Friday, April 29, 2011

Next Stop - Boston and Dimension Data

I haven't travelled in a few months, and it's been great to be in one place for so long. That's about to change, and I have a number of trips coming the next 2-3 months.

Next up is my hometown, Boston, where I'm attending this year's analyst event for Dimension Data. As you may know, they were acquired late last year by NTT, so they're even more of a global player now. They're about as good as it gets in the systems integrator space, and am really looking forward to seeing their approach to selling communications and networking as part of the NTT organization.

Being an avid sports fan, it's great time to be there, so the rest of my attention will on the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox. Busy, busy...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Growing Role of Video in Business - Article

A few weeks back, I was interviewed by about a story they were doing on video, and how it's being used more now in the workplace - particularly as part of the hiring process. I couldn't agree more, and given the exposure I get with various vendors and service providers in the video space, we ended up chatting a long time.

It's a great topic, and I think we're just at the cusp for how video is going to become a primary communications mode in business setting. I could go on about this for a while, but I'll have to leave you just with the article for now. It's always great to get cited in major publications like this, and as you'll see, readers have made loads of comments already. Feel free to add your piece - you never know who's out there.

Renewable Energy Market Report - New Article

As you may know, our report on the U.S. Renewable Energy market was published recently. We continue to promote it in various ways, and an article we prepared is running today in Quirk's Marketing Research Review. As a long-time market research practitioner, I've been listed in their directory for ages, and they are one of the best resources serving that industry.

If you'd like a fresh take on what our report is about, I invite you to read the article - and no doubt, Quirk's will be happy too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Something New - My UC Column with ADTRAN

My writing takes numerous forms and turns up in a variety of places. This week marked the beginning of a new series I've started with ADTRAN. I've been following them for a while now, and the market is starting to catch up with the inroads they're making in telecom - and most recently, Unified Communications.

To help build their mindshare in this space, I've just started a column on their recently launched blog portal - it's called think.share.lead. Their portal has two content streams for now - Broadband and Unified Communications. I'm the primary contributor for the UC stream, and my first post is running there now.

I'll be posting 1-2 times a week there, and as my initial contribution explains, these posts will cover the gamut on UC - but I won't be talking much about ADTRAN. They'll get their share of coverage like anyone else, but I'm there to provide industry perspective. More importantly, I'm there to stimulate dialog and help build community. So, you'll have lots of ways to be part of this, and as you'll see on the page, you can comment on my posts or share with other on their Facebook page, Twitter and elsewhere. See you there!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flip's Flop - What UC Can Learn From Cisco

Cisco's abrupt shuttering of Flip was pretty newsy, as was their dropping back with Umi, and even more recently the market readiness news for Cius. There's a lot going on with Cisco lately, and in my worldview, there are some interesting implications for the Unified Communications space.

I've put my thoughts together about this for my April posting to the UCStrategies portal, and it's running there now. Whether you cheer good news or bad news for Cisco, you can't ignore them, and there's lots to consider here. By all means jump in, and share your take, esp in terms of where UC is going.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What are Nortel Customers Doing? Henry Dortmans Knows.

Blogging tends to go in streaks with me, and when I'm busy with projects, it's hard to post regularly.

Got an interesting item about what's been happening with all those Nortel customers out there. Avaya's acquisition of their telecom business is old news, but I have some current insights from long-time local colleague, Henry Dortmans.

Henry knows the Canadian telecom/IT market as well as anyone, and his perspectives are always right on. Like many others in this space, Henry has been wondering what's really going on with the Nortel customer base. His concern was that depending where you look, the storyline is very different. Avaya will tell you they've kept most of the installed base, while Nortel's other competitors will happily crow about how they've taken most of those customers away. Uh huh. When in doubt, leave it to Henry.

So, here's what he did. Henry sent out a simple one question survey to his database, which covers the Canadian market very well. He just published the results today in his widely-read monthly e-newsletter, On the Line. You have to subscribe to get the online content, so I'm just cutting/pasting his writeup for you here. If this space if of interest to you, I strongly suggest you subscribe (it's free)- here's the link.

With that, I'll leave you to read this below, and following that are my brief thoughts...

My Survey on Nortel System Users

Over the past year I've asked many, "What % of organizations have kept their Nortel (now Avaya) systems?" I got different answers, depending on who I asked. So, I surveyed end-users directly.

Promising anonymity, the question posed last month was:

"If you have a significant investment in Nortel enterprise systems (or had in the past two years), have you:
• A - Upgraded?
• B - Replaced with Avaya systems?
• C - Replaced with non-Avaya systems?
• D - Decided to wait?"

Based on 146 responses*:
• A - 25%
• B - 10%
• C - 20%
• D - 45%

I know that this is not a statistically valid survey but it's better than rumours. The key items? Almost half are still waiting to decide what to do; some had more than one answer; many provided interesting insights into their situation.

My thoughts...

Wow. Henry has a lot qualitative feedback to add color to the numbers, and you'll have to tap him for that. While the data isn't totally scientific, I think it's a pretty good barometer about what people are doing. With almost half sitting pat, that tells you not a lot business has shifted hands. Only 20% said they've gone to another vendor, so this is where Cisco, Mitel, Siemens, etc. get all happy.

On the other hand, 70% have either held tight or upgraded, so clearly the Nortel installed base is holding its own. Waving the Canadian flag, that's a testament to their enduring reputation as a quality vendor, and hopefully, Avaya will allow that to continue.

The bigger picture takeaway for me - and Henry - is that if given a choice, most people don't change. If their telecom system is working fine, there's a lot of inertia around doing something else. This plays into the broader theme of choice and confusion that has washed over the telecom landscape in recent years. The technology has gotten ahead of a lot of people, and it's a real challenge for enterprise IT leaders to make an informed - and financially sound - decision about which way to go. It's a big issue, and I'll keep writing about in the usual places. I hope you keep tabs on me, and if you're not doing the same with Henry, maybe his latest insights will get you to follow him as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Consumerization of IT - UCStrategies Podcast

We covered a pretty interesting topic on yesterday's UCStrategies podcast - the consumerization of IT. We all know how the personal experience with the Web, smartphones, social media, etc. has raised expectations about what's possible in the workplace, and we explored a few facets of this on the podcast. We tried to frame the discussion from the IT perspective, and as you can imagine, they're under all kinds of pressure these days, and the consumerization angle only adds to this.

So, it's there now for you to take in on the UCStrategies portal. You can simply listen to the podcast, or as usual, the transcript is there if that's easier. Either way, I hope you enjoy our comments, and yours are welcome any time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Contact Centers and the Cloud

The cloud continues to be a big trend in communications, and contact centers are well along that path now. I've been writing about this recently in a few places, with the most recent being today on the UCStrategies portal.

Many of you know that I'm a regular contributor there, and this article actually kicks off a four part series on the topic. The next three pieces will be written by other UCS contributors, and if hosted contact centers are of interest, then you'll want to read them all. Hopefully you'll get started by reading my piece, and if that gets your juices going, join in and post a comment.

Renewable Energy Report Now on

As you may know, our report on the U.S. Renewable Energy Market was recently published, and we are pursuing various channels to build awareness and drive sales.

One of these channels is, which is the world's largest online distributor of market research reports. We're quite pleased to have this relationship in place, and information about our study has just been posted to their portal. It's not the only way you can buy our report, but it gives us reach well beyond our direct efforts.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

M5 - Another Acquisition - Callfinity

M5 Networks just announced the acquistion of Callfinity this morning, and it looks like another small step forward in the much-expected consolidation of the hosted communications space.

This is actually a contact center play, and is very much in line with the trends I've recently started following via my column for Exony. I definitely think M5 has the right idea here, as hosted/managed contact center capabilities are starting to make a lot of sense as these technologies mature, as well as prove themselves on a large scale.

Callfinity is a different type of pickup for M5 than their previous deal, when they acquired Geckotech late last year. That was a similar business, and it simply allowed M5 to expand its customer base along with gaining a physical footprint in a new urban market - Chicago.

I've been following M5 for many years, and having turned 10 last year, they sure have come a long way. That's not to say that every hosted player needs to be around 10 years before they can start doing this, but M5 has earned their keep, and I have no doubt that their thinking around Callfinity is pretty sound, and is part of a well-planned growth path that will help re-define this space as it comes of age.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Skype's Take on the Changing Workplace

Some pretty interesting research that Skype has just released. They call this "The Living Workplace", and it explores how technology is changing how we work, how we view work, where we work, when we work, etc. No doubt, these things are all up for grabs, and research clearly shows how we're steadily moving away from telephony and email to the newer modes of IM, chat and of course, video. It's an exciting time if you're on the right side of the tech curve, but more challeging if you're not.

Most of the findings are pretty intuitive, and we're all living it, esp if you're from the Net generation. It's just nice to see it all pulled together and supported by substantive research. I'm not going to deconstruct and re-present other people's research here, so I'll just steer you to the source and you can draw your own conclusions. I've been doing market research for 25 years, so I certainly have my take on these things, but you won't see that here.

Anyhow, my main message is to draw kudos to Skype for undertaking this research. Sure, it plays well to their business model, but I'm sure you can see there's a much bigger story that all of us want to follow. To do that, exit stage left, and continue reading at Skype's Living Workplace website.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Contact Centers - When to Consider Shared Services

Here's another writing update. I've been doing regular research/writing lately in the contact center space, and the work is being featured on Exony's website.

My latest writeup is about shared services, a pretty interesting approach taken by large enterprises to manage what is usually a sprawling and unwieldy contact center environment. To get the full story, I welcome you to read it here. Comments, as always are welcome, as are suggestions for future analysis.

New Focus Guide - Enterprise Phone Systems

Been busy on a few fronts, and that cuts into blogging/tweeting time. Lots of writing lately, and one of those efforts is now published. I've been contributing various things to for almost a year now, and I'm the co-author of their latest guide.

The Enterprise Phone Systems Expert's Guide was just published, and as the title implies, it's intended to help buyers make informed decisions here. It's a short guide by design, but is one of their most popular resources. To get your copy, you just need to register here, and then it's yours.