While unified communications (UC) technology grows at a dizzying rate, many enterprises are forced to play catch-up if they wish to remain at the forefront of communications technology. Last year, CIOs were planning and researching the inevitable move to VoIP. Now that the implementations have been (or so we hope!) successful, enterprises are at the stage where management of the VoIP system is their biggest concern.
Being inundated with information about how UC is changing the landscape of doing business, the CIO whose focus is currently on VoIP management may very well feel overwhelmed by the pace in which new technology is being deployed. He then has two choices -- either focus on managing the VoIP technology, or leave it 'as is' to instead focus on wrapping VoIP into unified communications with other applications.
Both of these options leave the business in a sticky situation. Should the CIO decide to forgo a unified communications solution and stick with improving upon the management of the VoIP system he may 'miss the boat', so to speak, and in a few months his company will not be as up-to-the-minute as the competition. But it is also difficult to choose to spend thousands of dollars on a new shiny technology (UC) when it feels like just yesterday you were 'ahead of the pack' deploying a new VoIP system.
I love analogies, and the struggle of enterprises to maintain a solid basis for emerging technologies reminds me of shoe shopping for a young, growing child -- bear with me. When a child is a toddler, she will grow out of her shoes (and clothes) every few months if not more often. The beautiful, trendy little sneakers that were purchased thirty days ago are now too tight. So, once again a parent is left to spend extraordinary amounts of money to comply with their child's rapid growth. Of course you cannot have a child wearing shoes from a month ago that no longer fit -- but it is frustrating nonetheless. It is always 'new new new' in the case of a growing child and growing technology, not out of vanity, but out of necessity.
Necessity is what many companies are questioning when it comes to UC. If they choose to deploy UC now, in order to keep up with competitors and industry standards, the system may need additional components every few months, costing large sums of money. If an expensive VoIP system was deployed several months ago, the reality of implementing UC at this point in time may not be a financial possibility. But what are the consequences of not keeping up with 'the Joneses' in the technological world?