing that it surely must be (if anything). In the meantime, when you hear about the business case for UC systems like Microsoft Lync, you tend to hear about...reduced interoffice trunking costs, bringing audio conferencing in house, and SIP trunks (eventually) for PSTN access.

Everybody assumes the next stage is one where the PBX disappears somehow or other, fading into the woodwork as the UC platform supplies voice functionality to business applications or software clients that also support instant messaging and video. But Dave Stein, in responding to Comments on his post, sees this as a very gradual process, if it happens at all: "I think we'll see voice around as a standalone application for a long time as well as UC and other implementations," he writes "The point I was making in the article is that the business cases for UC seem to be limited (i.e. not ubiquitous). The uptake in UC licenses seem much more of a platform decision."

One of the other Commenters on Dave's article, Jim Bell, put his finger on what I think the real issue is when we talk about the market directions. Jim's Comment read in part: "As I read recent posts on this site I sensed a frustration that UC adoption was not happening as rapidly as some thought it should or, more precisely, as they hoped it would. Well, there is nothing that that causes buyer caution more than an industry that seems to be redefining itself every several months."

With vendors jockeying for position in whatever this future communications world is going to be, I'm not optimistic that this constant redefining will end any time soon. In the meantime, enterprises will keep doing what they do...make platform decisions.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
@nojitter
@EricHKrapf
Eric Krapf on Google+





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

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

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
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 BlogGeek.me 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.