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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

"Mobile Apps" Need Multi-modal UC "Cloud" Services

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It’s getting very obvious that the use of computers is shifting dramatically away from just desktops and portable laptops to personalized, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It’s not that desktop and laptops are going to disappear, but everyone, including kids and their grandparents will be using those wireless personal computers for information access, online transactions, and personal contacts. In effect, there will be “BYOD” in play for all types of end users, which in turn means that both communication applications and business applications will all be software-based and live in different kinds of network “clouds.”
This shift in how and where software and data will be stored brings with it many challenges for organizations that are used to controlling all of their applications and data on premise-based hardware systems with more controllable, wired connectivity. Now that “consumer BYOD” is starting to displace or replace telephones and online PCs with wireless smartphones and tablets, what should organizations do with all their apps and data stores to accommodate all the end users, both inside and outside of their organizations?

“Clouds” To The Rescue!

Fortunately, the solution to that issue has already become available in the form of “cloud” computing, alias “network” access, to “virtual” data storage and applications. Options for using public, private, or hybrid “clouds” are being offered by all the big technology providers, allowing selective migrations of both business and communication application services to end user groups who have different operational requirements.
This is very fortunate for business organizations that are challenged to provide complex multi-modal “unified communications” to their end users. Because most of it is now becoming software-based responsibilities that few IT organizations have any practical experience with, it is an expensive proposition to consider doing things in-house as before. Even if all that software were “free,” it would still be a daunting task to use it effectively and maintain the never-ending changes on an ongoing basis. So, here come “cloud”-based customized and managed solutions to the rescue.  
The challenge of “cloud”-based applications of all kinds is proving to be a great opportunity for the old VARs or sales “channels.” Not only will smaller organizations, who have little or no IT staffs, be interested in exploiting mobile contacts and access to information, but even the larger enterprises and government organizations will need help in satisfying the many needs of customers and internal end users.

So, Whose “Cloud” Service Should You Use?

Now that vertical markets have begun to appreciate the need for UC-enabled applications and CEBP, the still have to understand exactly how they will be able to benefit properly from using the new technologies, They have to know where they are going before they can abandon the past. Nowhere is this more critical than with customer contact centers, which generate revenue and ensure good experiences for customer satisfaction and retention. In my view, UC can really pay off the most with its ability to satisfy mobile customer needs more flexibly and cost effectively than the old telephony call center game.
When it comes to playing any “cloud” services game, it is critical to use a service provider that is reliable, experienced, and specialized in the application functions you want to UC-enable in a “cloud.” I recently highlighted this concern in a new white paper on contact center applications that you can read at the site of one of the leading contact center “cloud” service providers, Echopass.