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Todd Carothers
As executive vice president of sales and marketing, Todd is responsible for CounterPath's Product Management, Marketing, and Sales organizations. He...
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Todd Carothers | July 05, 2017 |

 
   

Cast Your Cloud Communications Vote Wisely

Cast Your Cloud Communications Vote Wisely Beware the hidden, darker side of cloud-based offerings.

Beware the hidden, darker side of cloud-based offerings.

The one thing every civilization needs to survive is the rule of law, and it's the same with the management of technology within a business. The problem is that laws can be hard to impose when anarchy is so tantalizing. Witness the wildfire-rate adoption of cloud-based communications and collaboration platforms like WhatsApp, Slack, Snapchat, and the like. Businesses seeking control of and visibility into these solutions for security and compliance purposes have tried to put up barricades to these tools, but those measures quickly become self-defeating, undermining the ability of IT teams to drive technology strategy.

Salvation has emerged from a familiar source. Like governments voted out of office for being out of touch, vendors and service providers have bounced back after a period of reflective renewal. Having initially been overrun by the deep and rapid changes to communications consumption over the last 10 years, they've finally conceded to cloudification. The result is a New Deal for the digital age, where the "cloudification" of communications and collaboration is polling well among the masses of SMBs as well as the few mega-corporations.

The Perils of Electing a Dictatorship
Cloud is undoubtedly the business game-changer of the decade, and has facilitated a massive shift to a flexible, always-on, accelerated communications culture that allows us to check and share our documents, emails, voices, and faces from anywhere at any time. Flexible, cloud-based packages are on offer from all the major sources and organizations are lapping them up. Propositions with no more hardware, no more service provider charges, fewer operational expenses -- all wrapped up in a powerful and compelling ideology called UC. Or UCism, if you will...

But is there a hidden, darker side to these big cloud-based offerings? In fact, there is.

Amid all the UCism zealotry of digitalization and cloudification, vendors and service providers are slyly shifting the power away from choice and back to their base instincts of lock down and shut out. While you can hardly blame them for protecting their business models, this move toward exclusivity brings drawbacks.

With the lockdown model, the user experience often gets overlooked, flexibility becomes an illusion, and genuine ROI is compromised because of the impact on productivity. Plainly and simply, we're on the cusp of a new digital era and businesses must be careful when evaluating new cloud solutions to ensure those they select help safeguard the freedom of their cloud communications future.

Use Your Cloud to Vote for Clearer Skies
Fortunately, there are steps organizations can take to avoid the traps and enjoy the triumphs of cloudification. They must guard against the following:

  • Desktop-first -- Desk phones are the paperweights of the digital age. Users' first preferences are their mobile devices. They're the offices in their pockets and provide the easiest way to balance work and home lives. Creating a mobile-first experience, on any and every device, is the number one priority. Work back to the desktop experience from there.
  • Lack of open standards -- Open standards should be pervasive, not optional. Implement open APIs and ready-made integrations capable of bridging the infrastructure you already have to the collaboration solution you want.
  • Lazy UX -- The user experience needs to be at the heart of your end-to-end solution and it needs to address the disruptive and changing digital preferences of today's users. A well-designed user experience streamlines, focuses, declutters, simplifies, and contextualizes. It is never an afterthought to patch together disparate features and functions.
  • Cloud on someone else's terms -- It needs to be sized and spec'd for your needs, giving you the flexibility you need to leverage it for connection-persistent communications that tie devices and conversations together through context.

The ideal solution needs to fully embrace the collaborative instincts of human communication. That means presence-driven conferencing, chat and sharing, through messaging, voice and video, plus cloud file shares, on every mobile device and desktop. Before long it will mean threaded communications too; collaboration sessions that are not only available across all devices but also stored and synchronized in the cloud. This will enable content and multiple discussion streams of entire meetings to become as easily accessible as call history logs.

The mechanics of the ideal solution will be straightforward and non-disruptive. You won't have to replace any telephony gear unless you really want to do so. You can run your unique array of traditional and born-in-the-cloud vendor technologies under a single, harmonious user experience. This will require a neutral service platform that orchestrates everything from a softphone perspective and stitches together the most optimal user experience based on the best of a multivendor offering.

Thank goodness we now have technology that's for the benefit of all, but the reality is proprietary lock-in is just one wrong choice away. What are you doing to ensure cloud communications and collaboration that help your business succeed in the digital age?





COMMENTS



July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.