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Cisco is in the process of building a Global InterCloud for their Partners May 6, 2014

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Cisco’s InterCloud, announced last month at their Worldwide Partner conference in Las Vegas, is opening their opportunities to offer new services to market. By building a ‘global network of clouds’ on Cisco’s own technologies, they will be able to offer all their partners and service providers a way to quickly offer Cisco services to their end customers.

The InterCloud will offer a number of Cisco Cloud Services to their Partners as well as enabling them to interact with other providers clouds to extend their portfolio through new Cisco cloud offers for faster time to market and global scale. Hosted across a global network of Cisco and partner data centers, the Cisco Intercloud will offer the ability to achieve speed and scalability along with an suite of value-added application and network-centric cloud services.

Telstra, the largest Australian operator, was the first company to sign up to partner with InterCloud with Cisco deploying and running their cloud infrastructure on behalf of Telstra. Telstra in return will provide their customers with both Cisco and Telstra-specific cloud solutions. APIs that are embedded into the InterCloud will allow Telstra to connect with any other partner that is also in the InterCloud, giving them a more international reach without investing into other countries directly.

Cisco InterCloud strategy will have to walk a fine line with Partners as the InterCloud will on one hand enabling existing providers to bring services to market quicker but on the other hand could be construed as competitive behavior against their existing products. With other potential partners such as Allstream; Ingram Micro, Logicalis Group; OnX Managed Services, and Wipro announcing their support for the InterCloud, illume believe that models such as this and what we have seen from Broadsoft may assist partners both get to market quicker as creating their own infrastructure can be costly and difficult to implement.

Illume commented on Broadsoft’s acquisition of Hipcom in 2013, as the situation is relatively similar in terms of bringing a potentially competitive product to market against their own customers. In Broadsoft’s case, the takeover actually happened so that Broadsoft could offer their Partners a faster way to deliver services to their customers. With Cisco building their cloud to be able to offer their services as well as bringing their products to market faster then the competition, illume’s analysts does not expect it will be long before others start to look at doing the same.

Lord Digby Jones and the problem with Unified Communications May 2, 2014

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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I found myself watching the UK TV program ‘The Troubleshooter’ with Lord Digby Jones, where he was advising a Freezer and Cooler manufacturer on setting up a new production line, he was showing how a small improvement in the way they worked on the line could offer huge benefits in terms of productivity and cost to the company.  In my youth, I had spent 1 happy year working for Black & Decker and learning all about the Japanese principles of Kaizen (continuous improvement) and JIT (just in time) stock management. At Black & Decker we were looking all the time at how we could improve productivity, whilst encouraging all our employees to see how this could be achieved.

It strikes me that this is the same issue that communication providers are facing,  as they look to engage into conversations with enterprises todays. Traditionally they have sold fixed & mobile lines & minutes often based on price or specific product feature differentiation.

As we see the emergence of new Hosted VoIP/ Unified Communications & Collaboration services, our approach and conversation with the enterprise may have to fundamentally change. We effectively now become a partner in helping them address how they can use communications & collaboration services to continuously improve their businesses.  Often some of the more advance UC services can be more expensive if you just compare them say on the ability to make a call and not look at the broader UC benefit.

So the challenge for providers who want to address this UC market, is how do I change my business to enter into what are very different conversations and approaches. Also the people I will be competing against will be changing as I will start to bump into some of the traditional System Integrators like Accenture, Fujitsu, who have augmented their consulting capabilities with technology.

Well, what we are seeing so far is providers starting to offer their own Professional Services and Consulting service at the front of the sales process to help bridge that gap, also we see the emergence of centralized team resources that either provide technical and bid support or take over the whole sales process for these sales.  In my past, I was Senior Director at UUNET/Worldcom and we purchased the Digex business (a managed hosting business) I decided that it would be impossible to fully integrate that business as the sales process was complex and very different to what our sales teams were used to at that time, so we established it as an overlay on top of the Sales Team which was very successful. The last I heard, it still has an overlay capability over 10 years later.

This is obviously an important issue when talking to some of the very largest enterprises, but we are seeing more and more businesses looking at how they can improve their business. I am seeing providers offer consulting packages where they will come into medium size business for 2 days for less than £2000 and provide that business with a view of how Comms & Collaboration can improve their performance.

So our sales forces and organisations maybe forced to go through a fundamental change over the next few years if we are going to help our customers, take advantage of the new opportunities that UC and VoIP are bringing us.

The Cavell Group have been advising providers worldwide on how this issue needs to be addressed for the last 10 years and have experienced the changing needs of a huge number of providers in that time. If you want to find out more about what the Cavell Group has achieved please visit www.cavellgroup.com and get in touch.