The Journey Beyond UC: Social, Real-time, and Business Processes
Siemens Enterprise Communications announced at its analyst summit this week in Denver, Colorado, a new direction for the company in real-time and Social collaboration, with a new initiative code named Project Ansible. The Summit venue itself was great with an awesome view of the Denver sunrise!
While some specific details of the announcements from the event can’t be disclosed till mid-July 2013, we heard and saw Siemens charting a new journey beyond UC and voice technology, into a broader unified collaboration vision focused on the user experience, social business and real-time capabilities such as video and web conferencing. This vision will be depicted in the new Project Ansible platform and brand. It is expected in the October 2013 timeframe.
Aragon Research has been predicting and writing about the intersection of UC/UCC with social collaboration and business processes. In fact, an overarching focus has been the workplace, with people at the center. People need collaboration tools in the context of the processes they work in and how they want to interact. The new focus for Siemens is to move in this direction, allowing users to better engage and interact with internal and external participants in the context of business processes, in real-time and asynchronously in a more natural and intuitive fashion.
This vision is not entirely new. We wrote previously about Citrix adding real-time collaboration to its social platform Podio in What Enterprises Should Learn From Citrix Adding Real-time To Podio. Other unified communications and collaboration vendors such as Cisco, IBM and Microsoft are moving towards this direction. Business applications vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Salesforce are moving there adding social collaboration and real-time in the context of business applications and processes. Also, newer emerging vendors such as MangoSpring with MangoApps are focusing on the intersection of social, real-time and business processes as well.
The promise of UC and its current iteration in UCC has never been fully realized. Project Ansible is a step towards truly unifying communications and collaboration with a unified user experience utilizing emerging web technologies. Siemens did extensive research for Ansible, including focus groups to understand user experience requirements and the utilization of an external design firm. We’re being intentionally vague on specific product details here since we are restricted from highlighting them until it’s officially announced in mid-July 2013. We will honor that, while continuing to follow Project Ansible updates and do a follow up post on specific details.
Our Take On Siemens’ Strategy
Software is not Siemens’ heritage, so major challenges will center around overall go to market, messaging and execution. Enterprises are in mixed heterogenous environments with communications, collaboration and social platforms, so Siemens will have to message clearly how they will integrate. This is a potential opportunity for Siemens to take a bold step forward around interoperability and federation. Most major vendors are either silent or incomplete with regards to interoperability.
We believe there is a short window here and Siemens needs to make this new offering and vision real for enterprises with real life business use cases and stories of where Ansible can matter to people. It has to come into the flow of how people work on a day-to-day basis and be a natural and intuitive extension. Overall, they will need to execute, but this is a bold and positive move for Siemens.