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Managing CX from the Inside-Out By Jon Arnold

The contact center space is changing before our eyes, and whether you think it's imploding or exploding, there's no going back to the telephony-centric callcenter we've known for so long.

Yes, the race to cloud is on, customer expectations are far more challenging now, and AI could be the savior of the whole sector. Check, check, check; we're all covering that ground in our research and consulting. For this post, I have another angle that may be less obvious, but still pertinent for coming out on the right side of things when, or if, all this disruption runs its course.

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Contact Center 2.0: More Than Just Going to the Cloud By Jon Arnold

Contact centers are facing unprecedented change, and decision-making has never been more challenging. The new technologies can be daunting and disruptive, but in many ways, they offer great opportunities to modernize in a hurry. None of this is really news for No Jitter readers, but when new research comes along to validate the state of things, it's worth looking at the data.

One such study has crossed my path recently, and the findings illustrate how complex decision-making is becoming in the current environment. RingCentral commissioned CITE Research to conduct the study, titled "Contact Center Digital Transformation," drawing insights from 500 contact center respondents in managerial and supervisor roles or higher at a wide range of enterprises by size, ranging from 50 to 10,000+ employees, in the U.S. and U.K.

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How Blockchain Could Improve Collaboration... By Jon Arnold

Blockchain events are popping up everywhere these days, and last week, I spent a day at the Blockchain Futurist Conference in my hometown of Toronto. Like most people in my orbit, I have some toes dipped in this pond, both for business opportunities and to explore potential applications for collaboration. Well, in "Spinal Tap" style, if the artificial intelligence (AI) hype cycle is at 10, then it's at 11 with blockchain, and going higher.

Whatever your concerns are about blockchain, they're probably justified, and this event really didn't clear up mine. As with any emerging, disruptive force, there are more questions than answers, but more so than any other we've seen, this is purely a product of the digital generation.

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Follow Generational Clues to Collaboration Success By Jon Arnold

As Millennials make their mark, and with Generation Z coming up quickly behind them, intergenerational research has become a thing -- and it’s something we all need to pay attention to. The implications for marketers are obvious, as the buying behaviors of digital natives are much different from older generations, and that’s where much of this type of research is focused.

Closer to our world, there’s a different set of needs to understand, namely around how digital natives use communications technology in the workplace. Compared to consumer behaviors, the research on that front is fairly thin, and even less well understood is how digital natives will behave when moving into decision-making roles for these technologies. That area should be of intense interest to collaboration vendors, as the buying criteria and the decision-making process will likely differ with this cohort from older generations.

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Speech Tech in the Enterprise: 3 Themes to Explore By Jon Arnold

Enterprise Connect 2019 is just a few weeks away, and during the conferenceI’ll be giving an update talk on the state of speech technology. Last year, I gave a speech tech 101 presentation, and this year I’m reviewing how the space has evolved since then.
 

I certainly have a lot to talk about, and this post serves as a preview of what to expect. If you’re trying to assess where and how speech technology can bring new business value to your workplace, you’ll want to hear about three themes I’ll be addressing.

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How Next-Gen Networking Impacts IT Security by Scott Murphy

Over the past few years, the stories of security breaches at large enterprises such as Sony, Target, and Home Depot have been making headlines. Many of my clients ask how this could happen to these organizations, what with their multi-million dollar IT budgets and substantial resources. The answer is both simple and complex at the same time. Allow me to explain...

These organizations are continually balancing their investment in technology and the cost of operating that technology, often on a daily basis. They try to minimize the complexity of their networks wherever possible, but unfortunately, minimizing complexity often results in decreased security; in particular, it results in a reduction of network segmentation, the act of splitting a computer network into subnetworks for the benefits of improved performance and security.

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Cloud Operations: Creating Business Agility By Scott Murphy

The trend is steady and unmistakable: Businesses are moving to the cloud. In stages, they are moving externally and internally facing services and custom and off-the-shelf applications and services. They are adopting infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), increased virtualization, microservices, and containerization for improved reliability and performance. They are using public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid clouds; but the trend has been shifting to the public cloud in the last few years at an accelerating rate.

We are seeing this trend toward cloud in the communications technology industry. Traditional on-premises communications services have been moving to the cloud for over a decade, but we are now starting to see this happen on a larger scale.

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Cyber Security: Locking the Door Is Not Enough By Scott Murphy

Most enterprises have long been focused on preventing the bad guys from getting in to their networks and systems. Historically, the especially security conscious enterprises -- ones that understood their organizations were a target -- were focused not just on prevention, but also on detection and response to security incidents. The IT security landscape has changed – the reality of today’s security landscape is that it’s not a question of if you have been hacked, it’s whether or not you know about it. Detection and response capabilities are more important than ever before.
 
The risks to your physical business office and assets, as well as the mitigation techniques you can take to protect your assets from this risk, are much more obvious than when it comes to the cyber world. Fifty years ago, good physical security for many businesses was a locked door – it was enough to keep most bad guys out. Today, a locked door is barely a deterrent; yes, you still need to lock the door, but that needs to be reinforced with a security system to detect if an intruder has gained entry. That security system needs to be connected to a monitoring agency that is alerted of the break-in and notifies the police so they can respond in a timely manner and catch the intruder to prevent serious loss of assets.

Getting Started with Successful Security Breach Detection By Scott Murphy

Organizations historically believed that security software and tools were effective at protecting them from hackers. Today, this is no longer the case, as modern businesses are now connected in a digital global supply ecosystem with a web of connections to customers and suppliers. Often, organizations are attacked as part of a larger attack on one of their customers or suppliers. They represent low hanging fruit for hackers, as many organizations have not invested in operationalizing security breach detection.

As this new reality takes hold in the marketplace, many will be tempted to invest in new technology tools to plug the perceived security hole and move on with their current activities. However, this approach is doomed to fail. Security is not a "set it and forget it" type of thing. Defending an organization from a breach requires a careful balance of tools and operational practices -- operational practices being the more important element.

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Moving to IaaS: Big Changes Required by Scott Murphy

There are some huge opportunities for improvements in moving enterprise services to the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud, but there are some equally daunting challenges -- both technical and operational.
 
Demand for public cloud infrastructure, or IaaS, is expected to grow 36.8% in 2018, according to Gartner. IaaS refers to the basic computing, networking, and storage services supplied by the big three providers: Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. The cloud allows your infrastructure to scale dynamically but requires a fundamentally different approach than premises-based infrastructure. You cannot do everything the same as you did in a private data center.

Endpoint Decisions & Strategies Evolve By Barbara A. Grothe

As communications consultants with clients all over the country, we have helped with many enterprise deployments over the years and have seen just about everything. In all those deployments, it’s become clear that most enterprises tend to struggle with supplying communications endpoints and devices. This is largely due to the wide variety of options available today for endpoints, as well as the myriad factors to take into account when crafting an endpoint strategy. In addition to cost, these factors include differences in employee roles and skill sets, varying use cases, and of course user demands and preferences.
 
Ultimately, every business (and its users) is different, and there simply cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. An enterprise’s endpoint strategy will come down to analyzing its environment and deciding on a solution that fits its unique needs. However, lessons learned from other enterprises can be helpful as you work to craft your enterprise’s endpoint strategy.

SD-WAN: Yes, It's a Revolution Alright by Tom Brannen

SD-WAN: Yes, It's a Revolution Alright by Tom Brannen

In an industry filled with overused buzzwords and overhyped technologies, the word “revolution” gets thrown out year after year, to the point that we don’t even know what it means anymore.
 
Every new service and application promises to revolutionize your business, revolutionize the industry, and revolutionize the way you communicate. We’ve become so numb to this cycle that we’re susceptible to missing a real revolution when it comes. Or, our anti-hype blinders are so pronounced that we’re unable to distinguish genuine transformational change from this year’s industry darling.
 
Such is the case with software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). I don’t think enough people realize just how revolutionary it is.

Thinking Strategically About Digital Transformation by Jon Arnold

In the age of digital transformation, technology buying decisions should never be just about price, and they can no longer be solely made by IT for IT.
 
That’s the essence of the messaging I gleaned from an SCTC event I attended last week that should resonate most for No Jitter readers. I’m going to illustrate that here in terms of how digital transformation is impacting the enterprise environment. (I’ll be writing about other notable takeaways from the event in another post soon.)
 
Mitel and the Transformation Imperative
Aside from being a vendor helping businesses adapt to digital transformation, Mitel is an enterprise itself, just like its customers. Not only that, but with a long history of growing via acquisition, Mitel has more than once needed to integrate new cultures and operations into the organization. At the event, Mitel CIO Jamshid Rezaei talked about Mitel’s transformation imperative, and here are four lessons learned that should help any enterprise in developing a successful strategy for digital transformation.

What Are You Really Getting with Your Cloud Solution? by Melissa Swartz

What Are You Really Getting with Your Cloud Solution? by Melissa Swartz

I’ve recently worked on a couple of projects that involved migration of my clients’ UC environments to cloud solutions. Both projects involved contact center and business user requirements, which the clients discussed at length with their selected cloud vendors.
 
In both cases, the clients ended up with solutions that were somewhat different than they thought they were buying. Here are some things the providers glossed over during the sales process:

Planning for a Successful 'Carve Out' Acquisition by Beth English

You've just been notified that your company is purchasing a large business unit from another company, and you've been placed in charge of moving the IT components to your organization without disrupting business and keeping all aspects of your organization secure. This type of arrangement is commonly referred to as a "carve out," and it requires extensive planning and forethought to navigate the complex, competing requirements.

Complicating and Uncomplicating a Carve Out

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What's Going on with E911? by Dan Aylward

What's Going on with E911? by Dan Aylward

We are all familiar with 911 and the simple yet significant value it has for our nation. Behind the scenes is a vast and complex infrastructure. With changes in technology, however, come necessary changes with this telecommunications infrastructure and legislation that pertains to it. Below are ten frequently asked questions to help you understand trends around 911, as well as information that all organizations must understand for compliance purposes. 

E911: What Is It?

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Lessons Learned from the Trenches of UCaaS Implementations by Melissa Swartz

I have worked on several projects recently that involved UCaaS solutions where the end user organization had a need to support both regular business users and a contact center environment. One of the solutions had evolved, starting as a contact center solution first, with support for the regular business user capabilities added later. A second solution I worked with had the opposite evolution -- it was originally designed as a solution for business users and contact center capabilities and support were added after that.

 
Both solutions offered a fairly complete solution as far as their primary development was concerned. But both had some significant shortcomings on the capabilities that were added afterwards. In both cases, they were capabilities that, in my opinion, should be available in every system out there.
 
In both cases, requirements were defined in advance and covered with the selected UCaaS provider in detail. Even so, there were unexpected challenges along the way.
 
Here are some of the issues that we ran into:

Cybercrime & Collaboration: On a Collision Course? by Jon Arnold

Cybercrime & Collaboration: On a Collision Course?

I'm recently back from the annual conference of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants (SCTC), of which I'm the only active analyst member. These consultants are on the front lines for helping businesses make smart technology decisions along with getting good value from those investments, so it's a pretty important community of influencers. Their experiences inform my thinking as an analyst, and I'm going to share some of that here.

Aside from attending, I gave the locknote talk, played a gig with the SIPtones, and even got to play "UC Cookoff" Jeopardy, so there was a nice mix of fun, learning, and networking. One of the learning highlights was a keynote about the state of cybercrime, a topic from which the collaboration space is not immune.

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Can Training Save Your Business from the Next Cyber Attack? by Scott Murphy

Can Training Save Your Business from the Next Cyber Attack?

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UC Evolves to Collaborative Communications by Blair Pleasant

UC Evolves to Collaborative Communications

 Blair Pleasant

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