Our Recap of EC16
We're back from a busy week at Enterprise Connect in Orlando. And what a week it was! Our feet are aching less and we're feeling rejuvenated from the Floridian sun. Over 3,000 IT executives, practitioners, vendors, consultants, and analysts paraded the show floor to learn about the latest trends for communications in the enterprise. With eight conference tracks and multiple keynotes, it was easy to be overwhelmed by all of the content and information that was shared.
Here are the top themes from the event.
Moving your Communications to the Cloud
Cloud communications reigned supreme at Enterprise Connect. Ready or not, cloud and mobile are changing the landscape of unified communications in the enterprise. The way we work has changed drastically over the past 10-15 years and our communication systems haven't caught up. The promise of cloud communications is to change that, bringing communication and collaboration to the user whenever, wherever, and however they chose. That was the main message our own Alex DiNunzio, director of product, relayed during his panel discussion on the Five Tough Questions to Ask your Would-Be UCaaS Vendor with Verizon, Shortel, and Microsoft.
As you are evaluating cloud communication vendors, the main things to consider include:
- Performance and guarantees: Look for an open/responsive vendor with guaranteed service that knows how WANs and LANs work inside and out
- SLAs for network degradation and outages
- Third-party integrations that fit into your existing workflows and increase productivity within your organization
- Security certifications and updates
- How mobile is supported within the application
We've put together an eBook detailing additional information on what to look for in a cloud UCaaS vendor.
The Importance of Security
With all of the focus on the cloud, security was a natural trend that persisted in several keynotes and panel discussions. In the Cloud Summit: Is Cloud Communications Ready to Fulfill Its Potential?, the focus was on understanding that speech is just as vulnerable of a data breach as anything else and cautioned enterprises to view speech just like any other company data asset.
Focus on the End User
The idea of user experience and adoption was a key theme of Enterprise Connect. With the changing demographics in our workforce, from boomers to millennials, each group communicates and works differently. It's as simple as that. As different as they are, both groups want technology that fits seamlessly and easily into their workflows. What's more, millennials now make up 40 percent of the workforce so attention on consumer-like design and ease of use is even more important.
User adoption of new communication technology seemed to be the biggest pain point for several companies at the event. The best advice given was to create an internal marketing effort to educate and really sell the staff on the new tools to hopefully increase the adoption and reduce the rise of shadow IT. In the session, Enterprise Summit: How Should You Prepare for the Next Wave?, speakers recognized that the people who typically deploy new communication tools are network engineers and IT managers and the role of marketing and selling the new tools may be a bit outside of their wheelhouses. You may have to think outside of the box and involve HR to come up with creative ways to boost adoption.
Now for the fun stuff.
We had an amazing party at Mango's on Tuesday night. It was a chance for our customers, partners, media, and analyst friends to let loose a bit, imbibe on a mojito, and network with other leaders in IT. If you didn't make it, you certainly missed out on a great time!