Todd Carothers
As executive vice president of sales and marketing, Todd is responsible for CounterPath's Product Management, Marketing, and Sales organizations. He...
Read Full Bio >>

Todd Carothers | September 29, 2017 |


Is Too Much UC a Bad Thing?

Is Too Much UC a Bad Thing? We're drowning in an overabundance of choice, which means less than optimal deployments if you fail to do your due diligence.

We're drowning in an overabundance of choice, which means less than optimal deployments if you fail to do your due diligence.

To call the unified communications market big is a massive understatement. In fact, Global Market Insights forecasts the UC market to reach $96 billion by 2023. However, big problems can arise along with market growth.

With competition heating up, we now seem to have a shiny new innovation for improving collaboration announced daily. Consequently, UC has become a marketplace overloaded with choice, and this poses a threat to the very nature of UC's benefit to the enterprise -- unity. At this point we must ask ourselves, is too much UC a bad thing?

Well, kinda! When you're drowning in an overabundance of choice, determining the communication tool that would be most beneficial to your organization can be difficult. The never-ending increase in new and exciting ways for people to communicate and collaborate brings with it a higher risk of organizations making the wrong choice for their particular needs or delaying the deployment decision altogether as they struggle to discern the differences among the varied options -- both of which could have devastating results on an organization's competitiveness and success.

Everyone has his or her own personal preference. While e-mail may be your go-to, mine might be Twitter, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Slack, or some other digital communications platform. However, as choice continues to increase, so does the issue of interoperability among different platforms and technologies. We've essentially ended up with a multitude of solutions that often struggle to play nicely with one another, if at all, within the enterprise.

This chaos is preventing UC from enabling organizations to enjoy the seamless experience of collaborating across different devices, platforms, and methods of communication. So, what are today's businesses to do? They must work hard to find true UC solutions that lessen the chaos, increase collaboration, and become unified once more. How can they do this?

United States of Communication
UC is an extremely popular project within the realm of digital transformation. As businesses big and small set off on this transformational journey, they must introduce a UC strategy that ties everything together and allows for a more communicative workforce.

What businesses need is a solution that is scalable and cost effective, and that emphasizes the user experience, combining voice and video calling, screen sharing and collaboration, instant messaging and presence management. The solution should also interoperate with other platforms and devices while offering a commitment to security, quality of service, and open standards to promote reuse, reliability, and flexibility.

The advent of threaded communication (TC) is an exciting advancement that will help eliminate confusion and reduce workplace distractions by grouping conversations across all platforms and devices into one thread or timeline. TC can allow employees to connect, communicate, and collaborate, no matter where they are in the world, at any time, using any communications device. It can enable geographically dispersed users to work as effectively as, or even better than, they could if they were sitting around the same table, in the same room, at the same time.

In short, TC captures the very essence of UC, breathing life into it once more and helping overcome the challenges presented by having too many UC choices. TC makes communications easier because it enables workers to use whatever communications mode -- voice, video, messaging, and/or screen sharing -- required by a business workflow at any moment, and it allows you to create persistent, living communications threads that can be revisited over time. In addition, it enables spontaneous collaboration sessions to occur, which is helpful for drawing into the UC fold those people who typically don't participate in planned collaboration sessions due to the perceived complexity of arranging them or participating in them.

Election Time
Before casting your vote for a UC solution, organizations must consider the following:

  1. Office in your pocket. Pick a UC tool that lets you access all work documents anytime, anywhere.
  2. Not my way or the highway! Your UC tool should be capable of playing nicely with others, allowing you to easily merge the infrastructure you already have in place with the right UC solution for you. It should also allow your deployment to grow and change over time, as new communications tools enter the market.
  3. A matter of national security. Look for solutions with standards-based security protocols, such as TLS for signalling and SRTP for media, so every call can be delivered securely without risk of being compromised.
  4. Putting the people first. As I have mentioned in previous columns, the UC tool must put the user experience at the heart of the end-to-end solution. UC needs to address the disruptive and changing digital preferences of today's users while providing an organized, thoughtful method for tying everything together. A well-designed UX streamlines, focuses, declutters, simplifies, and contextualizes.
  5. Demand your rights. To help ensure you get the most out of your UC investment, petition vendors to commit to an open approach that promotes compatibility and interoperability.

If you harness your employees' propensity for digital communication, you can provide them with the means to put the aptitude for digital communications they have developed in their social lives to good use. As such, you're not only making the most of their existing skills, you're also opening channels through which you can better communicate company news and developments, reinforce brand pride and awareness, and keep them up to date with team targets and progress. UC can provide a secure space through which all colleagues can communicate across their chosen channels, on their chosen devices, in one space. It is revolutionizing collaborative communications, making the very most of the available communications power we have at our fingertips, mouths, and ears.

So, is too much UC a bad thing? Well, too much choice obviously increases the likelihood of choosing wrongly, which would be an expensive mistake that could have more than a financial cost. However, get it right and the business could be transformed, giving it a greatly desired competitive advantage within the market. You must therefore study the market and vendor manifestos closely, to ensure that you are electing the best UC tool for your organization.


June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

May 23, 2018

If Cisco is a critical strategic supplier for you, then its vital for you to understand the most recent announcements around Webex Teams, and how to build your migration path for the next generatio

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.