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Apps: The Key to UC

Let's talk about UC Apps (yes, with a cap A for emphasis). No, not just UC clients from all the vendors with click-to-whatever. Those are user interfaces to product features, not Apps. Apps are things that do something specific which the user needs in order to do their job or to make their life simpler, more enjoyable, or more economical.

You can see this in many, many ways.

Smartphone sales are driven by Apps. The larger size and touch screens are there to make it easier for the user to do things with Apps--sports scores, finances, geo-locator, find a restaurant, find someone to meet at the restaurant, take a picture and post it to prove you were with that person. You get the idea. Also, with Apps on the smartphones, we are seeing less and less of the touchtone dial pad. We still call folks, but we do it by touching a picture or a restaurant name or an embedded button in an App, not by "dialing."

By the way, the Apps have been a major trigger for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the enterprise; the user does not want to lose their personal Apps if they use a "company phone." Also, the Apps are the cause of the low adoption of the enterprise mobile UC clients; the users already know how to reach the people the need--just use one of the Apps.

Apps are also the big deal now in enterprise software., Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle/Siebel, and SAP are all great examples of this. Every one of these companies has advanced information Apps for CRM, ERP, HR, Finance, logistics and much more. Increasingly, these Apps have the necessary communications functions built-in for the users, providing just the right connectivity for the task at hand. Most of these Apps also come in a mobile version.

Online services are also being delivered as Apps. Facebook and Twitter certainly qualify in the social networking category. You can get these services as Apps on almost any device. But that's not the end of it. We see Apps from banks, airlines, retailers, and even the U.S. Post Office.

So, why is this the key to UC, and what can you do about it?

In the end, Apps package UC functions into things that improve your organization for your employees, your customers and your business processes.

* Apps cut through the clutter of multiple UC clients on the users' devices.

* Apps streamline the business by building communication steps into the workflow (just like we have done with contact center agent desktop Apps for the past decade).

* Apps have high ROI, since they usually help business processes go much faster while also reducing the labor costs of the workflows or transactions (again, similar to contact center successes).

So, what's stopping enterprise adoption of Apps? It certainly is not a lack of opportunities. There are numerous case studies highlighting simple Apps that enterprises or System Integrators have created using the tools already available on their UC platforms.

No, most often, it is because UC is trapped in the telecom or e-mail departments. Neither of those organizations have much experience in partnering, or permission to partner, with the business units to find the places were Apps make sense.

We are going to address this issue in a major new session at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2013. From 2:30 to 5:30 PM on March 19, you can attend the session, "Designing and Implementing CEBP for Your Organization." CEBP is short for the long name for Apps: Communications-Enabled Business Processes. Once you know what to look for, which we will highlight in Orlando with information, case studies and demos, it is not at all hard to bring high-value Apps to your enterprise (and to your career!). If you are a vendor or system integrator, you may want to attend this session, too, since Apps will define the growth and the future of enterprise communications.

See you there.