On my flight back to Israel from Enterprise Connect 2016 at Orlando, I decided to recap my top 3 observations about Skype for Business from spending time with some of our largest customers. During the show, I sat down with one of the world’s largest energy companies, one of the biggest pharma producers, and one huge food maker that feeds us. They all deploy Lync/SfB and they all shared the following views.
A vision is not enough
“Yeah, I get what Microsoft is trying to do with CloudPBX, but…” was a common amongst them. Seems the “Everything Cloud” vision is compelling when left described by 2 words only. Numerous caveats are observed:
- How do I gradually migrate there? Because overnight replacement of a great number of PBX’s serving x0000s of users is clearly not an option.
- Do I really want to relinquish control of all my users to a Front-End server that is hosted by Microsoft? I understand Microsoft is racing Google and wants as many Enterprise users on their cloud as possible, but is that good for my company, or just for Microsoft? Can I customize to preserve my competitive enterprise edge?
Show me the money savings
Microsoft seems to have correctly identified that the heavy monthly costs of conferencing services is something these enterprises love to cut. Offering simple, hop on/off services right within SfB, with intuitive integration into Outlook is clearly a compelling proposition. However, if I am going to send all my global voice traffic to the cloud for conferencing, I must guarantee excellent voice quality and experience. Getting this done requires costly MPLS infrastructure. How do I calculate the actual cost or savings by moving to the cloud? Overall, it seems Microsoft still hasn’t convinced these customers that the TCO through the cloud offering and on a global level, is a favorable one.
Old habits are hard to break
A clean, wire-free workspace with voice, video and chat integration, and slick “click to everything”. Nirvana!
There are a few “Buts”…
Not all of the employees easily say goodbye to their phones and switch over to headsets. Nor are they proving responsible to own a small and expensive wireless ear piece, without losing or taking it out of their pants before washing. The bigger “over the head” headsets annoy some of the users, and it seems most “Born before 1980” are used to transferring a call by a push of a button, and hate reaching out to their computer for that. Last, but not least, it seems a great number of the international markets associate a desk phone with seniority and status. Seems the IP Phone is going to be with us for a good number of years to come.