‘Consumer-grade’ is becoming a new design objective for developers of enterprise communications gear.
Ease of use and ‘joy of use’ currently define consumer-grade solutions in business.
As an industry analyst tracking the market for business communications solutions, I’ve long tossed about the terms ‘enterprise-grade’ and ‘carrier-grade.’ Carrier-grade systems are characterized as massively scalable, extremely reliable, very expensive, fully multitenant, and potentially complicated to deploy and manage – the sorts of things that service providers use to base a hosted PBX service on or an absolutely huge enterprise deploys because it needs, for example, an IMS infrastructure of its own. Enterprise-grade systems are a notch down: highly scalable but supporting tens rather than hundreds of thousands of end users, meeting but not exceeding ‘five nines’ reliability requirements, not cheap but competitively priced. A notch below that are SMB systems which are even less scalable, low cost, and typically lack the high-availability features inherent to enterprise-grade solutions. Continue reading “Developers Aspire to Deliver ‘Consumer-Grade’ Products to Businesses”→
The best, most urgent technologies demand to be controlled, not driven.
Business video can deliver enormous benefits both to change business models and to enrich collaboration, but the demand needs to be more obvious.
The use of video in business applications continues to gather momentum, and not only amongst the technology suppliers with a vested interested in promoting them. Indications are that use of room-based and desktop video solutions are increasing slowly but surely. And it’s easy to see why, as the quality, capability and—crucially—application integration are advancing in impressive fashion. Continue reading “Business Video Has Yet to Go Viral”→
MobileCon (née CTIA Wireless) 2012 is nearly half over, and while it is by far the smallest Fall CTIA show yet, the major vendors in the enterprise mobility ecosystem showed up to demo their wares, hold informational sessions, and talk to the analyst community. There has even been a sprinkling of announcements.
While the fate of the show itself may be in doubt, the growth of both the overall enterprise mobility market and the M2M segment in particular is apparent. The usual suspects (operators, mobile device management/mobile application management vendors, smartphone manufacturers, m-health providers, UC enablers, mobile application ISVs, systems integrators, and M2M aggregators and technology suppliers) are all here. So, what were some of the major announcement from Day One?
Sierra Wireless announced a major new partner, Amazon Web Services, which will be providing Sierra customers with its cloud-based infrastructure on which to run their M2M applications. The Sierra AirVantage cloud (which provides asset, data, and device management) has been integrated with Amazon’s service to provide a joint offer for building and deploying M2M applications with no IT infrastructure costs. Continue reading “‘Live’ from CTIA: Day One at MobileCon”→
The market early optimism towards cloud may have been tempered due to skeptics and the overuse of ‘cloud washing’ campaigns (i.e., everything in the cloud, attached to the cloud, or solved by a cloud of some sort)
Enterprises remain optimistic though as many have embraced some form of cloud with measured success and asked good questions about what to do next, moving forward, and leveraging the experiences and concept proofs others have employed
Last week’s Interop show was a success by many measures. It offered users and vendors the opportunity to interact on critical topics. The track sessions were reasonably attended, though no one had to fight for seats at this event. There were few logistical issues, due in large part to the efforts by UBM TechWeb, the company behind the Interop magic (and a great crew running the show). Continue reading “Interop New York 2012: A Variably Cloudy Perspective”→
Security remains both one of the top barriers to entry into the cloud and perhaps the greatest differentiator for enterprise-class cloud services.
Though the lack of common industry-wide standards remains a challenge, savvy cloud providers are finding innovative ways to demonstrate their ability to protect customer assets in an on-demand environment.
For understandable reasons, many organizations are wary enough about security today in the cloud to put off enterprise-wide migration plans far into the future. With the on-demand model still a mystery to many and no clear cut industry-wide standards to establish baseline cloud computing specifications, enterprises are not willing to risk exposing critical assets to the unknown. In Current Analysis’ 2012 survey on enterprise cloud adoption, security was cited as the single biggest concern associated with moving to a cloud strategy. Continue reading “Security and the Cloud: Turning an Obstacle into a Proof Point”→
Organizations emerging from experimental to broader cloud deployments are running into hurdles in full-scale on-demand implementations
Acute challenges relate to enterprises’ lack of internal cloud expertise
For all of its many potential benefits, the cloud also comes with a myriad obstacles and challenges attached that are daunting enough to keep enterprises relegating on-demand services to support only the most basic tactical use cases. Yet, however complex or difficult cloud computing may seem to be, the advantages are so compelling that even the most risk-averse have to at least consider whether there might be an enterprise-wide fit for the model in their organizations. Continue reading “Interop New York: Successful Cloud Transformations Start with Well-Defined Migration Paths”→
IT security groups should be proactive in establishing policies that govern the use of employee smartphones and tablets in the enterprise to improve their reputation as productivity enablers, rather than stumbling blocks.
Key considerations include what devices to allow, how corporate data and apps will be accessed, where data will reside, and what the users’ risk profiles are.
Some recent surveys suggest that while many enterprises are now allowing employees to use their own devices to access corporate networks and applications, few have established formal usage policies for those BYOD users. One study published last month by security awareness training company KnowBe4 found that 71% of businesses allowing employees to use their own smartphones and laptops for work-related tasks did not have usage policies and processes in place to secure and support those devices. This is the perfect opening for enterprise security and IT risk groups to seize the day and take a leadership role in defining the enterprise’s BYOD policy, setting themselves up as enablers, rather than roadblocks to improved employee productivity. Continue reading “IT Security Can Look Like a Hero If It Leads the Charge to Establish Enterprise BYOD Policies”→
Aryaka launched Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) for IPSec-secured access over existing Internet links onto Aryaka’s POPs to create global data WANs.
Kunnect provides an early-mover cloud-based hosted call center solution with a free-of-charge version.
The rapid expansion of companies that have based their products and strategies entirely in the cloud from the outset is disrupting traditional market models. This is hardly new: After VoIP providers first disrupted traditional telephone calling rates, Skype pioneered P2P technology that largely abolished per-minute billing for voice. However the change is ongoing. Two companies are recent examples that break traditions with aggressive sales for all-cloud products and services targeting the enterprise: Aryaka and Kunnect. Usually free trials are a consumer play, and that’s because they are low-cost, best effort, over the unsecure public Internet, and shared infrastructure are not really the routes that the cautious business IT buyer would choose to go down. On the other hand, the cost to deploy a fully managed and dedicated circuit with security appliances and the backing of professional service teams is very high. Continue reading “Novel Business Models Built Upon an All-Internet Philosophy Threaten to Disrupt Traditional Telecom”→
Current go-to-market practices within the collaboration platform marketplace call for a highly transformational experience, where the wisdom of crowds can make an organization smarter through lofty ideals such as ideation and expertise location.
IT professionals responsible for the purchase of such solutions hope instead for an improvement of existing collaboration tools, most notably e-mail.
In preparing some presentation materials for an upcoming webinar (later this month) on enterprise social networking, I was struck by a singular, unexpected trend – something called pragmatism. As an industry analyst, I am used to hearing grand visions, the biggest of which is business transformation. This is the idea that software can literally change the way a company does business, enabling it to reach into new market opportunities or to simply bring business practices back into alignment with its stated business objectives. Continue reading “Enterprise Social Networking No Pie in the Sky Venture for IT Pros”→
Cloud services imply a new type of sales and support ecosystem that is still very complex and relatively unstable at the moment
This should not put buyers off, and should be welcomed—but all customary, cautionary warnings apply
The dynamics of cloud services have caused a fair bit of healthy upheaval in the way technology and software suppliers deliver and support their goods. In fact, that would be an understatement. Beyond the obvious difference between a network-based infrastructure or a software service versus goods sold or licensed for installation on-premise, there is a fundamental shift in the go-to-market plan for suppliers that takes the notion of so-called co-opetition to an entirely different level. Continue reading “Beware the Cloud Service Provider Shell Game”→