Unified communications: Is your job on the line?

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Microsoft’s roll out of Office Communications Server 2007 this week raises as many people issues as it does technology ones.

Read the IT media or listen to the vendors and you would think that VOIP and unified comms is pretty well ubiquitous, but there are many organisations where the conventional PBX box, if not King, handles a pretty substantial part of business communications.

Microsoft’s entry into the market, follows by a Siemens initiative earlier this week and an IBM move in August.

All this is going to boost unified comms substantially and in the process it risks sparking open warfare between telecoms and the IT departments.

Telecommunications teams, whose job has been to ensure that telephones and related systems such as voice mail and fax remain running 100% of the time, often still operate autonomously from IT.

After all, it is 130 years since Alexander Graham Bell said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” the first words spoken on his experimental telephone. And in many organisations the telecom departments really do predate IT operations...

There is not much mileage in IT and telecoms teams jockeying for position in the new converged world order, because the real decisions have moved further up the food chain, sometimes beyond the CIO to the chief operating officer.

The cost advantages of unified communications are overwhelming. If you don’t want to be thrown into the skip with the old PBX box you had better start focusing on integrating business systems to the new converged network and the new services this allows you to deliver to the business.

Computerworld UK's sister publication CIO has teamed up with Siemens and Forrester to discuss some of the implications of this lack of integration and to point the way forward for organisations to make improvements.

There will be a webcast on 25 October in which strategies for enterprises will be discussed. As well as highlighting the key issues for user organisations, the webcast will include a case study as a working example of how this can be achieved.

It should be worth listening in...

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