Unified Communications interoperability is getting a lot of attention, as more and more employees work from home. Yet while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.
Will flexibility at work be the new normal?
The coronavirus crisis has triggered a rush to telecommute. Companies and their employees have been thrust into a massive experiment in this decentralized way of working. What if teleworking becomes the norm?
It’s a fact: remote work is gaining in popularity. And the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the timeline. Companies are thinking hard about the need to spend time in the office. This upheaval in working habits has shaken up companies and CIOs, who have been forced to react immediately by deploying new working arrangements, a new management approach, and the right collaborative tools.
Companies are also handling multiple communications channels, whether in-house or to customers and prospects. And the proliferation of tools has complicated management and security tasks considerably.
Boosting interoperability in Unified Communications & Collaboration solutions
Interoperability is critical to ensuring the long-term success of a Unified Communications project. Customers need it to focus on creating value rather than solving problems that arise when IT systems don’t work well together.
So it’s important to understand how companies work with their partners at the collaborative level. By deploying a Unified Communications solution, will a company be assuming that its customers have made the same technology choices it has? Will it deploy a solution that consciously limits the number of its potential business partners? That’s how critical interoperability is.
How will Unified Communications providers react?
As you see, the need for more interoperability has probably never been greater. But one question persists: What will Unified Communications providers do? Over the past few years, we’ve seen vendors attempt to collaborate and provide a ground level of Unified Communications interoperability. The point of the announcement by Cisco and Microsoft last year is to allow users to join a Microsoft Teams meeting from a Webex room device. They also have the option of joining a Cisco Webex meeting from a Microsoft Teams room.
Why is this option so difficult to implement widely, let alone universally? Because UC vendors all want to protect their piece of the overall UC market. If all platforms and services were interoperable from the start, it would be hard to tell providers apart, other than by price. Profit margins would decrease considerably.
This is one of the main reasons vendors approach interoperability partnerships with caution. Unfortunately for customers, we can assume that vendors are not going to change this behavior quickly – regardless of the need. So pressure should be applied to demand this kind of improvement in available services. That’s why there should also be a push to seek provisioning software to secure management in a multi-vendor environment.