It has always been clear that communications is part of an organization's workflow and service delivery functions. Communications is not an end unto itself, nor something done in isolation from information or procedures.
Yet, the connection of communications functionality to the business or organizational workflows, procedures, and information has come slowly (with the exception of advanced contact centers that have integrated agent desktops). This is surprising, since the connection of communications to business processes was one of the early visions of unified communications, with Gartner naming this as communications-enabled business processes (CEBP) as early as 2003.
This slow adoption is likely attributed to the immature state of the UC systems in the period from 2003 to about 2013. However, the industry is now mature, with a few clear leaders in UC system adoption. This maturity of the base UC platforms makes it viable and profitable for developers to build the connectors and bridges between the communications platforms and the business processes, applications, and information.
Now we are finally seeing rapid growth in this area. The system vendors, value-added resellers, and system integrators (SIs) are all investing in software and tools that make it easy to connect a current release UC system to the major software application tools already installed in most business and public sector organizations.
Some examples in various categories include:
When these integrations are effectively deployed, an organization can realize benefits in one or more dimensions. In many cases, work is done much more quickly and efficiently, and this often translates into better customer service, lower cost per transaction or per project, greater growth potential, or higher quality and more innovative solutions. If the integration between communications and application technology is well done, the metrics to prove, realize, and manage these benefits can be readily available via management dashboards or reports.
We wish great success to both the enterprises and to their UC vendors in this maturing, "unified" world.