January 26, 2017

Forbes

Workflow Is The New Work, And It Needs Unified Communications

Communications used to be a thing. Now, in 2017, communications is a platform. So much is this so that we find firms specializing in the so-called 'Unified Communications' space. Pushing this concept to service-based cloud computing delivery we logically get to Unified Communications -as-a-Service (or UCaaS, if you can stomach one more acronym).

What makes communications unified?

But what makes communication unified... and anyway, what was wrong with phone calls, emails and meetings?

The crucial thing to remember is that IT vendors are attempting to push us to a 'single platform' in every aspect of business, especially content and communications. We've heard the argument before, if an enterprise has one single financial or ERP or CRM system, then why shouldn't it use a single technology platform to look after communications?

Workflow is the new work

The industry has attempted to validate this argument further by insisting that there is now this thing called 'workflow'. Where we once had plain old work, we now have this higher level description of a task that is also defined by:

  • the content and data associated with it,
  • the steps it takes to get from definition to execution,
  • the information and documents that relate to it,
  • the team members dedicated to the task,
  • the procedural rules governing the task process in the first place.
To be clear, Workflow is the definition, execution and automation of business processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules. When we can take all these elements together and start to engineer them as one complete thing, then we can use Unified Communications to help connect and drive the process.

Fuze wires up

Emerging in this space are a series of new and established players as detailed before here on Forbes by staff writer Alex Konrad. Among the newer breed players in this space is Fuze. The firm's user interface brings together voice, video and messaging into a single application.

As noted previously on Forbes here, the company integrates with Box, Dropbox and Okta to bring together content across more than one file sharing platform. In terms of use we might see individuals (either before or during a meeting) using Fuze to add files from their Box and Dropbox accounts using any device. Fuze then also allows participants to annotate content within the Fuze meetings.

Is communications really in that much of a mess that we need a complete re-imagining of the way we do things?

People use up to six comms apps

Company CEO Steve Kokinos is on the record claiming that, "On average, people use four-to-six communication apps at work daily. The result is a disconnected experience with overlap in services that creates redundancy and confusion. For the business, this results in poor user adoption, a lack of control, and excess cost associated with multiple overlapping technologies.”

So then... if this technology works, shouldn't we start to look at how we can use unified comms across specific line of business functions? Fuze says yes, its software platform will also support collaboration of global business functions such as finance and HR that operate distributed teams, with contact centre capabilities enhancing (in theory) the wider customer support operation.

But this was not just UC, this was UCaaS driven by the web, the cloud and the datacenter. So shouldn't there be a web-scale element here so that we can use these pieces of software at a massive scale?

Fuze says it has engineered its software for this eventuality and says that the platform itself will work in situations with (so to quote), "Tens of thousands of participants such as marketing events, training and development and product launches, where global reach and scale are needed."

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adrianbridgwater/2017/01/25/workflow-is-the-new-work-and-it-needs-unified-communications/2/#5c6a22555734