Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | March 18, 2013 |


Time to Get Jiggy With UC Management at EC13

Time to Get Jiggy With UC Management at EC13 UC has finally reached the level of penetration where management must become a bigger part of the deployment.

UC has finally reached the level of penetration where management must become a bigger part of the deployment.

I, like so many of you reading this blog, are at or heading to Orlando for the 2013 edition of Enterprise Connect. It appears we'll have the normal hot themes such as video and Cisco versus Microsoft, but UC management should rear its head this year in a much bigger way. I've got a number of sessions related to UC management including Tuesday at 4:45 (UC? Mobility? FMC? BYOD? SIP Trunking? Video? WebRTC? It's Time to Take Control), Thursday 8am (Software Defined Networks: Impact on Communications) and Thursday at 9am (UC Management: Does it Really Exist?)

So after all these years, why now? Well I think UC has finally reached the level of penetration where management must become a bigger part of the deployment. Towards end of last year, I ran a joint ZK Research–Tech Target UC survey to gain a snapshot of where companies are with deployments and what the primary barriers are. One of the first questions I asked was "What is the status of UC in your organization today?" and 23% responded that it's fully deployed across the company. Another 26% claimed to have it partially deployed across the organization and 12% have it deployed to a small number of workers. That's over 60% with production UC deployments.

Clearly, UC has reached mass adoption and that's when management becomes more important. Early adopters can stitch solutions together and create custom management tools, but the majority of IT organizations just do not have the skill sets.

This thought is confirmed by the survey as well. When we asked what was the top obstacle towards a broader UC deployment, the responses, "Lack of trained IT staff", "Complexity of deployment", and "Requires significant organizational changes" scored high.

This has played out in other markets as well. Normally the management of "stuff" usually precedes the stuff by a few years; it's just with the UC industry it's taken longer, probably because of the continually changing nature of UC.

The first Enterprise Connect press release I received today was from UC management vendor, VOSS, who is actually the sponsor of the "Take control" panel. The press release announced the company's "UC Overbuild" solution, which is designed to help companies optimize the UC deployment that is already in place. From the survey we know that's over 60% of companies today.

UC Overbuild is designed to help IT automate many of the administrative tasks that are too cumbersome or that take too long to do manually. This includes multi-vendor provisioning, mobile administration and MACDs. Automation has actually been a big theme across IT over the past half decade and is finally becoming a more important component of the communications world.

Also, UC Overbuild is a componentized solution that allows organizations to apply management to the areas where IT departments actually need the support. Since no two deployments are exactly the same, the customization capabilities of UC Overbuild should allow almost any company to deploy it and apply it to the areas of the most pain.

To achieve this higher level of manageability, the solution has three core components:

* Centralized management. This gives IT departments a single pane of glass to view all of the network components, users, devices, services and other UC resources. Historically this has been done with separate management tools, and the only way to create a common front end was through a significant amount of custom software.

* Decentralized administration. While it's important to have a central view of the UC deployment, management tasks should be distributed to enable a sub-set of tasks to be done by local administrators. Branch administrators, field engineers or other local administrators can access UC Overbuild through a web portal or even a mobile phone.

* End user self-care portal. Again, here's another theme that's been growing across IT and has been late to make its way to the communications industry. Through the portal, users can manage many of the service settings that are typically done by an IT department. This can bring the administration costs of management way down. In other industries, I've seen self-service knock support costs down by as much as 30%.

This continually evolving market we call UC brings with it continually evolving complexity as well as a stream of new skills that need to be added. It's time that companies got serious about management tools, and there should be no shortage of them at this year's Enterprise Connect.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

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.