Taming enterprise UC&C: What’s changing & what you need to know

Last week we hosted a webinar with Ira Weinstein of Wainhouse Research and our VP of Marketing and Biz Dev, Ivan Montoya. The topic was the state of UC now and how to tame a multi-vendor environment. The full recording is now available on demand  and it’s worth the watch for the conversation, the Q&A, and the ideas expressed by both Ira and Ivan.

But for those of you inclined to read rather than watch, we’ve gathered some of the most interesting points made by our panelists.

UC&C is not a tool, it’s a mindset

 Ira Weinstein opened the discussion with an excellent summary about what unified communications (UC) really is:

Ira Weinstein quote about UC&C being a mindset not a tool.

UC and collaboration (UC&C) is  a mindset and because of today’s global workforce, it has no real location. Ira went on to say, “Work is an activity, not a location…It doesn’t matter what device you use to contribute your value.” The point of UC&C in enterprise is to ensure that your team can communicate, collaborate, and get it done no matter where they are or what device they’re using.

UC&C is multi-modal, so you should be, too

 UC&C is multi-modal—meetings aren’t just traditional telephony or VoIP—it’s video, chat, content sharing, AND voice. A modern conference room may have several endpoints, different technologies, and tools from multiple vendors. Meeting participants can join from a number of devices—smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc, and can engage in several forms of communication during the course of the meeting.

The key to UC&C success is not limiting the ways your team can access each other, but embracing the myriad ways they have adopted for communication. Ensuring that all of your bases are covered means your users can be collaborative and productive wherever and however they choose.

The problem with user experience

According to Ira, a common hurdle of UC&C usage in enterprise isn’t lack of investment or lack of tools—it’s an inconsistent user experience. The most common struggle Wainhouse and Vyopta see when it comes to UC&C? Creating continuity in user experience.

We’ve covered adoption issues in previous posts and case studies, but it’s a problem that haunts many IT organizations today. “Experience is what drives adoption,” Ira stressed in the webinar. “The user experience has to be the same every time, regardless of location.”

You can’t manage what you can’t track

While adoption issues are prevalent, so are monitoring issues. Whether a single or multi-vendor environment, enterprises struggle with the ability to monitor and optimize their UC&C networks. Ivan Montoya, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Vyopta said it best during the webinar broadcast:

Ivan Montoya quote about UC&C being critical for business success.

“You can’t manage what you can’t track,” he goes on to say. But is there a one-size-fits-all solution for enterprise UC&C? Both single- and multi-vendor environments come with their own challenges.

Single-vendor challenges:

  • Limited capabilities and features—if your vendor doesn’t have it, neither do you.
  • The risk of acquisition by another company or your vendor going out of business, leaving you with no solution.
  • A limited tool set means users can’t use their preferred tools which can significantly decrease adoption.

Single-vendor can be a great concept for some and hard to achieve for others.

Multi-vendor challenges:

  • Incomplete or slow metrics reporting—you either have to pull data by hand or there is an incomplete picture.
  • Interoperability issues between tools mean you may not be able to track the complete call path or user experience to find issues and errors.
  • Requires highly-skilled workers to manage and tame the environment.

Multi-vendor can be wonderful for enterprises with vast user networks but hard to track and monitor without the right tools.

Environment complexity means blind spots

A real threat to the efficacy of a UC&C environment? Blind spots. Whether monitoring tools from one vendor, or many, reporting, optimizing, tracking, and issues solving needs to happen real-time and thoughtfully. This means that IT professionals, ideally, should be able to see all of their UC&C tools in one place, track endpoints, issues, adoption, and investments as a whole.

Sound too good to be true?

Last week, we announced our latest product update: Vyopta is no longer just the best solution for video conferencing monitoring and optimization but now the only tool on the market that can monitor and optimize voice, messaging, and sharing, as well.

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