solutions are commonly used by large corporations, with solutions from
providers like Cisco, IBM and Microsoft. But the convenience and
potential cost savings of having multiple modes of communications
combined in one service can be appealing to smaller businesses with
limited staff and resources.
For example, Unison Technologies makes a Linux based server
that includes email, instant messaging, calendars, contacts and PBX
phone system in one. This single server approach can save companies
money since they don’t have to buy and maintain separate email servers,
phone systems or software. The company claims that its solution can
increase employee productivity by 15% because the combined functions
allow them to have all messages and contacts close at hand without
switching between applications.
We recently spoke with Rurik Bradbury, Unison CMO, about why a small
business might want to consider a single server solution like Unison’s.
So if we’re understanding correctly, Unison not only saves
money but also boosts productivity by NOT using Microsoft’s unified
Yes, it boosts productivity by unifying all communications into one
interface. Microsoft’s solution requires two or three desktop clients,
which is more cumbersome and difficult to use than Unison, which
unifies everything into a single server and client. Microsoft had to
create additional clients, because Outlook/Exchange is a 15-year-old
legacy product — too difficult to re-architect radically — and it is
also targeted mainly at large enterprises, so the back-end software
architecture cannot be drastically re-architected either. I believe
that if Microsoft could start over and design a unified communications
system for SMBs, it would look like Unison.
Is there no benefit to using Microsoft technology, such as full
integration with Microsoft Office and people being in a more familiar
Microsoft Outlook has minimal integration with other Microsoft
software and our research has suggested that most users do not take
advantage of it anyway. The Unison Desktop client is designed to be
very easy to use for people who usually work in a Microsoft
environment. Most of our users run Windows on the desktop, rather than
the Linux desktop client, and the Unison client gives them a familiar
What businesses are best suited for advanced communication
systems? Which ones can do just fine with more simple appliances like
phone systems rather than full communication servers?
The real benefit of Unison is that it is just as simple to install
as a simple PBX or a basic e-mail server – and much simpler than
systems like Microsoft Exchange or a Cisco PBX. Yet Unison is even more
powerful than systems like Exchange or a Cisco PBX because into
integrates all those features into a unified experience for users.
Companies no long have to ‘make do’ with basic communications, because
Unison advanced communications, with just one server to deploy, is now
even easier to deploy than ‘simpler’ systems.