What’s the True Definition of Unified Communications?

It seems unified communications (UC) continues to befuddle industry analysts to this day, and in terms of CRM, it remains one of the most overused buzzwords in the industry today.

This report by market research firm COMMfusion breaks down this issue further, but it seems to be that vendors continue to slap just about anything and everything they sell with the “UC” label, but the truth is UC isn’t simply a gift-wrapped product that a business can drop into their IT arsenal. Like CRM 10+ years ago, the solutions are still maturing, and at a point where they compose several moving parts.

In the end, UC should be about tying together various channels of business-critical communications to enhance the business itself, and that can vary from company to company. Just like CRM, at its core UC is about bridging forms of communications that were formerly siloed.

CRM and UC is on a collision course, as unified messaging and communications work more closely with CRM applications, which themselves are becoming more and more about interactions, communication and supporting process workflows. There are a multitude of possibilities, such as a salesperson have immediate access to contact information for buyers or store managers when a customers has a question of wants to request a product.

Similarly to the ever evolving definition of cloud computing, the true answer lies with the customers, and what benefits they receive from implementing UC-related technology. In many ways, UC technology parallels the Web 2.0 market – it’s new, it’s hot, it’s flashy. And now that there’s been a collective breath in IT spending due to the economic downturn, IT departments should have a chance to catch their breath and truly learn which UC technologies work best and which can be truly leveraged to the benefit of the company.