Enterprise Connect – UC in the Cloud

March 2nd, 2011 by

What an exciting day today at Enterprise Connect! The best element to this show is the caliber and candor of the Enterprise user of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) products. In multiple sessions today we heard directly from the end users of UCC products and their experiences with their rollouts, architectures, project challenges, successes and corporate culture for this technology. My particular interest was following the “take it to the cloud” mentality we hear so much about in IT. Since UCC relies so heavily on real-time transport of communication protocols and applications, I was curious to know if customers were hopping on the ‘UC-as-a-Service’ bandwagon.

It’s notable that there were two UCaaS announcements made at Enterprise Connect: XO Communications announced a new cloud-based enterprise IP communications platform while Verizon announced a similar service which also has a Mobile UC client option. One important terminology distinction needs to be made when referring to UCaaS services as either public vs. private cloud vs. hosted services. Each have potential different characteristics and packaged options so you need to be clear which option meets your business objectives and offers the best options.

During a panel session on cloud adoption in communications, I heard from several large enterprises that cloud based services offer benefits by improving your agility to scale resources on demand, help with the transition off end-of-life communications equipment, reduce interoperability between disparate platforms when offered as a service, freeing up skilled workers to focus on other IT communications projects, and sometimes improving reliability compared to in-house datacenter services. They also suggested users considering cloud services to keep in mind some key aspects of planning before making this move:

  1. Understand how cloud delivery may impact and integrate into your corporate culture. Educate the value of moving IT services such as IM, web conferencing, contact center or unified messaging to a cloud delivery model within all levels of your organization.
  2. Cherry pick which apps or services you move to the cloud. As mentioned before, some UCC services don’t play well in some deployment scenarios however others may suit this new model very well. Strong use cases include IP contact center with IVR and ACD functionality as well as IM and Presence.
  3. Know your security profile and posture. Many new cloud offerings come with good security options but you should consult with your compliance, HR, and legal teams on all aspects of your service provider contracts to ensure you’re meeting corporate security obligations.
  4. Have a strategy and plan wisely. It helps to bring in the business units during your strategic planning with IT communications. In many cases users of the UC services will help solve some of the initial adoption issues through empowerment of collaboration wikis, user groups, and communities.
  5. Writing very detailed SLA’s with your provider against core metrics that are key to service delivery. Leave little gaps of areas of the service that could impact your particular user. experience. Also, get to know the OLA’s of the cloud providers and any dependencies they have in their 3rd party contracts.

All in all, today was full of rich information about UCaaS and the maturity of new deliver options. ScienceLogic is excited to be an innovator with monitoring cloud based services and look forward to working with our customers on expanding our own capabilities within this new market.

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