Why “Unified Communications Solutions” rarely improve communications

From the technology “snake oil” files comes one of my favorites: Unified Communications. The sales pitch goes that if your people do a poor job communicating with each other, the obvious solution is to put in a whole bunch of technology. While the UC gear is rather cool, with video cameras, voicemail that connects to email and all manner of goodness, they do absolutely nothing to solve the fundamentally human problem of poor communication skills. If people within your organization are able to share and collaborate effectively, then UC technologies can be the technological grease on an already moving wheel, otherwise it yet another “solution” that fails to deliver on its promises.

Far more likely for many organizations, UC is perceived as a magic pill of sorts; our people won’t get out of their cubicle to talk to their neighbor, but glorified IM programs, video gear, and a raft of boxes and wires is easier to buy than actually working with people, and compensating them to communicate effectively.

Any business considering a UC implementation should look at the fundamental human issues first, then consider buying UC tech as a distant second.

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