The BYOD phenomenon has resulted in a variety of consumer devices and services becoming standard components of business IT solutions in the SMB and enterprise marketplaces.
Consumer product developers now have an opportunity to broaden product market scope and expand revenues by evolving their offerings into business solutions through strong R&D and marketing efforts.
A few days ago, I was invited to attend a lab tour at Logitech, a market leader in the consumer web camera market, headquartered in Newark, California. I refer to Logitech as a market leader because it holds an indisputable leading position in the consumer webcam market (reported to be around 70%). You might wonder why an analyst following the enterprise unified communications business would be invited to Logitech. Well, approximately two years ago, Logitech set up its Enterprise Division and began developing high-quality video cameras aimed at capturing the attention of IT decision makers interested in delivering video collaboration applications to their employees. The initial result was a personal videoconferencing camera named the BCC 950 ConferenceCam. The BCC 950 is a desktop or small group videoconference camera that plugs into a PC or laptop via a USB port. This simple-to-use device, introduced to the marketplace earlier this year, includes features expected in a video conferencing terminal used in a small conference room or business office, including 1080p30 resolution, noise cancellation, and pan-zoom-tilt functionality, and it has the plug-and-play ease-of-use capabilities of a consumer product. The product also has a very impressive list price at $250. There is no software installation required, and it offers out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Lync, Cisco Jabber, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and several other consumer videoconferencing services that are migrating into the enterprise office environment. Continue reading “Logitech Is Using R&D to Expand Its Strong Consumer Brand into Business Markets”→
Permission by presence status fits some corporate cultures but clashes with others.
Customers and providers of UC services cite low adoption and usage by end users as challenging. Both buyers and providers of UC services have a stake in encouraging end users to adopt UC services; once demanding UC projects have been rolled out, finance directors are keen to see some sorts of return on investment. Some UC features fare better than others (typically telephony gets high use) and they vary from user to user, but the power of ‘presence status’ to give contact permission can both deter and appeal to users. Continue reading “UC Hanging On Users’ Permission”→
Cloud service offerings in the contact center are proliferating, and more often than not they are reaching the short lists of decision makers who select customer care applications.
Many considering a cloud-based contact center solution summarize the appeal in terms of capital to operating expense conversion and seldom note the potential benefits in the area of disaster recovery.
It was difficult to walk the exhibit floor of the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando a few weeks ago without realizing that cloud services was given a major emphasis by exhibitors and show attendees alike. The program listed 46 exhibitors (more than 30% of total exhibitors) under the category of “Cloud-Based Services,” and the attendees flocked to any break-out sessions with the word “Cloud” in the title, which resulted in standing room only sessions in many cases. As an analyst who has been tracking the shift to the cloud in the contact center marketplace, I was very interested in the advantages of the cloud being highlighted by exhibitors and perceived by enterprises and SMBs with mission-critical contact center applications. Continue reading “Cloud-based Contact Centers – The Appeal Beyond OpEx vs. CapEx”→
Despite marketing rhetoric, Enterprise Connect and its exhibitors are still struggling to blend communications and collaboration.
One solution is to invite unusual exhibitors steeped in collaborative business solutions outside of the realm of unified communications.
As a dyed in the wool software enthusiast, I often feel a bit out of my element at trade shows like last week’s Enterprise Connect, where solutions come in rack unit increments and business value is measured in port densities. Over the past year, especially after show organizers dropped the VoiceCon moniker in favor of a less PBX-centric name, Enterprise Connect has shown signs of becoming a venue capable of reflecting the needs of enterprise customers both today and tomorrow. That is, an enterprise where collaboration and communication not only co-exist but also understand and directly drive business value. But as my compatriot IT Connection blogger, Jerry Caron, pointed out yesterday, most of the vendors exhibiting at Enterprise Connect have not yet heeded this memo. Continue reading “Communications Market Needs More Fish Out of Water”→
C&W Worldwide fits with Vodafone’s UC ambitions and would significantly boost Vodafone’s UK global capabilities.
On the downside, C&W Worldwide is a challenging organisation for Vodafone to integrate.
The news that Vodafone has become the first of Cable&Wireless Worldwide’s (CWW) alleged suitors to formally announce that it is considering making a bid for the carrier has been greeted with surprise in certain quarters, but it shouldn’t really be seen as unexpected. Vodafone frequently been cited as a likely candidate to acquire CWW and this speculation increased in late 2011 when former Vodafone exec Gavin Darby became CWW’s CEO. It certainly shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider that for the full year 2010/11 the two companies would have had combined worldwide revenues of GBP 48.14 billion and combined UK revenues of GBP 6.97 billion. Continue reading “Acquiring C&W Worldwide Would Give Vodafone Many Advantages and a Few Big Risks”→
Although vendors are ramping up messaging around unified communications/collaboration, some enterprises are not seeing the business case that justifies the investment.
Business process enablement is a key area where enterprises can leverage vendor expertise to gain more from their UC investment.
In media articles and discussions with vendors, the message is clear that enterprise uptake of unified communications features is increasing; Web/desktop video conferencing, instant messaging, and unified messaging are leading features being considered to join voice services for initial deployment. However, a recent survey sponsored by InformationWeek revealed that while most respondents were deploying or planned to deploy a UC solution within the next 24 months, 33% had no plans to deploy UC. Of those not deploying UC, 32% indicated that they saw no definitive business value, with most of the remaining respondents simply putting UC at a lower priority behind other projects. Despite being inundated with messages of increased employee productivity and efficiency and reduced operating expenses, some executives and IT managers may not see the business case to justify the investment and transition to a more cohesive collaboration environment. Vendors have the pieces in place to support a more compelling business case, but could strengthen this case through some changes in messaging around UC benefits. Continue reading “Moving Beyond UC Features to Business Integration”→
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.
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. Continue reading “Is Your Contact Center Ready to Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon?”→
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. Continue reading “Time to Take Experience to Another Level”→