As the industry is growing beyond the geographic limitation the only way to communicate and collaborate with global partners is to adopt Unified Communications. In order to optimize efficiency with technology ensuring, greater value proposition, partners have tremendous opportunity to capitalize on evolving communications technology / trends and grow their businesses profitably
In today’s IT business environment competition is at its peak and time is considered to be money. Managing multiple communication platforms and channels is challenging for organizations. Here comes the relevance of a concept like Unified Communications or UC. Unified Communications is an umbrella term for the integration of all forms of human and device communication methods such as phone system, voice mail system, email system, data-store, presence status and instant messaging system into a common user experience. This integration of multiple channels holds the power to redefine the way we communicate professionally and personally. At a time when businesses are more focussed on collaboration, the integrated model of communication stands as a one stop shop solution for all their business communication requirements. It enhances the internal and external communication irrespective of the number of employees in an organization or the location which they are based in. Giving more information on it, Takayuki Inaba, Managing Director, NEC India says, “Unified communication can potentially allow users to access a variety of communication applications such as e-mail, SMS, video, fax, voice, and others through a single user mailbox. It also allows scheduling, workflow, instant messaging and voice response systems, and provides the integration through multiple devices, be it a desktop, laptop, cellphone or even a wearable device.”
The Unified Communication solution is creating a collaborative ecosystem to enable new and wide variety of communication through multiple end-points delivering a fully integrated set of applications helping organizations to simplify the process and deliver exciting & newer possibilities. It enables increased productivity, improved business responsiveness and innovation in business. UC enables budget saving by consolidating disparate systems and services into a single package of multiple communication methods including voice, video and text. As per Ruchir Talati –Marketing Manager –Matrix Comsec, Telecom, “The most exciting thing about UC is that it unifies (Messaging, Mobility, Collaboration, Conferencing and Voice/Video) communication irrespective of time, location and type of device used. The unified communications benefits customers in various ways like reducing time and efforts for team communication, easy conference setup and lowers the need to travel and offer the best collaborative tools such as instant messaging, video calling, know the availability of key contacts and quickly help to take the right decision on the move.”
UC market in India
The Indian market has a clear understanding of Unified Communication. The IT BPOs and the banking industry are one of the first to adopt the UC services and are providing unique facilities such as video banking. The mid-market businesses are relatively untapped as yet for service providers in the unified communication arena. There is abundant growth potential and the market is expected to experience tremendous growth in the coming years. The mid-market players are very optimistic about the adoption of unified communication as it will directly impact the technology deployed by these firms. With an increasing number of communication methods, such as chat, video, file sharing, collaboration and conferencing, most companies are leveraging their existing on-site platforms, while taking advantage of new capabilities and applications in the cloud. According to Ajay Madan, Senior General Manager Communication Division Panasonic India, “In 2016, we will see more organizations adopt a hybrid UC consumption model, a mix of on-premises and cloud solutions. This mix provides the greatest flexibility for today and provides a migration path to cloud-based services.” We also expect UCaaS, contact centers and collaboration will be top-of-mind with CIOs as they adopt unified communications solutions. The research done by 6Wresearch in India says that the Unified Communication market is expected to reach $1,506.2 million in 2018, at a CAGR of 12.4% from 2013-2018. A lot of organizations – both large and small – now understand this, and are looking at Unified Communications solutions to enable them to streamline their business processes and boost productivity, reliability, and competitiveness. Giving further details, Sandeep Mehra, Director, Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC excerpts, “The awareness is driving the demand for all forms of UC in India and globally. I believe that the next breakthrough levels of innovation are unlikely to come from adding more traditional IT systems, but rather from embracing these new trends, actively engaging employees, partners and customers to work more closely together, anytime, anywhere, in a more natural and integrated way which Unified Communications enables. In fact, this is one of the top priorities for many CIOs today.”
Security in UC is a matter of concern
Security is a major concern for businesses in all areas of IT, and unified communications is no exception. Enterprises are opening up — in the way they provide employees with access to company data and applications (either on or off company campus) and in the way they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers. This openness paves the way for more collaborative, interactive and co-dependent business models — the promises of unified communications (UC).
Any changes to technologies or strategies raise issues about security and resilience. To adopt UC successfully, an enterprise must address the risks associated with the changes in these areas to limit the chance of failure or security breach that could damage a company’s reputation, not to mention risking vulnerability of sensitive proprietary information. The risks also need to be considered from a governance perspective. Increasingly, enterprises are required to take further action to mitigate risk, and must be able to prove compliance, not only to auditors and to their current and prospective customers. Without considering all of these factors, as well as business resilience and recovery, an organization cannot successfully begin the move to a UC environment and realize the benefits of a truly flexible and secure architecture.
The top security concerns include Eaves dropping or unauthorised interception of traffic from multiple devices and channels, Vishing or the VoIP enabled form of phishing attacks, Denial of Service attacks and Spoofed caller ID attacks, which organizations needs to be taken due diligence. Conventional security systems like firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems and anti-malware solutions are not that effective in addressing the security challenges in a Unified Communications space. Keeping a note of this, Suresh Kanniappan – General Manager, Infrastructure Services, Happiest Minds opines, “IT organizations need to re-evaluate existing security systems and solutions and should focus on implementing a well-rounded multi-layer and multi-level defense strategy while considering about the security in the Unified Communication landscape. Awareness campaigns and trainings to the employees can minimize the possible threats largely.”
Opportunities for Partners
As the industry is growing beyond the geographic limitation the only way to communicate and collaborate with global partners is to adopt Unified Communications. For partners, there are immense possibilities & opportunities opened today, with the maturity of communication standards. In order to optimize efficiency with technology ensuring, greater value proposition, partners have tremendous opportunity to capitalize on evolving communications technology / trends and grow their businesses profitably. Infact, they are playing a very significant role in helping customers implement the most effective & efficient technology and educating them on the constantly evolving communications landscape. As per Ajay Madan from Panasonic , the mid-market as a particularly strong growth area for the channel and he believes that UC is the area resellers should explore this year and beyond. Unified communications is a rapidly growing area for businesses and presents opportunities for resellers. While many thought UC was mainly for large enterprises, the mid-market “is embracing UC technology with gusto as organization’s start to understand how enhanced communications can help them stay nimble and keep pace with their competitors, aid business growth and make staff members more efficient. Sharing his views, Dr. Devasia Kurian, Founder & CEO, *astTECS says, “We work with a series of partners spread across TIER I, TIER II cities in India and in many countries globally. Partners are valuable extension to our business, as they are specialized and up-to-date on emerging technologies with a clear focus on IP Telephony and Open source enterprise communication at the same time equipped with enhanced collaborative tools to address customer’s requirement. We work with them closely and equip them with all the necessary domain knowledge and support & empower them with required training and certification to deliver a unique and engaging customer experience.”
In general, UC can help organizations transform the way it operates at every stage of the business cycle, from design and build through sales and service. At the same time, it allows the IT team to focus on core, strategic projects that advance your company’s objectives. Further, UC can help:
- Boost productivity, efficiency, and teamwork
- Streamline the supply chain and order tracking
- Improve responsiveness and speed to market
- Convert sales more quickly and build customer satisfaction
- Reduce travel-related expenses
Choosing the Right Partner
Partners are in the best position to advise their customers to ensure they get the best UC solution to suit their business needs, and that they fully realise the business benefits UC presents. It requires an awareness of the critical business applications in play, the availability of different consumption models and the cultural and procedural implications of implementing a meaningful deployment. Need to cautions that UC is one of those terms that mean different things to different people. The first challenge is to make sure it is not only understood, but can be explained to customers in terms of the benefits it can bring. According to Prashant Gupta, Head of solutions South East Asia & INDIA, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, “The key factor that one should consider while choosing the ideal partner should be experience. There should be a proper lifestyle and capabilities a person should have right from the basic professional services to partnership with OEMs and also an underlying infrastructure to support the unified communication needs. The partner should provide managed services and support the underlying infrastructure would be an ideal partner.”
MATRIX has a special Channel Partner Program that offers partners with the flexibility to choose their level of participation and achievement of competencies. This means partners control how quickly they progress through programs with different levels and leverage the associated benefits. The higher the knowledge a partner gets, higher their level and greater the benefits they reap.
At the End…
Unified Communications is a new-age technology integration of telephony, video and social networking platforms. Organizations should plan for a long term communications strategy to realize the full potential of unified communication, so that they can migrate seamlessly to address the demands of future requirements and select a provider that offers full-service, has a better support system in place and offers a greater proportional cost savings, which can be realized quickly. Also, it is very important for a partner to understand the technology, along with its pros and cons before entering into the UC market.