UC or collaboration?

And what does it mean for IT?

Unified Communications (UC) and collaboration can often be confused with one another. For sure, there are overlaps, and stakeholders often fail to draw a distinction. But is there one, and should IT teams care?

The reason it’s important to differentiate UC and collaboration is to avoid overlapping functionality and to get the most from your valuable budget. As more solutions become bundled, the lines between UC and collaboration blur.

The differences between UC and collaboration

The main reason why the two become blurred is the way that users interact with the platforms. For instance, email is a communication tool that facilitates dialogue between different people. But the way emails are transmitted clearly brackets it as a communication tool, because it’s an outbound message send as opposed to fostering any real collaboration.

By contrast, collaboration is an environment in which users work together towards a specific outcome or project. This can be a finance team working with legal and compliance to plan for an audit, or corporate management working together on different iterations of a business plan. Sending emails back and forth with edits risks overlapping changes, and is a sub-optimal way of reaching the objective.

Working in a cloud-based collaboration environment such as Microsoft Teams or Google Workspaces enables users to make edits in real time, and to tag other group members for input or approval. The key distinction with this mode of working is that communication can take place without collaboration, but not vice versa.

What does this mean for IT?

This is not to make a case for collaboration tools over communication tools, it is to point out the differences and advantages of both. Delving deeper into both types of tool will help IT support the business needs in the most efficient way possible.

As the default communication platform for many organisations, UC is on the “business critical” level. If it goes down, the whole company’s productivity can be negligible until services are restored. As a result, the back-end of a UC architecture often comprises either sole or multi-vendor UC platforms, private branch exchange, endpoint devices and peripherals, communication gateways, and various control units.

▶️ Read more about UC in this section of the MYREDFORT Community, for all the insights and tools you need to know to adopt, or refine, your UC architecture.

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