The COVID-19 pandemic proved challenging for IT teams to ensure the right unified communications, or UC, and collaboration tools supported effective communication between employees and external partners. This was largely due to many enterprise-grade collaboration tools not being built from the ground up to interoperate with competing products.
Over time, the demand for cross-collaboration tool interoperability became too big for UC vendors to ignore. Thus, they began offering ways to communicate across different platforms for an improved end-user experience. However, since interoperability is a largely bolted-on and new feature on most collaboration platforms, there are some interoperability challenges to consider.
First, users that take advantage of UC and collaboration interoperability will likely notice that only some functions will be available when communicating outside of their vendor environment. In many cases, only the basics, such as private chat and voice/video calling, will be functional. This includes video calls made by certified, third-party vendor voice/video hardware.
Moreover, the steps required by end users to accomplish cross-tool interoperability may be more complicated than expected. For example, users are prompted to manually enter a relatively long conference ID and passcode into a video conference service, as opposed to simply logging in and having that information pre-populated prior to the meeting.
Additionally, the process of setting up cross-collaboration interoperability requires several steps be taken within the management interfaces of those collaboration platforms. This calls for administration expertise for both products -- skills that may not be readily available in-house.
UC and collaboration interoperability has been evolving steadily over the past 12 to 18 months. More progress toward dismantling interoperability challenges is to come and is needed for communications of all types to be transmitted with ease across all platforms.
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