HP Unveils UC, Collaboration Services for Enterprises

HP's new solutions leverage partnerships with Microsoft, Polycom and others, and are designed to make it easier for enterprises to adopt UC strategies.

Hewlett-Packard officials are looking to help businesses enhance their unified communications environment, which will play an increasingly important role as more of their employees work mobile and remotely.

HP is rolling out a host of new solutions and consulting services designed to give enterprises the tools to enable their workforces to better collaborate and to better respond to businesses demands. In addition, HP is bringing to bear a wide range of partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, Polycom, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent to this issue.

A key goal of the new HP offerings, announced July 25, is to help businesses look at their UC deployments in a holistic way-encompassing everything from presence and voice, to video and messaging-rather than as siloed, point-by-point projects, according to David Cook, strategy and operations lead for the Global UC Portfolio at HP Technology Consulting.

"While many companies...have been developing a UC strategy and have implemented UC for four or five years, they still separate the strategy along these lines," Cook said in an interview with eWEEK. "Relatively few are viewing it in a holistic way."

Through these consulting services, HP is hoping to enable businesses to leverage the UC opportunity and better integrate telephony services with their communications applications, which will increase collaboration among employees and improve business responsiveness, he said. HP is introducing three new offerings: Voice Transformation Solutions, Virtual Workplace Solutions and Network Readiness Services for UC.

Through the Voice Transformation Solutions, HP is looking to help businesses create a streamlined collaboration environment with centralized VOIP (voice over IP) and by extending traditional phone systems through Internet Protocol; this will create a single avenue for not only voice, but also data and video. This will increase productivity via better collaboration while driving down costs, according to HP.

Through the Virtual Workplace Solutions, businesses can further the holistic approach by building a single platform for everything from unified messaging and video to Web collaboration and document management, Cook said. Such a virtual platform also enables businesses to deliver the right UC solutions to whatever device the employee is using based on the computing and accessibility needs.

HP's Network Readiness Services enables the vendor to help customers ensure that their network is able to handle the UC roadmap the business is laying out, Cook said.

The new offerings are building off UC services that HP unveiled about 18 months ago, Cook said. Those services were aimed at such areas as helping businesses determine if UC can help them and building a UC roadmap. These new services take the next step by helping businesses take action.

These services will be important as businesses deal with the challenge of a growing virtual workforce, aging telephony and network infrastructures, and a wide range of communications systems. Cook noted a Gartner study that predicts that by the end of 2015, 60 percent of organizations will offer employees at least four parallel, overlapping, voice/telephony options.

HP's partnerships with Microsoft, Polycom, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent are a key differentiator for the company, he said.

"Our approach is built on a multi-vendor approach" that's open and interoperable, Cook said. "Many of our customers will continue to have multiple vendors in UC for many years to come."

HP last month tightened its partnership with Polycom, which in June bought HP's video collaboration business, including its Halo telepresence products. In addition, Polycom will become HP's exclusive partner for telepresence and video collaboration products.