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The new collaboration portfolio

Divina Paredes | Sept. 26, 2014
CIOs talk about the shift from simple sharing of information to true collaboration – across multiple channels, organisations and locations.

I first put the business case for Lync but it was shut down because [the users said] we don't need all of the IT functionalities. I took a different approach and I said, "We need to replace our voice platform, and going Lync is cheaper". We implemented it and told people you have got all these other functions in addition to what we had to replace. Now, they just love it. But take-up for video is not that great, people don't necessarily like to see other people's images. They like to talk face to face. But they share documentation. And even with desktop support, it's really quick to go in and just sort out a person's problem by connecting with Lync.

Our collaboration strategy is about how we can make life easier for people so that they enjoy their job. We're very diverse, with different companies, blue collar and white collar workers. No one model fits everybody.

We used a BI (business intelligence) tool to trigger collaboration. We give people information and they can actually have a discussion of facts at the right time -- not things that happened a week ago or yesterday, but what's happening right now or information on what's relevant for the time of discussion.

Craig Columbus, Russell McVeagh: We chose to go down a standards based route with Cisco. Our Cisco implementation is largely compatible with most of the world, except for Lync. The problem is that Lync has gone out and dominated the world anyway. And so for Lync organisations that have put in gateways and transcoders and these types of things, great, I can talk to you. For those that have a standard, basic Lync implementation, and this seems to be most sites, it's a problem.

I've gone out to market because I recognise the need to communicate broadly and I said, "We need to talk to anyone, anytime, on any platform". I can build that capability but it would blow my budget. I just can't afford to do that. So now I've gone out to see who can offer me this interconnection. There are providers who will do that but they're very expensive when asked to do it in a meaningful way and at scale.

Video is a huge part of the future for us. It's going to be, I think, much more pervasive than voice.

We have to look at this challenge from a different perspective if we're to be on the forefront and there are still some problems that I don't yet know how to solve. For example, we still have a very few clients out there who want to communicate only on ISDN (integrated services digital network) and we don't support it anymore. We got rid of our capability due to the high cost and limited demand and most third party bridge providers don't support it anymore. But ISDN from a third party bridge perspective is either very, very expensive or they've just decided to remove that from their offerings for many of the same reasons we did.

 

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