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Directory Assistance for Unified Communications
Having seen Marty Parker's presentation for tomorrow's (Wednesday, April 9) VoiceCon Webinar (register here), I'm more convinced than ever that we've got an opportunity to take the Unified Communications discussion to a whole new level. And if you're the type who derides the focus on networking technology as "plumbing," boy, you're going to love it when we start delving into directories.
Having seen Marty Parker's presentation for tomorrow's (Wednesday, April 9) VoiceCon Webinar (register here), I'm more convinced than ever that we've got an opportunity to take the Unified Communications discussion to a whole new level. And if you're the type who derides the focus on networking technology as "plumbing," boy, you're going to love it when we start delving into directories.In his presentation, Marty is going to emphasize that not only do we need to integrate directory information across whole new sets of systems--just to do basic provisioning efficiently--but the whole area of "rich presence" depends on this level of integration.
"Rich presence" is the concept that will allow us not only to connect people efficiently, but to do so in a way that truly captures the productivity enhancements and customer service benefits we're looking for. Toward this end, Marty notes, presence needs to be based on some concept such as roles or skills. The idea is that, often, you won't have users looking for other individuals that they know by name and with whose skills they are personally familiar. Instead, workers will be looking for someone with a skill set they need to avail themselves of.
The association of those roles or skills with individuals will reside in the directory infrastructure, so the more tightly this can be integrated, the more effective you can make your presence capabilities. Also, Marty points out that this whole universe of employees is incredibly dynamic, changing not only as individuals join and leave the enterprise, but as their roles and skills change as well. So keeping directories updated and propagating changes will be critical to making UC a useful function in enterprises.
A closing point: The post that I linked above, about an interview with NEC on the subject of roles, touches on a lot of these concepts. On the other hand, it's important to keep all of this in the larger perspective. I'd call your attention to this post from Tom Nolle, in which he talks about networks as "plumbing" and features that run "over" the network vs. "in" the network. Tom also notes that it's only a small number of workers who collaborate with someone other than their immediate superior--a person whose name and qualities we'd hope the employee knows well.