I wear many hats; one that I wear with great pride is my “developer hat.” And so, it was with some surprise, but great interest, that several Enterprise Connect sessions and exhibitors appealed to my developer roots. Enterprise Connect is always a great source of product information. But for me this year, Enterprise Connect was also a great source of new product ideas.
Today, competitively timed to coincide with the start of the sold-out Lync Conference, Cisco has released survey results that are intended to help leaders better understand what people want in collaboration tools and from the vendors that make these tools. The survey involved 3,200 IT leaders in nine countries. The survey asked broad questions related to mobility, cloud, support and quality of communications.
Recently there has been an interesting discussion on LinkedIn that was spawned from the question “Legacy users and resistance to change: How do we keep them from killing the deal?” The specific question was posed in the context of Microsoft Lync, however the query and suggestions are equally important and applicable to other UC platform deployments. Below I consolidate some of the suggestions on overcoming resistance to change along with my critique of the suggestions.
Increasingly I am convinced that the road to unified communications does not follow a straight line from your current voice implementation. In the end, no matter how it is labeled, a voice system is not a unified communications system and it is somewhere between impractical and impossible to upgrade a voice system to be a UC system.
The ever-increasing number of unified communications and contact center options means that organizations need to choose their path wisely lest they get caught in the thorny pricker bush of technology. Regular UCStrategies readers know that I am a strong advocate of documenting and prioritizing business requirements and then evaluating multiple viable options against these prioritized business requirements. Keeping this approach in mind, I would make the following recommendations for organizations evaluating their contact center needs.
Last week I attended the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto; this week Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its Office suite. Those events provided an almost unimaginable amount of new information to sort through and digest, but there is “gold” hidden in the stacks of new information. I see big opportunities for UC consultants, resellers and systems integrators brought about by this new release of Office and Office 365 exist in five key areas: migration to the cloud, training, support for new use cases with new devices, support for new use cases with new integration opportunities, and Office application add-ins.
If you are in a position to recommend UC solutions, are you talking to your customers, understanding their business requirements, evaluating multiple options and then making a recommendation? Or, are you simply cramming some products into a brown paper bag, pushing it at the customer, smiling and saying “have a good day”?
A proxy can be defined as “an ally who can be relied upon to speak on one’s behalf.” In many organizations members of the IT group act as “proxies” for the end users. This means that if an IT member is acting as a proxy for end users then they are expected to speak and act in the best interest of the end users. The question is, does this work?
When unified communications started getting traction and mindshare several years ago, there was a strong focus on defining exactly what unified communications meant. Was putting voice and data on the same network UC? I have always tried to reframe and refocus the discussion from “what is UC?” to “what can UC do for me?” That is to say, what specific, measurable business objectives are you expecting as a customer or promising as a reseller or vendor.
As a systems integrator or value-added reseller, how do you go about finding or “growing” project leaders? Admittedly I am still working on the answer to this key question; however, I can suggest key behaviors you can encourage and develop that are often demonstrated by successful project leaders.