As an analyst on the Current Analysis Business Network and IT Services team, Gary covers Business Telecoms Services for the UK and Ireland, with a particular interest in SME and public sector services. Gary’s responsibilities include updating and maintaining Current Analysis’s competitor assessments for the major telecoms companies operating in the UK and on a Pan-European basis.
Despite the growing popularity of video and messaging, voice remains a key communication tool for colleagues and customers.
‘Voice’ now covers multiple platforms and technologies – all of which need managing.
It is understandable that companies such as Google and Facebook will promote marketing lines suggesting text- and video-based forms of communication are the future while traditional and cloud/IP voice-only services are old hat. And, to a certain extent, they are correct. There is no doubt that as the millennial generation enters the workplace, the preferred methods of communication and collaboration are changing. The change is also not confined to the youngest people in the workplace. RingCentral Glip and Microsoft Teams groups are a standard part of many peoples’ daily work routines. But, this doesn’t mean that the humble voice call is a thing of the past. Continue reading “When Thinking About UC, Don’t Lose Your Voice”→
• Customers should approach SD-WAN with an open mind when it comes to costs and understand that savings may come from knock-on benefits.
• Customers should conduct their own trials into whether the internet is appropriate for a given application.
Cost Savings vs. Quality
Much of the initial hype about SD-WAN focused on cost saving. However, those looking to buy an SD-WAN solution should keep an open mind to cost and be aware that if savings are realized they may not come from the cost of their WAN solution. Indeed, initial experience suggests that SD-WAN solutions sometimes increase the cost of an enterprise’s overall spend on WAN. The complexity of managing SD-WAN means that it is not an inherently cheap technology. WAN savings may come over time as more and more MPLS is phased out of WAN architectures, but initial experience suggests that abandoning MPLS from day one is a risky approach and often results in unsatisfactory network performance. Continue reading “SD-WAN is Maturing – Should Enterprises Change Their Expectations?”→
Enterprises and communities should have clear aims when considering smart city projects.
Smart cities should be built on a per-project basis rather than looking at the city/community as a whole.
There have been successful ‘smart city’ projects. Orange Business Services (OBS) has enjoyed success working with Saudi Arabia on large-scale projects in the kingdom. OBS has also helped ski resorts identify where visitors are travelling from and how they can make it easier for them to visit their resort. This later example is not strictly a smart city program, but both of these projects point to important aspects of why projects seeking to use technology to aid communities can succeed and fail. Continue reading “Be Smarter When Building Smart Cities”→
• Encryption is at the heart pf GDPR and can protect enterprises from potential breaches and mitigate the problems if they occur.
• Enterprises cannot expect ICT providers now to simply accept the risks associated with data handling and should look to work collaboratively.
At its analyst day on June 29, Interoute set out its view on GDPR and how it is seeking to help customers prepare their own operations for when GDPR goes live. Most IT providers are now beginning to talk about GDPR, and some such as AWS have already launched services that pre-empt GDPR’s requirements.
• Core network enhancements can benefit enterprises from a network performance and service cost point of view.
• Flexible bandwidth services and pricing models are maturing and are worth a second look.
In 2015 and early 2016, SDN was the buzzword du jour of the telecoms industry, but the attention has now shifted to SD-WAN. Perhaps this is inevitable since SD-WAN is the newer technology and is at the forefront of several recent or upcoming service launches from providers such as Telstra, Orange Business Services, and BT, amongst others. SD-WAN also seems to offer more tangible benefits to the average enterprise customer, particularly those with a large number of smaller sites, or those seeking to adopt virtualised network functions such as firewalls and session boarder controllers. Continue reading “SDN Offers Hidden Benefits That Enterprises Shouldn’t Overlook”→
• The UK Government Digital Services (GDS) statements about moving to the Internet may be over ambitious, but they are not wholly wrong.
• SD-WAN is making the Internet a more viable and better-performing WAN alternative.
Internet connectivity has been an accepted part of hybrid WAN infrastructure for a while, but traditionally this has focussed on remote/home workers and small branch offices or retail stores. However, the public Internet is becoming a more mainstream connectivity medium. A big indicator of this shift is the UK GDS announcing that it intends to kill off the Public Services Network (PSN) ‘network of networks’ programme in favour of public Internet services. GDS has been lukewarm on PSN for a while now so the announcement is not a wholly unexpected shock. However, the seemingly open-armed embrace of Internet connectivity is more surprising, particularly for a public sector body where the data held is both sensitive and politically charged. Is this announcement a watershed moment or an overly ambitious/foolhardy move? Continue reading “Safe Enough for Government Work? Bringing in the Internet as Part of UK Hybrid Networks”→
• In 2017, enterprises should expect more integration between UC platforms and applications and services such as CRM, Salesforce, and workflow tools.
• Enterprises should begin to talk to ICT providers about their plans to deliver RCS-enabled collaboration services.
In many ways, 2016 has been a quiet year for unified communications and collaboration services. Although Broadsoft has made good progress in becoming the most popular vendor in the SME sector, Microsoft and Cisco remain the dominant market forces. Mitel deserves an honourable mention and remains a keen competitor, whilst Avaya’s struggle to make progress in the hosted UCC space, despite its contact centre strengths, has contributed significantly to its present challenging situation. Google enjoyed a positive 2016. Its market penetration remains modest, but publicised case studies of Google-based collaboration solutions are becoming more common, particularly in the public sector in geographies such as the UK. The newly branded G-Suite offers a genuine alternative to Microsoft Office 365. Although Google’s proposition must still sit alongside a hosted voice and UC solution from another vendor, its collaboration features make it an option that should be considered by all enterprises. Continue reading “Collaboration Trends for 2017: What Enterprises Should be Looking for”→
The economy is moving online and failure to respond is likely to lose enterprises business.
SMEs are likely to be the least well prepared to take advantage of the digital economy, but the transition can be relatively straightforward.
Much attention has been given in the UK over the last six months to the provisioning (or lack thereof) of broadband services. Much of the criticism that has been levelled at Openreach, and by association BT, has related to concerns about the perceived lack of progress in rolling out superfast and ultrafast broadband services. The UK government has now also dropped its commitment to the provision of universal broadband access. This in itself is something that businesses, especially those in rural areas, should seek to have their say on. Continue reading “Accessing the Digital Economy: It’s About Bandwidth and Applications”→
• Microsoft’s acquisition of Event Zero’s ‘UC Commander’ analytics platform strengthens its UC solutions.
• The decision of who to work with for UC solutions is not easy and there are many good options – but integration is key and end users should consider who is best placed to work with their telecoms and IT estate.
Microsoft recently announced the acquisition of the ‘technology assets’ underlying Event Zero’s ‘UC Commander’ product suite. The UC Commander suite provides a series of management and analytics tools specifically for Microsoft Skype for Business (Skype). Presently, Skype users can already use the Office 365 administration centre to assign phone numbers, view usage reporting for audio and video calls/conferences, and to monitor call quality. The new acquisition will add further diagnostic and troubleshooting tools within a single new portal. Microsoft also envisages that its SP partners will be able to more easily connect on-premise Skype deployments with Office 365 and hybrid environments in general. Continue reading “Microsoft’s UC Commander Acquisition Boosts Skype for Business and Increases the Squeeze on Service Providers”→
• Enterprises should look at vendor platforms beyond Microsoft and Cisco and demand interoperability between platforms and applications.
• Unified communications (UC) and mobility are now intrinsically linked.
2015 has been the year that UC solutions have really started to achieve market traction. Take-up is far from universal, but for most UC features CA’s own research suggests that usage amongst enterprises is above 50%. The uptick in usage is down to a number of factors–for example, falling prices and the maturity of the technology–however, it is the improvement of the business case for UC that seems to have had the biggest impact. Vodafone, for example, has reported a strong response from customers following the development of new proof of concept demonstrations and a new approach to training and educating its workforce. So the initial message for enterprise users is that a conversation with your provider concerning unified communications is likely to be more centred on achieving better business outcomes, and therefore a more worthwhile experience. Continue reading “As 2016 Beckons, What Should Telecoms Buyers Look for from UC Solutions?”→