Managed Services

UC&C = Cloud No-Brainer

I've been writing a lot lately about whether cloud services are resonating with enterprises, and generally finding they are -- sort of -- but that the sales cycle is proving longer than expected, and enterprise executives are proving to be greater skeptics than anticipated. (See Enterprises Not Rushing to Embrace Cloud and Verizon Relocates Cloud Optimism.)

A new whitepaper from IDC and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) touches on one area of cloud adoption that seems to make enormous sense, and that's collaboration. As the paper, "Why the Cloud for Collaboration?" points out, this is a use of cloud that enterprises can readily understand and from which they can quickly benefit, in large part because the cloud can simplify the process of connecting the many different ways of communicating that employees use today.

Many enterprises would like to embrace Unified Communications and Collaboration but doing so is difficult because they have multiple sites, multiple types of communication at work (voice, messaging, email), and equipment from multiple vendors that isn't interoperable.

"They may have two to three PBX vendors, two to three different desktop chat or IM programs being used, and multiple types of video," says Eric Schoch, Cisco's vice president of collaboration. "They can't roll out new services fast enough or even keep up with the current services they have deployed."

This multi-vendor, multi-technology environment has grown up because many of the decisions around employee communication and collaboration were locally or regionally based or were made by companies before they were acquired. So virtually any company of significant size has this mix of vendors.

Those same businesses want to leverage what they have and either spend less or avoid spending more, Schoch says, but they also want to move up the technology curve to connect their employees more efficiently and make them more productive. So Cisco and IDC set out to prove how moving to cloud services lets companies create UC&C across distributed locations, letting employees talk and work together which -- assuming you've got the right employees -- achieves the productivity piece.

This is an example where cloud has benefits beyond those often stated -- reduced capex, flexibility, pay-as-you-go -- and where a technology transition is taking place anyway.

It is also an application that is easy to explain to almost anyone in an organization. Instead of having to make a big capex bet on the next new UC&C technology platform, enterprises can look to cloud services that can grow and shrink with their needs, evolve as needed, and unify the different communications modalities that we all take for granted today.

When employees are better able to communicate and collaborate, innovation happens faster, problems are solved more quickly, and the overall business benefits.

So there -- a cloud no-brainer.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

brookseven 9/10/2013 | 5:30:51 PM
Re: Yeah, the humans always much things up Carol,

I think this is an interesting comment...

"This is an example where cloud has benefits beyond those often stated -- reduced capex, flexibility, pay-as-you-go -- and where a technology transition is taking place anyway."

If you own your PBX today, even if it is fully depreciated, switching to cloud services does not lower costs it adds them - at least until the date you are going to replace them.

Which I think is THE number one issue.  If its working and other things aren't, that is where the money is going.  Love to have is nice - MUST have is important.


Carol Wilson 9/10/2013 | 1:41:12 PM
Re: Yeah, the humans always much things up Those are definitely concerns, but anyone who has gone beyond a casual review of cloud services knows the security issues can be addressed. Control issues are a bit trickier - and they are actually people-related problems. But most cloud service providers have been working hard on these two fronts .
sam masud 9/10/2013 | 1:28:58 PM
Re: Yeah, the humans always much things up I would suspect there couple other things holding enterprises back from embracing the cloud: 1) security issues, 2) loss of control.
Carol Wilson 9/2/2013 | 11:30:02 AM
Yeah, the humans always much things up The human factor is probably the biggest drag on any new technology adoption. But the reason for this particular white paper -- and the article about it - is to point to where cloud is literally a no-brainer. The CEOs/CFOs aren't going to tolerate the cost of trying to do UC&C on the wide variety of PBXs and other systems companies have deployed, so cloud is a way of breaking free of that hold. So if companies are to realize the productivity benefits of UC&C -- and it's not guaranteed they will -- a cloud approach makes immediate sense. 

That isn't always true for cloud-based apps. 
[email protected] 9/2/2013 | 11:05:22 AM
The people factor There are lots of potential positive reasons to embrace cloud-related services/strategies but it seems to me that hte biggest factor preventing the shift from current working methodologies tro cloud-based methodologies is the human factor -- in general, folks are not so good at change... even after training and being shown how things would make their lives easier. 

I think it will take a long time for cloud evangelists to permeate through different companies, spread the learning and help make the migration process. Ultimately I think many cmpanies will kick themselves for not having done it earlier.
Vishnu Goel 9/2/2013 | 9:53:34 AM
Unification should happen for 3C-Communication,Cloud & Computing! When the world is getting excited over " Cloud aided Everything"  and "Internet of Things" and similar other scenarios it is better to review what vision AT&T had in good old days: Information Movement & Management. Or even HP ( pre-Agilent days) had in MC Square (Measurement,Communication & Computers). So much war on Scenarios happening daily, I have a feeling companies like Microsoft and Nomia may try to disrupt! Vishnu Goel T&M +919810101238  
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