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Single Vendor vs. Multiple Vendors

I think your question is valid, but the answers are becoming more complex and you should define the terms "Single vendor" and Multi-vendor" a bit more.

For traditional enterprise telephony "CPE" technology, the hardware-oriented proprietary phone system used to require a total system purchase from a single manufacturer; today, with software-based, converged UC, the applications are becoming hardware platform and endpoint device-independent, and, with IP interoperability, software applications will be mix-and-match from a variety of developers.

In addition, the move to increased hosted/managed service options, backed by SOA and SaaS, will drive procurements away from purchase commitments requiring heavy internal IT expertise support to more selective usage commitments with channel support. So, the question should be who will enterprise organizations buy the pieces from in terms of price, support, and future-proof interoperability. Clearly, it won't be directly from the developers, but from what kind of channels?

My guess is that the answer should be a single channel for sales and support of all the pieces that the enterprise must be responsible for in the future, and that channel will represent other partner channels, including all the software technology developers who will be constantly upgrading their product/service offerings to work with many applications, multiple platforms, wired and wireless networks, and, most importantly, any end user device.

It's like buying a single operating system that will have to support many applications, networks,and devices. You don't really buy it directly from the OS developer, but from the device/application channel that can take care of all integrations and updates. So, it is really a "service" that users want, and the question of cost to maintain and support custom needs vs. mass market needs will determine the procurement choice.

All of this will impact the role of traditional VARs, because UC requires more than a premise-based, wired desktop device just for voice conversations.

The responses you got from the poll that say they want a single-vendor solution means that they want a "unified" support interface for all their different applications, not that the technology has to be developed by a single company.

I'll get off my soapbox now, so, Happy New Year!

Art

For traditional enterprise telephony "CPE" technology, the hardware-oriented proprietary phone system used to require a total system purchase from a single manufacturer; today, with software-based, converged UC, the applications are becoming hardware platform and endpoint device-independent, and, with IP interoperability, software applications will be mix-and-match from a variety of developers.

In addition, the move to increased hosted/managed service options, backed by SOA and SaaS, will drive procurements away from purchase commitments requiring heavy internal IT expertise support to more selective usage commitments with channel support. So, the question should be who will enterprise organizations buy the pieces from in terms of price, support, and future-proof interoperability. Clearly, it won't be directly from the developers, but from what kind of channels?

My guess is that the answer should be a single channel for sales and support of all the pieces that the enterprise must be responsible for in the future, and that channel will represent other partner channels, including all the software technology developers who will be constantly upgrading their product/service offerings to work with many applications, multiple platforms, wired and wireless networks, and, most importantly, any end user device.

It's like buying a single operating system that will have to support many applications, networks,and devices. You don't really buy it directly from the OS developer, but from the device/application channel that can take care of all integrations and updates. So, it is really a "service" that users want, and the question of cost to maintain and support custom needs vs. mass market needs will determine the procurement choice.

All of this will impact the role of traditional VARs, because UC requires more than a premise-based, wired desktop device just for voice conversations.

The responses you got from the poll that say they want a single-vendor solution means that they want a "unified" support interface for all their different applications, not that the technology has to be developed by a single company.

I'll get off my soapbox now, so, Happy New Year!

Art

I'll admit that this whole issue of how you buy UC, how you assemble a system, is one of the hardest to get my head around--and while I'm sure that's partly my own deficiencies of understanding, I do believe the business and technology models themselves aren't completely baked.

Art's analogy of the UC system essentially being the old-fashioned desktop system writ large helped me understand one way of looking at the components of UC.

So, Happy New Year, Art and everyone else. It's going to be an interesting one.