I am pleased to be back for my sixth Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Here is a link to a summary of last year’s notes - This is another of my notes. There will be more to follow. I attended Irwin Lazar’s workshop - Building a Unified Communications and Collaboration Roadmap". Irwin is Vice President, Communications Research, Nemertes Research. Here is the session description for the workshop:
“During this interactive workshop we'll walk through the components of a successful unified communications and collaboration workshop. Using benchmark data gathered from hundreds of companies we'll show you what works, what doesn't work, and what are the key criteria for evaluating success. We'll discuss how to address organizational and management strategies, how to extend collaboration services to remote and mobile workers, how to cross company boundaries, and how to implement new collaboration methods with respect to budgets and the installed base of platforms.”
Irwin’s firm does a lot of research and he provided results of this work through out the session. They did interviews with 240 organizations and conduct in-depth conversations with senior IT professionals. They looked at 16 verticals and the participating companies ranged from fewer than 250 employees (13%), 250 – 2500 employees (29%, and over 2500 employees (58%).
He defines a road map as a statement of technology direction for the next 3 – 5 years. Then you turn it over to the architect to design and build it. He showed a sample road map covering 60 months. It included technologies, funding sources, and other necessary requirements. He showed several samples with different visualizations and areas of focus. Then tend to be complex to read in a single slide. Below is a sample chronological road map.
Their research finds that the more business involvement in IT projects, the higher the success. This has been my experience also. It is good to have someone deeply involved in the business going back to IT with the functional problems. Having multi-disciplinary teams are essential. If work is done in silos it will create problems and overlap. About 60% of companies they surveyed have a business IT liaison role.
What is collaboration? – Anyway you work with someone else: video, voice, messaging, social computing, document sharing. The latter is often forgotten. About 50% of firms said Sharepoint is their social platform, their document sharing system.
In one case study the primary tools for collaboration: 100% email, in person next, video conferencing, and at the bottom – social media. Social networking was still low on the priority list.
Unified communications is often defined differently. Now it is the integration of all collaboration tools through any device. He provided an UC reference architecture (see below). Deployment now: voice – 100%, IM – 79%, 75% web conferencing, cell phone integration 65%, on demand video 57%.
Organizational challenges are much bigger than the technical ones, especially with the lack of cross-functional communication. So many different groups are looking at different tools raising many issues. Integration of tools remains a big issue despite what the vendors claim. Firms picked this as the biggest challenge – 58%.
UC&C Road map – Voice: Issues, own or outsource, who is right vendor, dedicated servers or virtualized, soft phone or desktop phones, how to support analog, SIP trunking, and how to support voice messaging. Most firms that take out desktop phones put them back quickly. But some have successfully done this. There is a shrinking of VOIP deployments. It is very expensive to rip out a working phone system. There are infrastructure costs. Also, BYOD has affected the issue, as people are less interested beyond their device.
Hosted IPT has increased a bit from 12% to 18% are using it and more are evaluating but a large number have no plans. Many traditional VOIP vendors are hardware centric and expensive so there are challengers. Some (25%) are evaluating MS Lync to replace traditional phone system. Microsoft said you can do it with what you have and it was 5% last year and now up to 12%. However, the results are mixed. Some users do not like replacing a phone with a headset. If you are ahappy Microsoft user across other apps then you are more likely to try it.
When asked when you plan to switch to a new phone system. 52% had no plans, 18% planning for 2011, 10% evaluating, 7% planning for 2012, 6% planning for 2013. Question: Are you virtualizing UC application servers? 37% no plans, 20% evaluating, 16% using now, 20% planning for 2011, 5% planning for 2012. The key challenge with UC and virtualization is that the processing power is not there locally and some stuff has to go back to the data center.
Big issues in unified messaging are the legal issues. The lawyers want voice mail and email separate for archiving and compliance simplicity. These issues often arise after deployment. They do not want executive status to be transparent. They do not want voice mail stored. There are also Federal rules on electronic communication that need to be interpreted.
UCC Video roadmap: Percent of employees using desktop: 80% of firms have 0 – 10% with video capability while 15% have greater than 50%. Users do not seem to want it and network administrators fear the bandwidth issues. However, about 50% of firms support extranet video and 40% hare planning on it and only 4% have no plans.
About 35% are using streaming video,15% are planning on it. The integration of consumer devices with enterprise video is on the rise as 41% said it is very important 17% say it is important. One trick is getting users to use it correctly.
Some integration issues: who owns the desktop? How do you manage a multi-vendor solution? Big vendors are Cisco, Microsoft, Google, and IBM. There is a lot of competition between Cisco and Microsoft. Google is ramping its enterprise offerings but there is still concern about Google as an enterprise SaaS vendor. Concerns about Google are highest amongst conservative IT cultures. About 50% of companies are evaluating desktop office apps as a service.
Issues for IM/presence integration: vendor selection, integration, extranet, and mobile.
Most companies (88%) are using web conferencing. However, while it started as an ideal SaaS app, many firms are bring it inside to bring costs down. Some have saved as much 90% of costs. If you have over 2500 employees it can pay to bring it inside. You do need to create ways to bring in outside users.
It is hard to quantify the social computing investment. There have been some mistakes made in usage of consumer tools such as Facebook. He showed a social computing architecture (see below).
Many companies are using social computing but very few have an enterprise wide strategy. This makes integration very difficult. The Cisco Quad (now WebEx Social) strategy with integration their communication tools makes this easier. IBM Connections has capabilities here also. Over 90% measure soft metrics on social and 3% measure quantified metrics. When marketing is the driver of social more firms see social as a success as people are still thinking of social more in external facing terms.
Another big issues is private vs. public access. Can people use Facebook? Some companies are very open on this and others are against it as a distraction. One company found that Facebook was the highest used application in the enterprise. However, if you block it people can take out their smart phone. The use of guidelines is a better strategy than blocking. There are privacy issues, financial regulations, and e-Discovery (SEC). There have not been test cases on the financial issues but they will be coming.
Their research is consistent with others that only 10% are user and 90% are lurkers. Most companies do find social to be useful.
Ten steps: take ownership, establish policy, engage compliance function early, formal education program, strong password management, content monitoring and logging, education, selective blocking of content, routine audits and review of logs, and regular policy review.