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Making Sense of Unified Communications in the Cloud

At this year’s Enterprise Connect event, companies are busy trying to evaluate and estimate what changes in Unified Communications (UC) will arrive over the rest of the year and beyond, as well as how they can stay on top of the market volatility that will come with those changes.

John Furrier, cohost of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, spoke with Steve Leaden, president of Leaden Associates, Inc., to get his take on enterprise-level adoption of cloud services, provider needs and the hard questions that customers need to ask.

Summary by Gabriel Pesek

Needs and solutions

Leaden was very enthusiastic about the EC16 event, saying “The show is fabulous,” and adding, “We’ve got a ton of traction on the show floor, and it’s just amazing the interest in the cloud being promoted at every section.”

This led into a discussion of what customers are looking for with cloud, which prompted Leaden to note, “We’re at the point where we’re getting a lot of traction from the enterprise users to learn more about the cloud, use more about the cloud, really try to get under the hood about where it’s going.”

Exploring some of the obstacles consumers face in adopting cloud services, Leaden said, “The biggest challenge that most of the enterprise users have is the fact that we’re really in this capex mode; now they need to move toward an opex mode, or some kind of hybrid version … The big question is really: ‘Are you willing to give all of your keys of your kingdom over to one provider?’”

Different requirements, same provider

“Different verticals have different requirements,” Leaden explained. “It’s not only that, but it’s about how … we deliver best practices for security encryption to the end-points.” Comparing the needs of finance and healthcare clientele, he emphasized their shared need for security, encryption and privacy, but added, “If the cloud players want to get ahead, you know, they have to provide at least some of those [keys to the kingdom].”

He felt this was something that consumers would need to come to terms with but also something that providers looking to stay competitive would need to recognize, and soon. “Every one of our enterprise clients is looking for cloud as an option, in every case … There’s definitely an appreciation, or at least interest, in it.”

Leaden also shared with theCUBE his “five tough questions” intended for a later panel at the EC16 event, outlining them as: “Can you deliver on the service? Can you promise security? Can you deliver on best practices? Can you deliver on TCO? And are you willing to give us a hard penalty if you’re not delivering properly? [And] do you allow customers to see into your portal, to see what the latency measures are on the network?”

Asked to put a “bumper sticker” on the event, to sum up the energy and atmosphere, Leaden replied, “Look for the next generation in UC. It’s here today.”


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