The Cloud Isn't Just for SMBs Anymore, says Esnatech Exec
February 01, 2012
By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor
Before heading down to Miami for ITEXPO East 2012, TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani reached out to a few of the key participants to get some early thoughts on the hot topics to be discussed at this year's show.
For an in-depth look at the current cloud market, Tehrani caught up with Davide Petramala, VP of Sales and Business Development at Esnatech, a company that specializes in integrating voice, mobility and presence with the cloud and Google Apps. Petramala will be speaking at the Cloud Communications Expo, an event collocated with ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2012.
Petramala attributes the explosive growth of the cloud in recent years to a number of key trends, including the growing need for collaboration across large geographies, the increasingly mobile workforce, quicker deployment times and simple dollars and cents.
While acknowledging that the SMB sector is currently the largest adopter of the cloud, Petramala believes that many large enterprises will look to embrace the cloud to improve their ROI. The dependence on mobile devices will be a particularly strong driver, says Petramala, as enterprise employees are leaving behind their legacy voice infrastructure for smartphones and tablets. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) to work trend will only intensify the enterprise push toward the cloud.
Petramala believes that the cloud will eventually replace the need for the on-premise PBX, but stresses that we have not gotten to that point yet. When voice and video on mobile handsets can provide enterprise quality, the “writing will be on the wall” for the traditional PBX, he says.
Petramala also offers some insight on future growth areas for the cloud and Microsoft's chances to succeed in the mobile space. Read the full interview below or head to the Cloud Communications Expo to hear more from Petramala.
Along with executives from Polycom and Broadvox (News - Alert), Petramala will be leading a discussion called “Can UC in the Cloud,” which will detail the benefits of moving to a UC-as-a-Service model. The session kicks off at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3.
How has cloud computing changed the communications landscape over the past year?
As the workforce gets global, we need a greater sense of collaboration and again this is illustrated with the growth of the cloud. If you think about what's happening, organizations are migrating core business processes to the cloud. This wouldn't be thought of before.
If you look at most large organizations, they started with migrating data storage to the cloud. But now you're seeing tremendous growth in virtualization and business critical applications such as salesforce automation, CRM, and e-mail, move to the cloud. The growth and migration of core business processes to the cloud allows organizations to scale and to deploy technology at faster and more cost effective rate.
The cloud allows enterprises to embark on global deployment projects, breaking down and eliminating barriers by bypassing legacy roadblocks associated to infrastructure and costs. By leveraging the cloud and the web organizations can deliver communication and collaboration services across large geographies while addressing compatibility, interoperability of different devices (BYOD) and the needs of distributed/remote workforce.
What are enterprises looking for from their communications providers and how can those providers leverage the cloud to deliver on those expectations?
Primarily compatibility and interoperability with users’ existing mobile devices as they are fast becoming the primary form of communications, and integration with existing business applications and business process to drive more value with their communication investment. More importantly, as more organizations adopt cloud based business solutions, enterprise will demand interoperability across all these cloud assets to maximize efficiency and optimize their investments.
Cost savings is always the first thing mentioned when it comes to benefits of cloud. Aside from cost, where is the value proposition in cloud communications?
Ubiquitous access to real-time communications across any device. It will drive greater access to live communications with less infrastructure and applications. Ultimately it will drive simplicity and greater productivity across the workforce with less issues and deployment costs.
How has your own business benefit ted from cloud-based communications?
I can provide my team, which are primarily remote and on mobile devices, the same if not better collaboration tools then a traditional bricks and mortar infrastructure. This ultimately allows me to scale my operation at the most efficient and cost effective rate to match my growth and maximize my productivity and profits.
Will cloud serve to fragment the industry or strengthen existing ecosystems?
Strengthen the existing ecosystem. Systems integrators play a big role in enabling the cloud. Cloud is as much a services play as it is technology. Revenue will shift from product focus to more service oriented. The SI ecosystem will build value through the enhanced services they can deliver around the initial core cloud investment.
Is cloud communications primarily an SMB service? How can enterprises benefit equally?
Not at all. It is obviously easier for an SMB to go greenfield with cloud communications but many large enterprise will embrace the cloud for expansion, global consolidation and long term legacy migration. The ROI has to be there and it is for expansion.
Ultimately, technology that allows large enterprises to exist in a hybrid state will help facilitate larger enterprises migrating to cloud communications over the long run. In fact, the adoption of mobile devices will help facilitate this trend as fewer users will be dependent on legacy voice infrastructure and will be driving their day to day communications from smartphones and tablets. This fact is strongly illustrated with the trend of BYOD within the enterprise today.
What will be the greatest growth area as a result of cloud (e.g., mobility, video, social media, CEBP, etc.)?
It all comes down to how the cloud can deliver rich communication and collaboration simply and easily. Social networks and social applications help to accelerate this growth. The explosion of mobile devices and integration of social apps on these mobile devices is driving massive growth of communication and collaboration in the cloud. I also think that ubiquitous access to video over mobile devices will see even further growth in the near future.
One of the greatest growth areas as a result of cloud is embedded multimodal communications in applications such as Skype and Facebook (News - Alert). What impact do third-party communications apps like these have on business communications providers?
It will be critical for providers to offer services that enable interoperability with these tools to maximize adoption of their services. What will truly differentiate communication vendors is their ability to integrate core public cloud services and applications that businesses are already using and make them available and usable on mobile devices.
Can Microsoft make a splash with its promised integration of Window Phone (News - Alert) and Windows 8?
Never count them out! They are late to the game and are playing catch up but they have great innovation and you never know where this market will take us.
When will cloud make the on-premises PBX obsolete?
To me this is a long term story as PBXs may never be obsolete based on security and reliability requirements. However as mobility becomes an ever increasing reality amongst more of the workforce, fewer requirements will be there for this enterprise voice infrastructure.
Today the issue is based on cloud costs and the functionality these PBX already deliver. The ROI to rip and replace with new handsets just isn't there. When we get to the point where we can rip and not replace, i.e. voice and video on the mobile with enterprise quality, then the writing will be on the wall.
Why is Cloud Communications Expo a must-attend event?
It is clearly the future of communications and collaboration. We are at the beginning of a massive growing industry with tons of innovation. To understand what is available and the opportunities that exist it is imperative to come to an event like this to learn and collaborate with other industry people that have embraced the cloud and will be shaping the future direction and strategy of this industry.
Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend the Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with TMC’s ITEXPO East 2012,happening now, in Miami, FL. The Cloud Communications Expo will address the growing need of businesses to integrate and leverage cloud based communications applications, process enhancement techniques, and network based communications interfaces and architectures. For more information on registering for the Cloud Communications Expo click here.
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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell