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I recently read an article on that clearly contained a typo. The article contained a sentence that referred to "...not yet competitive with the nest-of-breed products."

Even though this was clearly a typo, it got me to thinking. I previously have argued that with Unified Communications a "best of breed" strategy does not currently work. But, could a "nest of breed" strategy work?

I'm thinking that "nest of breed" could equal Near Best of Breed. And like eggs in a nest, the components could be siblings or closely related, dare I say integrated.

Using this somewhat ad hoc definition, I would argue that the Microsoft Lync and Exchange UM solution was "nest of breed". Perhaps no one would suggest that Lync provides class-leading voice services or video conferencing capabilities. Likewise, few would suggest that Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging provides the best of breed voice mail or IVR capabilities and yet many customers are looking to the Microsoft solution as "good enough". Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Exchange UM are clearly "nest of breed"--near best of breed and perhaps near enough to be "good enough". And like eggs in a nest the components are integrated, or should I say siblings--closely related.

For a recent project we implemented a "nest of breed" Cisco UC solution. Once again, people may argue Cisco contact centre is not as full-featured as Avaya and Cisco Unified Personal Communicator (CUPC) Cisco's desktop instant messaging and presence application may not be as sleek as Lync but the solution was successful and all the components near best of breed.

Some customers are choosing a complete Mitel solution over the more refined Microsoft desktop components integrated with Mitel telephony. Once again, arguably "nest of breed".

ShoreTel and its focus on overall solution management simplicity is also following the nest of breed path.

Best of Breed and UC clearly brings with it a world of hurt in terms of multi-vendor integration challenges and obstacles. Perhaps it is time for "nest of breed" to take flight.