Cloud, technology populism, video, and integrated solutions were in evidence throughout the show. Here is what I learned or conformed at Enterprise Connect 2012:
Cloud is happening. Buyer interest is and has been up, service providers are investing, and OEMs are enabling. At the show, SPs from 8x8 and M5 (now part of ShoreTel) to AT&T and Verizon were demoing capabilities. SIs, including well-known names from BlacBox to Presidio to HP, were talking about cloud too. Many OEM vendors did not discuss the channel implications made obvious by SI and SP discussion of cloud services — although NEC made ease of doing business for the channel one of the tenets of its cloud discussion. If I were a solution vendor, I would spend more time discussing where my solutions could be purchased and the role for my sales force, since buyers who attend Enterprise Connect in droves want to know where and how they can buy cloud solutions.
The real story here is consumerization or technology populism. Personal cloud services have enabled information workers to be a decision AND buying center for all types of communications and collaboration. Although we talk about smartphones and tablets in discussing technology populism, unified communications and fixed mobile convergence were the examples on display at this show. Buyers (including information workers and traditional technology managers) today need to know how to integrate Box, Google Docs, SalesForce, and other services into their business processes that depend on communications.
Avaya announced its intention and agreement to purchase Radvision today. These two technological powerhouses have the combined brainpower to put together some of the most advanced unified communications solutions in the world. Radvision’s experience in building complex modular communication components plus Avaya’s strength in delivering complete, reliable communications solutions is an appealing combination. The strengths of this combination include:
Breadth of open technologies. Radvision’s H.323 and SIP stacks will combine neatly with Avaya’s Aura architecture to enable a wide range of interoperable communications solutions from varying vendors built on multiple old and new technologies.
Video portfolio. Radvision’s Scopia videoconferencing portfolio (from desktop to telepresence) extends Avaya’s current partner-driven video endpoint model.
The cloud. Radvision’s service provider relationships gives Avaya a firmer footing from which to sell cloud solutions to service providers.
Issues that management will have to deal with in the combined company:
Cultural fit. Avaya’s consensus-driven and collaborative culture may not provide the direction Radvision’s developers got used to within Radvision’s traditional command and control structure.
Revenue growth. Radvision has been on a slide. The Avaya/Radvision combination will have to open new markets and increase win rates to pay back the $230 million purchase price — approximately three times Radvision’s annual revenue.