I recently went to an interactive presentation on Unified Messaging hosted at a nearby university and delivered by a major email appliance vendor. I was partially interested in products that would be pitched, but mostly I wanted to see how traditional Unified Messaging was going to compete against free Google. Actually I am investigating whether it is a good idea to take that next step with Google.
Well, I learned a lot. I learned that Google is in another category because they actually provide today’s Unified Messaging. It used to be Voice, Fax and Email combined in a single digital message delivery system and the challenge was with mobile devices. I realized things haven’t changed a whole lot with this vendor when I mentioned the importance of coordinating Blogs, Wiki’s, conferencing, IM, Twits, along with the older mediums and the vendor dodged the opportunity and confirmed that they were not into Cloud Computing. In fact the main value point that they tried to push was a more effective way to respond to E-Discovery requests, actually the presentation felt a lot like Washington politician’s pitching the politics of fear.
I have held off from turning over Identity information to Google with the justification that it is better that I know where our communication data resides. And I did not want to have to explain what data harvesting meant to my constituents. But my greatest need is for an Identity Management System to provide a more flexible way to allow my users to collaborate. My Active Directory groups are never going to take me there. I’m talking about ID grouping where the user is in control, like why FaceBook is so successful. And I don’t have $ and Sys Admins to throw at the problem. That is why I may finally go to the Google side.