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Monday, April 27, 2009

Siemens Gets Ready For UC Enterprise Battles

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April 27, 2009

Siemens Sales Strategies For The New UC Markets

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

Siemens Enterprise Communications Group (SEN Group) new executive team discussed how they are addressing the changing needs of the global UC market that will absorb traditional premise-based telephony. As already reflected by competitive announcements from other leading UC technology providers, such as Avaya’s Aura, the Siemens announcement highlighted the need to support existing telephony investments while offering new “open,” IP-based application software for UC.

Key changes in marketing strategies mentioned by CEO James O’Neill and President of Sales Mark Vayda included the following:

  • Global approach to sales and marketing
  • Exploit “Cloud Computing” – Hosted/Managed services
  • Software based, real-time telephony applications expertise
  • Targeting key vertical markets such as Government, Health care, Education, Utilities, in major geographical area
  • Shift of emphasis to channel-based sales, coupled with strategic direct sales activities
  • Channels to include System Integrators, Carriers, VARs, Service Providers, etc.
  • Device independence for end users (wired, wireless)
While this initial videocast covered some general organizational strategies for sales and marketing, there wasn’t enough time to address some more specific hard questions about products and services that would have to compete in the new UC market place.

Siemens is aggressively reorganizing its sales and marketing organization with new incentives and new staff to support the shift to software, services, and partnering strategies that UC implementations will require. Both O’Neill and Vayda lay claim to their successful experience in the software and services business with Oracle Corporation.

The challenge of migrating from legacy telephony to UC, IP Telephony, and mobile technologies will be the same for the entire industry, The question is how quickly will the technology and service providers get their acts together and offer flexible and future-proof solutions to meet many different customer needs.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

UC And The Future of Desktop Telephony

Copyright © 2009 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
April 5, 2009

The Real Message From VoiceCon – How To Prepare For Enterprise Desktop Telephony “End-of-Life”

Unfortunately, a fractured foot kept me from attending the Spring VoiceCon show as planned, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t see and hear the important messages that were delivered there. Needless to say, from a “vision” perspective, those messages are no real surprise any more. What we are finally seeing are practical products and services that will help enterprise IT to start selectively planning and delivering IP Telephony and UC applications, based upon real demand from both individual end users and specific, high-value business processes.

There is no question about where new telephony technology (IP Telephony) is going, from both a business and consumer (customer) user perspective. It will become an integrated UC application to make voice contact with people more flexible and efficient, “anywhere, any time, any way.” UC, in turn, will be integrated with all aspects of information access and information exchange, often referred to as “collaboration.” While direct access to information has become increasingly easy with web search facilities and portals, making real-time contact with people still remains a challenge that UC and presence management technology is helping to simplify.

To attain such objectives:

·IP telephony functions will be software-driven and personalized

·IP telephony usage will be location, device and network independent

·UC device (smartphone, softphone) interfaces will exploit screen, keyboard, and speech interfaces instead of the legacy Touch-Tone keypad. This will enable person-to-person communications to be device-independent, multi-modal, cross-media, and trans-modal (switching between real-time contacts and messaging)

·UC will facilitate both person-to-person and process (application)-to-person contact initiation, thus making business processes more proactive (via CEBP integrations), flexible, and efficient for real-time operational performance management

The real challenge to enterprise IT management or third-party support services is how they should be migrating from current legacy telephony technology to the new and more complex UC-IP Telephony world of the future.

The “End of Life” Strategy of UC Implementation Planning

Unfortunately, every level of telephony communication technology will be affected by the convergence and integration requirements of UC. This means that changing legacy architectures, products, and old telecom perspectives will be necessary to deal with all the changes that will be evolving, even if the new technology were free! So the main message today from vendors attacking the upcoming UC market is to start the migration selectively with existing applications that can be updated with minimal disruption and costs. In addition, they will all offer expertise and consulting services to help inexperienced IT organizations plan and cost justify practical implementations.

With today’s economy forcing everyone to control technology spending as much as possible, the potential of lower costs and increased people/process productivity may not be enough to justify customer UC movement. This is particularly true when there is not enough “demand” from Line of Business management or individual end users of the technology who just may not be aware of the benefits they will gain from UC (UC-B, UC-U).

However, what is starting to force the issue of moving forward with UC, is the growing need to replace existing “end-of-life” enterprise technologies that are not only getting more expensive to maintain, but cannot be simply replaced with old technology. Needless to say, everything that is old and TDM telephony based, falls into this category, including desktop telephones, PBXs, TDM trunking, key systems, voice mail systems, call center systems, etc.

Growing use of personalized, mobile phones for increased accessibility is adding another driver for the need for UC flexibility. Throw in the fact that mobile and desktop smartphones, as well as PC-based softphones, can minimize the need to buy traditional and limited desktop phones, and you have a new ballgame for UC implementation planning. What is also complicating matters for enterprise IP Telephony planning perhaps even more, is the fact that IP-based, hosted/ managed services offer new implementation alternatives as opposed to traditional premise-based ownership.

Bottom Line For Enterprise IT In UC Planning

They can’t really do it by themselves! They will need to find the new requirements for UC applications and the business priorities for those requirements, before they can even start looking at the new UC products and services that are being announced daily.
What will also make it hard for the move to IP telephony and UC is that UC is not just about voice telephony, and the “elephants in the room” already are text messaging technologies (email, IM, SMS) and the myriad of online business process applications that are ready to exploit CEPB (communications enabled business process) capabilities to initiate automated notifications or contextual person-to-person telephone contacts. The aggressive presence of Microsoft and IBM at VoiceCon underscored their interest in enterprise UC/IP Telephony migrations.

So, it is interesting to see the kind of long-overdue architectural changes that leading telephony providers like Avaya are making to migrate their customers to IP Telephony in the UC marketplace. Open, real-time communication application software, rather than just desktop hardware, along with integrations with business process applications is obviously the new focus of their UC game. But it’s also obvious that they can’t just sell telephone systems separately anymore, so look for more teamwork between the operating systems providers, the desktop application providers, and the communication providers.

Which vendor will lead the UC migration? Who knows!

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