On a recent episode of Telecom Reseller’s EDUcast, host Gary Audin spoke with Jonathan Sass, Vyopta’s vice president of product management. The conversation (presented here as the second of two parts) touched on the major trends and changes Vyopta has observed in monitoring collaboration and UC (unified communications) and increase in UCaaS since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The term “new normal” is quite frequently used in unified communication. How does it relate to collaboration?
The new normal within collaboration and UC is very video centric. Video is the new standard, and particularly what we’re seeing within organizations is a great increase in UCaaS. 80 percent of companies today are relying on UCaaS providers for collaboration and UC within their organizations, for many reasons, partially because this allowed them to rapidly scale early on in the pandemic. We’re seeing three particular providers really pull ahead in this particular space, Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom. What’s really interesting, though, is quite often these technologies are all within the same environment.
Organizations are using Microsoft Teams, WebEx and Zoom or two out of the three, and this sometimes happens by department where individual departments are adopting particular technologies. Other times it’s broken down by internal versus external collaboration, where one tool is chosen for internal collaboration within the organization, while another tool is chosen for that type of external collaboration and UC. And so that has led to a rise of multivendor UC environments within the UCaaS world. But then also many organizations are continuing to support and even invest in their existing on-prem infrastructure as they look at planning into next year to support the organization as some of the employees will go back into the office. Organizations are also continuing to invest in the on-prem systems, particularly in use cases where they’re looking for additional security or control over those environments.
What are the key sources of success that produce quality corporate collaboration?
It’s critical for both IT and business leaders to understand the quality of the collaboration that’s taking place, and a lot of that goes back to understanding the quality of the actual meetings themselves, both from a leadership standpoint within the IT departments, but even more so the growth in the C suite wanting to better understand the quality of collaboration and UC experience taking place. And as I mentioned before, there are three key places to understand when it comes to identifying potential issues of quality, the UC or IT infrastructure, the end user technology which is increasingly outside the corporate network and maybe in people’s homes and in people’s home offices, or the third parties that organizations are relying on for some of their increase in UCaaS services.
How would you contrast monitoring versus analytics? What drives the other?
To start off, both monitoring and analytics are important for organizations. The first way monitoring and analytics are even alike is both can help identify and improve the quality of video and voice experiences, the collaboration experiences we’ve been talking about. I like to think about monitoring as real-time troubleshooting; the ability to detect and investigate that issue, identify that remediation step that needs to be taken, and then the ability to go back and verify that it’s been solved. And the Vyopta tool specifically is designed to help do that process in a way that reduces the troubleshooting time and can help proactively identify those issues. So as a UC engineer or an IT help desk tech, you’re not getting the ticket from your end user that might be upset. You’re hearing it from Vyopta first so you can get ahead of that particular issue.
From an analytics perspective, I look at analytics as insights and some of those insights are all around the quality of experience, and identifying and resolving systematic issues that aren’t affecting a single user but maybe going on sporadically or intermittently over a longer period of time across the large number of users. And having that rich data set helps identify and detect what those issues might be. But it also can be used to help provide valuable insights to other parts of the organization. We saw a major uptick during the early pandemic that continues on to today where business leaders are going to the UC and IT teams asking for information around the usage and adoption of their technology, not only to make purchasing decisions but also as key indicators around the health of the overall business such as looking at employee productivity by department, or wanting to see what the activity levels look like as an indicator of morale or sales pipeline health. There’s a lot of uses for analytics, apart from just solving and identifying quality issues.
Why is a multivendor unified communications environment becoming a standard, and will that continue?
The majority of organizations already are relying on multiple technologies. A lot of this happened early on in the pandemic as organizations needed to quickly scale and some providers struggled with being able to keep up. And so organizations look to adopt multiple technologies, in some cases a primary and a secondary to ensure that they had the business continuity that they needed, whether those be external UCaaS providers or whether those be internal technologies that are hosted on premise. And so we’ve seen this mass proliferation of the technology that exists. And in some of these vendor environments, they’re inherently multivendor. I like using Microsoft Teams as an example. If your organization has Cisco endpoints, you’re going to need an interoperability partner to help connect Microsoft Teams with those Cisco endpoints. And so the UC world is continuing to become increasingly more multivendor as different technologies are being adopted, and we see this continuing into the future.
Please describe Vyopta’s Collaboration Performance Management and the kinds of insight that can be provided.
Today Vyopta offers two products. Our Collaboration Performance Management product was designed to help you proactively avert disruptions within your UC estate and identify systematic issues. And with the analytics within this product, understand not only the user experience but also the adoption of that technology, so that you can plan and report on the health of your UC estate. We also offer Workspace Insights, which combines the monitoring and analytics data from our collaboration performance management products with additional calendaring and sensor data to help you optimize the spaces in which that technology is being used, so that you can optimize the experience of those users and identify behaviors within those spaces to optimize their utilization and plan for the future.
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Chad Swiatecki is a business writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, New York Daily News, Austin Business Journal, Austin American-Statesman and many other print and online publications. He lives in Austin, Texas and is a graduate of Michigan State University. Find him online on LinkedIn.