Unify Unify Services Give Microsoft Flexibility
Unify Square, formed in April 2008 is a hot new systems integrator focusing on Microsoft-style unified communications integrations for large enterprises. I had a briefing with the CEO and founder, Sonu Aggarwal who formed the company after a 10-year development management career within Microsoft's various instant messaging, Exchange, LCS and Office Communications Server offerings. Sonu is co-author of RFC 2779 , the standard for Instant Messaging and Presence.
Although still a small organization (less than 20 engineers), the company has solid ambitions in the somewhat rarified large enterprise market where they have concentrated their efforts. Unify Square has done blueprint, architecture, integration, prototype and implementation work for 5 global companies in consumer packaged goods, food products and professional services. The company has been profitable since inception and plans to establish European and Asian centers for sales and integration work.
Of course, the heritage of the company is in Microsoft methodologies, Microsoft technologies and Microsoft Consulting Services so that the initial sales model is to respond to invitations from Microsoft sales teams. This tight relationship also explains why no external funding sources have been required to date in that the sales and marketing expenses are somewhat non-existent, until now.
Going forward, the business plan calls for identifying and developing software products that fill customer needs in related spaces. This is a solid concept for innovation management, yet for a small organization can be somewhat burdensome with the product-polish requirements – QA, roadmap, documentation, marketing, selling, channels – that always overwhelm a systems integrator or small software developer. However there is no benefit to skimping on these critical features of a product since customers, especially large enterprise customers, have high expectations for these value features. It will be important for UnifySquare to follow through on these capabilities early and often as they define the brand reputation of the firm moreso than the SI effort.
In future posts, I hope to review their first product effort the Video Manager , which provides fine-grain control for managing video communications in an OCS 2007 environment.
At the same time, the SI opportunity is both geographically diverse and large, even in a miserable economic climate. That's because large organizations will choose to invest in productivity improvements so as to position their operations for renewed strength when the recovery begins.
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