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Archive for February 2014

The expanded portfolio of voice and video solutions of Lync-optimized and -compatible products is a great proof point of the strong partnership.

In my year-end UC blog, I had called 2013 “The Year of Lync” since Microsoft had finally legitimized itself as a voice vendor. In a fall 2013 UC deployment strategies survey, I posed the question, “Which vendor do you consider to be your primary or secondary UC solution provider?” Microsoft came in as the second most common response for primary vendor and the top spot for secondary vendor. This was certainly no surprise based on the strength that Lync has shown in the customer and channel interviews I have done.

Many of the customers that had initially deployed Lync for chat and presence have also started to deploy Lync voice, creating a second wave of interest in the product. This next wave will also pull along some partners of Lync, including Polycom, which who has been a significant benefactor of the momentum behind Lync voice.

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This has been quite the past half a year for the once-beleaguered Extreme Networks. Given all the change in the industry and all the media focus on network startups and SDNs, Extreme Networks had almost become the forgotten-about network vendor. Six months ago, Extreme’s stock price was trading at a little over $3.50/share and the company had recently gone through a CEO change.

Today, the company seems to have had a complete facelift and the stock has more than doubled in price. In November, Extreme acquired Enterasys Networks and effectively doubled the organization’s revenues. Earlier this year, the company was named the official Wi-Fi analytics provider of the NFL. While this may seem like an odd thing to form a partnership around, Wi-Fi analytics holds massive potential for Extreme.

It seems every company today is trying to improve the customer experience, and the NFL is no different. In fact, in this era of fantasy football and social media, NFL fans are constantly checking scores, tweeting and posting Facebook updates, and the NFL has been on a mission to improve the in-stadium fan experience.

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While there are a number of products on the market that enable businesses to deploy private UC solutions, none of them have integrated management for provisioning purposes.

The cloud! The cloud! It’s all we seem to hear about nowadays. We see cloud commercials on TV, billboards on the freeway and huge signs in airports. The Unified Communications industry was initially slow to shift to the cloud, likely because of the real-time nature of the applications and the difficulty in delivering these types of services. But UC has caught up in a big way, and there’s a plethora of options for organizations looking to deploy UC in the cloud today.

One big decision for organizations regarding cloud-based UC, or UCaaS, is whether to go with public or private cloud. My research has shown that although there are a number of high-quality public cloud offerings, the majority of organizations want to deploy only a private cloud, or more likely in some sort of hybrid environment.

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The role of the CIO has changed more in the past five years than any other position in the business world. Success for the CIO used to be based on bits and bytes, and is now measured by business metrics. Today’s CIO needs to think of IT more strategically and focus on projects that lower cost, improve productivity, or both, ideally.

However, many IT projects seem to be a waste of time and money. It’s certainly not intentional, but a number of projects that seem like they should add value rarely do. Here are what I consider the top IT projects that waste budget dollars.

Over provisioning or adding more bandwidth

Managing the performance of applications that are highly network-dependent has always been a challenge. If applications are performing poorly, the easy thing to do is just add more bandwidth. Seems logical. However, bandwidth is rarely actually the problem, and the net result is usually a more expensive network with the same performance problems. Instead of adding bandwidth, network managers should analyze the traffic and optimize the network for the bandwidth-intensive applications.

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