Interactive Intelligence Plans To Make UC Work
Finally, something having to do with unified communications makes sense -- because
it really isn't focused on UC at all.
We've mentioned here before that we
just don't get UC, and we kind of doubt that anybody else really does, either
-- including a lot of the marketers who work for UC vendors. But one vendor
that's more or less in the UC space is finally making sense to us, primarily
by attaching an actual practical application for UC.
We're written about Interactive
Intelligence before, and we were pleased when a couple of folks from the
company made the trip to Framingham to see RCPU a couple of weeks back. What
they talked about was the first thing even remotely UC-related that has seemed
to us capable of generating real value for customers.
Simply put, Interactive Intelligence wants to tie UC with business process
automation. In fact, the company is pretty much getting into the BPA business
with a little UC on the side. The basic idea is to use UC's find-me-anywhere
functionality to automate processes. So, instead of just letting one worker
know how to get hold of another worker at a given time, Interactive Intelligence's
system would automatically route a process -- say, a claim at an insurance company
-- to the right person at the right place...at the right time.
"In a manual process, there's a lot of human latency and inefficiency,"
Joseph A. Staples, Interactive Intelligence's senior vice president of worldwide
marketing, told RCPU in our meeting. "The way the process gets automated
is the system knows what happens in the next step."
Now, see, this makes sense to us -- and it seems like a practical application
for UC. Instead of just telling Worker A that it's best to reach Worker B by
instant messenger in a given moment, this system, which Interactive Intelligence
will call Interaction Process Automation, will actually do some something practical
by tying business processes to UC functionality. The company plans to have a
product by the middle of 2009.
Maybe other vendors are doing this -- Staples allowed that his company will
soon be competing, on some level, with like likes of Oracle via Siebel -- and,
after all, BPA in and of itself is nothing new. So we'd love to hear from anybody
and everybody who's doling something similar.
But the UC angle, if we've understood it correctly, sounds unique to us at
this point. And it's the first time we've understood how a company could get
any significant value out of a product in the UC space. It's the process automation
that matters here -- not strictly the ability to find people when they're
in their cars or working at home.
Oh, and by the way, partners, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to
do significant customization work, and Interactive Intelligence does have a
channel-sales strategy and a partner program.
There are some potential hang-ups. Staples sees his company's vision as being
an alternative to enterprise resource planning, rather than complementary to
it. And while we see where he's coming from, especially regarding Interactive
Intelligence's SMB sweet spot, we're thinking that some ERP integration might
not be the worst idea at some point.
Still, everything considered, this is the first UC solution we've seen that
makes sense -- mainly because somebody finally realized that UC all by itself
isn't really that useful after all.
What's your take on unified communications? Is your company doing anything
useful with it? Do you have a product or story you'd like to pitch? We're all
eyes at email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/03/2008 at 1:22 PM