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A great old colleague of mine once proposed a recurring feature for Business Communications Review magazine that she wanted to call, “It Crawled from the Lab… ."The name was meant to evoke 1950s-era horror movies, but the “creature” in question was supposed to be not so much a monster as a wonder—an interesting idea or implementation that some enterprises had piloted, or maybe a feature that a vendor had developed almost by accident as it worked through testing on a new product.

We never followed through on that feature idea, but the lab—whether it’s an actual lab or just a virtual or conceptual space—is something enterprises might consider devoting more resources to. This came to mind when I read “8 Pilot Projects to Help Chart Your IT Course in 2020,” an excellent post on No Jitter from UC analyst Marty Parker. The specific ideas Marty proposes sound cool and very useful, but even more important is the underlying premise—that one of the most important ways for you to deal with the transitions and upheaval in technology today is to just start playing around with the technology, finding ways to try lots of things in limited ways.

This is important because there isn’t a single path forward; you may very well not know what your next platform is going to look like, or even if it’s going to be a platform. A range of new technologies is coming at you, most if not all of them running in the cloud, which makes them easier for your end users to adopt and spread, potentially sowing chaos as you try to develop an enterprise strategy for individual applications or communications across the board. So it’s good for you to get a jump on these technologies if you can.

Marty discusses technologies ranging from IVRs to gateways to AI and ML, and offers some interesting scenarios you could pilot. He’s also optimistic that funding pilot projects shouldn’t be too hard. “In many cases, a pilot project can (a) fit into your budget, and (b) provide some payback within the same fiscal year,” he writes.

That may be true, but even if you can finesse the money, the bigger challenge is likely to be time. There’s never enough of it in the best of circumstances, so it’s likely to be challenging to create a “piloting” mindset—or, if you’re lucky enough to already have such a mindset today, to expand it to meet the new opportunities emerging.

Still, I believe it’s a worthwhile goal. Not only is communications technology becoming more complex and diffuse, it’s potentially becoming more important to business goals. This makes it all-the-more important to test out ideas and foster a process and mindset within your organization that encourages this kind of experimentation and proactive solution development.

And of course Enterprise Connect is a great place to come and fill up your intellectual and creative tank with ideas and inspiration from our industry experts and your colleagues. Whatever your biggest areas of concern or opportunity are, I think you’ll find programming that addresses them and gives you plenty to take home to your colleagues. You can find the program of sessions here.

We hope to see you in Orlando!

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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