Archive for February 2013

Give home workers the right tools, and you’ll have a more productive workforce than ones you force to commute up and down 101 on a daily basis.

It’s been pretty widely publicized now that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer issued an internal memo that gave employees a “come into the office or quit” ultimatum. I read Mel’s blog on this topic where she questioned the wisdom of this decision, which seemed especially odd considering that many of the Yahoo tools such as chat, presence and email should actually make remote working easier.

I kind of understand where Mayer is coming from. I do believe that, if not managed correctly, remote working can be a silent killer of productivity. Remote users often feel socially isolated from the rest of the organization and don’t speak up or participate as much as individuals in the office. However, the solution to this isn’t to just cut off remote working. Instead, look for tools that can close the gap exists in the world of UC.

Think back to the mid 80s. Michael J. Fox starring in the hit movie “Back to the Future.” His 1981 DeLorean, powered by the flux capacitor invented by the esteemed Dr. Emmett Brown, was sent back in time to Hill Valley on the date of November 5, 1955. What was going on in 1955? Well, we know George McFly was still in school. We also know that Goldie Wilson was thinking of running for Mayor of Hill Valley. And we know that no one telecommuted back then, and working from the office was the norm.

I can only imagine that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer must have slipped in her bathroom, bumped her head on the toilet like Doc Brown and had a vision of a flux capacitor that could send people back in time on her pre-weekend memo that gave employees a “come into the office or quit” ultimatum. I imagine that Marissa actually went back in time and is preparing for the “Enchantment Under the Sea Dance,” which is distracting her from her role of being the boss of Yahoo.

Last week, I posted a blog that highlighted the top business reasons a company should consider a hosted UC solution. While these are important, there are also a number of benefits that are specific to the IT department. These reasons may fly under the radar of the C-level executives or line-of-business managers, but they are significant to the IT organizations.

ZK Research shows that, on average, 83% of IT budgets are used to “keep the lights on,” meaning only 17% of the budget is used for strategic initiatives. How can an IT department get more money for strategic projects? Ask for a bigger budget? That’s a nice thought, but it would be like asking AT&T to provide good customer service. You can ask, but it’s never going to happen.

Earlier this week, the market leader in application delivery controllers (ADCs), F5 Networks, added to its security portfolio by announcing its own BYOD solution, known as Mobile Application Manager. Mobile App Manager is designed to remove many of the challenges associated with BYOD by taking the burden off the device and pushing the functions into the network.

The industry is still in the early days of BYOD and many companies have looked to mobile device management (MDM) solutions to help enterprises handle the influx of consumer devices. In my opinion, and I’ve said this for a while, traditional MDM solutions are a great stop gap technology to help deliver BYOD quickly, but these solutions are device-centric and that limits their scalability.

Breaking down the different areas of communications–voice, video, conferencing, mobile and more–and seeing how the 2 vendors stack up.

All eyes are on San Diego this week as the Microsoft Lync conference kicks off. And regarding the Cisco versus Microsoft debate that has risen over the past few years–this has become the tech industry’s version of Red Sox–Yankees.

Every survey I have seen over the past couple of years, including a Tech Target one I ran towards the end of 2012, points to Cisco being the most preferred UC solution provider, with Microsoft hot on their heels at #2. Avaya holds down with a strong #3 and then everyone else is fighting for table scraps. Understand, the surveys I have run look more at current preference than market share, as Lync is a still a minority share holder when it comes to UC.

Despite the hype around software defined networks (SDNs), the industry has yet to find a legitimate “low-hanging fruit” for the network technology. It appears, though, that one might be emerging, as several vendors have announced TAP aggregation as an SDN application. Earlier this year, when Big Switch launched the company it announced its own product called Big TAP. Later, Cisco released TAP aggregation for its Cisco ONE controller.

Well, last week Arista Networks announced its DANZ data analyzer, which is an application based on EOS (Extensible Operating System).

To say the TAP aggregation market is hot is an understatement. This once niche market has become one of the fastest growing markets in the network industry. In the last year, market leader Gigamon started prepping for IPO, VSS was acquired by Danaher Corporation, NetScout bought ONPATH, and Ixia purchased Anue.

It seems we’ve been talking about the rise of hosted communications services for years now, but adoption has been rather light. I think one of the main reasons is that the features and functions available from the hosted providers historically weren’t even close to what was available from the premise-based vendors.

Over the past year or so, though, this gap has closed significantly. In most cases, hosted UC solutions are on par with what one could get from a premise-based solution. As someone who used to run the phone system at a company, I can honestly say that it’s a pain in neck, and I’m not sure why anyone would want to run their own phone system when you can get most of what you need in the cloud. Sure, the biggest of the big companies will always want the control and security of doing it themselves, but most small-to-midsized companies would benefit greatly from shifting to a hosted solution.

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