Blair Pleasant
Blair Pleasant is President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and a co-founder of UCStrategies. She provides consulting and market...
Read Full Bio >>

Blair Pleasant | June 25, 2013 |


Unified Communications Grows Optimized Communications

Unified Communications Grows Optimized Communications It's about using the most desirable or satisfactory tools in order to have the best user experience while achieving the desired goals.

It's about using the most desirable or satisfactory tools in order to have the best user experience while achieving the desired goals.

The business communications industry has gone through many changes in the past 45 years--from the Carterfone Decision, to digital communications, to IP, mobile, and most recently to Unified Communications (UC). Unified Communications continues to serve its purpose, but for the most part, vendors and organizations have focused on individual productivity tools such as user clients with softphones, IM and presence. The next stage, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), sought to enhance productivity of individual users as well as communications among teams and groups of workers with conferencing and collaboration tools.

We've come a long way. We now have multiple channels of communication, across a multitude of devices, and multiple deployment models. New channels of communication such as social software have entered the picture, and we're seeing more integration with the contact center for customer interactions, as well as with enterprises' business processes, whether CRM, ERP, or vertical market segment processes and applications.

Users, both employees and customers, have different expectations than in the past. The consumerization of IT and the BYOD trend changed the way people want to work and the tools they want to use. As the saying goes, work is something you do, not a place where you go. The "new normal" is virtual workers and teams, working non-traditional hours, from remote locations, as well as empowered customers that want service on their terms and in the manner that's most convenient for them. Working 9-to-5 from a corporate office building is a thing of the past, and organizations of all sizes and across all verticals need to adapt.

In light of all this, we're about to enter the next phase of business communications. During recent discussions, UCStrategies called this new phase "Optimized Communications." We think this captures the current and future state of our industry pretty well. We welcome your inputs on this nomenclature--please add your comments to this NoJitter post.

The term "optimize" has several definitions, but it boils down to making something as effective, useful, or near perfect as possible, to achieve maximum efficiency, and to get the most out of it.

So, we're thinking that Optimized Communications can be defined as the use of a specific selection of communication and interaction tools and technologies for businesses and organizations in order to optimize organizational goal attainment while delivering an engaging user experience.

Rather than being unified, which it's not, communications should be optimized, allowing workers, teams, and customers to enhance their business interactions and to achieve their defined organizational or customer goals with their choice of endpoint devices while using the best and/or most convenient communication tools at any point in time. This goes beyond the concept of connecting with the right resource at the right time to using the most desirable or satisfactory tools in order to have the best user experience while achieving the desired goals. Whether it's collaborating on a project, interacting with partners, processing a transaction, or engaging with customers, it's all about having the best possible experience, leading to the desired business results.

Optimized Communications includes the various UC tools and technologies, including:

* Call control
* Conferencing/collaboration
* Mobility
* Messaging
* Social media (both public and private)
* Various channels and media, including voice, text, video, web, etc.

However, Optimized Communications looks at these tools from the perspectives of organizational goals and user effectiveness, rather than focusing on the technology or infrastructure. Optimized Communications includes interactions beyond the enterprise so that organizations can seamlessly collaborate with their customers, suppliers, partners, and others using a blend of public and private, cloud and premise solutions. Technologies such as WebRTC and others will help propel this, but technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

A key element of "OC" is context, which enables users to have information they need when interacting with colleagues, customers, partners, and others. Context helps to optimize communications in a variety of ways. For example:

* Users have awareness of the status of the business process they are seeking to advance at the moment, so that minimal time is wasted reviewing, recapping, or re-collecting the necessary information.

* Users have insights into the people they're interacting with, previous interactions and topics of interaction, as well as documents and resources that are part of the process. Users can easily search for and connect with the right resource and person with the necessary expertise when needed.

* Customer service reps have a full understanding of the customer--not just their purchase history, but who they've communicated with at the company regardless of channel, and the results of those interactions.

The goal of Optimized Communications is to produce business results and enable people to use the tools and communication capabilities, devices, and channels they want to use, when they want to use them, and how they want to use them in order to optimize the outcomes for the organization in which they are employed.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this--is Optimized Communications the right direction and the next stage of business communications? In addition to your comments here, please visit UCStrategies and let us know your thoughts. Or send me an email at

Follow Blair Pleasant on Twitter and Google+!
Blair Pleasant on Google+


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

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
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
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
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
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
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
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
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
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
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
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
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.