Jim  Burton
JIM BURTONFounder and CEO, CT Link, LLCCo-Founder, UCStrategiesJim Burton is Founder and CEO of CT Link, LLC. Burton founded the...
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Jim Burton | May 24, 2011 |


Will Social Business Change the Conversation?

Will Social Business Change the Conversation? Many of the vendors have been adding social features to their product portfolio, although their positioning has been different.

Many of the vendors have been adding social features to their product portfolio, although their positioning has been different.

For the past five years, the UCStrategies team has been preaching that a UC strategy needs to start with an analysis of the business process you are trying to impact. The IP-PBX vendors have strongly suggested (read: tried to sell) that you start by upgrading to their latest IP-PBX to initiate the process. They've managed to make the conversation all about what they need rather than what you need.

The good news is many of them have evolved their business model and product offerings so they are not as completely dependent on new IP-PBX sales.

The emphasis on the IP-PBX has meant that one company has been left out of these conversations: IBM. IBM has consistently steered clear of offering a PBX capability and as a result, too often, they have been shunned by the telecom-oriented teams pursuing UC solutions. IBM's strategy is based on the idea of raising the "big tent" and supporting all vendor PBX implementations.

The rationale for IBM's position is based on two elements. The first is that IBM has traditionally dealt with larger customers, and those enterprises have often been created by acquisitions. When the M&A crew values a potential business combination, they rarely look closely at the technology infrastructures, so it is no surprise that the resulting entity has a combination of Avaya, Cisco, Siemens, NEC, and who knows what other elements. Large enterprises have to deal with the challenges of integrating those polyglot environments.

The second factor is IBM's emphasis on standards-based solutions. This posture is ironic to those who have been in the industry for some time. In the '70s and '80s, IBM's industry dominance was based on its proprietary Systems Network Architecture (SNA). However, the company recognized the error of their ways and embraced TCP/IP and the standards that have powered the Internet revolution.

At the same time, Microsoft has taken a different approach. Rather than defining a complementary role in a multi-vendor environment, Microsoft looked to incorporate call control (the basic function of a PBX) into its overall Outlook/Exchange/SharePoint/ complex. Microsoft has done a good job at establishing OCS as an enterprise standard for IM and presence, but those elements are still divorced from the core voice communications in most enterprises. However, the future of enterprise communications will be based on bringing all of the communications modalities together.

UCStrategies continues to press the point that UC is not about the PBX. We define UC as "Communications integrated to optimize business processes", and this definition is still valid, as UC solutions continue to evolve.

One area where UC will likely gain traction is social networking or, as IBM calls it: Social Business. Many of the vendors have been adding social features to their product portfolio, although their positioning has been different.

Microsoft has built social networking features into SharePoint, with a new and improved profile page, dynamic activity feed, knowledge mining, and more. The other UC platform vendors, Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Siemens, etc., have been adding social networking capabilities and integrations to their products too.

While these competitors continue to grab for a product advantage, the one company that stands out is IBM. They were an early entrant to the social scene, and coined the term "Social Business." IBM has embraced the slogan “Get Social: Do Business,” and backed it up with more social networking capabilities and features than their competitors.

So, will social business change the conversation? Will IBM be invited to the table? Not if its competitors can keep the conversation about something else, and not if enterprise customers follow the Pied Pipers, as many did when they first developed their UC strategy. If IBM can change the conversation to collaboration and social business, and away from call control, IBM has a good chance.


Check out this recap of Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017, and register now to join us in 2018 and save $200 off or get a Free Expo Plus Pass.

Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

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March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.