Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
Read Full Bio >>

Marty Parker | November 22, 2016 |


Erasing Hybrid UC Misconceptions

Erasing Hybrid UC Misconceptions With hybrid UC, optimal solutions for each distinct group of internal and external users must co-exist with each other.

With hybrid UC, optimal solutions for each distinct group of internal and external users must co-exist with each other.

Almost any new market or product gets defined and redefined by both the innovators and the incumbents. This is certainly true for the term "hybrid" when applied to IP telephony, UC, and collaboration.


At a recent conference, no fewer than three credible presenters used the image at right to represent their views of hybrid UC.

But this is not at all a depiction of hybrid UC. Actually, this picture is more like a UC system (the car) in a data center with normal power plus a battery backup system and a gasoline-powered generator.

Sticking with transportation, a hybrid UC environment would look more like the image below.

Here we see four purpose-built options for gasoline-powered transportation that use the same gas stations and the same roads -- and this is exactly analogous to the future of business communications designed around the user's profile rather than the vendor's engineering and manufacturing process. Hybrid UC means that the optimal solutions for each distinct group of users within the enterprise and for the community of customers, prospects, partners, and suppliers will need to co-exist with each other.

You can see how this is shaping up by studying the eight usage profiles I described in my recent No Jitter post, "Usage Profiles Key to UC Success," and in this in-depth usage profile series. It becomes clear that the majority of users will not require the standard Ford Model A PBX to do their jobs. Rather, we will see very different solutions for each usage profile. For example:

  • Collaboration users will be working with software designed for their collaborative jobs. This includes tools such as Jive; Slack; Workfront; Jira and Confluence from Atlassian; Microsoft Teams; G Suite from Google; IBM Connections; and perhaps even Unify's Circuit, Cisco's Spark, and other tools from the IP PBX community. All of these will include core messaging and real-time communications tools. Most will have connectors to the PSTN, either directly or via a PBX.
  • Field users will likely work entirely on their cellular and Wi-Fi mobile devices using communications that is built into their mobile business applications from companies such as, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Cerner, and hundreds of others offering purpose-built software packages. These users will just call from their contacts and directories, using the mobile apps and the cellular/PSTN network, without a PBX in the picture.
  • Contact center agents, however, will still be driving that heavy-duty pickup truck of the PBX contact center solution, whether in the traditional on-premises configuration or in a new cloud-based format.

As you read about the other usage profiles, you will see that the future will be a hybrid of multiple types of communications solutions that connect via standardized networks and protocols (think PSTN, SIP/SIMPLE, XMPP, SIP, WebRTC, directory-enabled gateways, etc.).

Finally, let's not let the vendors tell us that hybrid means the connection of a single vendor's on-premises IP PBX connected to a hosted or cloud version of the same product. Using hybrid in these terms is just a fancy excuse for the vendor's inability to have seamless operation between its products. Terms such as distributed deployment or componentized architecture seem much more appropriate. However, so many of the IP PBX vendors are using this term that it is probably pointless to rant -- so I'll stop on this point.

The hybrid UC topic is really important. If you get it right, you can deliver UC and collaboration to your enterprise in a way that is truly optimized for business performance, user productivity, and economy. At Enterprise Connect 2017, taking place March 27 to 30 in Orlando, I will be leading an in-depth discussion on this topic in the session, "Architecting Hybrid Cloud: More Art than Science?" The session will be loaded with logic diagrams, analytic tools, and architectural designs to help you lead your enterprise into the optimal hybrid future. Hope to see you there.

Learn more about cloud communications trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando. View the Cloud Communications track sessions; register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.


July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.