by Thomas Beck, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Teo Technologies
For years experts and analysts have predicted, pushed, and prodded businesses to a future of unified communications. Their claim was that in a world where all of our technologies and tools to communicate were truly integrated, there would be a transformative improvement in efficiency and work life balance. However, our world today feels less unified than ever before. It seems as if every day (or even every hour) brings a new stand-alone business application designed to supercharge productivity. The problem is that very few of these apps truly work together, and very few business users derive the same benefit from each. Thus, we have actually created a new world of “dis-unification.”
Where there is pain, there is promise.
Within our current situation there does lie the potential that inter application APIs can be leveraged so that different apps can work together, each user can choose the app of their choice, and in the end everything will be unified again. This IS a technical possibility. However, in reality the competing business interests of different application developers stands in the way of seamless and reliable integrations. Often times even apps that could be integrated have their interface capabilities turned off or removed for business reasons. Further adding to this complexity, many company acquisitions can lead to capabilities being disabled in the best business interests of the new owners.
Where to Turn?
There are many paths businesses can take in light of these realities. Some choose to grin and bear the current situation. Some choose to build solutions of their own. Some attempt to select a handful of key suppliers to partner with, and build a tightly coupled ecosystem they hope will stand the test of time. And still others keep looking for the perfect solution that might not exist yet, that could be just around the corner, not realizing that by choosing inaction they run the very real risk of falling behind.
The Application Monopoly Game via M&A
Through aggressive merger and acquisition (M&A) activities, many organizations are looking to rope together impressive collections of complementary applications. These apps are intended to attract businesses looking to garner a wide assortment of functionality from a single vender, or at least from a smaller collection of vendors. A troubling component of this approach though, is that many of the vendors with the largest application collections also have the least business interest in allowing competing applications to integrate well.
What about Telco?
Most business application developers are lacking the capabilities (and the understanding) to integrate complex PSTN services into more advanced applications. Even traditional phone service companies struggle here, and appear to have little or no path to the future for deploying more advanced capabilities via their dated and bloated infrastructures. They rely on two primary vendors, Metaswitch and Broadsoft, who both have critical billing system integration capabilities with the legacy carriers, but lack more advanced applications. So, where are businesses to turn for truly integrated unified communications solutions?
Never Give Up
While the needs are complex, and the more well-known vendors to choose from are lacking in key ways, all hope is not lost. There is a new breed of solution provider, one that possesses the pedigree of PSTN service integration, and also the next gen application integration capabilities that traditional providers lack. These new solution providers are able to deliver truly integrated unified communications, call center, contact center, and analytics solutions in a single platform, providing not only a huge array of capabilities, readily customizable for each customer, but also built to integrate with other vendors’ solutions. These solution providers have engineered and designed for the demands of the modern business, and they are the ones to watch. While they may not be household names today, they are the forward-thinking partners that innovative organizations turn to when taking their next strategic leap in their business success.