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January 02, 2008

Unified Communications and SOA: Delivering Value to Users

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

David Yedwab is a Founding Partner in Market Strategy and Analytics Partners LLC. He is a seasoned technology marketing executive with over 25 years experience providing marketing, sales, technology and business strategy advice to many of the world’s largest and most successful companies including — Cisco, AT&T, BellSouth, Apple (News - Alert), NTT, NEC, Nortel, Samsung and Siemens. David is also one of TMC’s newest columnists, with his premiere offering slated to appear in the February issue of Internet Telephony magazine.

I asked David to offer some insights on the trends that are currently facing the IP communications industry.
RT: What trends are you noticing in the communications market?
DY: I believe our industry is at the midst of a major transformation driven by Web 2.0, Collaborative Technologies (Unified Communications (News - Alert)), “near-ubiquity” of wired and wireless broadband, continued consumer services entering and driving enterprise services and on-going restructuring of where and how value (and therefore successful businesses) is being created. Also, the battle of virtualization is growing — not just in data centers but, more broadly as SaaS (on-demand software, often Web-based) may transform the two-decade-long desktop applications driven formula.
RT: Did 2007 finish the way your company expected?
DY: As a consulting firm, we finished 2007 with more new clients than we expected with some very interesting work. We are finding that our clients are focusing on improving their distribution channels and that better partnering will be key to all of our success. I find an interesting parallel to this need for partnering and the cooperation possibility an SOA architecture allows — mashing up applications, resources and intelligence to provide better and more effective solutions to business problems — and faster.
RT: Is 2008 going to be a better year than 2007?
DY: Again, as I look out to 2008, I see the increasing pace of change creating opportunities and risks for everyone — good planning, thinking and serendipity will create value.
RT: What technologies have altered the market the most?
DY: I believe that there have been several technologies that have altered our thinking about the market. Two keys have altered perspectives about communications — Unified Communications and SOA. UC, because we finally have an umbrella rubric to converse about overall business process improvement driven by communications — hopefully, we’ll learn to capitalize upon it. SOA, because the performance improvements of hardware and software architectures may finally change the way business processes are architected and how software programs can be stitched together, even across providers and companies, to deliver services of value to users; maybe even quickly and more economically.
RT: How has Skype changed the telecom market?
DY: Skype has shown that the Web has the potential to transform everything, even the century+ old telephone system. Skype is clearly the first mover in allowing millions of users communicate with each other virtually without a traditional service provider being involved. It virtually invented the term “over-the-top.”
RT: How will Apple, Google and Microsoft (News - Alert) each change the telecom space?
DY: Apple is bringing its design expertise and its ability to challenge and reshape markets, as it has with music, to telecom. The iPhone (News - Alert) may be more significant in its breaking of wireless carriers’ “Walled Gardens” than in its incredible design. Google seems to be changing everything in tech, so why not telecom? It appears to have succeeded in having at least part of the wireless market free and open and its Android (open mobile OS) could also have significant impact. Microsoft’s entry into enterprise telecom, with OCS is also trying to change the way telecom services are delivered and make it “just another software application” — where Microsoft clearly Excels (pun intended).
RT: Do you have predictions about the 700 MHz auction?
DY: Depending upon the outcome of the auction and how “good” this spectrum actually turns out to be, we may see truly, the unwiring of telecom.
RT: What are the brightest spots in your business going forward?
DY: All of the segments we deal with — equipment vendors, service providers and the OSS/BSS providers are all undergoing transformations reflecting the broader industry changes — where there is change, there is opportunity. Companies are recognizing that they, alone, cannot be everything to everybody and that partnering, channels and SOA will create great opportunities for business “mashups.”
RT: What are the biggest threats you see to your company’s success?
DY: The potential for a global economic slowdown.
RT: What will conferees learn from your ITEXPO (News - Alert) conference session this month?
DY: In the special double session on SOA, we will be exploring how vendors and service providers and enterprises are already employing SOA to their offers and what we can look forward to seeing in the near term future. In the Trends in Enterprise VoIP, we will be exploring how VoIP is evolving through the UC transformation and what innovations our panelists are offering and expecting shortly.
RT: Who should attend?
DY: Anyone interested in doing some “out-of-the-box” thinking about their business, their products and services, their channels and their customers.
Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor in Chief at TMC. In addition he is the Chairman of the world’s best attended IP Communications event, Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO.
Mark your calendars! Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the first major IP communications event of the year — is just days away. It’s not too late to register for the event, which takes place in Miami Beach, FL, January 23–25, 2008. The EXPO will feature three valuable days of exhibits, conferences and networking that you won’t want to miss. So what are you waiting for? Sign up now!


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