Graham Fry, Managing Director, avsnet

Several months ago, our article on ‘as-a-Service’ was met positively.

The article tapped into a common pain-point many customers are feeling (what should we do with existing collaboration investments?) and explored a solution businesses are rushing to adopt (flexible services and solutions).

I mention this article because this topic links to another trend we are seeing in the marketplace…

People are beginning to recognise that no single vendor can do it all.

Organisations and IT departments are becoming increasingly accepting of the concept of a ‘collaboration ecosystem’ – multiple, tightly integrated solutions that use a blend of consumption models (i.e. as-a-service) and third-party proactive management (e.g. managed services).

We welcome this change, although we understand that delivering a fully functioning ecosystem can be daunting to companies that have invested heavily in collaboration already.

Essentially you need a broad range of technical skills, technologies and knowledge to deliver a thriving ecosystem. This is where we help.

We understand that if a new application is going to be deployed successfully into an existing multi-vendor collaboration estate, and deliver tangible business outcomes, various points must be considered.

  1. Is the chosen solution able to meet the business objective?
  2. The solution must integrate into staff workflows and what training will be required?
  3. How will everything be managed on an ongoing basis?
  4. Does it maximise existing collaboration investments?
  5. What about the network impact, which is unfortunately often overlooked?
  6. Finally, what are the effects of firmware upgrades within an integration and what are the test procedures to maintain a seamless experience?

Failing to address these questions means more pain, a poor user experience, additional cost, lower user adoption, security risks and an unproductive organisation stuck patching things together.

Planning is crucial. Every workplace and workforce must be carefully assessed. Equally important is the need for vendor agnosticism.

At avsnet we are proud to be agnostic. Yes, every business has its choice partners but we are dedicated to recommending the best solution for each business we work with. That might be a private cloud service, hybrid Unified Communications strategy or a complete integrated ecosystem utilising numerous on-premise endpoints, virtual workspaces and cloud applications.

The key points at work here are customisation and successfully communicating the benefits to users, as our Operations Director, Kennie Cole, explains:

“The objective of any ecosystem involves four elements which form the foundation of any successful collaboration ecosystem. 

  1. Smooth integrations and excellent interoperability
  2. A flawless user experience
  3. Bespoke solutions that people actually want to use because they have been trained properly and see the benefits
  4. A rock-solid service underpinning everything

These will ultimately deliver the growth in revenues and profits every business wants.”

These four elements form the foundation of any collaboration ecosystem. Does your collaboration ecosystem have all four? Let me know.

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