Enterprise Communications: Out with the Old, In with the New

portable The rain has finally stopped in SoCal, the drought is receding, and the Super Bowl is this Sunday; so that means that Enterprise Connect Orlando, March 27 to 30, is right around the corner.

With all of the recent telecommunications industry disruptions -- significant technology shifts, increased M&A, plus the Avaya bankruptcy -- those looking to replace aging infrastructure are faced with more challenges and uncertainty compared to years past. With that in mind, I will be presenting two sessions at Enterprise Connect aimed at arming attendees with in-depth information for upcoming procurements.

On Monday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., I'll be leading the RFP session once again (my 7th year!), this year focused on cloud/hybrid cloud communications procurements.

The process for a selecting new enterprise communications systems continues to evolve in 2017. The growth of cloud-based solutions, the emergence of effective hybrid architectures, the increasing importance of channel partners, industry consolidation, bankruptcies, team collaboration habits, and even vendor pricing models have all changed the way we think about the solutions available in the marketplace. I am a strong believer that a well written RFP remains the most effective way for enterprises to evaluate the appropriate solutions against their stated requirements. The RFP that we use for the Enterprise Connect session is similar to what I use for actual enterprise clients in my consulting practice. This RFP seeks a solution for a mythical enterprise described in the diagram below.

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A key component of the session is my evaluation of each proposed solution across a broad range of criteria including architecture, security, analytics, functional and technical requirements, as well as five-year TCO.

As we approach the event, the list of participating companies continues to grow, as does my excitement about the proposed solutions. What's new this year? The cloud has won the day, and we will be looking at pure cloud and hybrid solution. This will include solutions proposed by Sprint, NEC, Masergy, Vonage, Mitel, Unify, and 8x8 and include a number of unique product solutions.

I'll also be leading a new session on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m., focused specifically on telephone system replacement. The abstract for the session titled, "I Have to Replace My Telephone System; What Do I Do Now?" aptly describes the situation that many of my clients are facing:

Well, your PBX is in its 2nd decade of life, the vendor you bought it from is out of business, the software release is 8 years old, it was end-of-life 5 years ago and the users are screaming to get features they've had on their iPhone for years. Budget has finally been approved and it's time for a new system! So where do you start?

I'll be aiming to answer that question come March, discussing some practical approaches and processes for moving forward with a panel of vendors in this space. As always, looking forward to seeing you all in Orlando. Safe Travels!

Learn more about cloud communications trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Cloud Communications track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.

"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.