Although the great Aristotle came up with his theory of philosophy and coined the phrase -”the whole is more than the sum of its parts”. I am guessing he wasn’t thinking or had Unified Communications in mind when he quoted this statement. The purists would understand that with Unified Communications it is probably more the reverse of this statement – the sums are more than the whole. I say this as Unified Communications is more of a motherhood statement or marketing term that covers many discrete but potentially integrated components such as Instant Messaging, Presence, Voice (including IP telephony), Mobility, Video Conferencing, Document Sharing, Unified Messaging and the list goes on. With all this said Unified Communications in most cases refers to the ability to simplify and integrate all forms of business communication into a single user experience. Sounds simple doesn’t it? My point however is that Unified Communications has a much wider scope and an ever increasing scope as we move more and more into a digitally enabled world (economy). Where integration and the ability to be connected 24x7x365 will be both business as usual and in many cases mandatory for a business to survive and compete. So what will Unified Communication look like in the future? What will it mean to end clients and how will consumers and businesses integrate and connect? Will it be simply integrated applications or a more powerful integrated web communications platform that will drive a users experience through combining big data and both artificial as well as business intelligence? Sure time will tell, however this future is not that far away. Today businesses need to plan for a future, a future that will be mobile, where consumers will consume content and information digitally. The speed of communication and integration will only continue to accelerate. However today the key is to work with providers or industry experts who understand the pitfalls and traps as you migrate or implement more integrated services. As trusted advisers working with both end clients and service providers we have the luxury to see both the bad side as well as the good side of where and how Unified Communications went well or not so well. Based on this we thought it best to list of the few of the lessons learned and insights to both the good and bad. Here are our top 5 lessons learned;
  1.  If you don’t know the business objectives then you will never achieve them. Or saying this another way – What does success look like?
  2.  Not everything integrates with everything else.
  3.  Piloting technology is good. Piloting user adoption is mandatory.
  4.  Getting communications and Stakeholder engagement is key and last by not least,
  5. Unified Communication can be confusing and it can be complicated.
  For more information on what to look out for when working with providers on Unified Communications or if you’d like to get independent advice or further insight on what a successful Unified Communications project looks like, please feel free to contact the author.
“Let’s make it easier for the customer, not more difficult”