Comparison of Unified and Integrated Messaging - Administration
Unified messaging breaks down the barriers between various forms of communication, such as voice, mail, email, and fax machines. Read on to learn more about the concept and the ways in which this technology has evolved.
So, why stick with uniﬁed messaging if all these problems occur with the directory and the information store? Two very important reasons exist. First, you have just as many— although different—problems with integrated messaging.
With integrated messaging, you have the following:
Separate message stores
Client connection to both e-mail and voice mail (VM) systems
Required VM address book when composing VM for an e-mail client
No shared distribution lists
With uniﬁed messaging, you have the following:
Same message store
Client connected to the e-mail system only, but it can connect to Unity to use the Telephone Record and Playback (TRaP) feature for recording and playing back messages
E-mail address book available when composing a voice messages for an e-mail client
Shared distribution lists
Figure 1-3 shows the difference between uniﬁed messaging and integrated messaging. With uniﬁed messaging, the uniﬁed messaging server provides services to subscribers by becoming a part of the messaging environment where the subscribers reside. With integrated messaging, the integrated messaging servers become a second messaging infrastructure on top of the existing messaging infrastructure. The client then must connect to both messaging infrastructures to experience “uniﬁed” messaging.
Figure 1-3.Unified Messaging Versus Integrated Messaging
With integrated messaging, the focus moves off the messaging store onto the client, to unify the different types of messages. As a result, integrated messaging systems typically have a challenge in providing reliable notiﬁcation services, such as lighting message waiting indicators, on a timely basis.
Challenges with Uniﬁed Messaging in an Organization
As with IP telephony, most businesses, especially Fortune 500 businesses, strongly desire uniﬁed messaging. For most organizations, moving toward uniﬁed messaging requires a lot of effort. This is of particular concern because of the legacy structure of most IS organizations and their prevalent separation of voice and data (for both technology and the responsibility of managing it). For this reason, UM may not only be challenging to deploy, but it also could be entirely impossible to deploy. One interesting thing about this issue is that it has nothing to do with technical challenges or limitations of the product. Instead, it is mostly organizational. Many organizational issues arise in preparing a given company for uniﬁed messaging (although some technical challenges might exist for the organization’s network and messaging infrastructure, such as readiness requirements and capacity planning needs). So, without understanding that a given organization’s IS structure might prevent the deployment of uniﬁed messaging, little progress will be made in trying to deploy a uniﬁed messaging solution such as Unity within some companies.
NOTE Lack of organizational alignment toward UM is often a primary reason that larger companies choose to deploy Unity in a large-scale, voice mail-only conﬁguration ﬁrst and then deploy UM later: They want time to take advantage of Unity’s technology and features, as well as the time to align organizationally to manage UM. This is ﬁne and doable, but it also incurs a lot of extra work. A lot more work is involved because you must design a dedicated solution for Unity and then also take into consideration how you will migrate to UM. Occasionally, a migration to UM means moving data (subscriber information and possibly messages as well) off the voice messaging-only messaging systems to a newer version of the messaging system (such as migrating from Ex55 to E2K, or from Exchange to Domino). For more information, see the chapters in Part II.
After the organizational challenges are addressed, the technical challenges can be addressed. The organizational challenges actually might take considerably more effort than the technical challenges; it is very important to understand the issues surrounding organizational alignment—or the lack thereof. The following sections discuss the organizational issues that you should address before you deploy a uniﬁed messaging solution.
This chapter is from Cisco Unity Deployment and Solutions Guide by Todd Stone (Addison-Wesley, 2004, ISBN: 1587051184). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.