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 | December 26, 2014 |


The Coming Communications Omniverse

The Coming Communications Omniverse Teams should be able to adopt freemium communications clients for project-based work, while IT picks a platform for broader-based communications.

Teams should be able to adopt freemium communications clients for project-based work, while IT picks a platform for broader-based communications.

If you haven't checked it out yet, Brian Riggs has another one of his fabulous Slideshows, with the usual comprehensive, in-depth, well-illustrated deep dive into a particular topic --in this case, it's a rundown of collaboration tools that he bills as "email killers." It's a product category that industry heavyweights would associate with Unify (via Circuit) and Cisco (via Squared), but Brian demonstrates that this has been a lively, active category brimming with startups for at least the last four years. Unify and Cisco are the newcomers here.

These startup-based tools have all the hallmarks of freemium driven apps: Names based on twee misspellings of onomatopoetic words; rosters of early adopters in tech-savvy fields like software development; and, in most cases, a strong mobile-first approach. These factors might make enterprise managers, and their strategic vendors, dismiss these team collaboration apps as unimportant or nichey. That could be a mistake.

Instead, I think this could be one part of the next generation of BYOD/OTT. I recently wrote about how the proliferation of these types of freemium communications/collaboration tools gives the legacy vendors an advantage: They can make a better case for being the standard or default system across an enterprise in which different groups might otherwise be going their own way with a panoply of different freemium clients. And indeed, from the freemium vendors' perspective, each new competitor cuts into its opportunity to capture the critical mass that would give it a Metcalfe's Law-driven case for dominance.

So the more likely scenario might be a shakeout, where a handful of the earliest/best freemium tools survive--too many for any one to dominate, but enough of them so that the survivors can claim a meaningful amount of mindshare among people who use the tools for business tasks. At that point, maybe individual enterprise teams should be free to pick the freemium client that their members like best--perhaps there's no need for a common client across the enterprise, at least for those teams' project work.

As Irwin Lazar points out, users already seem to be moving in this direction--which makes sense, because it's what they do in the rest of their lives. People have tons of apps, tons of clients on their phones that they use in different contexts now. Maybe it's actually easier to wall off your team-specific work from your external and more general internal work if you have a whole separate app that you use just for that specific context--an app that you chose because the team members agreed it was the most functional for the work at hand.

Inconvenient for IT? Maybe so. But maybe not so bad. Maybe there's a zone of compromise similar to the one that enterprises are gravitating towards for BYOD devices: You can't have just anything you want, but there's a pretty extensive list of approved choices from which you can make your selection. Then maybe the enterprise can standardize on another client--presumably associated with your core UC platform--that's available to all users as a cross-organizational platform.

Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't enterprise IT pick a standard UC/collaboration platform, and only let teams use something different if they really have a good reason to? That's what many in IT would be inclined to say, but just stating the proposition that way explains why it might not work: People nowadays simply don't feel bound to obey IT's edicts about what applications to use, and one of the major points of Brian's Slideshow is that these freemium guys have already beaten the enterprise heavyweights to the market with their apps.

Waiting for IT to standardize on a strategic vendor's client means...well, waiting. And users tend not to be willing to do that anymore.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

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.