In response to a post today on TMC, "Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?", I commented:
As I blogged about on NoJitter back in June ("The Future of UC is Social" --> http://www.nojitter.com/blog/229900178?queryText=the+future+of+UC+is+social ), I disagree with the premise that it's either UC or social collaboration, but not both. Enterprises for some time have been asking to make UC part of a broader collaboration environment, including newer collaboration capabilities such as blogs, wikis, forums and communities. Users want a variety of tools to use, and more importantly, the ability to pivot between various tools depending on the circumstances they're in, and from the applications and environments they're working from, whether business process applications, mobile device, e-mail client, web application, etc. And many analysts have been seeing the same thing; I believe Gartner just recently said by 2014 more than 20% of business users will use social networks as their primary communication hubs, and separately said that the distinction between UC and collaboration will disappear altogether by 2013.
I also believe that, while many recent UC startups and cloud offerings in the consumer space are spurring innovation, the levels of security, policy management and other administration features demanded by enterprises are going to stay out of reach for many consumer-focused UC and collaboration vendors -- cloud or on premises. Social collaboration, including voice and video, generates a certain level of agida on the part of enterprise Legal, IT, and Finance that has to be addressed by any serious vendor.
And Microsoft and Cisco are by no means the only vendors integrating social collaboration with unified communications. IBM has been doing this at least since the launch of IBM Connections several years ago. Integration with other IBM applications as well as with best-of-breed applications and platforms through open standards-based APIs, has been the hallmark of the IBM approach for some time.
What do you think? How fast do you think UC is merging with other collaboration tools? What are examples in your environments where this is -- or isn't -- happening?