Back in September, I wrote an article about what you need to know about successful unified communications (UC) strategies. It was in preparation for a recent webinar I moderated with the artful name, “The Essential Ingredients for a Successful UC Strategy.” Given the richness of the event, which included presentations by Irwin Lazar, VP and service director at Nemertes Research, Craig Walker, worldwide director, Product Marketing for the Enterprise Group Alcatel-Lucent, and having just come back from TMCnet’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) Austin 2012 event where I saw the latest and greatest of UC capabilities on display, it is certainly a good time to review just a few things from the webinar.
A little background
It is no secret that the business world now moves at Internet speed. In what I have described as the “Age of Acceleration,” not only is everything speeding up, but real-time is literally and figuratively becoming too slow in many ways. For organizations of any size, having the right tools in the right hands at the right time is critical. We all need to facilitate rapid and effective decision-making, drive productivity and enable quality customer experiences that generate new value and increase loyalty in an increasingly disloyal world. The world is moving fast and the speed of change is accelerating; having the technology needed to not just keep pace but be proactive and opportunistic is table stakes.
The real question is whether your “Infostructure”— which I define as the networks, platforms and software, e.g., plumbing — is up to the task. A critical component here is unified communications, where after years of unfulfilled promise, finally appears to be taking off.
During the session, Lazar walked through some interesting statistics on the key factors for UC success, which not surprisingly, were the major trends that seemingly are driving all enterprise markets — business integration, mobility, video and the cloud. He later added data center transformation (virtualization, application delivery optimization, network upgrades and security) to the list. Before getting to the PilotHouse Award and why Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) OpenTouch won it, I thought sharing two of Irwin’s slides would be illuminating.
Given all of the different things that people like to call UC, the graphic below really helped. It is both simple and clear.
And, while he covered some really interesting details about the trends above, the one that caught my imagination was the insights about the relationship of the cloud to UC buying decisions.
And the good news on this front was that Nemertes has also found that cloud-based Internet Telephony (News - Alert) consideration, even in large enterprises is on the rise which obviously bodes well for UC deployment.
It is the best way to ensure your infostructure has the right stuff to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of internal users so they and your business processes are optimized to create and sustain differentiated value through improved customer experiences, and react quickly to a rapidly changing world.
The Nemertes PilotHouse Award for Unified Communications (News - Alert)
The PilotHouse award is very prestigious. The reasons are how it is determined:
· More than 1,500 IT leaders rate vendors based on:
o Customer Service
· Analysts capture feedback about vendors, products, classify vendors by market share
· No vendors have any influence over the program in any way
· All results are solely based on ratings provided by technology buyers/users
OpenTouch take home the award
Against heavy competition, this past year Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) managed not only to have its OpenTouch™ solution win the overall competition, but in a very rare sweep it also topped the charts in the technology, customer service and value categories.
As ALU’s Craig Walker (News - Alert) noted, at the end of the day UC is about business process optimization as driven by transformation of the user experience. This means transformation of the enterprise employee user experience which not only makes them more productive but also enables them to change the conversation with their ecosystem partners and customers as well. He summed it up by relating that the user-centric experience needs to be at a high level multi-party, multi-device and multimedia. This means providing the quality of experience users now expect based on their use of personal devices at home and when mobile, seamless extension of the virtual workplace, one-touch intuitive control and easy to use and high definition visual communications. And, obviously, security and the inclusion of the full suite of UC capabilities starting with presence as a foundation but also involving HD audio, data conferencing and collaboration, mobility and a variety of messaging options, are table stakes.
You are invited to listen to and watch the entire webinar. However, here is one slide which impressed me so much I actually have been compelled to kick the tires of the real thing. It is why OpenTouch was a winner.
Seeing may be believing, but actually putting a product through its paces is even better. It is the best way to understand the beauty in the design here for ease-of-use and impressive utility. In fact, ALU will be having a by invitation only OpentTouch virtual event on Thursday October 18 at either 07:00 – 09:00 GMT or 16:00 – 18:00 GMT. Click here for details.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo