The Cloud Helps Businesses Confront UC Complexity - Page 2

 By Carl Weinschenk
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Weinschenk: So what is the key to getting people to use it? Can a campaign of some sort be mounted, or is it just a matter of waiting until these services permeate the organization?
Lemelin: The marketing in a lot of cases is to the CIO and increasingly to the CFO. We are really talking about productivity and efficiency gain. It's not just cost savings. It's making people's time more valuable. The beginning point is to market to the IT manager and CFO. The CFO understands the return they get with the standard kinds of investments they make in their business. It is a harder sale for the CIO to the CFO when it comes to productivity gains. There's a bit of a mind shift that has to take place. In terms of marketing and campaigns, it's really that triangle of influencers that includes the CFO, the CIO and the end users. Service providers and UC players really need to speak individually to those three audiences.

Weinschenk: Who is the key?
Lemelin: I think there's an understanding that you have to influence the CIO, that he really is the catalyst to making this work. They can then begin to evangelize in the organization. The end user is not pounding the desk demanding these solutions.

Weinschenk: Different people have different views of precisely what presence is. What is you view?
Lemelin: I think the ability to escalate, and that often is triggered by an understanding of presence. [Examples are the ability] in a voice call if someone suggests tying in somebody else or turning it into a Web or video conference or looking at someone's presence status and bringing them into the call without having to go off-hook on the telephone. That's the type of differentiator we see.

Weinschenk: What is the main driver now?
Lemelin: The core capability or driver of UC is still messaging and collaboration. Increasingly it's movement toward Web conferencing. That's picking up momentum in all sizes of business. Video conferencing is picking up. There are multiple flavors there. It is moving to the desktop for a variety of reasons. More employees are remote and mobile. A lot of businesses in this economy are happy with people working from home. That leads to things like IP VPNs and desktop video conferencing.

Weinschenk: You seem to distinguish between Web and video conferencing. How do you break it down?
Lemelin: Think about WebEx or GoToMeeting. Those kinds of solutions have a lot of momentum among all sizes of businesses. A lot of times, [it starts] with simply a client-type of video conferencing. It's someone saying, “I have an IM client, a camera on the desktop, let's give that a try.” As people experience that, you begin to have the IT person say, “That's all well and good, but we have to have business-grade solutions.” It's not just one-to-one, which is what you often find with Skype or similar solutions. They begin looking at lower-end systems from Polycom, Cisco or Tandberg -- solutions that offer multipoint-to-multipoint type of convergence. The good news there is they are beginning to say, “Lets take it beyond residential applications, use something with more security, something integrated with voice and data network." And being aware of where it sits behind a firewall, those kinds of issues.

This article was originally published on Dec 7, 2009
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