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The New (Post-Genesys) Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

For its first analyst meeting since carving out contact center solution provider Genesys in February 2012, Alcatel-Lucent chose the city of Chicago. Given the global footprint of the business, a diverse group of LATAM, EMEA and APAC analysts were on hand, covering both the communications and data networking markets.

The general session opened with content intended to put to rest any concerns that there had been Genesys technology (specifically SIP and media servers) embedded in the company’s new OpenTouch architecture that would be missing or not easily supported going forward. The president of the ALU-E business unit, Michel Emelianoff (pictured at right), provided plenty of detail on why this wasn’t the case. He reported that 850,000 lines of contracted code have already been delivered by Genesys and that the ALU-E engineers are now able to work with the software with minimal support from Genesys engineering. The next release of OpenTouch, 1.1 is scheduled to be delivered at the end of the summer.

Asked what his goals for the analyst meeting were, Emelianoff said that one was to share--as transparently as possible--what ALU-E has executed on and how in the past six months. I believe that goal was met, especially in the very frank appraisal of the company's region by region go-to-market performance delivered by VP of Sales Jan Zuurbier.

For example, while Zuurbier said "Southern Europe (e.g., Greece, Italy) is keeping me awake at night," Central North Europe (especially Turkey, Poland and Russia) were described as doing well. ALU-E has gone as far as allocating resources (i.e., sales and support people) from Southern Europe to Latin America to better realize the opportunities there. While physically moving people may seem initially extreme, it makes sense in the context of how difficult it can be to hire and train the right resources in new markets.

Beyond execution, Emelianoff wanted to communicate that ALU-E believes there will be a fundamental change in the industry the company operates in over the next 10 years. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is hard at work trying to help define and be part of this new world, one they described as the emergence of the Personal Cloud.

What's the Personal Cloud? Emelianoff believes that the move from TDM to IP and now SIP-based PBXs has not really been a very dramatic technology shift, more an extension of the same phone-based paradigm. He contends that the iPad has begun to change how people want to communicate, that the first reaction people have when they have a task is to see if "there's an app for that." He sees Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s future as a developer of communications applications, more and more often delivered via the cloud, that companies and users will pick and choose among. The data networking side of ALU-E will continue to be involved in helping companies create the data centers to support those apps.

Thinking about my own "personal cloud," it already includes iTunes music storage, DropBox file storage, WebEx conferencing, and PhoneTag voice mail delivery and transcription to name just a few. CIOs everywhere are dealing not only with BYOD but "bring your own cloud" services as well. ALU-E’s focus on the Personal Cloud from both an application and infrastructure perspective may find a welcome reception with those CIOs.