Enterprise Connect, as mentioned in previous posts and across the web, is the pinnacle event for communication and collaboration tools. It’s the time of the year organisations use to announce the next step in their product roadmap and wow their users with creative new functionality. This year was no different with major announcements coming from the likes of Google and Cisco.
However, there was a big question developing throughout the course of Enterprise Connect… Should it simply become Enterprise Cloud?
David Maldow, over at Let’s Do Video, summed up the focus of the event before the event had really started. The first major panel discussion of the event had all the biggest players within the industry discussing unified and enterprise communication. Maybe David had a magical crystal ball or saw the event trend from a very early stage. Either way, the event emphasised the enterprise solutions being hosted in the cloud rather than on locally installed servers.
Beyond the importance being placed on the cloud, there were some clear industry directions and trends forming. Words such as security, fluid and the IT team were being mentioned. Key notes reiterated the ease of use and instant access to their solutions without the pre-approval from the IT team for security of financial reasons.
Key announcements demonstrated a uniformed approach
Organisations seem to be moving in a similar direction. As mentioned above, the cloud has become the foundations for enterprise communications. Seemingly, each keynote demonstrated the importance of the cloud and how solutions were heading into a cloud service. Driving the importance of being easily accessible and removing the need to store applications locally. However, two separate approaches appeared as a solution to the same business problem.
Two approaches to the same problem…
Evidently, the likes of Google and Cisco have identified there is a real gap within the market for browser-based communication within the enterprise. However, there are two different approaches to this gap.
- Cloud/Unified communication
- Instant Messaging/team feeds
Slack | Spark
Without a doubt, Cisco has looked over the digital world and noticed the waves Slack has been making with its team application. Whether Cisco is attempting to restrict a possible user reduction or attempt to gain users from Slack, they have entered the same market space as Slack as a messaging tool. The Slack/Spark tool is attempting to meet the business need of communicating within teams and provide a unified workspace. Users can come and go. Projects can be uploaded into the solution. Both Slack and Spark provide APP directories (Slack’s is more mature) to attach your other business solutions into your teams and have direct access to these solutions.
Office 365 | Google for work
Office 365 and Google for Work are both looking towards the file storage and collaboration solution. Seemingly leaving the likes of Dropbox some way behind in the file storage area, read a little more on the demise of Dropbox. Cloud storage is no longer good enough or a USP of any solution. But, it is an important part to the everyday business and effective collaboration.
File storage provides the foundations for Office 365 and Google for work to build a more comprehensive cloud based solution. Both Office and Google are taking, what is typically locally installed software such as Microsoft Word, into the cloud where you create and edit documents from a central location. In addition, they are looking to provide you with your communications functionality which you would typically look to your desk phone for.
Dedicated day to WebRTC tells us greater importance on the technology.
We always knew WebRTC was going to become an essential technology for communication. We notice WebRTC conferences going global appearing firstly in the USA, followed by Paris, London, Spain and so forth. However, the dedicated day for WebRTC at enterprise connect demonstrates the adoption in the larger enterprise.
Traditionally, it has been a topic for Technology evangelists looking to push forward their advancements with the technology and the use cases. However the inclusion into Enterprise Connect demonstrates the end user adoption and the potential value adding opportunity.
Browser-based is the norm now, no longer a fad.
WebRTC raised the awareness of solutions becoming browser-based, no more downloads, no more Java or Flash… For communication at least. It was, and still is, great to be able to communicate within the browser. This gave birth to the term ‘browser-based’. This is no longer a fad or an up and coming technology. It is a current and real solution making more than just waves within communication.
Organisations have recognised it as a long-term viable communication channel. Soon the term of ‘cloud’ or ‘browser-based’ soon enough and will simply become part of any product, with WebRTC acting behind the scenes.
There it is… Enterprise Connect delivered what everyone within the industry was expecting. The latest releases and a clear defined product routes from solutions within the market shaped the conference. Gathering the industry thoughts leaders such as Wainhouse, Let’s Do Video and BC Strategies reinforces the conference position as the market leading conference. Similar to the rumours surrounding the new iPhone, industry thought leaders are undoubtedly already speculating what will be mentioned in 2017.