Cisco APJC Collaboration: A Step Towards Pervasive Enterprise Collaboration

Harish Taori
Harish Taori

Summary Bullets:

  • Launching its innovative DX80 / DX70 endpoints and collaboration meeting room (CMR) solution, Cisco makes an attempt to plug the gaps in its collaboration offering for enterprises.
  • However, Cisco needs to improve its value proposition by making the solution easy to acquire, consume and manage in a heterogeneous IT environment to address persistent TCO concerns.

It was a bright sunny day when I landed in Macau to attend Cisco’s APJC collaboration summit last week. The summit started with two major announcements – launch of collaboration endpoints DX80/70 and the collaboration meeting room (CMR) solution – both part of Cisco’s “Browser to Boardroom” theme. The former was an attempt to consolidate the number of communication/collaboration devices present on a work desk in one endpoint while the latter (CMR) was a software solution that caught my attention due to its broader appeal to the enterprises.

CMR, in conjunction with Webex, Telepresence, Jabber and Call manager, is a scalable HD video collaboration solution enabling voice, video and data sharing for video-optimized meetings across the enterprise. It is a device independent solution with connectivity across platforms. Global service providers are rushing to offer similar collaboration solutions that bridge best-of-breed open source technologies. Collaboration ecosystem players (OTTPs, SPs, network equipment vendors etc.) are investing in video infrastructure to gain a bigger share of enterprise collaboration spend with LTE rollouts and bandwidth price reductions. It’s a busy space.

Though enterprise collaboration has long offered productivity enhancements, there are a few considerations for both buyers and sellers of these solutions.

Cisco and other collaboration solution providers:

  • Enhance the value proposition for the enterprise users by making the solution easy to acquire (unifying/bundling licenses), and manage in a heterogeneous IT environment. As the market is getting more competitive, proponents of open source may get better traction with the enterprises seeking to leverage their existing investments in the collaboration infrastructure.
  • Work with the enterprises to address their TCO concerns by communicating options for acquisition (buy vs. lease), deployment (cloud, hybrid or on premise) and consumption (pay per use, freemium, cost based etc.).
  • Enable the partner ecosystem with training in the required skills to sell as well as support collaboration solutions.

Enterprise buyers:

  • Evaluate these solutions as a means to consolidate disparate communication and collaboration tools across the organization into a single enterprise wide collaboration solution that is easy to deploy and manage.
  • Pilot the integrated collaboration solution to validate whether it addresses the collaboration needs of your organization, customize the solution to meet unique needs of your enterprise, before rolling it out across the enterprise.
  • Look carefully at the pricing models on offer to reduce your TCO.

There’s value in unified audio, video, messaging and conferencing solution for enterprises, but probably they may find it hard to justify business case for investments in new unified collaboration endpoints than that of unified collaboration software solutions.

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