SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Beth Schultz | June 29, 2017 |

 
   

Test Your UC Client (In Somebody Else's Environment) Before You Deploy

Test Your UC Client (In Somebody Else's Environment) Before You Deploy World Wide Technology has opened a self-service collaboration lab to help enterprises test and validate products before deploying live.

World Wide Technology has opened a self-service collaboration lab to help enterprises test and validate products before deploying live.

Having spent the last few days in Las Vegas at Cisco Live, I'm reminded of just how complicated and complex enterprise UC and collaboration environments can be. They rarely, if ever, comprise just a single vendor -- and the tools and capabilities in use are often as varied as the types of slot machines dinging away in the Strip's casinos.

That's to say, while the enterprise IT folks attending this week's conference may have a bias toward Call Manager, Jabber, Spark, WebEx, and sundry other Cisco collaboration apps, chances are they're going to have lots of other cross-vendor integrations and compatibilities with which they need to contend. Not that I had to travel anywhere to understand this. I see it day in and day out as I look over site metrics for No Jitter. Back almost a year ago, in August 2016, No Jitter blogger Brent Kelly, president of KelCor, wrote a post titled, "10 Cisco/Microsoft Hybrid UC Deployment Options." Month after month, the piece remains one of the most-read articles on No Jitter. (Note to Brent: Time for an update?!)

Likewise, the Cisco vs. Microsoft analysis Brent does along with Phil Edholm, president of PKE Consulting, at Enterprise Connect each year is always among the top-attended breakout sessions. This year's iteration, "Cisco vs. Microsoft: Titans Clash on New Terrain?" was no exception, having drawn close to 400 attendees. With the push into the cloud, the increasing reliance on video calling, and the rise of team messaging -- just to mention a few trends -- enterprise IT professionals have their hands full in sorting out what's what and how best to move ahead with their communications and collaboration portfolios. Vendor bias be gone.

Fire Up & Test Away
The experience of World Wide Technology, a Cisco Live exhibitor, reinforces what we've seen among the No Jitter and Enterprise Connect communities. As part of its Advanced Technology Center, WWT has been offering sandbox lab environments that large public and private enterprise organizations can use to test, compare, and validate their collaboration products before unleashing them in production environments, Joe Berger, collaboration practice director at WWT, told me in a briefing. The company has dozens of labs, some segmented by product (a particular CallManager version, say), others aimed at integration (comparing three call management platforms and how they react within an environment, for example), and still others for product comparisons. Indeed, one of the most popular labs is for comparing Microsoft and Cisco UC clients, he said: "Fire up your virtual desktops and run Spark next to Skype for Business and understand what the experience is with both."

The company has seen such interest in its sandbox offerings for collaboration that it extended its offerings into the WWT Collaboration Labs, a multivendor environment for testing and validating enterprise collaboration tools and services. Rather than being limited by the availability of one lab, enterprise organizations can now get access to any labs they need on an on-demand, self-service basis, or by subscription. The goal, Berger said, is to allow quick access to a handful of labs at the same time. In addition, WWT offers a concierge service should clients want help navigating their ways through labs or to provide troubleshooting advice, Berger said.

Keeping Pace
WWT just officially introduced the Collaboration Labs last week ahead of Cisco Live, but has been allowing access for the past six weeks or so. In that time, 210 enterprises have used the lab, said Berger, noting that the target enterprise customer falls in the Fortune 250.

Enterprise customers get access to a portal, from which they can get demonstrations of more than 60 collaboration solutions, including Cisco Spark. A team collaboration comparison lab is high on Berger's "what's next" agenda, he said. "I've tasked my guys to go understand all these tools, and create a lab where we can test out the top three or four," added Berger, mentioning Spark, Microsoft Teams, and Slack as the likely candidates. "There are nuances, and some do some things really well. We want to provide that access for our customers, give them the documentation, and a matrix."

UC management platforms, such as from Voss and Vyopta, are another target, he added. Interest here is picking up, partly due to the move to the cloud as well as the increasing availability of data fueling such systems.

And because we all know picking the right technology and implementing it correctly is only half the battle, WWT will even manage employee training. Adoption, too, is one nasty pain point.

Follow Beth Schultz and No Jitter on Twitter!
@Beth_Schultz
@nojitter





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

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

September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
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 BlogGeek.me 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.