Critical Capabilities for Unified Communications

Critical Capabilities for Unified Communications

Businesses migrating away from legacy PBX systems are typically looking for a unified communications (UC) solution that includes voice, messaging, video and meeting solutions, and sometimes integration into contact centre solutions. All too often people look at UC as one thing however there are many critical capabilities that organisations need to consider when deciding on a UC solution. Organisations need to understand their business requirements and select a solution whose strengths align with their most important requirements. Often the most important is telephony which quite often gets taken for granted – until the users have issues with the new solution and then demand a traditional handset that just works, just like their PABX has done for years. Alternatively they work from their mobile phone which bypasses the unified communications solution altogether. To assist with this, Gartner provided further analysis for all the vendors listed in their “Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications” earlier this year. It evaluated their effectiveness in addressing users’ needs in five use cases: Full UC with strong telephony Full UC with strong collaboration Full UC for midsize organizations Ability to offer hybrid solutions Integration with contact centre solutions Critical Capabilities Use-Case Graphics Figure 1. Vendors’ Product Scores for the Full UC With Strong Telephony Use Case Source: Gartner (July 2017) Figure 2. Vendors’ Product Scores for the Full UC With Strong Collaboration Use Case Source: Gartner (July 2017) Figure 3. Vendors’ Product Scores for the Full UC for Midsize Organizations Use Case Source: Gartner (July 2017)  Figure 4. Vendors’ Product Scores for the Ability to Offer Hybrid Solutions Use Case Source: Gartner (July 2017)  Figure 5. Vendors’ Product Scores for the...
Market Consolidation and Changes

Market Consolidation and Changes

As we reach the end of 2017 there is more consolidation and changes in the telecommunications and unified communications market with indications that it will continue. Cisco announces Agreement to acquire BroadSoft Cisco and BroadSoft announced a definitive agreement for Cisco to acquire BroadSoft. The acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company who believe Cisco and BroadSoft will deliver a robust suite of collaboration capabilities across every market segment. They also believe their combined offers, from Cisco’s collaboration technology for enterprises to BroadSoft’s suite for small and medium businesses delivered through Service Providers will give customers more choice and flexibility. As businesses continue to move toward the cloud in search of simplicity and speed, they hope to deliver best in class collaboration tools and services. BroadSoft’s hosted offerings, aimed at small and medium businesses are complementary to Cisco’s on-premises and enterprise HCS offerings. The announcement stressed that both product suites are delivered to the market through local Service Providers, mainly telcos. However it will be interesting to see if this adds capability to Cisco’s Spark vendor cloud platform. Of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant UCaaS, Worldwide 2017 nearly half are telecommunications service providers offering Cisco HCS or Broadsoft. Here in New Zealand this is the same as Spark Digital’s Ready Cloud Collaboration (HCS) or Vodafone One Business (Broadsoft). As highlighted last month, it will be interesting to see how this influences Cisco’s presence in the New Zealand unified communications and collaboration market alongside their ability now to promote Cisco Spark. Sonus merges with GENBAND to become Ribbon Communications Sonus and GENBAND completed their merger following which...
Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft’s announcement to concentrate on Microsoft Teams as their cloud offering unified communications platform going forward may make them radical revolutionaries rather than evolutionary. Microsoft has laid out an enormous challenge.  They arguably lead the market with new technology and global vendor cloud however will enterprises be able to keep up. Microsoft says Teams is the future and Skype for Business Online is going away. This may be premature as it has not really fully developed to a point where users, and partners no longer need to ask questions, are comfortable and ready for the next iteration. What is Microsoft Teams? Microsoft Teams is the new chat-based workspace in Office 365. Microsoft says it is an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content, as well as the tools that teams need, so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. It’s naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud. We hear about millennials and Gen Y driving behaviour in the workforce and everything is about digital transformation. However is Microsoft running faster than it is possible for the workforce to handle? Organisations and people need to embrace change, however technology needs to help those that that are slightly long in the tooth, like to talk to each other and even meet people face to face to keep up, not leave them behind. There are many of these animals left in the workforce today and for the foreseeable future. That being said if you recognise Microsoft is pushing boundaries and opening our minds to future...
Cisco UC and Collaboration

Cisco UC and Collaboration

Cisco has not been as prominent in the unified communications and collaboration space for the last couple of years in New Zealand. This has allowed Microsoft to push hard into the local ICT market with Office 365 including Skype for Business. Is this all about to change? Cisco Spark was launched globally two years ago but was not released in New Zealand due to trademark licensing conflicts. This has held Cisco back from talking about innovation in this space in line with the marketing messages through the rest of the world. Cisco has announced the launch of its Spark collaboration product portfolio in New Zealand following a lengthy licensing negotiation process with local telco Spark NZ. The entire Cisco Spark portfolio will now be available in New Zealand, including its security features and the Spark Board. What is Cisco Spark? Cisco Spark is an app-centric, cloud-based service that provides a complete collaboration suite for teams to create, meet, message, call, whiteboard and share, regardless of whether they’re together or apart. It is built to help teams work seamlessly. It is simple, secure, complete, and open. The core capabilities of Cisco Spark are Meetings, Messaging, and Calling. The app-centric design, hybrid services, and architecture of Cisco Spark they suggest create a unique and differentiated service. Businesses will benefit from the range of Cisco Spark collaboration tools as they become available in New Zealand. Cisco Spark allows interaction in real-time using devices people already have today, with an improved collaboration and meeting experience. Cisco and Apple Another area Cisco has not told New Zealanders about effectively is their partnership with Apple...
Spark is changing their Audio Conferencing

Spark is changing their Audio Conferencing

With everyone talking about unified communication (UC) and collaboration, including web and video, standard audio conferencing does not really get discussed very often. However, many more people use audio conferencing than have invested in UC and video conferencing. For many this means using Spark audio conferencing – Meet Me (083032) and Meet Me Collect (083033) and then entering a PIN and being joined together for the meeting. There are more features than this but for many this is their user experience and is quick and easy. A warning though. If you are calling from a mobile this is charged as a call to a premium service and call charges are high – particularly so on a long conference. Such calls do not use your “free” minutes on your mobile plan. We have experienced this ourselves. You may have noticed that Spark is retiring its old Meet Me platform in favour of a newer platform called Reservationless-Plus. Some of our clients have already experienced the move. This service uses an 0800 number (0800 633 866), so anyone can call in using any device without additional cost. It is the conference organiser that pays for the conference connections. For those who wish to stay with a similar dial in number the new service uses 083038. Benefits of Reservationless Plus Increased security 10 digit PIN numbers instead of 6 digits Ability to separate conferences so if your meeting overruns, people are not dialling in to the next conference and unknowingly joining yours Increased levels of control with application allowing you to control users, mute, drop off etc The ability to host larger...
The new Genesys

The new Genesys

At the beginning of August, TeleConsultants attended the G-Summit conference held by Genesys. It was particularly interesting to see how the new Genesys, post the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence (InIn) at the end of 2016, was fairing. The event brought together clients, prospective clients and service providers to hear about customer experience and learn how to help enterprises design customer journeys that meet the needs of today’s digitally driven consumer. This included: Omnichannel Customised experience Cloud Digital, informed and mobile consumers Artificial intelligence Industry trends Predictive analysis Workforce optimisation Despite a healthy scepticism about the marketing messages presented, it is clear the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence has clear synergies both globally and here in New Zealand. Genesys has pulled the two organisations together with relatively little disruption, including new logo, marketing messages and blending the product portfolios into three distinct brands. PureEngage (ex Genesys) PureConnect (ex InIn CIC) PureCloud (ex InIn) Whilst the products undoubtedly have some overlap, they give a clear roadmap across the entire legacy client base. They all have clear ongoing development embracing the changes in the market and the demands on organisations to provide an Omnichannel, contextual customer experience. All brands leverage the considerable expertise from arguably the market leader of contact centre and customer experience technology. There are opportunities for clients and service providers from both legacy camps. Even the corporate offices and service providers blended nicely in New Zealand with little need for consolidation. Genesys from Wellington with partners Vodafone, Dimension Data and AGC Networks, and Interactive Intelligence from Auckland with partners Spark, Datacom and Pyrios. This provides the new Genesys with a...