They’re as regular as the “first cuckoo” letters in The Times or a Nicolas Anelka transfer request: companies that believe that they have solved the conundrum of integrating a range of enterprise applications.
This time round it’s Alcatel that has built on its Unified Communications product to introduce the world of intra-enterprise communication.
Alcatel’s Unified Interaction Management aims to extend call-centre technology to the enterprise. It’s the type of thing enterprises have been crying out for - a way to pull together a disparate range of communication devices onto a single IP-based network and so improve the way voice calls are handled.
The company’s vision comes from fusing its call-centre applications (through its Genesys subsidiary) with its IP networking expertise, based on the OmniSwitch range.
According to David Buckley, a product line director with Alcatel, this holy bonding is now possible thanks to the new-found maturity of XML, which has led to better integration of web services. “XML has enabled us to integrate a range of service much easier.”
Alcatel’s plan is great in theory but there are too many imponderables. It claims there is huge demand for such technology from users, citing a Gartner survey that showed two-thirds of workers wanted caller-ID or other relevant information with every phone call. But, of course, there’s a world of difference between what employees want when they’re filling in a survey and what they want when they’re being harassed at work.
Even more unsettling is the marketing message that Alcatel has chosen to spread the word. The company has decided that a worker who’s happy with his IP network should be designated an ‘ippy’ and has released the Ippy Manifesto to support this belief.
Now that John Lydon’s out of the jungle, it might be time to remind Alactel of one of his many pearls of wisdom; “Never trust an ‘ippy,” he once asserted. Indeed.