Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New ...Document Transcript
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 0
Table of Contents
1. Section 1: A New Business Communications Era Emerges
1.2. The Replacement Phase
1.3. The Strategic Value Phase
1.4. Telecommunications Management in Flux
1.5. It’s A New World of Communications
1.6. Web Services Opens Communications To IT Developers
1.7. Strategic Alignment of Communications to Business Process
1.8. Open IT Programming Interfaces For Communications
1.9. Migration Strategy For Developers
1.10. Communications-Enabled Business Process: Solving the N-Squared Problem
1.11. A New Development Environment Emerges
2. Section 2: SOA, Web Services and SIP Revolutionize Communications
2.1. The Perfect IT Storm
2.2. The Schism: Internet and Web Impart Disruptive Forces on
Telecommunications Networks and Service-Creation
2.3. Superplatforms and Applistructure, Commercial Implementation of SOA and
2.4. SOA and Web Services Defined
2.5. The Growth of Web Services
3. Section 3: How Developers Can Profit From The New Business Process
3.1. The Upside
3.2. Customer Facing Organizations
3.3. A More Competitive World
4. Section 4: Summary
About Nick Lippis
About Lippis Consulting
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 1
Section 1: A New Business Communications Era Emerges
The IP telephony market is entering its third level of maturity. The first phase was
one of experimentation of Voice over IP (VoIP) transport and proprietary
communication signaling built on a Personal Computing (PC) platform. This
experimentation phase led to a stable and reliable IP telephony platform built upon a
hardened Linux foundation. For some suppliers, IP telephony solutions are now at
the same reliability, availability and performance levels of traditional time division
multiplexing (TDM) telephony solutions. With the design center of IP telephony
hardware based upon a traditional computing model, cost and performance has
followed Moores Law, i.e., doubling performance with 50% cost reduction over
eighteen months. Cost benefits have propelled IP telephony solutions up on the
adoption curve with 50% of all new phones shipped now being IP phones.
1.2 The Replacement Phase
The second phase of IP telephony is largely a replacement for legacy voice services
with favorable return on investment. This second phase has offered IT management
the ability to deploy a new enterprise voice solution with 15% to 50% savings,
depending on installed base. Thus the IP telephony market currently offers
economic efficiency and mobility as its key value proposition. But the current phase
offers little strategic value to an organization.
1.3 The Strategic Value Phase
The third phase of IP telephony is based upon a value proposition of strategic value
vs. economic efficiency. Two new industry developments are propelling this new
phase. First, the rapid adoption of a protocol called SIP or Session Initiation
Protocol. SIP, in short, standardizes the signaling of calls or communications
between different types of devices/end-points from different vendors such as IP
phones, IM clients, soft phones, smartphones, etc. Perhaps more importantly, SIP
also simplifies the writing of communication applications. The second development is
the introduction of web services to write business applications, which incorporate
communications. SIP combined with web services is enabling the linking of business
process with communications, delivering strategic value. In short, web services and
SIP are empowering IT to automate business process by easily adding
communications into that process, the result being high strategic value to business
process. Thus the third phase of IP telephony is called the strategic value phase.
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1.4 Telecommunications Management In Flux
The implications of the strategic value phase are nothing short of business
transformational. Before we dive into the third phase, an important organizational
“cultural” dynamic has been occurring and will accelerate as IP telephony enters into
this strategic value stage. Since IP telephony solutions are deployed over Ethernet
switches and routers while communication managers offer signaling services and
telephony features on standard computing platforms, organizations have had to re-
think the roles and responsibilities of IT and telecommunication departments. IT
management is able to easily incorporate server-based telephony platforms into its
existing server and storage management and operations. Further, since VoIP travels
over Ethernet switches and routers, network managers have naturally taken over the
responsibility of design, support and maintenance of the IP telephony transport
Many organizations have found that the skills and resources of traditional
telecommunications managers are increasingly being narrowed to that of dial plan
design and service provider management. Thus many telecommunication managers
and directors focused on transport management have been either re-trained or are in
advisory roles to IT management or business division managers. In short, the role
of the telecommunication director or manager is in flux. Enter the third phase of IP
telephony and web services, where IT management will be empowered to develop
applications without the need to understand complex communication protocols and
you have a further diminishing value of the telecommunication manager’s role in
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1.5 It’s A New World Of Communications
With IP telephony solutions being economically viable, reliable, stable and available
nearly all enterprises are either in a planning or deployment posture. There is no
alternative to IP telephony other than a delay strategy. An enterprise could wait
until legacy systems are fully depreciated or until their TDM system is so old that
support and replacement parts have diminished and are no longer available. The
entire IT vendor community including network equipment and software suppliers plus
service providers will increasingly offer new products and services with deep IP
telephony hooks and features, increasing value to IP telephony deployments. The IP
telephony deployment decision has transitioned from one of should I deploy to
when I deploy.
With the convergence of voice and data at the network layer a fait accompli, the
entire IT industry has started to shift its focus and investments toward tightly linking
communications to business process. In short, convergence is moving up the stack
to the application layer. There are strong economic drivers fueling Internet and web
technologies, best practices and rapid agreement on standards. For example, OASIS
(Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) is a
catalyst for web services, as a not-for-profit international consortium that drives the
development, convergence, and adoption of web services standards more than any
other organization. Founded in 1993, OASIS, backed by the World Trade
Organization (WTO), has more than 4,000 participants representing over 600
organizations and individual members in 100 countries.
1.6 Web Services Opens Communications To IT Developers
With web services being the new programming interface for IP telephony, communications
programming will no longer be the province of an elite and relatively closed community of
programmers. In fact, a general purpose IT developer with web services skills will soon
be able to program communications just as well as those with years of communications
programming experience. This new emphasis on business communication applications
based upon web services and SIP will further shift IP telephony architecture, design and
purchase decisions toward IT management and business stake holders and away from
telecommunications management and communications developers.
Business communications applications means a development focus on business process
alignment with communications. Business process is either structured or unstructured.
For example, structured business process could simply be the levels and number of
signatures required to open a purchase order, or the human resources life cycle that
tracks an employee from hire to retire. The links of a supply chain or levels of a
distribution system and the communications which control them are structured business
process with strong cause and effect consequences. The hundreds of e-mails, voice calls
and instant messages per day which most knowledge workers respond to is a less
structured form of business process, but it is process. Office productivity communication
flows, be they voice calls, instant messages, voice mail, faxes, e-mail, conferencing, etc.,
are all examples of unstructured business process. When you’re communicating you’re
engaged in either a structured or unstructured business process. Unfortunately,
unstructured means a loose coupling or alignment between communications and business
process. This is about to change.
At the epicenter of both structured and unstructured business process is
collaboration or the ability for employees, partners and suppliers to move work flow
and satisfy customers. The movement of information over converged IP networks
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has been a boon to corporate productivity. Nearly every corporation in the global
economy has benefited from IP networks as they have enabled the extracting of
delay, both human and system, in business process. In business process it’s not
just humans who have to engage another human in communication to move work
product forward; it’s the inability of humans to react to situations in microseconds.
Communications-enabled business process can. For example, a triggered event that
automatically engages the right personnel or applications or an alert that
automatically puts in motion a business process to address a situation is
communications-enabled business process. Communications-enabled business
process can be event driven with an ability to sense a business scenario, which
triggers an event and the ability for the enterprise to respond in real time, if
Deeply embedding communication into the business process offers the following
value: improves knowledge worker productivity, enables the business to respond in
near real time to situations, and enables Business Communication-Activity Monitoring
or (BCAM). Creating a business application enabled by communication for situational
context is at the heart of IP telephony’s third phase. A rules-driven communication
environment, which is tightly linked into business process, will enable enterprises to
realize strategic value from IP telephony solutions.
So what are the killer applications? The answer is there is no single killer
application, but many smaller, customized applications that in their totality are the
killer application. Many enterprises have started their own application development
efforts by extracting delay associated with unstructured business process with click-
to-call and click-to-conference tools while in the process aligning communications
with business needs. Just like IT focused on automating structured business process
such as transaction processing over the past forty years, removing delay to organize
knowledge workers into conferences will be one of the first applications to be
automated and integrated into business process. The ability to improve
communications between organizations and remove impediments in the value chain
is of high strategic value to most concerns.
1.7 Strategic Alignment of Communications to Business Process
There is a strategic alignment of communications to business process taking place.
Re-enforced corporate branding, enhancement of customer service and improved
internal communications are all options to this new alignment. Corporations do not
have to re-engineer business process to reap the rewards of communications-
enabled applications though.
Fandango, one of the largest US online and phone movie ticketing services, needed a
voice communication system that differentiated it from its main competitor
Moviefone. IP telephony allowed Fandango to easily experiment with its primary
customer interface, the phone. Fandango tried more than 30 options for background
music, prompts and recorded voices before finally settling on a theme built around a
classical guitar piece, a fandango, so apropos. The system allows Fandango to
rapidly tailor and swap in new local welcome messages and movie highlights, making
it an extension of the online brand.
Communication-enhanced business process is allowing the enterprise to realize its
profit drivers and corporate initiatives, whether those initiatives are to increase
customer satisfaction, grow revenues, engage in inter-company market
development, extend brand, expand operations globally or improve productivity.
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1.8 Open IT Programming Interfaces For Communications
Just like mainframes gave way to mini computers, which gave way to PCs connected
on LANs, the PBX has given way to IP telephony. Mainframes were expensive and
hard to program which extended the time for application development. Mainframe-
based IT application development projects were often late, over budget and didn’t
meet business objectives due to their complicated programming interfaces.
Client/server-based applications were easier to write and often developed by IT
within business units. The result of this shift from centralized to distributed
application development was quicker time to market and application development
being conducted closer to the business which increased the project’s potential for
meeting business requirements. Clearly the client-server model has given way to
internet technologies and increasingly, web services.
IP telephony is being folded into, and over time will be controlled by, web services.
With SIP and web services business communications applications are being written
by IT departments tightly linking communications to business process. The change
in programming interfaces to one that is friendly to IT departments will both hasten
application development and link communication applications to business
stakeholders. With programming access available to a larger developer community,
rapid innovation and creativity of new communications-based business applications
will also flourish as the cycle of proprietary to open has shown before.
Transition Toward Intelligent Business Communications
Hardware-based value Software- and services-based value
Specialized communications software General purpose IT-based applications
Economic efficiency motivation Strategic alignment of business process
Communications Conversation-based Business
Communications specific programming General purpose web services
Telecommunication departments IT organizations
Silo communications applications Integrated communications-enabled
With IT empowered to mold, shape and inject communications into business process,
IT can play a major role with executive management in constructing an agile and
customer-facing corporation. Communications-enabled business applications add a
new dimension to a variety of business related activities including person-person,
system-person, and system-system communication- driven activities. Businesses
with communications-enablement will differentiate themselves from other non-
communications-enabled businesses. Daily decisions are made by executives based
upon market/competition/disaster events. Executive decisions put an organization in
motion and often result in a series of downstream decisions, facilitated by the
enterprise’s communications infrastructure. The more efficient and linked the
communications system is with the business the more agile the enterprise.
Unfortunately, businesses could not realize a 360 degree communications view of
their business until now. Communication will be driven by the rules of the business
in this new world.
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1.9 Migration Strategy For Developers
IT and now the communications industry often transitions from proprietary to open
programming interfaces. The days of vertically integrated proprietary
communication application development are limited. Providing programmers
separate layers to mix and match will be the basis of a transition or migration plan.
Communication Application Programming Interfaces or APIs are destined to be
common with IT development practices. This does not mean to say that TSAPI,
JTAPI, CTI, etc., will disappear, but their use will fade over time as developers
embrace web services and SIP as the primary way to write applications which link
communications with business applications. Developers should be able to continue
to use familiar APIs, mix and match APIs with communication web services or
transition to communication-based web services altogether. The underpinning
communication capabilities should be reflected through either API set consistently.
Communication APIs and their derivative application works must support a higher
level of abstraction above them. Migration and transitional developer support will be
the basis of competition between IP telephony equipment suppliers such as Avaya,
Cisco, Nortel, Siemens, Alcatel, NEC, Mitel, etc. While migration is important to the
communications developer, the new business application developers should not be
forced to deal with the complexities of telecommunication networks and systems.
Some developers may have the view that today’s telephony technology allows for a great
deal of flexibility. For example, developers can write programs that turn calls into e-mail
and/or audio files. Developers can offer contact center agents the ability to communicate
with customers via interactive desktops too. But to enable these communication services
requires developers to cross communication silos of e-mail, v-mail, chat, instant
messaging, etc., all with their own set of complexities. IP converges application silos onto
one network, but the application integration is still too complex and brittle. To cross these
silos developers often find themselves with an “n-squared” problem to write to and most
importantly to maintain. The “n-squared” problem is unsuitable for use as a foundation
for business-critical processes.
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1.10 Communications-Enabled Business Process: Solving the N-Squared
One can articulate to knowledge workers and executives what the new world of
communications-enabled business process will be like, but it’s difficult to
conceptualize. The value will become clearer once SIP becomes more embedded.
SIP will go a long way toward solving the n-squared problem for developers. SIP
simplifies multi-modal sessions, meaning communications between different end-
points such as hard IP phones, softphones, IM clients, mobile phones, smartphones,
etc. SIP will set up and tear down communication sessions with a single set of
primitives. When you reach out to someone, SIP tells you which media that person
prefers to use to communicate. For example, Jane needs to communicate with Joe
and Sally to address an important customer issue. Jane requests a session with Joe
and Sally. Joe is on a smartphone while Sally is in a conference call. Sally responds
to Jane’s request via an IM and specifies IM as her preference while Joe is available
on his smartphone. The session takes place with Joe on his smartphone, Sally on IM
and Jane on her softphone. Multi-modal access is powerful because it extends
reachability, but it must also be simple to use and access to be useful.
This kind of flexibility to reach people is but one example of how communications-
enabled business applications will increase productivity and customer satisfaction.
On a larger scale, SIP will enable agents in contact centers to reach people
throughout the entire enterprise based upon rules of engagement. More on this
From the above example, SIP enables seamless connectivity of networking elements
and end-points so that both developers and more importantly employees need not
be concerned with individual nuances of each communication silo. SIP does make
networks flatter and more distributed, eliminating discontinuities between
communication silos, but it still requires SIP developers to understand the complex
behavior of telecommunications networks and systems. To gain the value of SIP,
end-points must be SIP end-points meaning that SIP is a forward migration strategy.
SIP is a major underpinning for communications-enablement. But it is not the only
underpinning because of the need to provide backward migration of an embedded
base of systems to gracefully migrate towards SIP IP telephony at an enterprise’s
pace. There are still many features only available through traditional communication
resources. This is another key differential point between IP telephony suppliers.
Some suppliers will expose all communication resources, be they SIP features or non
SIP-based features, across a SIP or TDM network to the business developer, without
their needing to know the intricacies or transactional behavior of the individual
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In the reality of today’s mixed communications world, a SIP developer can use it to
expose features, but this requires a SIP-skilled developer. With web services exposure of
SIP features, any IT developer, not just an IP/SIP knowledgeable developer, can utilize
SIP features without knowing how SIP, the protocol, works. In short, web services
abstracts and hides SIP and other communication protocols into a set of common
primitives such as make a call, hang up call, transfer call, conference call, etc., so the
developer does not need to know the underlying languages and their associated syntax.
1.11 A New Development Environment Emerges
In the 1990s data communications was accomplished with a wide range of protocols such
as Appletalk, IPX, Netbious, DecNet, OSI, Banyan Vines, TCP/IP, et al. These protocols all
had their own APIs as well. Today communications have a wide range of protocols and
APIs available to developers such as TSAPI, JTAPI, CVLAN, ASAI, CTI 1 and CTI 2. Over
time these APIs will both be available from and give way to SIP and web services-based
constructs such as XML, Java, SOAP, SIP, SIMPLE, etc., just like all data communication
protocols gave way to TCP/IP.
A Shift In Communication Application Development Tools
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In five years, today’s valuable skills such as programming ISDN interfaces or CTI 1
and 2 coding will become less valuable as SIP and web services become the
dominant set of developer tools. Granted, these software tools will make connecting
business process easier, but how do you turn this into something useful? E-mail’s
evolution offers a model. Once e-mail was used primarily between scientists and
academics to quickly share information and collaborate. In the 1980s, corporations
found that e-mail could hasten their business process too by improving productivity
well before the internet took off in the mid 90s. With the internet and e-commerce
boom, system generated e-mail became integrated into transaction processing by
providing buyers confirmation of their purchases and shipment tracking information.
E-mail transitioned from a person-to-person communications medium to a person-to-
system and even a system-to-system communications channel.
Communications-enabled business process may follow a similar path albeit with a
deeper set of multiple communications modes such as e-mail, IM, chat, voice, v-
mail, conferencing, etc. Most think of communications as a means for person to
person interaction, but in a communications-enabled business the business process
may initiate a call when an exception and intervention is required. People and
processes will be made more real-time thanks to communications. To facilitate
these different types of flows, a rules-based platform is required.
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Section 2: SOA, Web Services & SIP Revolutionize Communications:
2.1 The Perfect IT Storm
IP networks and web services permit telecommunication-oriented services and business
application-oriented services to blend together in ways never before possible in support of
simplifying human activities, enriching human collaboration and optimizing business
processes. Conditions are right for the development community at large to deliver on the
long-awaited promise of innovation over IP. This innovation will not come just from the
few thousands proficient in CTI, but rather from millions of developers already skilled in
coding Java and .NET applications and the business analysts who will compose
applications using Services orientated modeling tools and Business Process Execution
2.2 The Schism: Internet and Web Impart Disruptive Forces on
Telecommunications Networks and Service-Creation
Considerable advances made in service-creation efficiencies for telecommunications
networks through the early 1990’s were stopped in their tracks just following the advent
of the web browser. In the decade spanning1995 to 2005, as the on-line Internet
population expanded from a minority to a majority, the focus and capital investment of
the telecommunications industry turned to the network. First telecommunication
providers diverted internet dial-up traffic off the public circuit-switched network
infrastructure onto a separate IP network for internet. Subsequently telecommunication
providers invested in making the IP infrastructure reliable enough to support basic voice
services. During this time, billions spent on applications creation efficiency went by the
wayside as service innovation ground to a halt.
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2.3 Superplatforms and Applistructure, Commercial Implementations of SOA
and Web Services
While the telecommunication service providers were busy with basic network build
out, the enterprise market was focused on integrating web technologies into their
portfolio of corporate IT services. The cost of application integration and
maintenance consumes as much as 60% of enterprise IT budgets. The IT vendor
community is serving up a suite of tools to address the most difficult and costly
aspects of an IT organization, application integration across different systems to
address business process and flows. Companies such as Microsoft, BEA, IBM,
Oracle/Siebel/PeopleSoft, Open Source and SAP offer what has come to be known as
superplatforms or Applistructure. Applistructure is the merger of enterprise
application and infrastructure technology. Superplatforms are the next generation of
application servers, which provide a high degree of cohesiveness in that common
tools provide access to development, security, management, operations, etc.
There is a thick vs. thin dichotomy brewing: Superplatforms versus lighter-weight
Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) frameworks. Both are based upon Service Oriented
Architectures in support of web services. ESB is a standards-based integration
platform that combines messaging, web services, and data transformation to reliably
connect and coordinate the interaction of significant numbers of diverse applications
across extended enterprises with transactional integrity. Thick or thin, it is the
spiraling cost and inflexibility of integrating disparate best-of-breed solutions into
end-to-end business processes which are driving organizations towards consolidating
their software applications, infrastructure and systems management.
Within the enterprise, service creation efficiencies are driven by:
1. Dominant business applications
2. Infrastructure software vendors,
3. Large enterprises best practices,
4. Commerce-oriented standards organizations such as OASIS and W3C (World
Wide Web Consortium).
Coming into 2006, businesses are prioritizing growth and new value creation to drive
their future technology investments and view SOA governance frameworks as a
means to achieve high ROI (Return on Investment) at ever-decreasing TCO (Total
Cost of Ownership). For the first time in the history of communications and
computing, both are aligned in service creation strategy being web services with an
SOA governance framework. This synergy will offer massive economies of scale and
application interoperability. In short, this synergy is game changing for both the
telecommunications and IT industries.
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2.4 SOA and Web Services Defined
A few definitions are in order, particularly SOA and web services. SOA or Service-
Oriented Architecture is the policies, practices and frameworks that enable
application functionality to be provided and requested as sets of services published
at a granularity relevant to the service requestor, which are abstracted away from
the implementation using a single, standards-based form of interface. SOA means
you have a platforming mentality with a well-integrated infrastructure from which to
deploy web services. SOA is an IT approach/strategy for business. SOA also means
a set of capabilities that are not tethered to the programming environment from
which they are offered.
Web Service is an application that provides a Web API, which is an application-to-
application programming interface that lets the applications communicate using XML
and the Web. The purpose of a Web API is to enable heterogeneous application
integration. Web Services support any programming language running on any
A word about the term “services”. Services are connected together using Web
Services. Services are what a business uses for some functionality. That
functionality may come as a web service, or it may not. In today’s environment, a
number of services are offered in a web services technology. But some are offered
as part of an enterprise service bus, which may or may not be web services driven.
The key is the right granularity of capability so that the developer is off-loaded from
a lot of detail, and not encumbered by the environment from which the service is
given. A service is the end-point of a connection. Also, a service has some type of
underlying computer system that supports the connection offered. The combination
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of services, internal and external to an organization, makes up a service-oriented
Web Services Technologies include:
XML (eXtensible Markup Language): This is the data format for passing messages
SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol): This is the protocol for transporting data
between the requestor of a service and the provider of the service.
WSDL (Web Services Description Language): This is the language used to describe
the Web services.
UDDI (Universal Description and Discovery of Information): This is a registry where
available services are published.
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is an approach to enterprise architecture that
abstracts IT functionality into business-oriented services. The application of SOA to
IT governance promises to provide the visibility and control necessary for IT
governance, while increasing the business agility required by today's organizations.
For enterprises to progress toward SOA governance a shift not only in technology but
thinking and behavior is required. The graphic below illustrates this point.
Many IP telephony concerns have either offered or soon will be offering application
servers that incorporate SOA and web services developer constructs to tightly link
communications and business applications. For example, a new Avaya Intelligent
Communications development platform for integration, orchestration and services-
based composition promises to enable the fusion of right-time communications into
business applications and processes.
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With IT telephony providers embracing web services and SOA architecture,
developers are empowered to provide all of the “wrap around” to address business
issues quickly through collaborative communications. This “wrap around” goes well
beyond SIP and presence, which has occupied the telecommunications industry for
some time. SIP and presence is in essence only the beginning. Consider the
requirement for a real time meeting with a group of executives. As a request is
made to organize a conference, the communications-enabled business application
will know simple but important pieces of information, such as who is on vacation and
who is not. For those not available, the communications-enabled business
application will know their alternate. Presence, the knowledge and dissemination of
one’s on-line state, is driven by personal rules. Presence will clearly be an important
piece of information that the communications-enabled business application will use in
facilitating an on-line meeting. But the business has its own rules, which could usurp
presence’s personal rules. Thus the communications-enabled business application
could call in someone on vacation or at home to address an emergency.
While SIP facilitates open interoperability between communication networks, network
elements such as gateways and media servers and end-points, it still requires
application developers to possess specialized knowledge of real-time communications
to enable new value creation. To deliver on the promise of services over IP, next
generation service delivery platforms must effectively insulate the business analysts
and application developers from the complexity of real-time communications. This is
accomplished by development platforms supporting open standards-based services
and tools that allow customers to “compose” highly differentiating business scenarios
that can evolve in real time along with their strategies.
2.5 The Growth of Web Services
Web services/SOA is a powerful force in the IT and telecommunications
communities since it addresses the entire supply chain of an enterprise by
abstracting the multitude of APIs into a standard set of programming interfaces
with SOA governed business applications. IP telephony suppliers offer real-
time communications into an SOA construct by using web services as the main
programming interface into real time communication application servers.
Bringing the right information to the right people at the right time will allow
business to be effective. Web services enable convergence and IP telephony
infrastructure consolidation to go further up the protocol stack. SIP and SIMPLE
are foundational communication-oriented protocols that will, in time, reduce the
complexity and cost of the real-time communication infrastructure, bringing
multi-modal access as part of the business process. SIP and SIMPLE are
callable services which will be available through web services interface.
Current status is that a web service for communications is at the early stage of
adoption, but promises to be variable in granularity and useful for businesses to
consume and extend. Call recording is the most popular web service for
communications today. Web services enablement are simple make call, hang
up, transfer, hold/record, etc. Click-to-call for example is a powerful tool in
financial services for power dial applications. In addition to easier
communication methods, more and more communication manager
administration and end-point configuration will be pushed down to users
allowing them to customize their communication experience. Web interfaces
allow users to easily turn features on and off.
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Conference and office productivity improvements are the current focus of new web
services features. Linking to an Outlook calendar or turning on a cellular phone
when you are out of the office are incremental productivity improvements. Click-to-
conference or on demand conference brings communications-enabled business
process via web services up to another level. Extending conference capability to
include associates, customers, partners with notification and respond starts the
linking of communications with a set of business applications. Notifying users of a
conference request with situational context increases the value even further.
Managing conference attendance increases the value of the system yet again, by
triggering an escalation mode if an attendee can’t participate.
Other examples of communications-enabled business applications through Web
Services are outbound dialing and web phone. In outbound dialing, consider the
need for a reverse 9-1-1 service. An emergency at school which requires parental
contact immediately and easily could be automated and may be in the form of e-
mail, voice mail, cellular, phone, etc. This is much more efficient than today’s dialer
campaign. With only a handful of code, developers have provided a Web phone for
their corporation which integrates their corporate directory. An employee can use a
web based softphone anywhere in the world to make calls and contact employees.
The enablement of a customer-facing organization offers a view into what is possible
with communications-enabled business process. These communications-enabled
applications are enabled by an architecture which is streamlined; one platform, one
communications manager, end point agnostic be it a sip phone, IP phone, analog or
digital phone, PDA, etc.
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But with all these advancements web service implementations can be difficult
too. Imagine a siloed application with some web services that call upon the
application’s functions. Now multiply that by “n” number of siloed applications.
You get web services, but you have a mess underneath to maintain.
The key to simplifying maintenance is a single composition platform, i.e.,
middleware that connects to a scaleable media processing infrastructure. Then
developers can take discreet parts of communication applications and re-
engineer each of those parts into functional blocks of code. From each
functional block of code a developer extends a web service, which is an XML-
based contract for its respective functional block. The Web Service contract
(WSDL) describes the methods of the functional block, such as feature-levels, in
a manner which other applications/web services can inspect, dynamically bind to
and call upon its methods/features at run time. Applications can be thought of
as one person who does everything. Web Services are like a group of people
who each perform a specific function towards a unified goal. UDDI, as
mentioned above, is a who’s-who directory in a web services world.
Web services offers the hope to make communications-enabled application
development easier to pull together people who know communications and
business process so organizations can communicate more effectively by
streamlining business process.
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 17
Section 3: How Developers Can Profit From The New Business
Communications software as a web service that can be massively consumed at a business
level without the heavy burden of CTI-style integration, provided that web service is
underpinned by an SOA, offers enormous opportunities for developers. Many of these
opportunities allow independent software vendors or ISVs to engage in strategic
relationships with executive IT management rather than tactical ones with
telecommunication managers/directors. ISVs will be empowered to link communications
to corporate databases, workflow and knowledge management software and other
resources to support business decision-making. For the first time, ISVs will be able to
contribute to a discussion on how to improve and transform what a business does and
how it does it. System Integrators and ISVs will be able to look at a business’s current
applications and determine, based on business process demands, what elements need to
be re-factored into discrete intelligent communication services. Gone are the days of
writing communication applications without the knowledge, rules and assumptions of the
While enterprises have only the “delay option” to deploy IP telephony, developers will
have no other choice but to embrace web services and SIP. For ISVs, the delay option
could be fatal. Developers will have to embrace this software only platform to move
forward. An increasing number of new services will emerge on the web services platform,
driven mainly by customer demand. The platform will be increasingly more reliable,
scalable, and secure as platform suppliers compete and increase their investments.
Programmer improvements such as drop and drag services on a developer palette in
commercially accepted service creation environments will speed development time by the
rapid use of re-usable code.
The world of IT and telecommunications service creation is pushing everything in the
direction of a SOA-based platform. For developers if you’re reluctant or slow to change,
unfortunately your business will become increasingly diminished. The enterprise
developer has already started to move in this direction and is the early adopter. IT
management is the decision maker in telecom. ISVs will increasingly need to speak their
language in order to remain relevant.
3.1 The Upside
ISVs need not despair; the platform vendors will make the transition as painless as
possible. There will be much experimentation in the new world. In fact, the velocity of
new applications will be high. The cost of software development will plummet as IP
telephony providers make simulators available to developers. No longer will developers
need to purchase expensive hardware to test and run their code. Simulators will lower the
cost barrier of entry for all developers. With a lower barrier of entry, developers will be
able to rapidly prototype solutions and enter markets.
Once an ISV is linked into a corporation’s business process, it’s very difficult to be de-
coupled. In short, web services create very sticky business relationships. Consider the
following quote from John D. Halamka, MD, CIO, Harvard Medical School:
“Every year 98,000 patients die due to preventable medical
errors in the business process of care. That's equivalent to a
747 crashing every day, killing all aboard. If hospitals were
airlines, would you fly?”
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 18
An ISV which improves the business process of health care by just 10% may save
nearly 10,000 lives. What is that worth to the patient’s family and the hospital and
to the ISVs relationship with the health care industry? There is enormous value.
How can an ISV create such value? Consider a caregiver confronted with an
emergency medical situation. The care giver could scan a list of available doctors
presented on his wireless tablet computer, and with the click of a stylus, speak
instantly with the most appropriate specialist, wherever he or she is located and on
whatever end-point they are closest to. By linking communication with hospital
databases and monitoring systems, the specialist could be provided with a real-time
view of the patient’s history and vital statistics providing the assistance the sought
by the caregiver.
3.2 Customer-Facing Organizations
Another example of how communications-enabled web services can transform a
business is by creating a customer-facing organization. The evolution of the
contact center is both expanding the agent pool to include knowledge workers
and linking agent interactions with business applications. Agents are increasingly
requiring more access to enterprise resources thanks to web services providing
the programming interface into business process. Agents have been building ad
hoc ways of reaching back into the enterprise. Many leverage public IM services
to find experts within their own enterprise to address customer issues. This has
opened up security issues, is not measurable and does not provide journaling.
The effectiveness of the agent reaching into the enterprise for assistance is
situational upon the agent’s experience and the size of their professional network.
Enterprises can systematize this and measure it so knowledge workers can be
part of an agent’s network.
Web services can tighten the linkage between agents and their enterprise back
office systems. After an agent’s interaction with a customer and transaction is
completed, the enterprise needs to know what occurred and take action upon it.
This linking of agents to back office systems and enabling a more structured way
in which they can reach into the enterprise are opportunities for ISVs.
ISVs can develop communications-enabled web services business applications,
which allow agents to communicate via web chat session with customers and
knowledge workers. Currently, no one is managing knowledge workers as they
are increasingly being included into the agent pool. What is the impact to the
enterprise when knowledge workers are part of a customer-facing organization?
If the agents can reach a knowledge worker, what does that do to their
productivity? Manage and control are key areas where ISVs can add value. Also,
adding value to administrator reporting tools in a web services-enhanced contact
center is another opportunity for ISVs.
Web services interfaces into management functions are another key value add for
ISVs. There are opportunities to develop management tools that build and
integrate across the enterprise. ISVs could look for integration challenges for
business, which web services, SOA and SIP solve. Enterprises continue to have a
lot of legacy, which will not change any time soon. Integrating legacy IT systems
into an SOA context with management tools offers tremendous areas of ISV
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 19
3.3 A More Competitive World
For communication programmers and their ISVs the new world of SOA, Web Service
and SIP offer both opportunity and risk. There is no doubt that this world will
become more competitive. As the graphic below illustrates, there are thousands of
CTI-based developers. As web services become more widely deployed, the
developer pool of who can call communication services will expand to over 20
million. In five years, web services with SIP will become mainstream. It will brew
over the rest of this decade until critical mass is achieved and most services are
callable by web services.
The good news is that web services and SIP are easier to develop applications and
offers lower cost of experimenting. SIP and a web services simulator makes the
development process all software and will fit into a well-understood tool set. For
ISVs with web services skills, your knowledge will be more extensible to engage in
system integration projects that have larger strategic value and corporate impact.
The telecom developer with web services skills will be able to cross into other
domains, but unfortunately so too will IT developers. In short, web services allow
this to cut both ways.
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 20
The web services platform will be increasingly packaged for intelligent
communications in a form that is friendly to IT departments. Communication
application development platforms are rapidly being aligned with major IT and
telecommunication superplatforms based upon web services and SOA. Enterprise IT
departments are the early adaptors of web services as a means to write
communications-enabled business process.
The communication application development platforms will increasingly add drop and
insert interoperability capability with enterprise applications such as SAP, IBM, Oracle
BEA, Microsoft, Open Source, et al., which will allow rapid automation of
communication-enabled business process. This “container approach” within
application development servers that allow application assets to be dropped and
inserted into standard tooling will facilitate business process executables and hasten
intelligent communications wrapped around business process.
There are many opportunities and challenges for ISVs in this new world. The largest
challenge is the increased competitive nature of this business over time. But the
opportunities are great as well. Not only will those ISVs who successfully embrace
the new world be rewarded with higher level and deeper relationships with their
customers but they will also be presented with new revenue generating service
opportunities. In the new web services world, a consulting front-end is required to
identify and define how communications can be aligned with business process rules.
In short, this is a new business cycle, market and a new ecosystem in creation.
These opportunities redefine market share, winners and losers and only happen once
every few decades.
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 21
About Nick Lippis
Nicholas J. Lippis III is a world-renowned authority on advanced
IP networks, communications and their benefits to business
objectives. He works with clients developing converged network
architecture, which includes IP telephony, secure networks,
wireless LANs, internet data centers and storage area networking.
He is the publisher of the popular Lippis Report, a resource for
network and IT business decision makers; www.lippis.com. He
writes the Lippis on Communications column for Network World
and is the chairman and host of the Enterprise IP Communications
Symposium, Trusted Networks Symposium and Enterprise Networks conferences
where corporate network architects and designers learn and share industry best
practices. Mr. Lippis was named one of the top 40 most powerful and influential
people in the networking industry by Network World.
He has advised numerous Global 2000 firms on network architecture, design,
implementation, vendor selection and budgeting, with clients including Barclays
Bank, Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, Sprint, Worldcom, Cigitel, Cisco Systems, Nortel
Networks, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Avaya, Eastman Kodak Company, Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Hughes Aerospace, Liberty Mutual, Schering-
Plough and many others. He works exclusively with CIOs and their direct reports.
Mr. Lippis possesses a unique perspective of market forces and trends occurring
within the computer networking industry derived from his experience with both
supply and demand side clients.
Mr. Lippis founded Strategic Networks Consulting, Inc., a well-respected and
influential computer networking industry-consulting concern, which was purchased
by Softbank/Ziff-Davis in 1996. For nine years Mr. Lippis reached over 120,000
purchasers of networking equipment and services through his monthly column
“Lippis on Internetworking” published in Data Communications magazine. He was a
contributing editor and columnist for Tele.Com magazine reaching over 80,000
service provider professionals monthly. He currently writes the “Lippis on IP
Communications” column for Network World reaching 180,000 in print and 850,000
online. He publishes The Lippis Report, which is distributed to over 360,000 senior
IT executives around the world. Mr. Lippis’ reach exceeds 1,400,000 readers. He is
a frequent keynote speaker at industry events and is widely quoted in the business
and industry press.
Mr. Lippis received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and his Master of
Science in Systems Engineering from Boston University. His Masters' thesis work
included selected technical courses and advisors from Massachusetts Institute of
Technology on optical communications and computing.
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 22
About Lippis Consulting
Lippis Consulting provides a wide range of enterprise consulting services to enable
corporate technology executives to maximize their IT budget and existing
infrastructure. Our consultants have extensive experience working with F1000
clients, enabling them to align their IT strategy with corporate business objectives.
Lippis Consulting Services include:
IT budget spend analysis and industry comparison
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis
Alternative technology assessment (ROI)
Network infrastructure and security audit
Infrastructure optimization analysis
Network design & architecture
Carrier services evaluation & rationalization
Strategic vendor/partner selection
Next Generation Business Communications Applications: The New Business Process Platform | Page 23