Video Adds Value to UCaaS Integration into Business Processes

Cindy Whelan

Cindy Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Communications-enabling business processes optimizes individual and workgroup productivity, and adding visual communications takes this concept up a notch, moving past enterprise video calls to broader uses: if an alarm is triggered in a remote location, responders can gain visibility into the cause and severity of the problem; healthcare workers can monitor and talk to patients in rural areas; wireless cameras in emergency vehicles or worn by first responders give support staff an immediate view of a situation while the responder performs their duty.
  • Enterprises may not grasp the full potential benefit of integrating UCC features, including visual communications, into business processes and applications at the outset of a UCaaS deployment, but as user adoption grows, the benefits of this integration become apparent.

In early 2012, I wrote a blog post about the role of communication-enabled business process in the uptake of UC.  At that time, I’d noted that the opportunity to integrate communications features into specific business processes and applications potentially supported a more compelling business case for deployment; if a company started by integrating UCC features into just one business application or for one part of the organization, then they might start to see how this model could replicated in other areas of the company to improve productivity and communications, tipping the scales towards a broader implementation. Read more of this post

Finding the Missing Lync in Campus SDN

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The focus of software defined networking (SDN) may be on the data center and carrier networks, but that doesn’t mean campus LANs can’t benefit as well.
  • New technologies need a compelling reason for IT to adopt them and SDN is no different. Sure, data centers have issues that SDN can address, but users see choppy video and voice as much more urgent problems to solve.

For many, SDN is a data center and service provider play because those two areas have unique scalability and versatility demands that SDN is well suited to address. There is as much value in the campus LAN as well, and I suspect that we’ll start seeing many more reasons why SDN in the campus makes sense. Two recent examples from Aruba and Extreme both involving integration of Microsoft’s Lync unified communications software are illustrative of why. Read more of this post

Try-Before-You-Buy Options for Microsoft Lync

Brian Riggs

B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:
• Microsoft Lync is starting to be offered on a hosted basis
• Trial software and services are readily available and a good way to determine if Lync is right for you

When I first saw the press release for BT’s Hosted Microsoft Lync pilot service, , I thought it was the first stage of a pilot for a new hosted Lync service that BT is planning to rollout. Upon closer reading, and after a conversation with Stephen Bruce, Portfolio Partner, Unified Communications and Mobility at BT Global Services, I found it is rather a pilot program where enterprises – large, multinational ones – can pay $15,000 to kick Lync’s tires for 90 days.  Lync, for those not following the communications space closely, is the latest and greatest version of Microsoft’s unified communications software. It not only provides instant messaging and presence, but also can augment or completely replace a traditional PBX. Microsoft has a huge marketing campaign behind Lync and a growing number of highly capable channel partners very actively selling it. But Lync has only been out for about a year and for this and other reasons businesses have been hesitant to use it to replace tried-and-true PBX systems. Hence, BT’s kick-the-tires pilot program. Two things strike me when thinking of the BT pilot from the perspective of IT buyers: the state of hosted Lync services and for-pay Lync trials.
Read more of this post

The Long, Drawn-Out End of E-Mail as We Know It

J. Caron

J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • E-mail has never been popular in business environments, so reports of its death are celebrated
  • If e-mail is going to die, however, it will be long and slow, with new approaches requiring e-mail integration at the very least

Not long after e-mail went mainstream in late 1980s people started to complain about it. In fact, it was nearly instantaneous. At first there was a hint of pride embedded in complaints about the number of e-mails received – the eye-rolling moan about the “hundreds of e-mails each day” that really served to illustrate the complaining party’s indispensable magnificence.

Read more of this post

Is Your Contact Center Ready to Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon?

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Social media as a potential source of strategic information in the contact center has been a serious consideration for the past two years as social media Web sites have become a channel for individuals venting and/or boasting regarding their customer service and business interactions.
  • Many businesses have jumped to quick conclusions regarding the value of social media and what should be done with its information relative to other data currently available to agents. It is becoming apparent that more thought, time and effort is required before the marketplace settles on strategies that will optimize this potentially valuable flow of information.

Over the last decade many call centers have made the transition from a single channel, voice-only solution to multichannel contact centers. In addition to customer self-service channel access, which includes Web browser and interactive voice response (IVR) interfaces, end users now expect to have additional agent-assisted channels such as e-mail, fax and chat accessible to handle their corporate interactions available at their discretion. Over the past two years yet another very tempting channel of access has become available to customers seeking to get their customer service issues resolved – social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others. Some contact center managers have been investigating social media data as the nirvana of customer care solutions. And many contact center vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Interactive Intelligence and Siemens now incorporate interfaces to popular social media sites into their contact center application functionality. This enables corporations to monitor social media site feeds for both negative and positive mentions of their company by customers and prospects and actually put relevant social media interactions into to contact center queues along with voice calls, chats and e-mails for agent consideration, handling and resolution. Read more of this post

Time to Take Experience to Another Level

J. Caron

J. Caron

Summary Bullets:  

  • Experience-level agreements offering guarantees beyond connectivity are an aspirational concept.
  • But competitive market drivers are pushing service providers in this direction, which is encouraging.

One of the 2012 IT market predictions I discussed during the Current Analysis webinar in December related to so-called experience-level agreements. As I noted during the session, predictions sometimes are not really predictions at all, rather, they are expectations or hopes. The development of experience-level agreements certainly falls in the latter category, for the desire of service providers to gain differentiation by changing the game in relation to their commitment to customers is truly aspirational at this point. Read more of this post

Examining the Cloudy Economics of the Hosted Contact Center

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • A total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis of a hosted contact center solution versus an on-premise offering can show cost reductions of 40% or more over the first three years of its lifecycle.
  • A closer look at additional critical factors may show the trade-off between the two solutions as a toss-up for your company’s customer care environment.  Read more of this post

Extending Corporate Video Conferencing to Mobile Devices

Brian Riggs - Research Director, Enterprise Software and Communications

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobility to be the next big product trend for enterprise video conferencing technology
  • There are a number of ways to extend corporate video conferencing solutions to mobile devices

The increasing adoption of video conferencing systems in the enterprise combined with the increasing adoption of video-capable mobile devices is set to both challenge and annoy IT departments. One of the problems is that the software and systems that deliver business-class video conferencing (from Cisco, IBM LifeSize, Magor, Microsoft, Polycom, Vidyo etc.) are completely different from the software that runs on the mobile devices wheedling their way into the enterprise as part of the BYOD phenomenon (from Apple, Google, Fuze, Skype, Tango, etc.). It’s unlikely that the two will learn to coexist peacefully anytime soon. Enterprise IT departments will continue to deploy on-premise or cloud-based video conferencing solutions that meet security and compliance requirements. And end users will separately use separate consumer-friendly video conferencing technology on their mobile devices with or without IT’s formal blessing. Read more of this post

First Contact Resolution – The Second Best Key Performance Indicator of Customer Care

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Because of its potential to cut costs quickly and boost customer satisfaction, first contact resolution (FCR) is gaining recognition as the major key performance indicator (KPI) of success in customer care settings.
  • More enlightened customer care executives realize that their happiest customers are those that never have to contact a customer care center at all.

Because of its potential for immediate, effective and powerful results, FCR is gaining recognition and acceptance as a major KPI across customer service operations. The ability of a high FCR level to affect revenues positively and boost customer satisfaction, while decreasing the cost of customer care by reducing redundant operations, makes its achievement a win-win situation for both the corporation and its customers alike. Read more of this post

Mobile Device Complexity Driving New Thinking

J. Caron

J. Caron

Summary Bullets:                

  • The chasm between IT and network management is clear when looking at the issue of mobility solutions
  • Network service providers are investing heavily in mobility solutions, however, which may change perceptions going forward

Two weeks ago in this blog I wrote about the chasm that still exists between IT and networking considerations in business environments, and a recent study just published by Current Analysis on mobile device management and consumerization provides yet further evidence of this fact. Mobility is now a way of life for IT managers, not an overlay solution. Due to clear business drivers, mobility is being horizontally deployed and supported in organizations – no longer simply on a department-by-department basis. And we all know that the sheer number and types of devices used to support mobility in business have risen exponentially in the past two or three years, thanks to consumerization. But when we asked approximately 600 technology managers in the U.S and Europe what suppliers they will look to for help with the inherent management challenges presented by this mobility phenomenon, very few indicated faith in their network suppliers. They ranked technology suppliers, integrators and even the device manufacturers themselves over their network and connectivity partners. Read more of this post