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Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
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Sheila McGee-Smith | March 19, 2014 |

 
   

A Cloud of Clouds

A Cloud of Clouds At Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014, the evolution of the cloud continues to be a major topic.

At Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014, the evolution of the cloud continues to be a major topic.

It is Day 3 of Enterprise Connect, and several sessions I have attended and meetings that I have had reinforce a notion that I discussed in the opening Contact Center track session on Monday morning. Discussion of cloud solutions in general may have become standard fare in conference sessions and on the show floor, but the idea of being able to combine the enterprise communications applications of multiple vendors to create a seamless experience for a company's users is just taking hold.

A conversation I had with a major user last month helps illustrate the point. This world-class transportation company has chosen to replace legacy, premises-based solutions with cloud-based solutions for thousands of users. They have chosen AT&T as their supplier to deliver Microsoft Lync for collaboration and Genesys for contact center, with Lync 2013 integrated into the Genesys agent desktops. The Genesys solution will be further integrated with Salesforce.com.

One of the main arguments used by "full stack" enterprise communications vendors is the ease of managing and administering solutions delivered by a single vendor. And certainly that is true. But in an increasingly cloud-based application environment, does that argument begin to hold less sway?

One of the more interesting briefings I attended this week was with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, the announcement of Personal Cloud solutions. The company is initially offering three applications: OpenTouch Conference, OpenTouch Video Store and OpenTouch Team Share. Each is accessible via Web browsers on PCs or Macs, and also via dedicated apps on smartphones and tablets. The applications allow groups or departments to have access to functionality that may be required for a limited number of users quickly and easily, without having to request the support of corporate IT.

In today's General Session at 11:30 am, Fred Knight held a Disrupter Conversation: Transforming the Customer Experience with Next-Gen Communications. Barry O'Sullivan of newly-announced AltoCloud and Matt Fulk of SAS discussed the use of the cloud to deliver applications and data to contact centers. At 1:30 pm, I will host a panel of five contact center solution providers, each discussing not just their technology but case studies of companies that have already made the move to the cloud--and why.

Is the cloud for everyone? Certainly with the policies and procedures in some vertical industries in 2014 the answer remains no. But are there specific applications that a company can quickly and relatively easily add to help make their company more agile? There I would say the answer is a definitive yes.

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