Living in a Multi-Vendor World - Is BCOM a Key to Success?

31 Mar 2015

In this Industry Buzz podcast, the UCStrategies Experts welcome guests from VOSS Solutions, Unimax, and Kurmi Software, to discuss a new category of products called Business Communications Operations Management, or "BCOM." Phil Edholm moderates the conversation, with Experts Kevin Kieller, Marty Parker, Blair Pleasant, and Art Rosenberg. Guests include Christopher May, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for VOSS Solutions, Phil Moen, CEO of Unimax, and Abdel Kander, CEO of Kurmi Software.

Refer to the transcript below for time codes for each speaker.

Unified Communications Strategies

Also on on this topic:

Phil Edholm: Hello and welcome to this week's UCStrategies podcast. This week, we are focused on what has become an incredibly significant topic in our industry, which is, how do you live in a multi-vendor business communications UC world? As we saw at the recent Enterprise Connect with what is happening with Microsoft, with Cisco, Avaya, and with the other components of the UC system, the fact is that a number of surveys have shown that many organizations do not have a single vendor in this space.

Dealing with a multi-vendor world is becoming something a lot of us have to deal with. And this is actually introducing some incredible challenges across our community. We really change from what used to be a relatively simple system, a phone system with a phone on the desk that moved maybe once a year, to a much more complex system with changes that happen every month or two for each user. And a change may now touch not just one system, but three or four different systems with different skills to configure and operate them.

This is raising an incredible challenge for the organizations that run our communication systems. The time they need to spend doing these changes, configurations, the errors it induces, are generating some fairly significant issues in the success and value of some of the deployments that are happening out there.

One of the things we identified at UCStrategies right before Enterprise Connect, and talked about at Enterprise Connect, was the emergence of a new category of products called Business Communication Operations Management. These are products that are designed to automate through specific processes, templates, and procedures, the process of configuring and operating these new sophisticated communication systems.

So instead of trying to do it in the same old manual way we used to, actually using sophisticated tools that integrate across multiple vendors. And our focus today is to talk about how these tools can impact your success in dealing with a multi-vendor environment or literally any communication environment and what the values are.

We're also joined today by three companies in the BCOM marketplace. These companies are delivering solutions to the problems we're going to talk about, in terms of operations and sophisticated business communications systems. The include Voss Solutions, Unimax, and Kurmi Software. We'll be hearing from them later about how their solutions can enhance the delivery, adoption, and use of your UC systems.

First, I would like to call on Kevin Kieller. Kevin actually was on a panel at Enterprise Connect on this subject and has a lot of experience in multi-vendor environments both dealing with multi-vendor with Lync, but also in migrations to Lync. So Kevin, comment from your perspective.

Kevin Kieller (3:06): Thanks, Phil. First, I think that this is a great - it shows great evolution that we are now talking about this. I think in years gone past, there has been a tremendous focus on just getting the systems working in a specialty that was complex, as you say, in a multi-vendor environment. But now we are recognizing that all the design planning that goes to getting the systems working, if we are successful with that, truthfully, the ongoing management of that over the months and years that hopefully now our new UC system serves our organization.

That effort starts to dwarf the original implementation effort. And because of that, in order to keep the systems working, we really do need increased tools and especially in the multi-vendor environment to be able to audit changes so that if we, by mistake, make a change that had an inadvertent negative side effect, we could figure out who did it, roll it back, and maybe provide that ongoing training.

And as you said, dealing with multiple systems, I see this a lot as organizations are moving to Lync. But in larger organizations, they are not necessarily moving one hundred percent to Lync. So they end up with, as you mentioned, maybe Cisco voice for a campus environment or one of their locations, and Avaya voice for other locations. And then they have Lync voice that you see for other sets of users. And to be able to deal with people transitioning from one location to another, properly provision phone numbers out of multiple systems, really the success of UC is requiring some of these tools and the tools that we are going to talk about from whether it is VOSS, Unimax, or Kurmi.

They become the critical component that you need to start thinking about as you are planning your implementation and your transition. And I think for large organizations, these types of tools can bring some of the benefits that people look for when they go to the cloud. And they let some other organization manage this complexity by bringing these tools into your enterprise. You can get some of the simplification benefits, especially around that ongoing management.

So absolutely, BCOM, it's exciting that we are starting to talk about that because that means that more organizations are having success in the deployment and now looking to figure out how they keep their UC environment working well as they move into the future. And back to you, Phil.

Phil Edholm (5:55): Thanks Kevin. That was good insight. I would like for us to next talk to Marty Parker. Marty has talked a lot about use cases and how they drive the value here and the value of unified communications. And I think he sees a direct correlation between BCOM and those values. Marty?

Marty Parker (6:14): Yeah, exactly. Thanks very much, Phil for that introduction and those are exactly the points. So Kevin already made the point that this is really important for adoption. I am going to bring it into another layer, which is, for every one of our clients and for all of the case studies that you see out in the marketplace, you realize that unified communication is not a one size fits all for everybody in the organization. The day of the black rotary phone on every desk is decades ago.

Today, we are talking about communications that are integrated to the businesses processes, integrated to the people's work. Some people still need that handset, speakerphone, and speed dials on the desk. Others, it's going to migrate to software on their mobile devices or personal computers. Others, they are going to be outside of the office working remotely or working from home. You are just going to see so many different ways of adopting this. We call them usage profiles. We have written articles about this so I will not go into in any more detail. But once you realize that there are patterns of users, then, whether it's in an ITL service catalog or where it is, you want to have users be able to self-select or managers be able to select the usage profile for that particular workgroup or particular person. And then you want that automated behind the scenes. You cannot have a high overhead on this. Otherwise, the organization will react to it fiscally.

So I am thrilled by what VOSS, and Unimax, and Kurmi are able to do to let that be automated and to let these profiles be built into service catalogs or into other management methodologies that will allow this to be automated. And speaking of automated, it is also true that communications have become an architectural component of business solutions. And as such, it needs to live in that world. It has not in the past. It has been the silo of "I am the telecom guy don't bother me." That's gone.

You have to be part of the network operations center. You have to be part of the desktop software community. And therefore, you have to be able to bring this automation into the overall automated processes that we see already and have seen for a decade with desktop software, service software, and so forth. But I think BCOM is on the right track, absolutely necessary. I'll say more about it later, Phil. Back to you.

Phil Edholm (8:53): Thanks, Marty, for those great comments. I think both of you identified the fact that this whole area of operations is really important as we continue to improve the sophistication and delivery of our solutions in unified communications. We see it across the clients, the companies we talk to, and as a group from UCStrategies it's becoming more and more important. But I think it's sometimes important to bring it down to what the impact is. And today, as we said, we have three companies with us that are leading in this field of operations solutions: Voss Solutions, Unimax, and Kurmi Software. What we have asked them to do is each talk a bit about an area where they see significant impact of their solutions, what it delivers, and the value.

First I'd like to start off with Christopher May. Christopher May is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Voss Solutions. And he is going to talk today about dial plans, and very specifically about how dial plans, you can manage them, what's the connectivity, and all of those areas, and how this has become a critical issue in today's systems. So I'll hand it over to you, Chris, and tell us a little bit about how BCOM solves those challenges for your customers.

Christopher May (10:04): Thanks, Phil. Yes, I guess there are two key issues that we see from a management perspective. The first is when you are asking engineers to do mundane tasks, highly repetitive tasks day in and day out, that typically does not work very well. Complex smart engineers and you get them to do boring things, they end up cutting corners, and so you can introduce errors and it is difficult to get standardization.

The other area is complex tasks that you are asking engineers to perform infrequently. So if you are not doing a complex thing every day, then you have to relearn it every time you do it if it's an infrequent task. And dial plan fits into that second category. What do we mean by dial plan? A lot of you listening here will understand it, but some may not.

So I really put dial plan into three main categories. The first is call flow. You need to make sure that when someone is dialing or trying to connect to another person, that the call is actually following a path through the network into a SIP trunk or into a PSTN to connect to your other party or, of course, stay on NET. So call flow is the first important thing.

Secondly is resource management, so actually managing the numbers. Different locations may have different number plans. For example, you may have short code dialing in one location, but not in another, especially if you are transversing different technologies. So management resource is the second one.

Thirdly, it is just the interconnect. If I want to make a four-digit dialing between two different technologies, then I need to make sure that that call - that the number logic is interpreted by both systems. So I need that interconnect between the two.

So those three areas, call flow management, resource management, and interconnect are the things that are typically infrequent tasks that need to be performed, but are very complex. And that's the issue where a BCOM management system can really help, because the automation allows your engineers to perform those tasks in a very orderly way by giving you the mechanisms to be able to perform those tasks efficiently, but in a very intuitive way.

So, for example, if you take a system like Avaya or Cisco, they have inherent dial plan capabilities within the actual PDXs. But if you take a Lync system, for example, that does not really have the concept of dial plan. What happens with the Lync environment is it works with a session border controller, a Sonus or AudioCodes. And so if you wanted to set up, for example, caller line identification restrictions or if you needed a translation patent for a certain number range, if you wanted to direct on-net or off-net calls, that type of activity in a Lync environment would be performed on the session border controller. And so that means you would need an engineer to not only understand the Lync system, but also the AudioCodes.

That is where we often see in the market that companies run into problems when they are asking engineers to be able to manage that environment to perform what is a task that is relatively infrequent, but it is one that enterprises typically value if there is a reasonably sophisticated enterprise. So that is a good example of dial plan management where a BCOM automation system is able to provide you with the mechanism to go in. There will be a wizard, for example, that would set up and allow an engineer to change the CLR restriction settings, impose a number mask, or in fact direct a call flow to traverse a PSTN gateway or traverse a SIP trunk, as an example. That removes this problem of complex tasks being done infrequently.

Phil Edholm (14:11): Excellent, Chris. I think that's great. It is so interesting because sometimes with the new of UC and not dialing people with phone numbers, but rather clicking on a contact, we miss that so much of our organization still uses that four- or five-digit dialing. I was actually working with a client who is a large metropolitan government. And basically, they said unless our police officers can dial with a four-digit number, they won't use a system because they have learned those. And that is really how they interact. So maintaining that is pretty critical.

Kevin, I know you see this a lot in your implementations as you work with customers both installing Lync with existing platforms and side-by-side or migrating. Can you talk a little bit about how you see these solutions impacting those deployments in terms of both effectiveness and success?

Kevin Kieller (15:07): Sure, Phil. I think Chris really nailed some key points. I am always excited with the initial enthusiasm that rolling out a new unified communication solution is greeted with in most organizations. But that enthusiasm quickly wanes if business users cannot connect, like in your example with the police...if they have got four digit extensions entrenched in their minds and they have been using them for years. Or in many organizations, there are short dialing sequences to reach a help desk or some other internal services. And all the wiz bang nifty technology goes away if the business users can't connect. And as they move from one facility to another or as they're upgraded from one platform on the organization's UC journey to another, if the dial plan does not operate in a consistent manner, you see huge problems with usage and adoption of the new platform.

As Chris pointed out, it gets challenging in a Lync world because there are different components. Often, the session border controllers participate. And there will be business functions where when I dial out from certain numbers I want to mask my caller id for various reasons or manipulate it. And that happens in different places than on the traditional telephony equipment. So getting a particular individual or even a group of individuals together, and Chris said it very well, to do this complex, but infrequent task can be challenging. And you need to make sure that you are doing it quickly, efficiently, and one hundred percent correctly. Otherwise, over time, the communication success rate for your new platform or your multi-vendor platform just goes down. And you will start to wonder why people are not using the new technology and they are just making more mobile calls on their cellphones simply because you did not get the dial plan management right. I absolutely see it on a day-to-day basis. And these BCOM solutions can certainly help make sure you are always operating at one hundred percent efficiency.

Phil Edholm (17:32): Excellent, excellent. Thanks, Kevin. I think you raise some great points. The fact that 30 percent of outages are due to configuration errors and configuring systems, and a lot of those relate to things like dial plan... It is complex. It is a challenge to do it. And as Chris said, it is not something you deal with all the time. So it is something that is easy to make a mistake in.

So next, I wanted to talk to Phil Moen, CEO of Unimax. And Phil, really, talk about the focus on this whole concept of configuration, automation, and even self-service and how it frees up staff, enables us to focus on better services and new activities. So Phil, tell us a little bit about how BCOM impacts that part of organizations.

Phil Moen (18:21): Yeah, sure Phil. And thanks. Configurations, first of all, referred to groups of settings across multiple devices for a user. So think about these as roles or as Marty called them, usage profiles. If I can break down my worker community into a few of these usage profiles and it really can be a few. I can predetermine the devices, applications, services, features, and functions required for that profile or role.

Now once I do that, BCOM systems can automatically set up that user or even tear down assets and services for terminated employees. So as an example, imagine an employee gets into the active directory database upon hire. BCOM picks that up, reads the role and location, and automatically prepares, as an example, a Cisco 7965 with two lines, call forwarding to an assistant, a shared line, or bridged appearance, a zero out to an attendant, a simultaneous ring with their cell phone, and literally hundreds of other phone functions.

The automation then continues to create, perhaps, a unity connection voice mailbox and even a Lync Enterprise voice-enabled user with the correct registrar pool and line URI and proper E.164 format. And all the proper policy set including everything from conferencing policy to dial plan policy. Now no one in that scenario had to lift a finger.

Now consider all of the system interfaces that are processed like that. It would have taken - I may have had to log into the active directory users and computers or a-doc, the Lync server control panel, the exchange management console, perhaps the Cisco management webpages or ASA, maybe even a command line interface. And more importantly, think about all of the time that it would have taken not to mention the potential error that exists with so much typing across so many systems. Errors that would have then later had to have been fixed.

Now even if you have different vendors in different locations, BCOM systems don't care. And automatically determine the right system, configuration, asset services and settings for each location-based role. And these role configurations tied to automation across say Cisco, Avaya, legacy Nortel, Microsoft, and more provide incredible time savings, which can be used by engineers to do the very difficult things that only engineers know how to do rather than waste time doing those mundane tasks that Chris referred to a few minutes ago.

Further, by pushing the solution closer to the problem, help desk can self-service portals, which can be client configured to provide only the functionality that the client wants the help desk or employee to be able to see or change. That time savings just explodes. Changes like pin and passwords, notification settings, speed dial, call forward, UC-500 or Symrin [PH] and even press zero assignment, all tasks that, quite frankly, any decent engineer doesn't want to do anyway. BCOM Solutions provides this automation of role-based configuration and the last mile solutions of help desk portals and end user self-service portals. And by doing this, telecom staff gets a significant amount of time back and will be able to spend time doing other things including providing new services, which they otherwise may not have been able to do.

Phil Edholm (21:46): Excellent, I think you make some great points about why automation is so significant. It is all about getting us back to where we do not spend our whole day doing configurations and complexity, getting things right the first time. Marty, you have spent a lot of time working on use cases. How do your concepts of use cases and profiles translate with BCOM into delivering the real value unified communications and business communications overall?

Marty Parker (22:19): Well I think Phil said it very well. I mean I was getting tired listening to you, Phil, with all the work that has to go on if you don't automate. And so the first is that being able to automate, routinize, and have predictable, precise configurations means that what gets configured for the user will match up with their job, will match up with their role, will match up with the workflow that they are involved in. So you are not going to find a user saying, "Oh, I did not get that piece configured. Or gee, I forgot to go do that. And now my cell phone does not work within the process." So it is really important to do this so that the tools are matching what the company wants to have happen.

The second thing is I just want to build on what Phil said with the point of resources. Resources are huge. I will probably say more about that on total cost of membership later. But the point is resources are a huge factor. And in many cases, we have clients whose telecom organization is literally (if you could have a candid conversation with them) reluctant to innovate because they cannot manage the workload.

Now with BCOM tools, we are starting to find a way that they can do something that is innovative and get the same gold stars that the other innovators in the company get by allowing them to routinize - best of all; they routinize the old stuff first. So they get all the old stuff off their plate. But even better, if they can do new things by inventing it once and letting the software replicate it many times as opposed to adding a new workload to their day. So I just think it is both possible to match the workers role and to allow energy and innovation.

Phil Edholm (24:19): That is very interesting, Marty. The old adage about all we have to fear is fear itself, the fear of success and people wanting this causing this overload of configuration and tasks, keeping organizations from really innovating is a really interesting thought.

Marty Parker (24:37): I'll say one more thing, Phil, about that, which is a root cause here is that many, many companies still think of telecom as a cost - like air conditioning and lighting. They do not think of it as an opportunity to leverage their business like they do with, say We have to keep working to break out into that opportunity space. But these tools are a way to make that possible. Back to you.

Phil Edholm (25:05): Yeah, I think you are absolutely right. I think that is the change as a group and as an industry we have to make from talking about TCO and talking more about ROI because that positive return value versus cost is very critical within this whole next generation communications arena. Art Rosenburg, you also had some thoughts in this area about how automation and configuration could address some of the problems you see in the industry.

Art Rosenburg (25:33): Yeah, because there is certainly now more complexity in terms of communication with UC, all the various forms of communicating. And not just pick one and not isolate it anymore. You can escalate from one to the other. So there is a lot of dynamics going on. And to complicate that even further, the end users are doing it from BYOD devices that are multi-modal. But they are not identical. So there has got to be a little personalization involved and control depending on not only the job requirements or need requirements, but also what the end user is using and how it's changing it, especially when they are mobile. Sometimes they can do this this this way. Sometimes they are going to do it that way.

So there are dynamics involved. And in the end, you should be able to easily control that logically so that it fits their operational usage. So the usage profile is not fixed anymore. It's a dynamic. And it is much more complex. And this is something the end user has to be able to personally take care of easily to identify what they need and what they want at the moment and dynamically change it as necessary. It's not "Oh, I got to call somebody at home and have them change it." You've got to be able to do it yourself. And this applies to not only just the forms of communication, person-to-person, but also a CEDP kind of things where you are dealing with an automated business process that wants to contact you. And you got to be able to set that up. So let people do things themselves, which they prefer to do anyway. It's more efficient and less costly. So there is a meeting of the minds there. Make it easy for an end user to control what they need to control.

Phil Edholm (27:32): Absolutely, absolutely excellent point. Blair Pleasant, you are very focused on user adoption and getting the value to the organization out of UC. How do you see these BCOM tools impacting that and enabling organizations to really get adoption and get value?

Blair Pleasant (27:52): Yeah, thanks Phil. As you know, for me, it is all about the end user experience and user adoption. So for me, anything that will help make it easier and better for end users is important. If these tools can take some of the burden off of the IT folks and free them up to spend more time working with the end users, providing training, and understanding their needs, then I think this is can be really powerful and useful. And the more things can be automated; the more IT people can spend their valuable time working with end users in understanding how to get the most out of their investments that their companies made in these UC solutions.

At Enterprise Connect, I was at a thought leader breakfast, and we talked about the disconnect between IT and line of business. And the consensus is that IT is really focused on reducing costs and managing day-to-day operations while the line of business people and the CXOs are focused on improving work and productivity and helping people get things done more effectively. And what we realized is that these things do not really mesh up.

So we need to find ways to relieve IT of some of the manual tasks that can be more easily automated so that they can spend more time understanding what their end users were trying to accomplish, what their challenges are, what is holding them up, and really how workers can be more productive. And this, of course, impacts the company's bottom line. So it is a win-win for everybody. So I think BCOM, while it does not directly deal with the end user, there is definitely an impact that companies can take advantage of.

Phil Edholm (29:27): Thanks, Blair. And, of course, I think the important point is we are all growing up in an internet world where we expect (I will call it for lack of a better word) almost instant gratification. And I can sign-up for a service online and literally in a few minutes be using it. And if we want our internal systems to be used to give us the audit capabilities, trackability, price and cost management, etcetera and integration with other systems, we cannot have them take two or three weeks to configure and get them up and running when their expectations are now that these things should happen almost immediately. So I think one of the other big impacts of automation, in terms of user adoption, is just getting it up quickly and making it available.

The next area to address is total cost of ownership - how does this impact your deployment? As Marty indicated, a large and growing percentage of that cost of ownership is in operations, administration of the unified communications system due to the sophistication and complexity of these deployments we're putting in place. As that's grown over the past few years, it's an indication that costs continue to go up. I think an interesting perspective here is that BCOM is not just being deployed by enterprises. While in enterprises we can look at this for cost savings; what's actually very interesting is that service providers are using the same tools to manage their costs and delivery profits in their solutions.

Next I'd like to have Abdel Kander, CEO of Kurmi Software, talk a bit about this area. How are service providers using BCOM to manage their costs, and how can we learn from this, as enterprises. Because obviously as enterprises today, we're looking at literally becoming our own cloud service providers, using the same technologies for our own people to deliver cost-effective and competitive solutions to those that are coming from the cloud. So Abdel, talk to us a bit about how BCOM's been used in the cloud, and how enterprises can learn from those experiences.

Abdel Kander (31:30): Thank you, Phil. Yes, service providers are an interesting group to look at because they come from a world not too long ago where modifications and changes in the systems were billing opportunities. So to them, the more complex or the more perceived complexity by the end customer there is, the more than can justify payment. And what is happening now is that all of that is moving on the cloud. So these are the same people who are now UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS) provider. And there, the only model that works is a per-user, per-month billing fee.

Therefore, what used to be an opportunity of revenue has turned into a cost that they need to manage properly. And what we have seen is that there is a level at which they cannot fake it anymore. See, within an enterprise, you can still play with some cost allocation and mask certain costs behind others and fake it.

Well, UCaaS players, they have to deliver the goods because that is where they make their living. And we have seen typically that beyond five to eight tenants under management, you can no longer do things the old way. You really are condemned to do more automation and to streamline all of your processes.

Now, also in terms of system errors, when you are an enterprise and something goes wrong, you are going to hear from your bosses or from the business managers. When you are UCaaS player and your system goes down, you are going to hear from a lot of angry people. And these are all your customers. So again, the level of pain there can be seen at a different pace.

And also, there is a problem of the perception of quality of service, meaning that when you have to collect change requirements from your customers and have them fill forms, god forbid paper forms, that reflects in terms of how they perceive your quality of service. On the other hand, if you serve them the tools that propagate the changes directly, both the quality of service as perceived and the responsiveness of your system and the cost that you incur as an operator to make things happen go in the right direction.

If you look, some service providers are catering to specific industries with specific needs. I mean you mentioned rapid response, I think, earlier. That, from a business standpoint, is business as usual to them, so they do it on a daily basis. But you don't have to run things by hand because from a system point of view, it can be very, very complex to implement and to implement repeatedly. Those are some elements that make the BCOM equation within a service provider environment a little more dramatic, I think.

Phil Edholm (34:36): Abdel, great insight on the whole area of cost and how we can see the cloud vendors as being a great model for cost. Because in many ways, the option for most organizations now is to stay with an internal deployment, think of it almost as a private cloud now that is operated by internal staff as compared to an external public cloud operated as public entity that is - public or provided entity. And using the same tools that are used there for efficiency that generates profit is obviously very important to your internal organizations.

Marty, I know this was something you had a lot of thoughts around, around total cost of ownership, how it is changing in today's market. Maybe tell us a little bit about how you see understanding these tools being important to organizations looking at managing their cost profiles.

Marty Parker (25:29): Sure. Thanks, Phil. And thanks, Abdel, for the ideas that you have put on the table here. So in the first place, I agree with you, Abdel, that service providers really need to get it right here. In the early days of unified communication as a service, the mock RFPs that we have run at Enterprise Connect for the last few years have not shown that service providers are coming below the cost of the on-premises solution.

In my opinion, it's the early days of UC-as-a-Service, so they are still amortizing their capital investments. They are still amortizing their investments in operation centers and gateways and all sorts of things. But they have to bring those costs down. Getting more subscribers will help them amortize the equipment. But the operational costs will have to be the most efficient they can possibly be, both to compete with the on-premises options that customers still have and to compete with the hundreds of companies that have jumped into UC-as-a-Service.

So I do believe and agree with you Abdel that the ability to effectively manage UC-as-a-Service is going to become a survivability measure for these service providers. And I wish them all the best. I wish that the best will win. And if nature has its way, the best will win. And the best is going to be the guy that is managing it.

When you compare it to enterprise solutions, one of the reasons that they should be able to beat out the enterprise on premises option is the cost of ownership. As you say Phil, Brent Kelly and I have done some serious in-depth studies of this. And you look at the surveys that have come out Aberdeen and the Nemertes and so forth about what customers say they spend to operate their systems, it's more than 50 percent of the cost. And the reason that percentage keeps going up is that the cost of licensing and the cost of the equipment keeps coming down. So as a percentage, it gets more and more blaring. And people are going to become intolerant of this. They are either going to insist it gets well automated internally, which we have already discussed, or they are going to insist it gets automated outside, which is what Abdel has said.

So I think that the leverage of efficient BCOM, Business Communication Operations Management, is going to be a pivot point for this industry. It is going to determine who survives. And it is going to determine where the sources are delivered. So it is really crucial, Abdel, as you said. Back to you, Phil.

Phil Edholm (38:01): Thanks, Marty. Actually, I think Art also had a comment on this. So Art, I will throw it over to you.

Art Rosenburg (38:08): Thanks, Phil. Yes, I wanted to just highlight the fact that as more and more organizations move towards unified communications displacing traditional telephony, they are going to be moving towards the cloud, they are going to displace the PSTN as their form of connectivity with IP connectivity. That is going to happen slowly but surely. So now, there is going to be an issue at the level of business-to-business contacts where each organization, they're doing that, but they're not necessarily using identical technology. And the standards, unfortunately, are not in place. So no matter what you do, this is all going to be the same.

So there is going to be a need for managing and controlling how organizations federate between each other. No matter what they are using, whether it is something on-premise, whether it is something that is a service, or a combination of both, especially when we do a click-to-call, a click-to-connect, if you will, that is contextual, a CEBP kind of thing. So it is going to be something that needs to be managed so that there is consistency and that there is the ability to communicate with anyone with any context no matter whether or not they are in the same organization or not.

Phil Edholm (39:32): Thanks, Art. I really appreciate that. So I think to close, I think there are really some clear messages. If you are an enterprise operating a system that you are deploying or multiple systems, multiple vendors, dealing with the modern complexity and sophistication of communication systems today, BCOM is one of the things that you definitely should be looking at. You should understand how to apply it, how to use it. It is important to manage your overall costs, deliver a quality solution and be able to drive adoption. All of the things that we have talked about today are important to you. And you should be considering it.

And also, it is an important consideration as your organization looks at whether to stay with that model or look at some of the emerging cloud models. If you are an enterprise looking at a cloud model, how that cloud model implements and does the functions of BCOM should be important to you. How easy is it to manage changes? Can you build profiles and drive them? Or are you really just buying into a cloud system that you have to operate and configure much like your traditional systems of the past? In which case you are not addressing one of the big values that cloud should deliver, which is reducing your operational cost by essentially moving them to that cloud vendor. So very important as you are an enterprise evaluating the cloud and your options.

And finally, as Abdel mentioned, if you are a cloud vendor, looking at BCOM, how you do it, how you implement this, is probably absolutely critical to your success as a vendor and delivering profitability and the right solution. So I think the message to all of us is that the BCOM systems managing this operations, automating it, driving the configurations, is really critical.

I would like to close with a thank you to the three companies that participated in this podcast today. They really are leaders in this space and have demonstrated through literally thousands of deployments and working with their customers across the industry that this is an incredibly valuable area and that this category called BCOM is something that everyone should consider. So thanks again to Unimax, Kurmi Software, and VOSS Solutions for participating in this podcast. And we definitely look forward to seeing you in the industry and seeing the impact you are having. Thanks again and look for another podcast next week from UCStrategies. Good afternoon.


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