Unified Communications and Collaboration – Better Together?

Over the years the messaging arena has seen some major shifts. In the mid- to late-1990s we were very focused on migrations, coexistence, and malware. While these haven’t gone away, our focus in the early 2000s shifted toward managing burgeoning storage, and this has in recent years shifted toward compliance. At the same time, we have seen an expansion from a solely operational focus -- keeping messaging systems up and running -- to a broader approach that includes managing the data therein.

When we look at Microsoft, we see many major initiatives -- Exchange and other teams focused on on-premise and hosted solutions for email, SharePoint focused on document management and workflow, and others. With the increasing focus on the data inside of Exchange, one would expect that the Exchange and SharePoint teams would be working closely to ensure a unified approach to managing the data -- be it in-flight or at rest.

Unfortunately, when you look at the offerings coming out of Microsoft these days, it's apparent that the Exchange and SharePoint teams are not working "better together." The reality is that Microsoft continues to struggle against internally siloed operations (as is the case in most large enterprises) in this and many other areas.

I look at the combination of Outlook, Groove, SharePoint, Windows Search, and Unified Communications (including Exchange) as a field full of opportunities around managing enterprise data in a manner that can bring a powerful competitive advantage to business today. Smart organizations are starting to figure out the synergies inherent, and are patching together solutions that span these technologies, either through internal custom development or through hiring consultants to bridge the gap. But to a large extent we will need to wait until Microsoft has the Exchange and SharePoint teams working better together before we can realize the full benefit that is locked up inside each of these technologies.

... David Sengupta

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