During my college days long ago I learned that all communication is built on a framework. Whether the communication is interpersonal or intercontinental, between individuals or nations, written, spoken, or even unspoken. All communication is based on a framework of rules and maxims that define the context, content, language, participants, roles, timing, and acceptable level of noise in any communication.
Enter the digital age. E-mail, cell phones, instant messaging, video conferencing, social networking, tweets, document sharing, online storage and collaboration. The pace of communication has accelerated at an alarming rate. Individual availability and presence information is at an all time high. We have the ability to communicate with just about anyone, just about anywhere, just about anytime. The ever present option for communication is an extension of an overlooked, but hard to overstate, set of changes that have been made to the communications framework. You cannot have the ends without the means. In this case one of the biggest things to happen to communications was the development of Windows Server. Think about it! Try to find a communications mechanism that is not supported (directly in most cases) Windows Server. Email, IM, video conferencing, cell phones, the whole lot disappears if you take way Windows Server. I know there are many of you out there who think I am overstating this. I'm not! If you take away Windows Server and the protocol advancements it has made through the years you eliminate most of the modern communication mechanisms we have come to rely on.
So what if there were no Windows Server. The logical answer is that in order to maintain the communications tools we know and love someone would have to develop a tool with protocol and application support that was at least as good as Windows Server. (And believe me there are companies out there trying.) See, you just can't get away from it.
So while Exchange 2010 is sexy beyond belief, and Share Point takes document sharing and collaboration to an entirely new level, while Office 2010 pushes the envelope of document creation and integration to new heights, and Office Communications Server gives us opportunities for communications through online network channels that are just astounding, lets keep just one thing in mind. All of these amazing tools are nothing without an even more amazing platform to run them on.
And so we raise a glass, "To Windows Server! The Quiet King of Communication and Collaboration!"
It is pretty ironic with all the collaboration tools you mention above, we fail to succeed in personal collaboration in the workplace. All the technology and we still go in circles in our everyday meetings. All the messaging formats and we still sit bored in conferences.
When are we going to change the way we work? At http://collaborationking.com we try to provide the tools to make your everyday collaboration successful regardless of all the pieces of interest you mention above.