This week's IBM UC news roundup brings us three articles of interest. On September 16, Dave Michels at No Jitter published a blog post, "The Big Squeeze", about leaders in the enterprise Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) market positioning IBM as an enterprise-savvy player in the unified communications battleground. The article notes that IBM's Sametime Unified Telephony provides middleware built specifically to integrate with multiple vendors' legacy PBX's, which differs from Microsoft's one-vendor approach.
IBM [is one of the] enterprise-savvy major players that are throwing their weight into the unified communications battleground. ... It is positioning its Lotus and Sametime systems as critical components to UC (messaging, collaboration, and presence), and is integrating with ShoreTel, NEC, and Broadsoft for the telephony component of the all-in-one Foundations server for SMEs.
IBM business partner and reseller Outreach Telecom & Energy recently announced its sales support for IBM Lotus Foundations product suite. Phone Plug Mag published an article on the news and noted that Foundations can be purchased from Outreach as a standalone product or as a fully integrated IT and UC system (with ShoreTel for IBM Foundations).
And the big announcement last week was IBM Customer Experience Suite. In a great article in Fast Company, Jeff Schick, IBM Vice President for Social Software, describes the importance. This is not just about "Facebook"-style social interaction, by the way. As we posted earlier, IBM Lotus Sametime is part of the IBM Customer Experience because customers are more and more demanding real-time interactions with their brands, and with fellow shoppers.
IBM itself has been using Sametime and Connections (and their many precursors) within our enterprise for 15+ years. But as these technologies continue to transform work, we see humor such as this recent Dilbert cartoon (how's that for a segue into our Friday Funnies section?). Expect to see similar concerns from the Telephony side of the house as more enterprises open up their employees to more direct conversations with customers, whether via social or IM or video or voice or what-have-you. So it's just as important to include unified communications when setting new social media policies (hopefully NOT like our Pointy-Haired friend below):