Tuesday, May 4, 2010

UC Summit 2010 -- Part II -- CEBP

Boy, how to keep up with blogging!  Between trying to catch up on work after being out for the conference last week, and then having the final weekend of dance competition for my girls (who did fantastic, all Platinum category winners!), I haven't had the time I'd thought I'd have to post my follow-up to my first blog entry on the UC Summit 2010.

Another theme repeated at the conference was that both the highest value for customers implementing UC solutions as well as the highest margin for providers was with Communication Enabled Business Processes (CEBP).  CEBP is where you take capabilities like presence indicators, instant messaging, and integrated telephony capabilities and build it directly into line of business applications to improve the business processes surrounding those applications.  This has been possible with Sametime for many many years.  I remember using the very basic stlinks toolkit early on to enable visitors to one of our public web demo sites (for Lotus LearningSpace) to see if our team members were available to discuss what they explored in the demo site. The capabilities for CEBP have been significantly enhanced in Sametime 8.5 as well.

Now I'm fairly certain that some of the slides on CEBP were either pulled by these presenters from IBM's UC2 presentations I've seen in the past, or vice versa.  Unfortunately, the capabilities of Sametime in this space weren't really represented at the conference.  There were a handful of Microsoft partners that spoke about developing CEBP applications for OCS (and great fanfare regarding Microsoft funding for it) on one of the round table discussions.  One Microsoft partner mentioned how they thought Microsoft was missing a big opportunity by not integrating CEBP functionality into its CRM applications.  Although Lotus has done well to integrate Sametime into its family of products, it could steal a similar strategy and get a jump on the competition by if the other software brands within IBM integrate Sametime functionality in their applications.

One question I have though, is why is CEBP the "big thing" now?  It has been available for many years in Sametime, and some companies have developed CEBP products in Sametime.  But there hardly has been tremendous demand for these applications, nor a whole slated of development companies building these applications.  Perhaps part of the answer here lies in another observation made at the conference.  Demand in the UC space has been largely through Vendor PUSH into the market, and not enough Customer PULL.  Clearly the marketing around the benefits around UCC has not hit the masses, and this was a criticism leveled against all vendors in the UC market--not just part of an "IBM marketing sucks" meme, recently resurrected in comments in the bubble.

More on this in my final post on this conference.

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