We are told that the economy is getting better and from seeing the quantity and quality of cars parked at the Convergence Summit South last Thursday 9th October that is certainly true. Something has got better, and you can feel it in the air. Where companies has been sitting on the fence not investing in their communications capability they are now looking and buying new solutions. Questions they face are, “do I just buy the same again, from the same vendor? Or do I look at the market?”
From what I saw last Thursday there is a huge amount of interest in Unified Communications, SIP trunking and mobile working. I visited the joint Unify/ Nimans stand where we had the latest OpenScape Business release and plus the latest and greatest Unify offers to small and medium sized businesses. Nimans reported that it’s been a busy show with a lot of interest in what Unify can now offer a SMB and to partners. I also participated a panel debate in the main auditorium entited “Collaboration Apps in Action”) with some other vendors and a channel partner.
As you would expect, we answered some challenging questions from the audience but what was clear that UC is now seen as simple and cost effective; many businesses are now asking for UC, in many ways driven by the ‘smart-phone’ and ‘app’ culture, but also that UC is now mature and affordable. It is almost like when we first looked at IP telephony, UC has got to that stage where it’s reliable and effective. We also discussed that the success of UC was not about technology but about adoption within business processes, not just providing technology to people but capability to people.
There were some interesting questions from the floor – one specifically on Microsoft Lync, which we discussed, the point being Lync is the answer to UC isn’t it. However it was clear from the other panelists that although Lync can be part of the equation it is not all of the answer. There is no doubt Lync is persuasive but really, consider the costs (and I do mean all the costs) and also that Lync may not address all of your business needs and processes. Both Mitel and Unify were clearly saying they can co-exist with Lync but also there are many customers who are adopting or mixing other vendor solutions with Lync.
Overall it we had a good, lively debate with (in the main)agreement around the maturity of UC and now the challenge was to help channel partners help their customers adopt UC.
With the majority feeling the optimism of a growing economy – the future seems very positive for the communications industry – including of course Unify. With a new partner program and a leading product set – I look forward to many more positive conversations with both new and prospective partners.