UC in the sky with dialers

Hello again!  It’s been a while since my last post and lots has happened in between.  I won’t go into detail except to say I’ve been flirting with twitter and facebook and sadly still can’t get away from that old relic known as e-mail.

Back to this post.  I’ve been thinking about Unified Communications and Cloud services in fact UCaaS to be specific.

As we all know, UC is a collection of communication tools that historically were siloed.  The telephone, Email, Voice Mail, IM, Video Conferencing and so on.  In the last couple of years and more so this year, we have seen a massive increase in Software as a Service…services targetted at the Enterprise with some very tempting benefits.  Some have made the move successfully whilst others need time to build trust to embrace the concept.  This is particularly true in the finance sector where concerns about security and location of data referenced against local regulations makes it all the more difficult to entertain a move from on-premise to the cloud.  I’m sure this will change over time as richer and more secure services become available and of course the economies of scale kick in and make it a no brainer.

Email and IM in the cloud is nothing new, as consumers, we have been doing it for years, but what about the other services that make up the UC pie? Well this is where I get to the point of this post.  Moving telephony into the cloud… telephony as a service. Nothing new except the providers in the market today are not the traditional Telco.

Look at Cisco, Microsoft, Google and many others who want to provide UCaaS.  To provide 100% UC aren’t they going to have to provide a dialer in the sky? Today, out of the three I mention Cisco are the only one capable of providing on premise Telephony integration into their Saas (WebEx Mail/Connect), but that’s obvious as they are incumbant for Enterprise telephony.  What if an Enterprise wanted to move their PBX off premise and integrate it into their cloud based Email, IM etc?  Will the current big name UCaaS… service providers become Telcos and be regulated as such?

Will Cisco, Microsoft, Google etc now be competing with the likes of BT, Verizon, Singtel, France Telecom and so on?

Pace yourself

I named this blog “Too Early” for two reasons.  Firstly, the time of day I created it and secondly and more importantly my habit of proposing solutions ahead of time. One might think that being ‘ahead of the curve’ is a good thing and may well be lucrative in certain professions, but in mine, this has become somewhat of a frustration.

I’ve come to realise that whilst I enjoy what I do, I need to construct a consistent delivery and realise the realistic time frames for delivery early on and work to them.

One recent example is based around the team I created and the solutions I aimed to deliver.  Two years ago, I formed a team called Strategic Architecture.  Senior management liked the idea of the team but were not keen on the name, primarily because of the lack of understanding of what an IT architect actually does.  I don’t blame them as this is defined differently everywhere you go, however, having recently dissolved the team internally, senior managment have decided to create a Strategic Architecture group!

One of the initiatives I set out early on was the importance of capitalising on internal intellectual property (IP) and the ability to turn data > Information into a competitive edge for an orginisation.  To achieve this I detailed a plan that involved a foundation of Enterprise Search and collaboration technologies built upon it with a presence backbone.

I believe that to achieve this competitive edge we could unlock the knowledge pools and break down the knowledge silos within the Enterprise in a similar way to the way Wikipedia achieves this across the globe, but with tacit knowledge being the value add through presence.

I’ve been working on this for two years and so far have managed to secure the funding to build the foundation of Enterprise Search.  The rest of the building blocks are of course based around Enterprise 2.0 where boundaries are broken down and communities are built up as it is in a Web 2.0 world, external to the Enterprise.

I aim to pursue this goal, but external factors are hindering the process.  Factors such as the crisis in the capital markets causing the lack of further investment into innovation particularly in the financial sector.  For that reason I see a lull and for that reason I’ve decided to take time out and work aggressively on what I recognise as my weakness in pacing myself against long term time scales.