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Lessons on Cloud from the Enterprise Connect Conference

Another Enterprise Connect has come and gone; now that the booths have been rolled away and sales teams begin the process of doing follow up with prospects met at this year’s show, I had some thoughts about UC applications in the cloud.

Unified Communications services deployed from the cloud was all abuzz during the show; from Sprint announcing its Complete Collaboration suite to many vendors discussing how they are moving their contact center offerings to the cloud. Even analyst Zeus Kerravala offered his observations following a cloud panel he moderated during last week’s show.

Specifically, Zeus mentioned that one of the key takeaways he heard during his panel was when organizations are deciding when to implement a UCaaS model, they think about which UC service they currently don’t have and deploy it through the cloud. This had me thinking about what features an organization should look for as they explore the possibilities of a cloud collaboration model.

With our recent news with Sprint, we demonstrated to the market again that Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution or HCS was designed from them ground up to support the needs of today’s business savvy organizations. Read More »

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Keeping Your Future in Mind As You Invest in Enterprise Collaboration Solutions

Both mid-sized and large enterprises know the value of employee collaboration to increase productivity and give the business a “leg up” on its competitors. As more businesses make sizeable investments into collaboration technology, it’s important for them to select products and services that not only meet their unique needs but also encompasses a comprehensive solution from the ground up that caters specifically to increasingly mobile employees.

Today, Sprint announced the availability of Sprint Complete Collaboration, a bundled service that gives customers a full UC solution that can be quickly and easily deployed over an all IP network. This Sprint solution is based on Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution which gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

What does this mean for the end users who are increasingly on the go? It means being able to access collaboration applications from any device (smart phone, laptop, tablet – you name it) anywhere at any time. It’s instant collaboration designed for today’s distributed enterprise; a feat that is best achieved when an organization opts to deploy a collaboration solution that – at its foundation – is keeping the bigger picture in mind: that these days, employee collaboration is no longer bound by “office walls.”

Sprint’s news validates the demand for a collaboration solution that allows service providers to leverage their own infrastructure to differentiate and drive fixed mobile convergence. We announced this new feature last December with new mobile features to HCS. As one of our first customers to announce availability of this feature, we are thrilled to see that the market is seeing the value of extending this feature to their subscribers. Read More »

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Shopper Alert! Good Deals to be Found with Cisco HCS

In today’s economic climate, a value-conscious shopper may look to wholesalers such as Costco to stock up on household goods. I frequently find myself at Costco versus specialty stores, because I know I can get the same high-quality olive oil at a fraction of the price.

And when you switch out the olive oil for network solutions, the concept remains the same.

Earlier this week, I shared a blog post about Nexus IS’ experience with wholesaler Neutral Tandem’s Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) proof-of-concept trial. We got to hear the VAR’s side of the story, but I knew you’d want to know more. So I checked in with Ian Neale, Neutral Tandem’s VP of Product Marketing, and asked him to give me an insider’s look at his company’s wholesale model.

What I really wanted to find out was what our partners could expect when working with them, and, more important, how they can help partners increase their revenue opportunities. Want to know what I learned? Read More »

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Service Providers Continue to See Value of Hosted Unified Communications and Collaboration Services

If there was ever a doubt that our service provider customers did not see the market opportunity to leverage the cloud and deliver enterprise collaboration services to their business customers, that uncertainty continues to decline.

Today, AT&T announced the availability of its Unified Communications Service, a new way for its business subscribers to offer a complete collaboration suite of features to employees in a secure and cost effective way. At the heart of AT&T’s enterprise collaboration solution is Cisco’s own Hosted Collaboration Solution, the foundation that many other providers such as Verizon and Orange have turned to, in helping them offer the best customized collaboration solution to their enterprise customers. Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers. Read More »

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How Are Large Enterprises Utilizing Collaboration in the Cloud?

Today, we ‘re featuring a guest post from Brian Blatnik, a senior manager within Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group:

In the month since our CloudVerse announcement the notion of a world of many clouds – public, private, and hybrid – has resonated with our customers, partners, and industry analysts. I’d like to share some perspective on how those types of clouds address different customers in the collaboration cloud services market. Since last month’s announcement highlighted our private cloud model in that market, Hosted Collaboration Solution for Large Enterprises, I’ll focus on that model. As a reminder, the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

I’m often asked, “Haven’t enterprise voice and other UC services always been delivered from what we now call a private cloud?” It’s true that IP PBXs and other UC servers, like their PBX predecessors, provide services to users from a remote room or facility via a network. But there are two ways in which today’s cloud service delivery differs. First, there is the efficiency of pooling computing, network, and storage resources across multiple locations and services. Second, the services can be delivered in an on-demand fashion with elastic scaling.

The financial and strategic benefits deriving from these two factors are leading many businesses to consider consuming collaboration services in a utility model from Cisco’s partners in the Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). But the same drivers can result in substantial benefits to businesses that aren’t looking for services from a third party’s public cloud. Read More »

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