Presence-Enabling Enterprise Applications

Presence-Enabling Enterprise Applications. Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 has recently been released to manufacturing, so we can expect to hear a lot of noise out of Redmond around presence and voice.

Microsoft is currently making efforts to convince third-party software vendors to integrate presence into their applications. Presence-enabling enterprise applications makes sense, in many cases.

Consider a typical CRM solution, for example. You're looking at a customer record, and see a list of all email communications that others on your sales team have had with a given customer. Prior to calling the customer, you want to consult with someone from your sales team about a particular customer issue that needed resolution. Has it been fixed?

The typical approach would be to look up your colleague's phone number in the following manner:

  1. Launch Outlook Address Book.
  2. Point to Global Address List.
  3. Double-click his/her name.
  4. Find appropriate number.
  5. Dial on your desktop phone.

If your CRM application were presence-enabled, and if your company had OCS 2007 deployed in-house, then the process could be reduced to:

  1. Right-click your colleague's name in the CRM record.
  2. Choose "Call this Person" or "Send an Instant Message to this Person."

Of course, vendors need to consider a lot of factors before jumping on the OCS presence-enabled bandwagon. OCS 2007 has not launched yet, and market penetration is still relatively small. Organizations have been tripping over themselves determining what to do with the many new communications modalities that have been popping up in the enterprise over the past few years -- instant messaging, soft phones, ad hoc videoconferencing, and so on.

Vendors with significant development cycles that are wishing to attract Microsoft's attention during the initial hype around OCS 2007 would do well to presence-enable at least one of their applications. Vendors who don't care about the marketing hype cycle would be best to wait.

... David Sengupta

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