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Cloud: Liberating today’s mobile enterprise

Vikram VermaIssue:Europe I 2016
Article no.:10
Topic:Cloud: Liberating today’s mobile enterprise
Author:Vikram Verma
Title:CEO
Organisation:8 X 8 Inc.
PDF size:220KB

About author

Vik Verma, CEO at 8x8, Inc.
Vik Verma loves to take complex technologies and transform them into unique customer value. As part of his early work at Savi Technology on RFID and the Internet of Things, the World Economic Forum in Davos named Verma one of 2003’s Top 40 “Technology Pioneers” in the world. At 8x8, Verma focuses on revolutionizing enterprise cloud communications with ground-breaking unified communications and contact center technology.
Previously, he served as Savi's Engineering VP before becoming COO, and later President and CEO. Prior to 8x8, he became President of Strategic Venture Development at Lockheed Martin, focusing on its military technologies and programs for global commercial ventures.
Vik Verma earned engineering degrees from Florida Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, and Stanford University.

Article abstract

This past decade has seen the rise of unified communications (UC) that promised to bring all the piece-part, siloed elements of communications together into a more manageable experience for the mobile worker. In many ways, unified communications has improved the speed and flow of information across an organization, one user at a time. However, the major vendors serving the market handcuffed both themselves and their clients by building architectures dependent on a complicated mix of on-premises systems, with equally daunting licensing schemes, offered by vendors that are often coming from diametrically opposed positions on what the end result should look and feel like. 

Full Article

Communications is the life blood of business. That is precisely why, in this world of high transport, full of broadly mobile, distributed workforces, so many businesses are accelerating their move to the cloud, for a broad spectrum of enterprise class cloud services— but specifically communications services.
With an endless array of choices in front of the modern business leader, the necessity of moving in a precise direction and adhering to core objectives remain the fundamental measures by which a business can tell if they are still on course, or wavering in pursuit of their mission. With an increasingly mobile workforce, it’s easier than ever for businesses to fall out of synch, especially when everyone from the CEO down to the first-time new hire moves in different directions.

The failure of unified communications 1.0
My own communications experience, before the cloud, required what seemed like an endless and delicate balancing act of managing communications across a mix of applications and devices that is best described as communications interrupted. An email invites a response, so you send another email, which very soon leads to the need for a phone call or meeting. The old world required the individual to act as the traffic cop, starting and stopping a discussion in one medium, to move to another.
This model of inefficiency adds a significant real, but largely undocumented cost of doing business. It involves a cumbersome process that uses many separate, isolated tools of business communication running on a private corporate network. And the problem is compounded for the mobile business person, who lacks the same access to communications services that are readily available in their office setting.
This past decade has seen the rise of unified communications (UC) that promised to bring all the piece-part, siloed elements of communications together into a more manageable experience for the mobile worker. In many ways, unified communications has improved the speed and flow of information across an organization, one user at a time. However, the major vendors serving the market handcuffed both themselves and their clients by building architectures dependent on a complicated mix of on-premises systems, with equally daunting licensing schemes, offered by vendors that are often coming from diametrically opposed positions on what the end result should look and feel like.
This UC 1.0 model involves paying, and repaying a hefty premium every year, yet we’re all still waiting for delivery on the promise of a much simpler communications archetype. As a consequence, many business leaders who invested in these leading UC vendors are left wondering whether the vision they bought into will ever see the light of day. Presently, we have started to see a marked shift away from these vendors, as they continue to move their strategies away from their once “safe” on-premises roots.
The problem with the old model is more than just a disagreement between competitors. The source of the problem goes back to the structure of the solution delivery itself. You don’t need to be an industry expert to recognize that any technology solution whose success is dependent on two or more gorilla competitors from very different markets cooperating in depth is going to struggle over time, and often, that solution is going to fail. And when the market that solution was built to serve is the massive, high-growth mobile user market, then the smart money is to approach the problem from a completely different angle.
The Cloud transformation of UC
Enter the cloud, as a communications service delivery vehicle that is equally suited to serving both the mobile and office-based worker. Reality now looks quite different, when you talk about unified communications. So different in fact, it requires a completely new term to define its enhanced delivery model: continuous communications.
The reason the cloud changes everything comes down to a few key factors. First, the cloud is able to leverage new technology from multiple sources, regardless of vendor, to deliver the kind of 1+1=3 value equation that was always expected from UC. That’s because the cloud, by design, is open and accessible to the markets it serves.
As a result, cloud CRM services, for example, can easily be integrated into cloud UC services, so that the CRM user can conduct and track call activity without leaving their CRM application. The business gains the value of faster, more informed processing of calls and their customers get superior, more complete service.
What’s even better is that the IT staff didn’t have to find the time, budget and expertise required to design, plan and deliver the solution. It’s already done by the cloud vendors themselves, through their use of application platforms that were designed to naturally co-exist.
This model extends to a whole host of other cloud services and web application integrations, each one of which would have involved a colossal effort on the part of vendors and IT teams in the old world, but are now very simple, or even out-of-the-box, pre-packaged user-installable accelerators to time-sensitive business processes, such as sales and customer support.
The second key factor of the new cloud reality is the ubiquitous availability model of the cloud. The cloud model enables users to go online from anywhere, without any specialized equipment, applications or devices, and just log in to a browser and gain full access to your services.
That was never going to be possible with the old world UC vendors because they were always more interested in selling you their next new client or device, than they were on solving your business problem with a highly personalized user experience.
With the cloud, you can have one-number access that you take with you anywhere you go and assign that number to whatever device you prefer, today, tomorrow, and every day of your business lives.
Mobile liberation through continuous communications
This is where we get to the choice of new terminology “continuous communications.” In this cloud- enabled world of communications, the user can be anywhere, engaged in a business activity that requires input from another party. If they’re in email, they click to call directly from the phone number in that email. If they’re in CRM, click-to-call is right there. If they’re on the go, they might start with an IM to a colleague on their smart phone, and then escalate that to a call, or conference, or even an HD videoconference, all from the smart phone in their hand.
The beauty of continuous communications gives users the ability to seamlessly switch from chat, messaging and voice while roaming across multiple networks, such as 3G/4G LTE and Wi-Fi. This continuous communications experience offers users added flexibility to suit their personalized business needs, taking their communications service with them wherever they are in the world. You can use the tools of your choice, and can lead the transaction, from start to finish, across all the devices and applications you require—seamlessly, without ever having to stop and start, until your task is done. Users can share documents from Dropbox, or Google docs. Annotate, collaborate and move the business forward. Resolve customer issues as they emerge by bringing in the experts you need to answer the question, and move on, without wasting time on call backs and re-scheduling contact. Pure business agility at your fingertips. This has become the new normal and new “Day in the life” for most business users.
The pace of business only continues to increase daily, and mobility is right at the core of this increased pace that drives our connections, interactions and productivity. Fortunately, with the cloud innovation engine revved up and ready, the continued liberation of the mobile enterprise is on a sure course.

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