Recently, I was at a technology symposium that focused on new emerging technologies and business process strategies. It soon became apparent to me that everything really revolved around helping companies become more productive, more agile, and more responsive to customer needs and market changes. It was all about "Convergent Collaboration."
Many of my customers have been talking about "convergence," specifically the convergence of audio, VoIP, video, real-time collaboration technologies (like WebEx) along with email and instant messaging. Traditionally, companies only have part of the capabilities and each from a different vendor. The problem is that there is no integration and no enterprise standard! A typical company has multiple audio providers to manage, maybe an antiquated video conferencing solution that is collecting dust, Yahoo IM, AOL, MSN, Jabber, Trillian for instant messaging, Cisco IP phones or something from Avaya for VoIP. It is all over the map, no common denominator.
By bundling these independent convergent capabilities into a single platform, the time savings, productivity and efficiency gains are tremendous. Imagine being able to host a real-time web meeting with a handful or remote individuals and then store the discussed documents into a central data repository located in your virtual "WebOffice." If someone has questions on one of the documents, they can jump on an integrated instant messaging solution to chat, place a VoIP-based video call, or initiate another web meeting. It's that simple since all the moving parts work together as one.
My prediction is that more and more businesses will enable their employees with an integrated communications solution that encompasses web collaboration, instant messaging, VoIP, video, web-based document sharing, and audio capabilities. Convergence of these capabilities helps extend value across the entire value chain and across the existing infrastructure while creating a corporate communications standard. The results... huge cost savings and measurable organizational productivity gains.