UCC Lures Today's Job Talent, Saves Lives

Businesses that fail to implement instant messaging and mobile collaboration will lose talent and customers to companies that do.

LAS VEGAS-Companies who don't already employ presence, universal clients or multichannel notification technologies will have to adopt some form of UCC tools if they want to hire and retain the sharpest talent, an analyst said at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2008 here.

Gartner analyst Bern Elliot made the claim during his overview on the UCC (unified communications and collaboration) market, a multibillion-dollar market that encompasses PBX, e-mail, calendaring, voice applications and instant messaging from the likes of Cisco Systems, Microsoft, IBM, Avaya and several others.

"Outside pressure will force change [in businesses]," Elliot said, noting that college interns who join enterprises for a summer come in already armed with the knowledge of UCC tools, such as Skype's VOIP or collaboration tools such as Google Apps.

Businesses that neglect to enable instant messaging and mobile collaboration will lose the talent to other, more technology savvy vendors who promote communication-enabled business processes. Moreover, traditional UCC providers such as IBM, Microsoft will have to ratchet up their efforts, versus the nouveau entrants such as Google and Skype, Elliot said.

UCC Tools Grow Rich

Emerging UCC tools will typically include rich presence capabilities. For example, unified communications software is increasingly starting to denote not just whether someone is online via instant messaging, but whether the business worker is in a meeting. Location-based services are being leveraged to not only find people, but find available meeting rooms.

"Presence services will be a vital unifying tool, allowing users to right click (for example) on a name and invoke a variety of collaboration mechanisms, and shared team spaces will provide temporary and persistent repositories for interactions," Elliot said. IBM is expected to offer rich presence tools in Sametime Unyte later this year.

Also, businesses are increasingly turning to universal clients, such as IBM's Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Communications Server 2007, which enable UCC across any desktop or mobile device, as well as multichannel notification services that leverage voice, e-mail and instant messaging services.