05 April 2016

The Scoop on Enterprise Connect: Cloud Computing, Data Security & a Google + Avaya Partnership?

For those of you who missed Enterprise Connect, I’ve captured some of the latest and greatest from the technology giants delivering up content.

Most Gutsy Session

Microsoft vs. Cisco: New Issues & Decision Factors

Don’t get me wrong, this was a very informative Enterprise Connect session. It was just a very gutsy session to hold with folks from Microsoft and Cisco in the room. I kept waiting for a mini war to break out, but it never happened.

Instead, Microsoft discussed its move to focus on Office 365 cloud and Cisco emphasized their Spark collaboration client, which will integrate with Office 365. The two solutions are nearly identical. Cisco appears to have a slight advantage in creating easy integration with Microsoft and other solution sets, while Microsoft is holding onto its Presence feature that we still pretend to need. It is sometimes nice to know when someone is present on their computer before messaging them, but it often reads false positives and provides a poor experience because the user is left wondering why they are being ignored.

Perhaps it’s time to check out what Avaya and Google alliance has to offer. After all, Avaya has the same UC offerings, albeit at a more expensive price.

Most Scary Session

The Next Generation of Communication, Security and Privacy Issues

I have always assumed the use of my smartphone is relatively safe. I never considered the possibility that hackers could…

  • Target server side data
  • Figure out how to use the plethora of server side data brought in by “new” media

This is actually pretty scary. There are massive amounts of data being collected by my smartphone. The more I rely on it, the more information is going into the phone. The majority of that data is going to a server somewhere. In fact, data from all cell phone applications is stored on servers everywhere! If it was just my usage data, it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But, how about my location data? It knows my jogging route. It knows where I start, when I start and how often I run. It knows how long I’m going to be out there.

Perhaps Google, Under Armour, Fitbit and Polar all keep my data safely in a secured vault somewhere, or do they? How about all the voice commands I have given my phone? That data is also stored on a server somewhere. It knows my voice print. It knows what I asked for. It knows when I set my alarm. Hackers are probably in those systems already. It’s a matter of time before they figure out what to do with this “new” type of data. This is why it’s top priority for organizations to run security assessments to ensure that server data is protected from threats.

Most Entertaining Session

Town Hall Debate 

Hand holding empty speech bubble cloud on blue background. Internet concept.

This session became interesting as it was a contest of superiority between two different schools of thought.

First School of Thought: Offer an expertly designed contact center in the cloud

Second School of Thought: Offer module services in the cloud for contact centers to pick and choose and create an experience around those building blocks

The entertaining exchanges, that one attendee described as “looking up cloud computing’s skirt,” left me with plenty of food for thought. As a customer experience strategist myself, how do I advise my business partners when we are faced with the same decision? Do we mold a contact center into what many large solution providers believe to be the best way to run a contact center? Or, do we create a contact center cloud to fit the business a contact center supports? There are obviously many factors to consider: cost, risk, time to market and the most important of all, the effects on pre-defined KPIs.

This “debate,” of course, originated from the standpoint of the manufacturers and cloud/hosted service providers. As interesting as it might be, it really shouldn’t be all too relevant for contact centers. What contact center management needs to focus on is defining their long-term vision and creating a roadmap with all people, process and technology factors considered. Never expect a manufacturer or the hosted service provider to dictate what you need to do. If your vision ends up being a perfect fit for a particular cloud service provider, you can then explore that possibility. If not, there are plenty of more DIY ways to get a contact center hosted.

Most Interesting Keynote

Avaya Enterprise Connect Keynote

I was tempted to ignore all the keynotes, since I didn’t find any of them all that interesting. In the end, I decided to mention the Avaya session which was focused on Avaya Breeze. Avaya Breeze is the newest incarnation of Avaya EDP (Engagement Development Platform). Does it actually provide anything different? As far as I know, no, but it now has a very cool name, literally.

What’s more interesting is the announcement of OnAvaya, a cloud based IP Office solution hosted by Google. When Avaya and Google started their partnership, the focus was on providing Avaya Agent on Chrome devices based on either hosted or on premise services. This offering had two major issues:

  1. Most contact center applications require a desktop to run more than just simple browser/chrome based application in addition to a softphone. Unless the contact center already standardizes on Google apps and Gmail, the migration seems both time and cost prohibitive.
  1. Most Chrome books on the market are more focused on value and provide just enough processing power for typical browsing and surfing. Even if a contact center is a perfect candidate to host a typical agent desktop in chrome, it would still be difficult to standardize on a device that doesn’t provide enough horsepower. With OnAvaya, the service is expanded to support PCs and Macs. That creates a much bigger potential market.

There are other possible implications to the Google and Avaya partnership.

Let’s not beat around the bush; the first thing that comes to mind is “Is Google interested in buying Avaya?”. Google could potentially pick up Avaya, keep the massive amount of patents and then sell off pieces of its software and hardware business.

A Google and Avaya alliance is a great idea. Google can expand their Google Cloud offering and Avaya can expand a partnership with a powerful ally in the cloud space. Although both are late to the game in the cloud space, collectively, they might be able to grab market share.

Only time will tell whether Google and Avaya become one, and I anticipate that future 2016 technology shows will continue to boast Cloud as it’s been a hot topic for years.

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Authored bY

Jeff Kuochan


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