Enterprise Connect, or #EC2016 to the cool kids, is a great place to increase your knowledge of the collaboration industry. Thousands of customers and vendors gather every year to share ideas, discuss problems, propose solutions, and have a ton of meetings. This year, there were 5 big takeaways that have me amped up for another year of improving collaboration! And I encourage you to get amped as well.
Everyone is talking about collaboration analytics at #EC16. pic.twitter.com/QhfrOJiKF6
— Vyopta (@vyopta) March 8, 2016
Maybe I am jaded because of what we do at Vyopta, but I literally heard this word at least once during every session I went to and in every other conversation I passed on the expo floor. I think it is great that everyone is talking about it, but unfortunately I am not sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to knowing what “analytics” are. It’s kind of like “the Internet of Things,” in that everyone has an idea that it will solve a lot of problems, but they aren’t really sure how it works.
Analytics is a shift in the industry to focus on comprehensive metrics to drive improvement. A few data points and sexy visualizations are not useful by themselves. Analytics to Vyopta is about providing a simple way to bring context to the data you have always had by combining it with other data (such as video usage data with business organization information) in order to understand the impact on the business and the ways different teams collaborate.
This means analytics only become powerful when an enterprise applies their own business data to a problem in addition to easy to use data from the technology.
Before the keynote there was a panel of enterprise customers, and aside from analytics, they all mentioned one common factor: hybrid environments. Every single person on the panel said that going 100% cloud or 100% on premise would not work for them. This makes total sense and aligns very well with our current roadmap.
100% cloud: For external calls, it makes sense to have some “on demand” type of infrastructure like cloud, but using up all that external bandwidth for internal collaboration doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
100% on premise: If you are going the on premise route (because you only use video collaboration internally), there are actually quite a few flexible on-premise software installations these days that are very economical and simple to deploy.
Hybrid environment downsides:
- The downside to hybrid environments is that this usually means using two types of technologies that do not communicate well with each other, even when they’re from the same vendor. Someone has to spend time tweaking and configuring the devices to get them running smoothly.
- The other downside to hybrid environments is that you have to train users to use two different kinds of tools for meetings.
I feel a little goofy typing that, but I am seriously so amazed at our customers. Especially given the change needed in the industry I outlined above around defining what analytics are. When given the right data, customers can dramatically exceed even the most aggressive expectations for video collaboration.
Quick tip: What is even better is when you put customers who have analytics tools in the same room as customers who don’t. Not only do they immediately start collaborating about how to solve each other’s problems, but they are ready to get on a call with them at the drop of a hat! You guys are amazing. You know who you are.
The booths this year were pretty amazing. The claims in bold letters at the top of every demo station in the brightly lit and shiny booths all sounded really great. “Change the Way We Work!” Great! I want to do that! Wait, you offer consulting services and not actual implementation or new technologies? At Vyopta, we didn’t have a booth this year. In order to stand out from the crowd it is very expensive, and we don’t feel like that type of marketing really helps our customers.
The kind of marketing we are focused on is collaborative. We like to put our customers together with potential customers and developers and then figure out ways to solve problems. We had several group events where we showed what we are working on and then let new customers talk with existing customers about the problems they have solved. It worked out great and we got to spend quality time with our the most important people there instead of other exhibitors.
If we didn’t get to talk with you while we were there, then we are very sorry. We really tried to walk around and talk to as many partners and customers as possible. If you have a “Fear of Missing Out” on Vyopta’s next event, then please subscribe to this blog or just reach out and give us an old fashioned call or email! We will also be at Infocomm and be attending in some form at American Telemedicine Association conference in Minneapolis as well. Reach out now to set up some time to talk [email protected]
We plan to attend more events like Enterprise Connect as we embark on a new stage of growth after receiving our first round of funding. We will be using some of this new money to interact with as many customers as possible and host fun events where people generate ideas without the overhead of understanding complex underlying technologies.