Cloud services

BT KISSes Cloud Collaboration

Cloud services are supposed to simplify things for IT departments but, in some ways, they have created additional complexity in the form of more choices that can, in themselves, create confusion, says Neil Sutton, VP - Global Portfolio, BT Global Services .

In announcing enhancements to its cloud-based Unified Communications services Wednesday, one of BT's goals was to make choices simpler and more targeted to directly address concerns revealed in a survey of 1,000 executives in large enterprises around the globe. (See )

That survey showed that one of the major frustrations of executives is slow decision-making and time wasted trying to organize meetings of all types. So BT's latest cloud-based UC offerings are designed to be simpler to use, one-touch type of systems, says Sutton.

"They want tools that are simpler and more convenient to use, not systems that require multiple sign-ins and complex log-ins that create more barriers for people to collaborate," Sutton says. "There is a huge drive to use more technology, and people are up for that, but they want it to be more convenient."

Some of that demand for new technology originates on the business side of an enterprise and not in the IT department, he adds. In fact, BT's survey showed many execs think their IT departments are falling behind.

"It creates a dilemma," says Sutton. That's a space where BT believes it can step in to help both sides, with tools that are easy to adopt and to use.

BT's new revamped services include a cloud service based on Microsoft Lync; a new smartphone app and Web client that let traveling employees use mobile phones to make outbound calls that are billed as part of the OneVoice service, saving roaming charges; and new PC-based high-definition video collaboration tools that are part of a single-sign-in, easy-to-use video collaboration service.

Why this matters
As cloud service providers try to differentiate their offerings and expand adoption, eas of use will be a major factor, for both the IT department and the business side of the house. The original, commodity cloud services were inherently simple: The challenge now is to add sophistication without adding complexity, and that's one of the things BT is trying to tackle here.

BT is one of the service providers appearing at next week's Carrier Cloud Forum 2012, collocated at Interop New York, where ease of use is just one of many hot topics we'll be discussing. You can still join us there.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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