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Unified Communications: Stop Trying to Wrestle the Elephant [Part 3 Take to the Cloud for Integration]

Last week, I talked about where you start to develop a UC strategy for your organization. This week, let’s look at how the Cloud enables integration to help organizations implement a successful UC solution.

To score the features and reliability that your business needs from a true UC solution, different applications – some that your business may already use and some that are new – need to be integrated. Interestingly, when asked to provide a definition of UC, Evolve IP survey respondents used the word ‘integrated’ most often.

The challenge for businesses looking to deploy UC is to integrate multiple communication methods, equipment, and software into a seamless user experience while keeping capital expenditures and administration under control. Unfortunately, many of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ UC solutions are built on inflexible on-premise technology which makes it extremely expensive and challenging to integrate with other systems and products. The most cost-efficient way to integrate is in the cloud – hands-down. Providers like Evolve IP thrive and survive by being open, which is one of the hallmarks of the cloud. Our applications speak using open APIs. The devices we ship use common standards and protocols.  And yet, many premise equipment manufacturers still toss around’ lack of integration’ as a reason to stay away from the cloud – all of this coming from a business whose very design is to get you to “upgrade” to something new when the current thing’s real life expectancy is just a few years.

Cloud providers like Evolve IP can provide a fully self-contained UC solution, but also support integrations into Outlook, Lync, Google Apps, Lotus Notes, Salesforce.com, Sugar CRM and countless other apps – out of the box. Since we’re based on open standards, we can often support nearly any other off-the-shelf software. Evenso, a cloud-based solution innately takes the IT burden of system integration and infrastructure management off of the business’ shoulders and places it squarely on to the providers’ shoulders for a huge cost savings.

Here’s the bottom line: a company’s primary communications channel should determine which type of application is its UC lynchpin, which in turn, should drive the selection of all other components – easily integrated in the cloud. The goal is to reduce communications latency, or in traditional terms, phone tag. UC aims to increase efficiency by decreasing the amount of time it takes to respond to a communication by making all available “return call” methods available at a single click without having to look up phone numbers or type out email addresses. It has great potential for improving productivity, but it’s a journey and the starting point is going to be different for each organization.

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More Stories By Scott Kinka

Scott Kinka is Chief Technology Officer for Evolve IP. He has spent almost his entire career devising new and simpler ways for companies to acquire and integrate technology. While all of the tech talk these days is about the cloud, he was doing this when it was called ASP (application service provider) or on-demand. Before Scott joined Evolve IP as Chief Technology Officer, he served as Vice President of Network Services for Broadview Networks and ATX Communications. He has been involved in application development, hosting, messaging, networking, unified communications, contact centers, and security. His mission (and specialty) is acting as a translator between technology and business needs.

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