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Convergence - the only way forward

Unified communications is undoubtedly the hot topic in business communications right now, with a seemingly endless stream of summits, symposia, or conferences in the 2008 calendar. But what's driving all this activity? Is technology leading the way, attempting to impose its impressive capabilities on the business world? Or is the market leading the way, guiding the industry to where users need help to solve everyday challenges and the need to be more productive?

Organisational reliance on communications technology has created two key business issues. The first is increased cost of communication, the second is increased complexity. And both threaten the goals of any organisation.

In seeking a solution to these threats, the entire technology industry has reached a consensus that 'convergence' is the answer and the driver is IP. At the top level convergence is about joining together an organisation's communication assets to deliver reduced cost, reduced complexity of business processes and increased business opportunity.

Voice and data convergence consolidates the infrastructure used by voice and data traffic onto a single IP network, whilst fixed mobile convergence joins the fixed and mobile communication assets. Such features offer the capability to revolutionise communications, helping organisations overcome current threats and delivering opportunities to improve business processes and customer services.

Why then, are there so many perceived risks associated with achieving convergence? Quite simply, because converging voice and data networks, fixed and mobile assets, and applications needs to be more clearly explained and understood.

Convergence is all about improving the ability of an organisation to deliver a better service to its stakeholders. But rush at it and you could seriously impair your organisation's ability to function.

Convergence in its various forms is a certainty. It's not the 'next big thing' in effective organisational communication, it's the only thing.

Ian Jones
NCC Head of Content

(ITadviser, Issue 53, January/February 2008)

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