Most enterprises are already dealing with the reality that communications is not a single function delivered through a siloed platform. But for the past few years it has seemed as though this reality has only existed at the tactical level where the communications functions are bought and rolled out. No dominant strategic vision of how all the pieces fit together has emerged, for the very good reason that everything has been in flux, and the providers of the technology haven’t really made their most crucial bets on how they intend to deliver the communications capabilities that you as an enterprise decision-maker need to procure and deploy.
These decisions are by no means settled, but the picture is starting to come into focus. If you want to get that focus for yourself, I strongly recommend you read this No Jitter article by Marty Parker of UniComm Consulting and BCStrategies. Marty lists the industry developments this year that have helped bring the strategic future a bit more into focus, and then he provides a list of seven things you as an enterprise decision-maker can do to adjust to the new reality.
Marty’s final piece of advice, that in all of this you should “assume that everything is on the table,” really resonates with me in that captures how I’ve been feeling as I’ve witnessed the industry’s growth over the last few years. It has seemed as if we were heading toward a world where the choices, if not infinite, were at least becoming too numerous, varied, and complex to possibly keep track of.
I recently had the privilege of giving a talk at the annual conference of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants (SCTC), a group whose members speak regularly at Enterprise Connect and contribute a weekly column on No Jitter; the SCTC is a great resource for enterprises facing strategic and implementation challenges in their communications systems. These consultants have forgotten more about the industry than I’ll ever know, as the saying goes, so I struggled with how to tell them something useful. After sharing some of our own research, I concluded my talk by quoting one of their own board members, Dave Mailer, director of 4C Strategies, who in a recent No Jitter post wrote: “How do consultants develop a strategy that’s right for an enterprise when there are so many choices? UC consultants will help reduce the number of choices for an enterprise, doing so in a systematic and structured manner.”
I think that’s going to be the great challenge for enterprise communications in the coming years. Whether or not you engage a consultant to help in the effort, success will likely involve bringing order out of chaos—defining the problem set (and opportunities), and understanding what technologies and vendor partners will compose the elements of a strategic vision that works for your enterprise. It’ll also require a deeper understanding of your enterprise’s own organization and business than you’ve ever needed before.
Marty’s going to expand on his No Jitter piece in a session, “Strategic Planning Essentials for Enterprise Communications,” at Enterprise Connect Orlando, which takes place the week of March 30, 2020. I kind of imagine Enterprise Connect as two halves of the dilemma: The massive show floor can look a lot like chaos, with every vendor represented and tons of new and emerging players vying for your attention. The conference is where we try to bring some order to the chaos of the industry, by bringing independent, vendor-neutral experts to speak on all the most important topics. You can find the conference program here, and then when you’re ready to sign up, you can register here. I hope to see you in Orlando.