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1 Phil Salm commented Permalink

Thanks for sharing this article. Both Tehrani's entry, and Kim's that he links to pose an interesting question. But I don't think they are positing a dichotomy of internal social vs UC, but rather a somewhat futuristic notion of public social networks with integrated real-time communication capabilities replacing our current environment of islands of private but connected telephony-centric networks. From that perspective, why would anyone bother integrating their internal communications systems (email, telephony, video, private social systems, etc) which is how UC is defined, if the primary means of communicating are public social networks that have real-time communication capabilities of their own.

I don't find such a futuristic vision likely. IP and privacy concerns are some of the leading drivers for the adoption of internal social tools such as Connections. Yes, companies and their employees will participate in public social networks, and will leverage real-time communication capabilities of those networks as they become mainstream. But that will not replace the need for internal communication and collaboration channels, and as long as those exist, the business case for UC will as well.
UC and social are two sides of the same coin. They are both about connecting people to drive business results. Social provides efficient, asynchronous means of one-to-many communication and knowledge sharing. UC brings the flexibility to seamlessly leverage any communication modality within the current business context to connect to others, primarily focussed on real-time communication.
Since social is one means of communication, one could argue social is a subset of UC. But since UC is about connecting people, one could argue it is a subset of social. I suspect Kim is correct when he implies that which position a vendor takes on this question tends to be determined by which position they have a market/product strength in.
In the end, I agree with you that it is not one vs. the other. Can you use social software without doing UC? Yes. Can you do UC without having social software? Yes. But you can you amplify the benefits of both by doing them in tandem. At that point, who cares which is the superset and which is the subset. People become more productive, and the business benefits, and that is what matters in the end.

2 Jacques Pavlenyi commented Permalink

Phil - thanks for your comments! Appreciate your point of view. I didn't think as much about the internal vs. external networks dichotomy you brought up, which I agree is also central to what Social UC should mean. And, like you, for me it's less about the "subset" question and more about the "intersection" question. The intersection where social and UC meet is where "1+1>2": real value-added collaboration is taking place.

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