In 2007, I co-founded BCStrategies
(formerly UC Strategies) with several colleagues to help organizations grip the new capabilities that unified communications (UC) was bringing to the market. Amidst the complex array of capabilities accompanying this advance, we took a higher-level view and defined UC) as communications integrated to optimize business processes. Now, 14 years later, we find that definition is even more relevant and continues to guide our vision as new capabilities like team collaboration have continued to reshape the industry.
This year I have another opportunity to moderate a session at Enterprise Connect on the Future of Communications Technology: Keeping Your Enterprise Ahead of the Curve
with Beth Schultz, No Jitter editor, and program co-chair for the event. Our whole business has changed over the past two years, and organizations must plan for what they will need as we transition to our new normal. One positive outcome of the pandemic was that it accelerated the adoption of collaboration technologies by a decade in a matter of months.
When preparing for this year’s session, I reviewed a pair of articles I’d written a decade or so ago. In October 2010, I wrote The Next Phase in Unified Communications
, followed in August 2011 by a piece titled The Next Phase in Communications
. In each article, I discuss the evolution of the UC market and the growing importance of what we then called Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP). I might have been on the money regarding CEBP—but none of us could have envisioned the range of capabilities that have emerged from what has now morphed into communications platform as a service (CPaaS).
Amusingly, in those early days, we struggled to identify a return on investment for CEBP. Fast forward 10 years, and it’s now an enabling technology for businesses as diverse as Uber and Airbnb, generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.
What we referred to as “UC- for users (UC-U)” has now morphed into team collaboration, which got an enormous shot in the arm as companies shifted to mandatory work from home (WFH) arrangements. Other UC-U capabilities like video conferencing that had long been available suddenly became essential for business and personal contacts. This adoption boost occurred when artificial intelligence (AI) was providing countless enhancements to these solutions, which range from real-time translation, user experience enhancement (improved noise cancellation, virtual backgrounds, etc.), and a vastly improved user interface.
Reflecting on how far we’ve come in the past decade, I’m particularly interested in looking forward with our panel for what we can expect in the next five to 10 years. The companies represented in this discussion (BlueJeans by Verizon, Cisco, Zoom, RingCentral, Vonage, Microsoft) have been deeply involved in some (or all) of the important areas driving our business forward, from team collaboration to video and contact centers.
These companies were key in helping organizations make the wholesale shift to WFH, and cloudification (moving a service to the cloud) of our industry played a big part in making that possible. Even as organizations define work rules for the new normal, the idea of remote work is now entrenched and viewed as a highly desirable job benefit. That means the tools that enable businesses to operate efficiently in that environment will still be in demand, but the question is—what else will the new normal demand from us?
The pandemic has boosted the management visibility for the collaboration technologies we deliver; that familiarity will hopefully ease the adoption of new capabilities within those platforms. The biggest new element in the mix is going to be AI and the impact it has on user experience. Just as CPaaS enabled a panoply of groundbreaking new services, AI holds the same promise of wide-reaching impact in more areas than we can even imagine today.
Join us in Orlando, Fla., as Beth and I challenge our panel to lay out a vision for where we should be taking our organizations moving forward. As a No Jitter reader, use the code NJAL200
to save $200 off the current rate! Register now
This post is written on behalf of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.