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Six problems with Office Communications Server 2007

Analysis: our doubts about Microsoft OCS 2007

As the years of hype around Office Communications Server 2007 show, when Microsoft launches a product, everyone wants to hear about it. But we have our doubts about OCS 2007. Here are six examples:

4) Do I even really need unified communications?

Experts say many companies remain truly mystified as to why they should potentially invest millions of dollars in gear which, when it comes down to it, is mostly about helping their employees save a few keystrokes here or there.

"Users are skeptical about UC because vendors have done a crappy job of identifying the value proposition of it," said IDC's Freedman, citing IDC surveys and customer interviews. "So what if employees gain 15 minutes [of productivity] from presence. How does that help the bottom line?"

Convincing them of that won't be easy, because "UC is an amorphous collection of abilities, rather than one particular space", according to Jorge Blanco, vice president of solutions marketing at Avaya.

As a result, most companies are cherry-picking applications such as conferencing, desktop videoconferencing or mobility, without taking the entire package, Blanco said.

The global UC market this year will total just $4.5bn, according to Freedman. That's about one-tenth what many vendors are trumpeting, because IDC won't count full price of a product if it ends up being used narrowly as a replacement for a voice PBX box, she said.

While IDC is predicting the UC market will grow to $17bn in 2011, Freedman remains "cynical about what vendors have delivered". And they need to "educate the unwashed masses about what the hell is unified communications".

  1. Should I entrust my telephone system to a software vendor?
  2. Can I really expect some Microsoft software running on a Windows box to be as reliable as a PBX?
  3. If I'm not getting rid of my PBXes for a while, why go to Office Communications Server 2007 at all?
  4. Do I even really need unified communications?
  5. Well, I AM interested in unified communications. But Office Communications Server 2007 seems to lack features we need
  6. Why go to OCS if we're not a Microsoft shop?

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