Wednesday, May 9, 2012

UC Summit - Day 2 Highlights

The day started with what I found to be the best presentation of the summit. UCStrategies Expert Phil Edholm gave a very balanced and insightful keynote on the business value of video. Phil is fairly new to the UCStrategies team, and he brings great expertise to a space that is transforming UC more than anything else. One key idea to define the video opportunity is to distinguish between three types of workers – Knowledge, Information and Service. 
Phil gave great examples of each, and clarified how Knowledge workers derive the most benefit from collaborative video because they require the most engaging modes of communications to be effective. Going the other way, Phil talked about meeting tourists – employees who join meetings where attendance is optional. He showed how video will cut down on this activity considerably, and along the way provide a fast ROI by virtue of reducing the time lost by meeting tourists who could otherwise be doing their jobs.
There were other strong takeaways from Phil’s keynote, but hey, if I spent all morning writing them up here, you wouldn’t need to attend, and that doesn’t bode well for the long term survival of the summit.
Instead, I’ll move on to another interesting panel – the analyst roundtable, which I participated on.  This session was led by Blair Pleasant, and joining us was Samantha Kane, Art Rosenberg and Steve Leaden. We each spoke briefly about specific trends, and my focus was on the post-PBX world, and how the channel could adapt for clients that are ready to move on from having a phone system. We covered a lot of ground in an hour, and the audience wasn’t lacking for good questions.
One of the better vendor keynotes came in the afternoon from Wayne Baines of Microsoft. He made a strong case for how well MSFT is leveraging its huge installed base around Lync and cloud based services. With 1 billion Office users, there’s a major market opportunity for them with UC, and even without mentioning Skype, Wayne painted a pretty promising picture for Microsoft’s prospects.
Finally, Jim Burton hosted a panel of consultants, and that generated some good dialog about how they could work more effectively with the channel to support them in UC. Together, these groups represented most of the people in the room, and it was a great forum for paying attendees to share ideas about how to make their business more successful.
All told, the summit fully met my expectations. I was happy to have a chance to speak, and based on comments later on, it sounds like our session was well received. It was a great chance to hear first hand about how UC is being deployed, and of course what the vendors are focusing on at present. I’m of the view the nobody really knows where the market is going, and nobody really owns it, and in my mind, these ideas were validated at the summit. At least I came away with a greater sense of confidence that my ongoing research is picking up the right vibes about the state of UC. 
So, kudos to Jim Burton and his supporting cast for putting on a great show in such a relaxed setting. I think attendees got their money’s worth, and I’m pretty sure most will be back. I count myself in that circle, and if you want to share your thoughts on the event, the floor is now yours…

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