Enterprise Connect Update: BCOM Helps Drive Successful UC Deployments

Enterprise Connect Update: BCOM Helps Drive Successful UC Deployments

By Phil Edholm April 28, 2016 Leave a Comment
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Enterprise Connect Update: BCOM Helps Drive Successful UC Deployments by Phil Edholm

In this Industry Buzz Podcast, UCStrategies welcomes two guests to the conversation to discuss BCOM ((Business Communications Operations Management). Edouard de Fonclare, CEO of Kurmi Software and Derek Smith, Product Marketing Manager of VOSS Solutions, join UCStrategies Experts Phil EdholmDr. Joseph Williams, Steve Leaden, Michael Finneran, Blair Pleasant and Roberta J. Fox.

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Transcript for Enterprise Connect Update: BCOM Helps Drive Successful UC Deployments

Phil Edholm: Hi. Welcome to the UCStrategies, or now "BCStrategies" podcast for this week. Our podcast this week is going to be exciting. We are going to talk about BCOM. BCOM was something that UCStrategies started talking about in the market last year. It's very interesting because it presaged the change of UCStrategies to "BCStrategies."

BCOM is Business Communications Operations Management. It’s the set of tools that allow organizations to configure and operate their communication platforms in an effective way, and is of course incredibly important today in the multi-vendor solutions that many of our clients, many of our customers, find themselves in.

We’re joined today by two BCOM vendors, two vendors leading this transformation in the industry. First, from VOSS Solutions is Derek Smith, and secondly, from Kurmi Software, is Edouard de Fonclare. What we are going to do for this session is ask a few questions, have our vendor partners on this call comment, and then ask some of the experts to comment as they see changes. Our focus is going to be on how BCOM has matured over the last year, as well as what we saw at Enterprise Connect around management and business communications operations management.

The first question is about Cloud because one of the things we saw at Enterprise Connect 2016 was the Cloud is a big part of the dialogue today. An interesting question is, what’s interesting about managing the Cloud and operating in the Cloud? How is that different from premises solutions, and is management a big part of operating and managing the Cloud? First, I would like to throw that to Edouard from Kurmi Software, and ask you what you saw at the event.

Edouard de Fonclare: Okay, thanks for the introduction. What we do see in the market from the Kurmi perspective is the following. Cloud is reality and for the big enterprise and large accounts, we will see a hybrid model. What I call a hybrid model is that due to the legacy system, major accounts still have one, like Cisco, Alcatel, or Avaya, for instance; they need to cope with both their legacy system, but they need to add new applications, pushed by the generation Y or Z. You will have both legacy and the Cloud for some applications and what is important is the link with BCOM because with the hybrid model you will need absolutely the kind of portal or system in order to manage both environments, which are different in terms of usage.

Because there is a change in the use of the collaboration, we don’t speak anymore about unified communication, I think this word is gone, and we are talking about collaboration. But for major and large accounts we are addressing, we will see a hybrid model because some Cloud applications will enter the enterprise space. At this point of time, BCOM will be more crucial because you need something in order to manage both environments. That is a key point.

Phil Edholm: That was excellent. Joseph, I know you have been a student of the Cloud and commented a lot and you are in the process of blogging on this topic. Any thoughts from your side on Cloud and the importance of managing it?

Joseph Williams: Thanks, Phil. Part of the issue here, as was already mentioned, is it’s a hybrid world out there, so you no longer can take a one-vendor on-premise solution, use their tools, and actually effectively manage your ecosystem. It’s not going to work that way, except in the simplest of environments. You have to almost think about this as a multi-vendor environment and most of the tools that are out there from the vendors are not multi-vendor in nature. There is a lot of white space here, and you are looking at a lot of solution providers who have jumped into this space to provide that view or that manageability of what this hybrid environment would look like.

Our two speakers today, are just two of more than several dozen vendors in the space, who have come in with solutions, not simply because they are looking at what the vendors have out there. I think most importantly because enterprises are coming in and saying, “we don’t have a vendor view of our communications and the collaboration ecosystem; we have an enterprise end user view, and we need to find tools that provide us that view, and that manageability the way we work.”

This is why there is a great opportunity here because as all my colleagues would confirm, most of the vendors tend to only want to manage their own footprint. You have got to have what I would call middleware, or BCOM is a great term as well, product out there to provide that kind of flexibility.

I would also add, as they move to the Cloud, they are going to be looking for the aggregation of crowd services from multiple providers, as well, and that’s going to add complexity to this environment.

Phil Edholm: That’s an excellent point, Joseph. One of the things about the Cloud that we often miss is this concept of specialization, that you are going to buy a multiplicity of Cloud services and from the user perspective, most companies don’t want their users or IT organization trying to deal with five or ten different things, when they need to onboard an employee. That’s one of the key values of BCOM.

Steve Leaden, you’ve dealt with some huge deployments in your organization, and I am curious how do you see BCOM and the Cloud, and where you see your clients going?

Stephen Leaden: Yes, Phil, great topic. Thanks for bringing our two colleagues here, on the vendor side, to the table today. I was fortunate to do a talk at Enterprise Connect on UCaaS. One of the topics that consistently shows up is the hybrid model. The idea that some of this can be on the property, some of this can be off the property, some of the vendors in the UC space are actually selling both. You can have some of it on premises, some of it off premises, but no matter how you slice it, there are certain kinds of third-party integrations such as CRM and ERP applications, for example a Salesforce.com. In the higher-ed space, we deal with Banner amongst other vendors, but we have things like Office365 out there, and Google. Those are all Cloud-based solutions and yet we have potentially telephony and UC on the premises side, or in fact in the Cloud. There is a mix-and-match, and obviously all this integration with mobility, has a huge impact on how do we deal with these multiple vendors.

One of things that we look at when we look at the Cloud, which again showed up in our session, was, the theme I would like to use when you are going from a premises vendor, which at least you know what you’re getting there with the number of staff that you have internally, the system that you can physically see, the data centers, where they are located. When you go to the Cloud, all of that goes away, and effectively, I use the term “you’re giving your keys to your kingdom to an outside party,” and how do you manage that? Part of this is that you can always measure the vendors to SLAs in a contract form, but beyond the contract form, it also has to do with what is the vendor’s topology look like, and what do their wholesalers look like? Get under the covers with the vendors.

The other thing is the more progressive players definitely allow for visual tools to see exactly what the metrics are going on with your network, via a web interface, so you can see what the impact is in terms of QoS on your network, etc. Or even within the fact that you can see exactly how many users are online, you can do your own move and change activity as well.

One of the things that did come up in another session that I was part of on SBCs is that there is an interest in looking at session border controllers and the metrics for measuring that, that a customer can own on their property or rent. Which can bring in encryption all the way from a security point of view, down to the end-point on your premises, especially for your key properties.

There is a lot of topics around all of this, Phil, and we could talk about this forever because it is a huge – it’s a megatrend going on in the business. In fact, that was the key topic, if we had to pick one word for the entire show, it was Cloud, and I would also add to that the next-gen of UC now BC coming into play.

Phil Edholm: Excellent comments. I think it’s interesting, when we talked about BCOM focused to the operations, the configuration, that side of operations. What you brought up is the other side, which is aptly referred to as BCAM or B-C-A-M, which is that assurance management, making sure that you are getting what you are paying for, and things are operating properly. I think those two definitely go together.

I would like to ask another question. UCStrategies has been changing its name to Business Communications Strategies, essentially saying that this is not about either a singularity in communications, or a single vendor. It’s around overall business communications, collaborations tools, but what’s interesting is when I talk to people at Enterprise Connect about this whole area of configuration, one of the things I heard was that “yes, it’s important to have it apply to all parts of business communication, but it may go beyond that.”

We heard Steve talk about Salesforce; Derek, how do you and VOSS Solutions see this? Is this an area you see going to providing services beyond traditional communications into other areas of the overall IT infrastructure?

Derek Smith: Yes, we do. One of our key messages at Enterprise Connect was about the single point of integration and in hearing from Steve and Joseph about the multi-vendors; each vendor is only going to manage themselves, dealing with assurance, as well. I think BCOM, where it can add value, is it links your business communication system across your IT network. You can have integrations with assurance systems, you can have management across vendors, you can link into other systems in your network, HR systems, CRM systems, expense management, inventory management, service or ticketing systems. We have an architecture that allows for some of that integration to happen so that you can take this BCOM environment and not just manage your communication, but you can manage workflows that go across platforms. There is some big value that can be added there.

Phil Edholm: That’s excellent. Another question coming out of that goes to Michael Finneran; you focus on the area of mobility. How does this apply in terms of those values beyond basic UC and mobility and beyond? How do you see BCOM fitting in there?

Michael Finneran: Thank you, Phil. Certainly, we have quite a legacy of management in mobility,  going back to the Blackberry Enterprise Server. The structure from the mobile standpoint is different from what we are seeing now in UC. Joseph was mentioning that all the vendors want to manage just their own pie, that view just doesn’t sell in mobile device management. In effect, it can’t. The only two vendors who have both – make both devices in a management platform – are are BlackBerry and Microsoft, and neither of those are anywhere near the lead when it comes to the MDM or the EMM. But, what we are seeing is really tools that are expanding today. All these started looking at all the various mobile operating systems, but most are now adding desktop and laptop management. A lot of it in the mobile space is driven by security, that is, the need to ensure that all those devices we have carrying sensitive corporate data are indeed secure. There is a big focus on policy enforcement, and a lot of that accelerated with the adoption of user-owned devices, BYOD movement. But, it comes into play in a big way in help desk functions, basically, with the management tools we use you’ll know your device inventory right down to the IMEI codes, the location, the time of the local device, the applications they have installed, which can go a long way to helping the helpdesk folks figure out why somebody is having a problem in the field.

There is value in this, but the only truth I have always found when it comes to the management systems is first, it’s the last thing anyone seems to think or could be the first. And most organizations do not seem to recognize the value until something blows up on them and they have an ugly mess on their hands, then it’s time to invest. Hopefully a big part of the output of this Podcast is people are looking at this up front where it really should be considered. Back to you, Phil.

Phil Edholm: That’s a great comment. Blair Pleasant, you talk a lot about adoption of business communications of UC. How does BCOM have value beyond UC? And how does it apply in adoption?

Blair Pleasant: Yes, thanks Phil. What we are seeing is that UC is being overtaken by collaboration. When it comes to adoption, people aren’t looking for products or tools, they are looking for solutions that help them do their jobs, and that’s why it’s all about collaboration. The big thing I am seeing is communication-enabled applications or embedded applications and that’s what’s driving adoption, when these tools are integrated in with the applications that people are using to do their jobs rather than being this stand-alone separate being that they need to learn about, be trained about, and be deployed.

As we move into this world of more communication enabled applications or embedded applications, that’s where we’re seeing the need for more tools like what BCOM provides. It’s not just these stand-alone communications systems anymore, but it’s about embedding communication capabilities into the applications that workers do to get their jobs done. And as I said, we’re going to need more management and operation tools, but Michael mentioned BYOD. What I am seeing now is BYOA, where workers are bringing in their own applications, and in some cases, IT doesn’t even know about this. We’re seeing shadow IT go around the IT department, making it hard for IT to do their jobs properly. So IT does not know who is using what, or what is being used makes it hard to manage, operate, and provision.

As we’re moving to solutions with more pieces like collaboration, like video and other things, the value of BCOM becomes even more valuable. And CIO’s need to manage this; they need tools to know what is happening, how many people are connected to Slack, how many are connected to 8x8 or Fuse? By bringing in these new vendors, these new capabilities, and bringing in more embedded applications it’s really providing more challenges for IT, so tools like BCOM are going to become even more important. Back to you, Phil.

Phil Edholm: Excellent comments. It’s true that it’s important, an extension of this is what users are seeing, as we deploy technologies like BCOM. What are the users seeing? Derek, you deal with a large number of companies that are using this technology, what does it mean to users when a company has deployed a BCOM solution?

Derek Smith: I think Blair really captured some of the concern; there are so many things to manage out there now. Having a BCOM solution that will sit across multiple vendors and will integrate with other items in the network, it becomes integral to their management of their unified communications system and beyond. One of the great quotes we received from a customer recently, they said, “implementing management has allowed us to let our engineers to be engineers.”

A lot of these highly skilled engineers, I think they get concerned about new tools being brought in to maybe replace them, but we haven’t found that. What we found is that these highly trained engineers get to do what they were trained to do. They get to go work on strategic things, and work on adoption, develop new services, and see how the system is working. They can offload this day-to-day management onto some lower level technicians that can deal with that for them, so they can manage, and focus and specialize how they were trained. We do see that BCOM is important to these users; it can be integral to their overall management, and it can help them ease their day-to-day jobs so they can focus on strategic things.

Phil Edholm: Sounds like it has a great impact. Roberta, I know you drive a lot of deployments that focus on end-users, and end-user value. Have you seen BCOM really impact the end users and the organizations?

Roberta Fox: To add on to what Derek and Blair and some of my other peers said, usually they don’t do it until something goes wrong. If they do – if they are putting in BCOM requirements as part of an RFP, it’s because the organization’s IT were not measuring and monitoring their applications and their systems that well when they were doing it in-house. So all of a sudden, if they are smart, they go, “oh, we are going to put it out to the Cloud, we are going to be giving up the keys,” as Steve said. “We better make sure that we are going to see the performance.” But interestingly enough it is not driven by the IT folks, as much as it is by procurement and legal so they can have ammunition in order to measure and monitor the Cloud performance and the service levels.

Those that do that well, it’s neat because they have ammunition to prove performance; you have lived up to the terms, you did not live up to the terms; you get refunds.

The last part, to what Michael said, managing the devices is good, but managing the Cloud accounts is becoming a big headache, and I think Blair touched on that. How many people have these services versus that service, and they all get paid on credit cards; so doing it well means they are doing it because they want to save their butt, and they want to save some money.

Phil Edholm: That’s an interesting comment. We are with BYOD and BYOA, maybe it is just BYOIT. Bring your own IT, which kind of means that when a user, new employee comes into a company, maybe our expectation of the future is that they are going to go out and sign up for 27 different applications on their own, based on what the company uses. I think that’s probably an unrealistic view of the future.

That comes down to an important issue. We touched on it in a number of the comments here, and that is cost. We have seen the cost of business communication UC solutions becoming more and more driven by operational, administration, maintenance, etc. One of the questions that’s become key, and we talked about this last year when UCStrategies rolled out the BCOM segment identification, was the impact of cost. Edouard, you have been focused in this area over the last year, what are some of the examples you have seen of significant cost impacts of BCOM? Cost reductions making business communications more cost effective?

Edouard de Fonclare: It is a crucial question and I think there were big changes this year versus what we saw last year and I think the cost issue is declining for many reasons. The first reason is that many service providers, delivering Cloud services with UC collaboration, need now to focus on customer needs, instead of trying to process and do the provisioning of customer. There is a big change with BCOM: you facilitate, you industrialize, the way you provision customers or you onboard customers for the service providers or system integrators, which means that they can focus on delivering new services because the big battle will be delivering new services around the Cloud offer because the Cloud offer will now be enriched with many new features. One key application on the Cloud is video, which means that the service providers can concentrate on trying to see and to put on the market what is important for the customer instead of spending time to provision their customers. That is a key point because they can increase revenue.

In fact, they can speed up with BCOM, and we have seen this with big service providers. They speed up the deployment of big customers, instead of putting three to six months to deploy big customers, they can reduce by half the time to deploy customers, which means that they can have better revenue and faster revenue. That’s something very important. After you have a link with the information system, which means that BCOM will be part of the information system of the service provider or the integrator, which is important in order to be very agile.  

A final point for me is the objective to be at zero touch activation for those guys, which means that using the term of Cisco, it is a day zero, for instance, it starts with the VM activation. You create a service, the virtual machines, you start your provisioning from day zero to day two, automatically, and you push the service provider to be a marketing machine to sell new services and to increase revenue.

I think the question is two-fold, first reduce costs, with industrialization/automation, and then to guarantee better revenue with new services. That is a key point and one thing important is to deliver to employees or end-users some tools, self-service tools in order for them to make some basic tasks, which is less costly for the service provider.

Phil Edholm: That is an interesting point. I was talking recently with some of the Cisco folks who drive the hosted communications server, HuCS environment. They made the comment that they see BCOM as being critical to the success of their customers, actually the service providers that are delivering those solutions, in terms of being able to cost effectively deliver the services.

Steve Leaden, you’ve seen this in place in some of your clients, and how it impacts those organizations. What kind of cost impacts do you see of a BCOM solution in terms of your customers and clients?

Stephen Leaden: We see that when customers take a holistic look at BC as part of the overall strategy, their eyes go wide beyond basic communications. When they start to look at that, we start to get very creative, and one of the examples is where you can have remote workers. There is both hard and soft dollars attached to that. For example, if I have X percent of my workforce working, A) they get to work quicker, they will put in a longer work day, which studies have shown that, up to two hours per day. You get better utilization of your staff. And you know what? I don’t need 150 square feet for a cubicle for that individual if they are an at-home worker. You start to add up those particular costs around real estate and better utilization of your staff, the cost impact, and the savings impact on BC is over the top, it’s huge.

Then, if we start looking at the contact center, you are looking at similar strategies around staff optimization with better BC strategies in that space, and utilizing staff in a more organized way. We can manage staffing down by 5% and even another 7%, if we are centralizing contact center staff, utilizing these BC tools. Again, the real estate costs and the staffing costs by making things more efficient can be, for some of our customers that have a few hundred seats in their contact center, could be in the millions per year.

Then, using again, that remote worker, or desktop mobility feature, we have seen where we can, in large campus environments, where there are shared offices, whether it be for sales people or whether it be for teachers, or whether it be for physicians, you can get much better utilization out of your real estate by shared offices on a Tuesday/Wednesday with Dr. A; Thursday/Friday with Dr. B. If the savings are like $3,500/year/physician, for that shared space, in a large environment, that could be in the millions per year.

When we start to look at staffing and real estate, which are always your top two costs of any organization. Then managing that with better utilization of around your communications, the win can be huge. Back to you, Phil.

Phil Edholm: That is an interesting comment that if you look at a lot of the benefits we talk about, around UC or more importantly, BC, a lot of those take a configuration across multiple systems to put them together and make them happen, just like what you talked about in telecommuting. I think having this kind of configuration and operation system in place is critical.

Another question, Derek, I know VOSS has been focused in the BCOM space over the last year. Since we have been talking about this segment, have you seen both recognition of the need and adoption accelerate in the year? Or do people only get into this when it starts being a problem for their organization? Is it more proactive or is it more reactive, still?

Derek Smith: We’ve seen a bit of both. To Steve’s point, people want the benefits of a BC system, and the cost savings of that. The natural extension is, how do I drive those cost savings even more? BCOM, to Edouard’s point, that’s the way you do it. You get a management system on top of your BC system and you drive those operational costs because the ongoing operational costs are what drive the biggest costs of the system. If you can reduce those long-term, then you can see a lot of benefit. We have seen a lot of customers that – they’re into an issue – one example is we have seen a couple of cases where it is less expensive for an enterprise to send departing employees out the door with their desk phone, their Cisco phone, than it is to actually re-provision that phone for a new user.

They are realizing the costs are problematic; we need to fix that so that it is easy for us to onboard and off-board the full lifecycle of user management; make that easier, make it repeatable, and make it much less expensive. We see some proactivity there and we also see some reactive enterprises that are saying that we’ve got to get control of our costs.

Phil Edholm: There’s a new concept, BYOP - bring your own phone. Maybe that will become part of the employment ads now – “must have your own phone be it an Avaya, Cisco, Polycom phone.” That shows the absurdity of some of the systems we have built, where the cost of maintaining an asset is greater than the value of the asset.

Roberta, you have dealt with these kinds of issues as well. Have you seen more recognition and adoption of BCOM and other management tools and business communications deployments over the last year?

Roberta Fox: Phil, to add on to what Steve and Derek said, some of the organizations don’t have BCOM capabilities so you cannot measure the vendor performance without the tools to measure their performance to get refunds. But, some of them have said, “Fox, why don’t we just go out to Cloud because they have the systems, we don’t.” They are asking us to put the BCOM definitions and measures in the RFP and they want to measure the long-term performance for the length of the TCO. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t see too many organizations, IT organizations, that they may be used to doing monthly or quarterly reports, compared to five-year statistics on service level performance?

The other bit “aha” we have seen for the early adopters is this whole BCOM skills required, it is a big “aha” to manage BCOM vendors, and apps are different for IT, legal, and procurement then – it is a business management skill. Some of the CIOs are saying, help us figure out how to develop the skills, and maybe we also have to hire new resources that are more business management oriented, to match BCOM, (rather) than being systems oriented. We’ve got IT skills evolution and we have got the longer term view of performance, which is a big shift. I thought those were two interesting trends that I have seen from some of our early adopter clients, Phil.

Phil Edholm: It’s interesting that you are seeing is this need, both in the Cloud, and on the premises. One final kind of discussion area is around multi-vendor because we have heard that through this discussion. Multi-vendor as an issue. For example, some data I did at Enterprise Connect in the session about Microsoft and Cisco, 17-20% of companies have decided they are going to have two primary business communication vendors. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, because if you look at most deployments that we are doing today, they are multi-vendor, whether it’s deploying different products in the video space.Clearly,if it is a Microsoft solution it is multi-vendor by definition, it is an ecosystem, but even beyond that, you are seeing more additive products, value-add products much as we saw in the contact center in the past. Where the contact center was a combination of a series of capabilities from different vendors. Edouard, are you seeing this trend to multi-vendor accelerating in the market or is it something that you are seeing decelerate?

Edouard de Fonclare: Yes, absolutely, the multi-vendor was quite important with legacy systems, traditional UC infrastructures, it was nice to have, I will say. For instance, in France, you have a big concentration in the banking environment, the banking having Cisco and Alcatel. For us, it was important to have a multi-vendor approach, able to put a single portal for both Cisco and Alcatel, but it was a nice to have.

Now, with the Cloud, and somebody talked about the aggregation of Cloud services, new applications coming in, new vendors, new editor like Fuze and so on, I think the multi-vendor story is a must-have, it is a must-have because you need to deal with many vendors, editors coming from Legacy, coming from new UC world, and without this multi-vendor feature, I think you will be out of the market.

Phil Edholm: It sounds like one of the things that I have heard through this conversation is that the BCOM tools are important if you are doing a premises deployment as an enterprise, but they are equally important, if maybe not more important for service providers to manage the services they are delivering, and then for the enterprises to manage those Cloud offerings. This technology applies in all aspects.

Joseph, any comments on this whole multi-vendor issue? You talk to a lot of Cloud vendors, is this going to be a multi-vendor world going-forward?

Joseph Williams: Thanks, Phil. I think it is and the reason for it, I just came back from the Channel Partner Conference and Expo, and there were several speakers and a compelling one, talked about the millennials who are largely from the mid-20’s to the mid-30’s now. They are not best-of-breed people. The way they look at the world is I want the right tool for the job that I am trying to do, so as they now come into positions where they are helping make decisions about platforms, they are saying, “there are times when Slack is going to work; there are times when what we want to do is going to require Skype; there are times when what we are going to do is require Spark.” And largely they don’t care.

Now, what they do care about, both of our speakers have talked about cost and cost containment. They do care about the ecosystem for that, but largely in a world of bring your own device, I can’t remember if it was Kevin or Steve, but on a previous Podcast they talked about “bring your own app.” We are in an environment where there is going to be multi-vendors, that is the phase we are in. I am sure someday we will go back to command and control being the issue, but for right now, it is the right tool for the right purpose. The discipline side of IT says, okay, that is great, I have to live with that; how do I manage it?

That is where the nightmares start to pop up because like it or not, there are regulatory problems that have to be addressed, there are eDiscovery problems that have to be addressed, there are protection of intellectual property issues that have to be addressed, there is reporting that has to be addressed. It’s very important, I would think, for a CIO to know what percentage of (his/her) people are on HipChat or Slack, as opposed to being on an enterprise platform that I am paying a lot of license fees for, blah, blah, blah kinds of things...

I see multi-vendor being the defining reality of what people are going to look for, at least in the next 5-10 years. That’s the view I would prophesize.

Phil Edholm: Excellent. Steve, a final comment from you on this, and the whole subject. Multi-vendor: is it something we are going to live with, and does that present challenges for organizations in terms of the complexity of management? I think about it a lot that in a phone system of 15 years ago, if I moved a phone there was a physical activity that was pretty significant, but the configuration was minimal. I reassigned that phone number to a different line card and the system was reconfigured. It was probably a two or three-minute operation that happened once a year. With the number of systems we have today, how often they change, my impression is that has gone up by orders of magnitude. Do you see that and see that multi-vendor presenting a problem for the success of implementations?

Stephen Leaden: A good question, Phil. I think it really stems from the basics: is it an open systems architecture or proprietary? Most of the baseline UC providers from the telephony baseline point of view are proprietary. Therefore, you can get basic functionality across multiple systems, with the SIP standard, but outside of that, you have got to get into some proprietary nature. The proprietary nature of these systems does prevent multiple vendors, but that’s just one aspect. When you start to get into the Cloud, again, you are getting into a single vendor, potential aspect here, we used the phrase “keys to the kingdom,” earlier, but no matter how you slice it there are going to be multiple vendors, especially if you are going to be dealing with multiple components.

For example, if I give you SIP trunking, being one component, MPLS ethernet networks, that could be another component/vendor, telephony can be another vendor, UC can be another vendor, video can be another vendor, and CRM and finally, data infrastructure. Those could be all multiple vendors, under each of those respective areas. When you get into the open systems area, you can have multiple video conferencing systems, which we see typically, Polycom and Cisco are in the environment, partially because they wanted to have the two compete, or they went through an acquisition and inherited two different vendors. But they can talk to one another through the H.264 protocol or 265 in the Cisco world.

Interestingly, no matter how you slice it, even in the Cloud world you still have to deal with multiple vendors when you are dealing with CRM. I don’t think the idea of multiple vendors is ever going to go away, but how do you manage all of those to a single standard, so that within your own corporation it looks unified? It’s about the CIO who has to present a unified front and an expectation because they have their own customers, which is the end-user community. The CIO community and even the contact center community is held to an SLA, especially if they are delivering on a customer service model. How do we protect that CIO? How do we protect their customer service environment so they don’t have to pay penalties and how do we manage multiple vendors to a single standard? It’s a great question and I think it could be another Podcast if we wanted. Phil, back to you.

Phil Edholm: Absolutely. I think the conclusion of this Podcast for me, is simple. We have seen over the last year an explosion of new vendors. We didn’t talk about HipChat and Slack a year ago, we were not talking about Spark; we were barely talking about Circuit from Unify. We’re seeing, not only the vendors come up with multiple solutions, but we are seeing new solutions in the market. We are seeing companies choose the right solution for the task and that may mean that across the organization, you have different solutions for different parts of the organization. All those things are adding up to a much more complex environment to configure, to operate, and to drive. What we have heard today is that a BCOM investment and understanding how that investment can transform your organization is critical.

With that, I would like to thank first, all the experts for their comments. You are all out there seeing this happen in real-time and understand what it takes to be successful. Very much I would like to thank our two vendor participants today, Derek and Edouard. I think you have some great insights and I think you and your companies are really helping our industry be successful in delivering the value that the end users and the companies want to achieve through these solutions and platforms. Thank you again. For those of you listening, thank you for listening to this BC Podcast and we look forward to talking to you again in a week or so about another exciting topic.

 

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