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‘From: No Jitter’

Microsoft is well positioned to give Amazon a run
for its money in the cloud market, but it needs to
break away from its Microsoft-centric approach.

Seeing as how the cloud has been tied to digital transformation, and seeing as how more businesses are embarking on digital transformation projects, it makes perfect sense to me that cloud has been one of the hot topics at Microsoft’s Ignite conference for enterprise IT, taking place this week in Atlanta. Microsoft has an interesting position in cloud, in that it was simultaneously early and late to the market. In some ways it’s like Schrödinger’s Cloud.

Almost 20 years ago, Microsoft launched Bing, and to support it, the company had to build out a massively scalable, global cloud network. Google had done this with its search platform, and Amazon had done similar to support its e-commerce business. However, Amazon was the only vendor with the foresight to convert their platform into something on which businesses could run workloads. No one really took the cloud seriously a couple of decades ago, and Amazon’s solutions were looked at more as an experiment than as a credible business computing platform. All of the mainstream computing vendors were sitting around trying to figure out whether the cloud was real while Amazon was capturing customers.

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Partnership includes joint development and marketing
across a number of areas, including collaboration,
Internet of Things, and the contact center.

When Chuck Robbins assumed command of the Starship Cisco (analogy to commemorate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary), he promised the company would move faster under his leadership. Cisco had been rolling along at warp 6, but the digital era required it to accelerate to warp 10. Captain Robbins understood that accomplishing this meant changing the way Cisco innovates.

Toward that end, Cisco has revamped the way it handles internal innovation, and is relying more on strategic partnerships than trying to go it alone. Historically Cisco liked to do everything itself by either building or bringing inside, the latter through acquisition. Sometimes, though, relying on a partner makes more sense.

Over the past few years, Cisco has formed strategic partnerships with Apple, Ericsson, and other companies. These aren’t just marketing announcements but real partnerships with meat on the bone. Cisco today announced another partnership of this ilk; this time with the CRM market leader, Salesforce.

Similar to the ones coming before it, this partnership includes joint development and marketing across a number of areas, including collaboration, Internet of Things (IoT), and contact center. Details of the integration are as follows:

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Twilio acquires WebRTC technologies, and unveils
Voice Insights at its London conference for developers.

This week Twilio, the CPaaS market leader, is holding its SIGNAL event in London, a follow up to its U.S.-based Signal event that took place in late May. You may recall a number of significant moves coming out of May’s event — including the super cool cellular IoT service it announced in partnership with T-Mobile — and Twilio has carried that momentum across the pond and made two equally interesting announcements this time around.

Open Buying Season: Advanced Video

The most notable news is that Twilio is announcing its first acquisition as a public company. Twilio has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire proprietary WebRTC media processing technologies built by the group that created the Kurento Open Source Project. While details on timing are sparse, when the deal does close, the Kurento team will become part of Twilio and work on advancing the company’s video capabilities.

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From my perspective as a longtime Polycom watcher,
here’s my ideas for incoming CEO Mary McDowell.

As mentioned last week on No Jitter, Polycom has announced that Mary McDowell would become CEO effective immediately upon the closing of the company’s acquisition by Siris Capital Group, expected this month or next month.

Mary McDowell, incoming Polycom CEO

McDowell is an executive partner at Siris, which she joined in March. She is a seasoned leader in the technology industry, having held previous executive roles at Nokia and HP-Compaq over her 25-year career. (She also serves on the board of directors of UBM, the parent company of No Jitter and Enterprise Connect.) Her experience in leading multibillion-dollar technology business units will bode well as she looks to move Polycom into its next phase.

The CEO shake-up shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone, as new owners often change out the top leadership at the companies they acquire. Company goals change, and so too should the CEO skillset.

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Sometimes keeping your communications
gear onsite is simply the better option.

The cloud dominates IT today, the norm for storage, computing, and many productivity applications. It’s been slower to come to UC, but the number of UC-as-a-service offerings has exploded as more and more businesses are turning to the cloud as a way of delivering communications functions to their employees.

Despite UCaaS’s rising fortunes, on-premises solutions are not dead — and won’t be for a very long time.

ZK Research is certainly no IDC when it comes to quantitative numbers, but my estimate is that the markets for UCaaS and premises-based solutions are roughly the same size. I’m expecting cloud-delivered services to grow at roughly three to four times the rate of on-premises deployments, but both remain viable options for businesses.

I don’t believe one approach is “better,” per se, than the other; they’re different and have distinctive value. The important thing is to understand when an organization should choose one over the other. To make the best possible decision, consider the following factors:

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