Friday, August 10, 2007

Microsoft OCS: Here Comes Presence

Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 has recently been released to manufacturing, so expect to hear a lot of noise from Microsoft about presence and voice, as Microsoft will be nudging and cajoling third-party software vendors to integrate presence into their applications. Microsoft also will be rearranging market share in the fragmented space as well (Cisco, Jabber and all the traditional business phone system vendors will be playing, as well as Oracle, for example)

And, oh by the way, the effort shows just how real is the danger of communications service providers becoming "dumb pipe" providers.

Consider a typical customer relationship management (CRM) application. A salesperson might be looking at a customer record, and see a list of all email communications that others on a sales team have had with a given customer. There's a problem noted, and the sales rep wants to make sure it is fixed before placing an outbound call to the customer. That means checking with another internal team member. This then entails:

1. Launching Outlook Address Book.
2. Pointing to Global Address List.
3. Double-clicking a name.
4. Finding the appropriate number.
5. Dialing on the desktop phone.

Using OCS 2007 with presence, the process is:

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

Aside from access to the global IP network, where is the telco, cable company or other access service provider involved?

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