Transcript of comments by Jeff Raikes, President, Microsoft Business Division
The Role of Office Communications Server 2007 and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in the Workplace
March 7, 2007
JEFF RAIKES: Hello. I’m Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s Business Division, and I want to share an exciting vision of business communications. Within three years, more than 100 million people will be able to make phone calls from Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, and other Microsoft Office Systems applications; and customers will be able to gain this value with VoIP solutions that are half the cost of what they are today.
Let’s look at the past to set the context for this vision. During the past two decades, we’ve witnessed dramatic changes to the way we do business. There is phenomenal expansion in workplace communications and technology. Enterprises are truly global, expanding their operations worldwide. Customers and partners expect 24 by 7 service. And ultimately we’ve raised the bar in worker productivity.
While this communications revolution has been embraced by organizations and their people, it has also created some new challenges. Although people can communicate and collaborate with coworkers and customers in more ways, with more devices, from more places, few of these communications technologies work together.
Microsoft is investing substantially in a software platform and in partnerships to solve these problems and ultimately deliver on the vision I described.
We’re announcing the public beta version of Microsoft Office Communications Server, and Office Communicator 2007. These powerful solutions unite the way we communicate at work, and while on the road, into a single set of tools and services to deliver increased value, and reduced costs.
Today’s challenges will continue to grow until e-mail, phone calls, instant messaging and conferencing come together, and we get out of today’s communications potholes, telephone tag, voicemail jail, or looking up and then dialing a colleague’s office number, cell number, home number, only to leave a message.
Software will unite today’s disconnected communications. It will make communications simple, more affordable, and more effective.
Office Communications Server 2007 builds on the strength of its predecessor, Live Communication Server, adding new ways for people to connect via IM, and collaborate with audio and video conferences.
And for the first time, Office Communications Server integrates VoIP with other business communications, without ripping and replacing existing telephony equipment. Businesses can continue to use existing desk phones, but access them from any Microsoft Office application. Think of the possibilities: If a worker needs to collaborate on a report, he can with a simple click, and without even picking up a phone, instantly speak to a colleague from within Office applications. Using built-in presence technology, he can see how a colleague prefers to be contacted, and whether that person is available, and then click to communicate via the best method for that situation.
And an independent report found the sound quality of Office Communications Server voice over IP calls are as good or better than leading VoIP providers.
The implications are profound: For those people freed from voicemail jail and telephone tag, critical projects won’t grind to a halt or slow down. They won’t waste time calling three different numbers, or checking six different inboxes. Instead, these communications empowered people will make better decisions faster, enabling their companies to outpace the competition.
Just as significantly as I mentioned earlier, the efficiencies that businesses will realize will cost less than today’s corporate telephony system.
Yes, these are bold predictions, but the communications revolution is far from over. The future holds many more advances: communications technologies that work together rather than at odds with each other; communications technologies that people can manage and control; communications technologies with names that you know and trust; communications technologies unified by Microsoft.