In only three of the OCS (Office Communications Server) installations I have done during the years have they chosen to enable Public IM Connectivity!? And about 50% have chosen to enable open federation.
Why are CIOs (and other C_Os) so afraid when it comes to connecting the business UC platform with the public cloud IM platforms or with other partners/ customers via federation?
- Is it because of SPIM or the way that spam changed email, or that someone might send something malicious?
- Because we don’t want our employees to just sit around and chat all day?
- Or because they are afraid that its easier to initiate a social engineered attack via IM / chat?
For me UC is about communications without boundaries, if I want, I should be able to have a HD video call to a customer when I’m at home. I should be able to have a Facebook chat with my wife when I’m at the office. I should be able to escalate an email to a video call and then transfer it to my mobile phone whenever I want and wherever I am.
And I want to control who, when and where I talk to whoever I want to. To be able to answer or not, to transfer or send to voice mail and so on… And all of this from one simple and easy to use interface, that is accessed from a computer or from my mobile phone.
But I guess that communicating in this way takes a lot of practice and not everyone should or could do it. For me I grow´d up in IRC chat rooms and my ICQ number is 1020818. As everyone else my age I switched over to MSN / Live Messenger for my private life and what I start to see now is that most of my friends now switching over to Facebook and web enabled chats and that more and more businesses are enabling its users for UC in different ways.
So, why would you connect your business IM system to the public cloud?
Well about 90% of my contact list in MOC (Microsoft Office Communicator) consists of contacts from outside of my organization, about 15 people (that I didn’t know in real life) have added me and asked work related questions that have generated business. Most of the communication with my customers I work with is done in MOC (either IM, voice, video or desktop sharing) and most of the sales to my existing customers has originated from a conversation in MOC.
The fact that its possible to just open my contact list and see the presence of someone I have not talked to for a long time and if he/she is available its really easy to just sending away a quick “Hi, busy?, how are you and what about that thing we talked about last time…”
I would in 85% of the cases most certainly not call the person on the phone to ask the same questions. And this has and will continue to generate business for me, and I expect it to be more and more since more businesses are enabling technology like this for its users.
But still, what are the dangers of enabling communications with the public, like we do with email? I can send email to anyone I have an email address to and I can call them on the phone if I got the number. But when it comes to IM and chat, the upper management are often scared of something, but when asked of what, they most often don’t know what to answer.
So my question is simple: What is it that scares them???
Please comment your thoughts.