Bruce Morse, IBM's vice president of UC and collaboration, said tools that have been deployed separately need to be integrated and made simple to use. (Compare .)
"We need to shift the focus of unified communications from the back-end technology to the front end," he said, meaning that user interfaces need to be made simpler and more intuitive.
UC, when done right, can make it easier to find the right people to collaborate with in order to make smarter business decisions faster, Morse said. This can be done by incorporating communications into applications users are already familiar with rather than forcing them to learn new platforms. "We need to offer the same form of communications but inside the firewall," he said.
Businesses looking to promote UC should try to incorporate the useful aspects of social networking that employees are already familiar with from social networking sites but secure them for use in a corporate setting.
Technical consultants may be valuable to help piece together UC elements that customers have already bought from different vendors, Morse said. For instance he said that IBM's Sametime integrates with Microsoft's Sharepoint and Exchange, making it possible for customers to shop around for the vendor best suited to their needs.