Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
Read Full Bio >>

Marty Parker | January 03, 2017 |


'A' is for Architecture -- Enterprise Communications Architecture, That Is

'A' is for Architecture -- Enterprise Communications Architecture, That Is Time may be at hand for a rethink of your enterprise communications architecture -- and here's why.

Time may be at hand for a rethink of your enterprise communications architecture -- and here's why.

Happy New Year! 2017 is going to be a great year, but a year full of change. Traditional enterprise communications, particularly as provided by IP PBXes with desk phones, will still work, but that's not where the innovation will be happening. The great thing about the innovations we are seeing is that almost all of them move in the direction of providing more value for the users with less infrastructure and lower total cost of ownership.

Because of these changes, one of your most important tasks for 2017 is to review the architecture for your enterprise communication systems, services, and solutions.

Let's start with the drivers of the changes that we're seeing and will want to embrace.

  • Usage Profiles - One size no longer fits all users. We can see that communications solutions are now being customized for eight unique usage profiles and one universal profile. The distinct profiles are for collaboration, field, contact center, retail, information processing, production, administration, and management, as well as for universal, or foundational, usage, as introduced in my September 2016 No Jitter post, "Usage Profiles Key to UC Success," and expanded on in the series, "Usage Profiles -- A Guide to Effective and Economical UC Solutions." Cloud-based solutions are providing specialized applications with built-in communications for most of the usage profiles. With the Collaboration Usage Profile, for example, we have Slack, IBM Connections, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, Unify Circuit, Atlassian Confluence, and many others, while for the Field Usage Profile we have all of the vertical industry adaptations of, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and SAP.

    With these new software packages and smartphones, users may not even need IP PBX accounts, as long as they can connect to the enterprise via the corporate directory or a directory-enabled gateway. Obviously, this is a major architectural shift for communication system deployments.

  • Cloud Services - Almost all new enterprise software applications, such as those mentioned above, are being provided as cloud-based services. Of course, we are also seeing cloud-based versions of the IP PBX and of the email, IM, application sharing, storage, and conferencing systems that are part of the Foundational Usage Profile. Thus, an increasing proportion, probably even the majority, of new investments in 2017 will be for cloud-based services.

    One of the major architectural aspects of this shift to the cloud is that for those usage profiles that are mostly off-premises, such as Field and Production, and for those that mostly interact with external parties, such as some Collaboration and Administration profiles, the necessary bandwidth will be delivered by the 4G cellular network, internal or public Wi-Fi, or the Internet (all using secured transmission) or the cloud provider's infrastructure. This can mean a big shift in on-premises network design, deployment, and cost.

  • Mobile Wireless Device Capabilities and Apps - It has now become very affordable and effective to use mobile devices -- smartphones, tablets, and some laptops -- for the full range of business communications for a number of the usage profiles. Thus, mobile devices may have already become the starting point for the user experience and the resulting communication systems architectures.

    An important choice for 2017 is whether to think of the mobile device as an endpoint for the IP PBX, which has had miniscule adoption by users, or as a self-sufficient communication experience, using the cellular networks with unlimited voice calling. This change of perspective may be one of the biggest architectural shifts you'll see this year.

  • Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) - Here's another major trend that is sure to revise most enterprise communication architectures. Communication technology can now be built into almost any application, Web page, or mobile app simply by calling on those services from the many highly capable CPaaS providers. At Enterprise Connect, March 27 to 30 in Orlando, Fla., we'll hear a keynote from Jeff Lawson, founder and CEO of Twilio, a leading and now publicly traded CPaaS company. Further, most of the leading on-premises and cloud PBX providers are offering CPaaS capabilities. This includes Kandy from Genband, Nexmo from Vonage Business, and Cisco Tropo.

    Since CPaaS providers usually also offer connections to the public switched telephone network at very attractive rates, on-premises SIP or T-1 trunks may not be necessary in the new enterprise communications architectures.

  • Hybrid, Multi-Provider Solutions - With all of the changes noted above, we are certainly going to see multiple communication systems and services used within most enterprises. This will require an architecture that encompasses the hybrid model that blends on-premises and cloud solutions, as well as IP PBX, CPaaS, and communications-enabled applications. We'll be presenting this at Enterprise Connect in the Tuesday, March 28, session at Enterprise Connect Orlando, "Architecting Hybrid Cloud: More Art Than Science?" Hope you'll join us.

So, in 2017, "A" is for architecture. It will be the right time to review and even rethink your enterprise communications architecture, if you haven't done that in the past three years.

Again, hope you have a very Happy New Year!


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.