Unified Communications Will Create Both Opportunity and PerilBy Michael Vizard | Print
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Opinion: With Microsoft involved, solution providers need to watch out for the bourgeoning unified communications sector.Starting next week Microsoft will be banging the drum in earnest about the value of unified communications within the context of Microsoft Office.
This push by Microsoft should be welcomed by the channel primarily for two reasons. The first is that it creates an application that has enough gravitas in terms of increasing productivity of employees to entice a customer to upgrade to the next version of Office running on Vista along with the new version of Exchange. This is no small thing because in terms of business value Vista has thus far provided zero compelling reasons to get customers to upgrade. But in a world where every minute counts, a unified communications solution that actually makes it easier for people to do their everyday jobs is at least going to get a hearing.
Click here to read more about Microsoft's Unified Commmunications products.
Of course, Microsoft has a history of creating demand that it can't necessarily satisfy before, say, the third release of a major software initiative. So with that history in mind, solution providers would also do well to keep an eye on companies such as ObjectWorld and CommuniGate Systems that have specialized in the unified communications space for a number of years. As a result, they've already learned many of the school-of-hard-knocks lessons that Microsoft is about to experience because no matter what Microsoft or anybody else has to say about this space, talking about it is a whole lot easier than doing it. And for those brave enough to go forward, be warned that a unified communications solution that results in the end customer being unable to communicate for even a couple of hours is likely to lose you the account a whole lot fast than say a flaky piece of hardware that needs to replaced the next day.
For more on unified communications, you might want to check out this Ziff-Davis Enterprise virtual trade show.
Michael Vizard is editorial director of Ziff Davis Enterprise's Enterprise Technology group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.