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Experts offer keys for building a collaborative environment

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Security, simplifying the user experience and improving the IT and end user relationship were among the top themes discussed at IMCCA’s “UCC Summit 2015: State of the Industry Lunch and Learn” panel event at this year’s Infocomm conference in Orlando, Fl. The 10-member panel included executives from Acano, AVI-SPL, Cisco, Dimension Data, Jupiter, Kraymer,  Microsoft, PEXIP,  Polycom, Revo Labs, Smart Technologies and Videxio. The discussion, moderated by IMCCA Chairperson Emeritus Ann Earon, offered these insights on unified communications (UC) and collaboration in the enterprise.

Unified communications is an outcome, not a technology. Moving organizations toward a smarter, better use of UC and collaboration means changing their perceptions of these approaches, said Scott Cruikshank, director of communications at Dimension Data. “UC is not a technology—it’s an outcome,” explained Cruikshank. “It’s an application. The more we educate customers in the industry to get them to start thinking that way, we’ll have more success.”

When it comes to security, follow the leaders. Pay attention to the organizations that “really require security in order to run their business,” suggested Larry Satterfield, global vice-president of sales at Acano. Look at financial institutions and intelligence agencies to see who they lean on for their security solutions and services. “You need to find those organizations that are making their bet on organizations that they tested,” said Satterfield. “That’s how you make your choice. Proof is where the customers are buying from.”

Keep it simple. Users want easy-to-use virtual spaces where they can meet with their colleagues and peers, stated Simen Teigre, CEO of Pexip. Focus on simplifying the user experience. Avoid getting caught up in “unifying everything,” he advised. “Simplicity trumps unification.”

Eliminate security siloes. The security guidelines for your UC and video conference systems should be built in to your organization’s overall security policies and procedures, stated Cruikshank. Institutions can no longer afford to look at video conferencing and UC in a silo, from a security perspective. “The threats are coming from everywhere,” he said. “It’s got to be part of that overall portfolio.”

Work with your end users. Users have found the technology, said Earon. Work with them. The biggest complaint she hears from end users is that their IT department is holding them back and constraining bandwidth. Find a way to support them, warned Earon, or they will go rogue.

“If you don’t work with them they’re going to do an end run around you. And they’re going to win if they can justify to their organization that they’ve made money or saved money,” she stated. “It behooves all of you to sing ‘Kumbaya’ together and start working together to make this work properly.”