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.
Explosive data growth and new transformational technologies such as cloud computing, converged infrastructure, unified networking and big data are changing the way organizations are running their businesses today. These new technologies affect IT systems and infrastructures, as well as the practitioners that design, install, operate and manage them. New skills and knowledge are needed for organizations to maximize the benefits of these new technologies.
To prepare the next generation of workers, Cisco is joining forces with EMC to offer comprehensive technical education solutions in the areas of cloud architecture, virtualization, storage, data center networking and data science. Watch below as Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager, Learning@Cisco and Tom Clancy, vice president, EMC Education Services discuss the joint education offerings available.
The joint education solutions offer advanced training and certifications to help customers acquire the skills required to successfully architect, build and transform their IT infrastructure, adopt cloud computing and realize the promise of data science and Big Data analytics.
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 »
As we kick off this year’s Enterprise Connect conference, one subject I am discussing a lot with customers is interoperability. This topic is always evolving, but our customers’ need for interoperability has remained the same. So what are the customers telling us about their interoperability requirements and concerns within unified communications and collaboration, and what is Cisco’s approach to addressing those?
What customers want:
At its heart, interoperability is about enabling the free flow of communication across boundaries – whether those boundaries are geographical, across firewalls between businesses and their ecosystems or customers. Customers want to be able to share information quickly and easily across different systems from multiple vendors.
Customers also stress the need for protecting their investments in existing systems and extending their capabilities to new types of work scenarios. These systems include infrastructure (such as Active Directory or Exchange or Notes), voice and video systems (such as Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager and TelePresence and competitive products from other vendors), and desktop or enterprise productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus, SAP, Salesforce.com and others). They must work within heterogeneous environments and accommodate new solutions as they come to market.
But that two systems work together is not enough. They must come together as seamlessly as possible to ensure an uncompromised user experience
Finally, this all needs to happen across platforms and devices, particularly as we move toward a post-PC era of many different devices -- from smartphones and tablets in the field to desktop computers and immersive room-based systems. These devices need to be blended into customers’ existing collaboration environments while providing a consistent and compelling user experience.
During a recent Desktop Virtualization Webcast titled VDI with Unified Communications: What Architects Need to Know, one of the key takeaways was that Unified Communications (UC) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) teams need to work together and look at the larger user environment in which they are delivering the IT services. When the audience was asked how many of them were collaborating with their UC teams, 53% said they were currently engaging with their organization’s UC teams in their desktop virtualization projects.
Of course, this may be a biased sample, since the survey is of the webcast attendees, which mainly include IT professionals who are interested in the intersection of VDI and UC. However, I believe this is a sign of a growing trend in enterprise IT.