When we think about the challenges brought on by migrating to cloud communications, we tend to think first about implementation pitfalls, the “gotchas.” And with good reason, because these stumbling blocks abound. We have multiple sessions in the Enterprise Connect 2020 Cloud Communications track focused on helping you overcome these obstacles, whether they relate to technical challenges or the new realities that come with procuring and overseeing an opex-based service as your primary communications system.
But there’s another kind of challenge, something that’s more like throwing down the gauntlet. What if your IT organization really is expected to deliver business transformation based on the new communications environment the cloud will deliver?
It turns out that this is a pretty widely-held expectation, according to data presented this week in an Enterprise Connect webinar. Elka Popova, vice president and senior fellow at Frost & Sullivan, offered up survey results that, among other things, show IT executives are focusing on the business benefit of cloud communications. When asked about the business drivers for cloud implementation, two responses tied for number one, both at 80%:
- Increase app availability/uptime
- Free up IT staff to focus on innovative solutions to business challenges
It’s an interesting dichotomy. The first choice is a classic IT concern: Make the apps run on time. Arguably IT’s main job is to keep finding ways to make sure end users can access the applications they need in order to do their jobs. And the good news for cloud communications advocates is that the Frost & Sullivan survey indicates that IT execs see cloud as a way to help achieve this end.
But the survey also tells us that IT execs find it equally important for staff to take on a relatively new role, one in which they’re challenged to understand business requirements so that they can provide communications-based solutions. And that’s important.
In every job, there’s a temptation to retreat to the familiar. IT knows how to grapple with the challenge of availability, as well as many of the other drivers mentioned in the Frost question: security, business continuity/disaster recovery, cost control. It’s safe to say that business innovation is a much newer and less well-defined objective, one that likely manifests differently at each enterprise.
In many instances, this business innovation will be tied to the vertical industry that the particular enterprise serves, so we’re delighted that Elka will be leading a session at Enterprise Connect 2020 focusing on the need to fit your UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS) implementation with your vertical industry. I’m looking forward to Elka and her panelists offering specific ideas to help in this critical area of business focus.
Like it or not, IT is no longer just in the business of keeping the lights on, so to speak. Understanding how communications can become a competitive differentiator for the business is now a part of the job description as well. Like so many transitions before it—TDM to IP, PBX to Unified Communications—it’s a career opportunity, and at Enterprise Connect, we’re committed to helping communications professionals embrace it. Join us, won’t you?