Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | February 03, 2012 |


Cisco's Barry O'Sullivan: 2012 Collaboration Predictions

Cisco's Barry O'Sullivan: 2012 Collaboration Predictions What's ahead for social, video, the cloud, and other top issues? Barry O'Sullivan offered some ideas, and answered our followup questions.

What's ahead for social, video, the cloud, and other top issues? Barry O'Sullivan offered some ideas, and answered our followup questions.

Cisco recently sent me a piece penned by Barry O'Sullivan, the company's senior VP and GM for the Collaboration and Communications Group; the topic was "Collaboration Predictions for 2012." It was a pretty interesting list, but I wanted to ask some follow-up questions. Barry was kind enough to respond to these follow-ups in an email exchange. So below are the original predictions, with follow-up questions in italics and Barry's responses below the questions:

1. Post PC-era will explode
Fewer people will use desktop PCs to collaborate. Boundaries between families, workers, and friends will continue to vanish as people's lives become intertwined with their mobile device. As a result, IT managers will look for options that enable workers to collaborate on their own terms. Employees will increasingly access presence, instant messaging, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing capabilities via apps built for their mobile device, and insist on a consistent user experience (whether Android, iPhone, RIM, or another). As a result, businesses will go from managing multiple company apps to managing apps for a single employee across multiple platforms, including PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. The enterprise app store model will take off since businesses can track, manage, and deliver applications to workers, and developers can bill based on actual usage.

Does this mean a single interface like Jabber, Lync, Flare, or the new IBM Connections release—i.e., a single portal that runs all the apps the user has permission to use? Or does the "enterprise app store" mean the user will run any enterprise-approved app, any way he/she chooses? And will the device itself be a dedicated enterprise device like Cius, or a general-purpose, dual-use device like iPad?
We see a mix of devices including different tablet OS and different device form factors. The UC apps like Jabber will work across all the devices including fixed and smart phones and be a single interface for communications ("unified communications") with a consistent user experience. However, the app management capability is different. We are talking about two different things here. This app management capability is talking about being able to distribute and control applications out to mobile devices that includes communications apps but also the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Apple store, Google Marketplace, AppHQ as well as enterprise developed "private" apps. This app management platform will be able to optimize and manage apps for an employee based on their role in the enterprise but also based on the device they are using at that time and place.

2. Video will break through
Intercompany collaboration with video will become more pervasive as companies of all sizes--from big enterprises to small/mid size business--share in-person experiences inside and outside their companies with customers, partners and vendors. We will see product innovation to support demand for interoperable intercompany collaboration with secure text, voice, real-time video, and presence capabilities across multiple device platforms. Video will capitalize on the ease of use of touch-based and gesture-based devices in the marketplace, enabling greater adoption of video for collaboration and business transformation. [With systems] simplified through automation, employees will be able to instantly capture video and those videos will be automatically uploaded to their company's intranet. How will intercompany interoperability come about? What processes/initiatives will drive it, and what will persuade vendors to go along?
Intercompany interoperability will be driven by consumer demand to support video across the vast range of new devices and form factors employees are bringing into the workplace. Organizations are also creating more employee-generated videos than ever before, creating a need to manage and house all this video content and make it accessible across a range of devices and applications. Enterprises will look to vendors that can provide an end-to-end video network that can simply and automatically translate any type of video to any type of device or application with minimal end-user involvement.

3. Contact Centers will evolve as customers choose to interact with companies in radically new ways
This is the year customer service centers will enable more proactive communications to their customers, and where customers will interact with agents through a variety of consumer-type mobile applications. Customers will use voice, video, chat, social media, and the web to interact with agents to resolve their issues. Mid-sized and smaller companies will provide world-class customer care enabled by packaged customer collaboration solutions and cost-effective hosted solutions. Agents will enjoy working from anywhere as collaboration-enabled virtualized desktop environments become viable, cost-effective alternatives for enterprises. Companies will increasingly demand desktop virtualization solutions.

Most contact centers still have dedicated agents for different media--voice calls, email, web; how will contact centers accommodate all of these new communications channels with a workforce that's still highly specialized?
New collaborative solutions like the virtualized desktop environment and social tools embedded in the contact center will make it easier to cross-train agents. Using more than one form of media is the optimal approach to increase agent utilization as it also makes it easier for agents to access the multiple back end systems they need to do their jobs.

4. Companies will use the cloud and desktop virtualization to provide collaboration capabilities across the enterprise
Enterprise adoption of cloud-based collaboration will continue at a record pace in the post PC-era as partner offerings become more attractive. Unified communications will become one of the top elements for enterprise cloud strategies as part of a hosted collaboration offering. Companies will increasingly demand desktop virtualization solutions that enable employees to access data when they need it, from any location at any time. Video-conferencing cloud services will enable small/mid size business to use video to collaborate inside and outside their company without the infrastructure investment required for video.

Who are the likeliest providers for cloud-based collaboration offerings—traditional carriers? Specialized service providers? Others?
We are seeing both. Certainly most of the traditional carriers are highly interested in offering these cloud-based collaboration offerings and are already starting to launch services to do so partnering with Cisco. It is a great way for them to offer more value to their customers as well as creating a tighter, "stickier" relationship. We also see a mix of several other types of service providers setting up services to do this, including groups like system integrators that have up until now, traditionally deployed on-premise collaboration solutions.

5. Social business processes will become mainstream for many
In 2012, employees will use social business tools more often to be more productive at work, as business applications are "collaboration-enabled" by social software platforms. For example, from within structured, task-driven applications like CRM, people will be able to see their colleagues' activity, find experts and ask questions. This type of social interaction will proliferate with the advent of HTML5 and as more developers use open standards such as XMPP and public Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to support platform services. Micro-blogging and instant messaging will also come together, connected via a "unified follow model" that combines today's "buddy list" with the enterprise social graph.

Does this suggest that Quad, rather than Jabber, will be the unified portal/interface for many knowledge workers using Cisco communications systems?
Depending on the worker role and communication needs, some companies will use Quad, as it will incorporate Jabber in addition to activity streams and relevant integrations to task-driven applications like CRM. Other companies will look to embed collaboration across all of their business applications (e.g., embedding click to call, click to video, click to conference, and presence within the business application screens), although this will be much more complex than deploying Quad due to the large number of individual applications. Some companies will primarily use Jabber. The key is to have this unified collaboration environment easily accessible from anywhere the workers are working: whether it is their desktop, a mobile device, or within a business application. In this new paradigm, it is not one silo or the other but rather the ability to access the same UC experience and have the same ability to instantly contact and collaborate with co-workers no matter where you are.


June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

May 23, 2018

If Cisco is a critical strategic supplier for you, then its vital for you to understand the most recent announcements around Webex Teams, and how to build your migration path for the next generatio

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
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 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.