Ever since Garter added the C to UC and made it UC&C, there has been several and varying thought processes around what really collaboration means. To some, it means web and native ability of clients to create, share and participate in integrated audio/video/desktop collaboration. To others, it means a generous dose of social collaboration to the UC portfolio to ‘consumerize’ the product. And to yet another set of thinkers, it means teamspace/workspace/workflow management systems integrated with the UC infrastructure.
To me, it means all of the above. As June 2013 draws to a close and software based solutions pervade both the premise and hosted clouds, UC&C solutions exhibit strong comprehensive feature sets. In that vein, any true UC&C solution should also have all of the aforementioned collaboration components. Users should have the ability ( web or native ) to quickly fire up a conference ( audio/video/desktop ). Users should be able to federate with customers/partners/eco-system at will using social media from within the solution. And finally, users should be able to seamlessly work with workspace/teamspace tools in the enterprise to drive projects/products. This is a tall ask but many vendors are slowly inching towards this goal. Take a look at Lync 2013 and all the strong federation/collaboration integration it provides. It’s only a matter of time before others vendors follow suit. Here is a mockup that could visualize what I have in mind :
In short, collaboration with teamspace and integrated social networking has the potential to replace email. The reactive nature of email has made it ubiquitous since its inception. A thoroughly integrated tool will have to provide as much ease of user experience or more to be seen as a replacement.