The Brookside Group, LLC
  The Telecom Consultant Bulletin
Insights, Viewpoints & Facts
from Telecom's Influencer Community

Produced by The Brookside Group
  January 2011

This Month's Theme:
Unified Communications (UC)
A Major Consulting Opportunity

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Regardless of how you define or perceive Unified Communications (UC), this industry craze seems to clearly represent a long-term market opportunity for independent telecom, IT and business process consultants.


Enterprise interest in and adoption of UC solutions are increasing. The UC vendor solution landscape is expanding. And, UC market size projections are in the $ billions.


Before moving forward with or evolving their UC solutions, enterprise and SMB organizations (across all verticals) need to better understand:

  • The benefits and cost savings/ROI associated with integrating real-time communications (IM, presence, telephony, conferencing) with non-real-time communications (unified messaging) to improve the productivity and efficiency of specific business processes;
  • Current barriers to deploying UC solutions, such as cost, complexity, and network capabilities;
  • Today's and tomorrow's UC vendor landscape, including non-traditional communication suppliers;
  • The interoperability between and among UC solutions, business applications and current systems in place; and,
  • The planning required to assess, compare and determine the most effective multi-vendor UC migration strategy.

Each of these requirements is what knowledgeable, independent 'UC consultants' can bring to their current and prospective clients. Rather than being pushed into UC by vendors, the end-user community may increasingly look to pull insight and recommendations from UC consultants to guide their UC decision making and investment.

The purpose of this UC-themed bulletin is not to define, assess or project the UC market  (there is plenty of expert literature on this subject). Our purpose is to provide additional insight and justification to consultants for investing in UC consulting services, and to UC vendors for informing and supporting UC consultants.

 We are therefore pleased to provide you with the perspective and insight of a leading UC consultant, Mr. Marty Parker (UniComm Consulting and Unified Communications Strategies), and new market intelligence from Brookside's recently completed 2010 Telecom Consulting Market Study. 


Happy reading!



Mick Sawka

The Brookside Group

Consultants' Market Views

Unified Communications - A Major Consulting Opportunity

by Marty Parker, UniComm Consulting

Unified Communications is a "sea change" for enterprise communications the likes of which we have not seen for decades, perhaps rivaled only by the emergence of the mobile smart phone.  This means that over a period of time, say about 15 years, the 'mainframe' model of the PBX and IP PBX will be replaced by distributed software oriented architecture (SOA) models of IP end points (PCs, Netbooks, tablets, smart phones and all their successors) connected to application-relevant servers, on-premise or in the cloud.  Andy Grove's great book, Only The Paranoid Survive, describes how this happened in the computing industry; we can now see the same patterns in communications solutions, known as UC.


The scope of this change is the reason that we at (an industry information and service site) define UC as, "Communications integrated to optimize business processes."   The emphasis is on how the new communications tools of UC will change business processes and results, not on the cleverness of the technology itself.  Some powerful changes occur simply by providing powerful  new tools to the users, who naturally find the best ways to work.  Examples of this are the massive shifts away from (IP) PBX-based telephone calls (down to 3 billion per day in North America in 2009) to cell phone calls (4 billion) to e-mail (50 billion) and instant messaging/IM (46 billion) or to Facebook chats (1 billion).  We call this type of change UC-U, for User productivity.  These examples also show that the scope of UC goes far beyond VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, the new function of an IP PBX).


A much more valuable shift occurs when businesses realize that UC can be built into their business processes to change the workflows, revenues, margins and profits.  These process improvements, which we call UC-B for Business process changes, usually proceed one process at a time, in a series of 6-month to 9-month projects, continuing over a number of years' time, not just one purchase each 10 years as is typical of the PBX market.   The most relevant analogy is the growth of call centers to contact and business centers over the past 15+ years; almost one-third of the PBX market is now driven by contact center requirements.  UC-B applications use many of the same concepts (workflows, contact management, call routing with presence, etc.) and similar tools (software integration to data bases and business applications) but reach across a much broader number of processes and employees in the enterprise.  There are now hundreds of UC case studies to prove this is possible, and the top UC applications and the related justifications and ROI are well defined.   For details, visit the UC Resources section of


So, what does this mean to you as Consultants?  In a word, "Opportunity."   The opportunity is to stake out a leadership position with your clients on the UC topic, then convert that to actionable, revenue projects when each client is ready.  Build your expertise by becoming well-informed on the case studies and applications as suggested above.  Then, propose engagements to assist your clients in reviewing their business processes to find the places where communication 'hot spots' (delays, errors, rework or waste) are occurring and help them to define the new UC solutions that will eliminate or mitigate those costly problem areas.  I can assure you this is a real business - we're in our fourth very successful year doing only UC at UniComm Consulting.  We wish you great success - the market is big enough for all of us.

 Your feedback is welcome at

Brookside's Supporting Market Intelligence

Unified Communications - A Major Consulting Opportunity

Brookside's 2010 Telecom Consulting Market Study Findings

Brookside's recently completed 2010 Telecom Consulting Market Study reveals the following about consultants' UC perceptions, interests and activities.

  • Unified Communications was identified as the #1 technology/trend/application growth driver for telecom consulting over the next 2 years (up from #2 in 2009); representing a 25% increase in the number of consultants selecting UC as the #1 growth driver.
  • Collaborative technologies (video, audio and web conferencing) was the #2 growth driver.
  • There was a 90% increase in consultants saying that Improving Communications-Enabled Business Processes is one of the top three deliverables consultants are hired for.
  • UC-related recommendations greatly contributed to the 8% increase in the total sales dollar value of consultants' recommendations to their clients in 2010.
  • 5% of industry consultants now classify themselves as Business Process consultants.
  • Among consultants active in UC-related engagements, Unified Communications Strategies is the fourth most regularly accessed/read industry web site/trade journal (the top three are: Network World, No Jitter and Information Week).

Your questions or feedback are welcome at

Consultants' Market Fact: Did You Know . . .

Demand for telecom consulting services is growing again. Based on annual revenue, telecom consulting in the U.S. grew 3.8% in 2010 and is projected to grow 9.3% in 2011.

Source: The Brookside Group's 2010 Telecom Consulting Market Study

Market News, Resources & Events

  • Telecom Consultants Insights: 1Q2011 - Participate in Brookside's quarterly Telecom Consultant Insights Survey. The 1Q2011 survey focuses on TEM as a growing market opportunity for consultants. Click HERE to access the survey and receive a summary of the study's key findings.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

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