Around the globe, we continue to see the new way to work is taking hold. So for 2014, we’ve tackled some top-of-mind issues and pivotal questions in our predictions, such as: Enterprise Adoption of public cloud and WebRTC; the continued consumerization of IT; and how companies can use social and “big data” for marketing outreach and sales.
With 2014 at our door step, it is time once again to reflect on what is to come, make predictions that are intriguing yet realistic, and hopefully leave you with something interesting to think about. So here goes – Unify’s top five predictions in enterprise communications for 2014:
- For business communications, one thing that has hindered the uptake of public cloud (meaning shared) solutions has been the perception among IT decision makers that they need “their own resources”. Their own security, their own storage, their own service level assurances, and so on. While these concerns won’t vanish, they will be addressed in 2014 with the emergence of “virtual” private cloud services.
Using virtualization technologies, a shared public cloud can be carved up and served like a private cloud or hosted dedicated service. So those security, storage and service level concerns can go away but still reap the economies and ubiquity of the public cloud. We believe this will jumpstart the UC as a Service (UCaaS) category, especially in the mid-market. ‘Freemium’ licensing and aggressive free trials to encourage adoption will surely help adoption as well.
- No trends and predictions piece would be complete without a word on mobility. We predict BYOD (bring your own device) becomes CYOD (C=choose) as IT catches up with supporting multiple consumer-driven options provisioned by IT, with ‘containerized’ personal vs. business modes to avoid intermingling content and enable better security (partitioned wipes, tailored credentials, encryption schemes, for example).
This raises the IT department’s profile as an enabler and partner in doing business and supporting users, rather than a governing or controlling entity to be dodged. And what choices will come with CYOD ? Android, Apple, and Microsoft – most often.
- There is no question that the iPhone and iPad have brought the user to the fore in designing communications apps. We predict that well researched user profiles will drive both licensing models and user experience as features and capabilities are specifically tailored to job role and work lifestyles. And, this sensitivity to a user’s predicted work lifestyle makes setup, configuration and access a breeze as the device and its onboard software predict what needs to be done – and does it “auto-magically”.
And, a consolidated “single pane of glass” will bring together content, communications, activity feeds and messages. In 2014 users truly begin to use integrated communication solutions rather than a hodgepodge of IT-provided and self-bought tools that are cobbled together with string and a prayer. While point solutions have served a purpose, the watch for more integration of voice, video, social and rich content to better serve the new way we work.
- Last year we predicted that all new web browser installs would include WebRTC support. It turns out we were a little ahead of ourselves. But with the continued ratification of industry standards for audio, video and content collaboration over the web, it seems WebRTC is now much closer to primetime readiness, and will make a tangible impact in 2014.We will see WebRTC make inroads to enterprise communications for audio, video and web conferencing among work groups and virtual teams via browsers and mobile devices, while maintaining great mainstream potential for future growth across all segments and markets, including consumer. Stay tuned.
- Another customer communications inflection point is upon us. IDC recently observed that in many markets, up to 50% of the sales cycle for prospects and customers is accomplished online – via digital assets, social channels and web content. Rather than traditional touch points such as marketing hard copy, inside or outside sales, retail fronts or call centers, companies will recognize in 2014 that the ‘digital perimeter’ of their company is the now the central and most important factor attracting prospects and winning new customers (not to mention keeping existing customers).
For enterprise communications, this puts even more importance on seamlessly integrating multimedia, social and interactive channels into your inbound and outbound capabilities. The customer is now in charge, and they are driving the process.
So there you have it, our top predictions for the year to come. At Unify, we look forward to 2014 with excitement and anticipation. A new way of working is upon us, and there is no turning back!
The below post is a copy of our recent press release which outlines our commitment to make it easier to do with business with Unify. Our Enterprise Licensing Agreements allow for flexible UC user-centric packages with no future surprises. We hope you enjoy reading the release and please feel free to share and comment.
Unify Simplifies Unified Communications Investments with Enterprise Licensing
Munich, Germany and Reston, VA, Dec 10, 2013
Value-driven software suites deliver predictable costs, increased flexibility and investment protection
Continuing its commitment to address customers’ needs for simpler and more cost-effective communication solutions, Unify, formerly known as Siemens Enterprise Communications, today introduced Enterprise Licensing. This simple user-based licensing program makes available the company’s award winning portfolio through a series of easy-to-understand and economical software suites.
Enterprise Licensing provides measurable benefits to customers over traditional a-la-carte purchasing models. Clear pricing makes it easier to plan and manage UC purchases. Enterprise Licensing also reduces upfront payment pressure by giving customers the option of spreading their investment cost over multiple years. The flexibility offered by Enterprise Licensing means purchases are tailored to user needs and provides more cost effective solutions. Enterprise Licensing includes clear volume discount tiers based on quantity of users and a unique three-year price guarantee allowing customers to confidently add additional users at a known fixed price. Aligning invoicing of additional user licenses with the contract anniversary also helps customers conform to budget cycles while quickly getting their users the UC capabilities they need.
“Cost is a major consideration for enterprises deploying UC solutions,” said Brian Riggs, Principal Analyst at Ovum. “Flexible licensing models help them make adjustments as they change in size and their business needs change. Unify’s new licensing should increase customers’ interest in purchasing UC solutions, as well as make it easier for them to select the package that makes sense for them.” To ensure customers make the most out of their UC investment, the Enterprise Licensing offering also includes maintenance services, providing on-call customer support and automatic access to all OpenScape portfolio upgrades.
The Enterprise Licensing program includes Unify’s OpenScape Enterprise and OpenScape Contact Center solutions. The OpenScape Enterprise bundles range from a foundation voice communication solution to a complete advanced collaboration offering for office and virtual workers. The OpenScape Contact Center packages cover the breath of Unify’s portfolio from an essential customer service suite to a robust, blended inbound and outbound campaign management solution.
“Unify values the trust our customers place in us, and we strive to help each customer get the most from their UC investment,” said Frederic Simard, Vice President, Pricing and Portfolio Commercialization for Unify. “Enterprise Licensing continues our commitment to make it easier to do business with Unify and provides customers with a selection of relevant, user-centric packages with no hidden costs or surprises and the flexibility to accommodate future business needs.”
Unify Enterprise Licenses are available now globally.
The below post is a copy of our recent press release which announces Dean Douglas as our CEO; We hope you enjoy reading the release and please feel free to share.
Unify Names Dean Douglas as CEO
Westcon President and CEO to Lead the Enterprise Communications Innovator
Hamid Akhavan to Join the Unify Board
Munich, Germany and Reston, VA Dec. 4 2013: Unify, formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications, today announced the appointment of Dean Douglas as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He succeeds Hamid Akhavan who joined as CEO from Deutsche Telekom in February 2010.
Douglas, who currently serves as President and CEO of enterprise technology distributor Westcon Group Inc., was previously CEO of LCC International and has also held a number of executive roles at both IBM and Motorola. He will take up his appointment on Jan. 16, 2014, at which point Akhavan will join the Executive Board, where he will continue to support the Unify business.
Mark Stone, Chairman of the Executive Board commented: “I am very happy that after many months of searching, we have found the ideal successor and leader in Dean. He brings deep understanding of the enterprise technology industry and intensive experience of successful sales channel and partnership development in a variety of international roles, which will be essential as we continue the transformation of Unify into the most capable supplier in the industry. Dean has an impressive track record of creating growth both organically and via successful acquisitions.” Read more ›
If you ask C-Level executives about what they are most afraid of – it’s increasingly the need to remain relevant – to their customers, within their industry and to their employees.
This was one of the main takeaways from the recent Ovum Future of Work seminar – which was full of examples of how technology and user behaviour are moving at such a pace that it is difficult for organizations to keep up. Jobs exist today that didn’t 15 years ago (including my own) and the next generation of employees are very different with very specific requirements.
As a quick example – that film you watched on Friday night – chances are you didn’t run down to your local video/ DVD store to pick it up and then went through the hassle of doing the return run… That’s just not how we consume our entertainment anymore.
And I am sure we can all think of many more… Read more ›