BroadSoft CEO: Here's why communications is moving to the cloud

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

A: What's really interesting is that most enterprises have considered the enterprise side of it, what we call the PBX functions inside the premise as one complex, and then all of the users running around using mobile phones as a separate challenge. With some feature-interworking through clients, or some bells and whistles they kind of make these things work together sometimes.

What really is the opportunity that is presenting itself is that as mobile operators launch hosted unified communications solutions and all that unified communications capability now exists in their mobile core, now they'll be able to go to enterprises and basically present a fully integrated solution. What does that mean? Every employee gets a single subscription and then you, as an enterprise, can choose -- does that employee need a hard phone? Do they need a mobile? Do they need a soft line? Do they need two hard phones? Do they need a hard phone at their house and their remote office? All of that now changes to really treating this thing as one, one single subscription.

And the really interesting thing here is with that transformation the enterprise customer gets something really important, which is cost savings. They're not buying a PBX extension or a unified communications suite and a mobile phone for their users. They're buying a single subscription and then outfitting that user with devices given their job function. They get this tremendous cost-saving of bringing down the number of subscriptions from two or three to one, and they get the power of equipping every single employee with a unified communications suite, from voice mail to audio conferencing to video conferencing, to instant messaging across the organization, to desktop sharing, a really rich set of capabilities that are now available to you anywhere on any mobile device. The real change is that moving that enterprise logic from the premise to the cloud. The next step that I think is just starting to emerge is moving that into what I call the mobile cloud or mobile core and making mobile the front and center of these solutions. I think there's going to be a dramatic change in the way that enterprises equip their employees to be productive.

Q: What are you doing to integrate these hosted UC capabilities into other cloud-based services and applications that people are using?

A: Because we're in an operator's network, a thing that is quite important to them and obviously important to the end users has got to be openness of the platform. We for many years have had a set of open APIs and a pretty rich recruitment of developers that build bridges from these hosted unified communications solutions to various vertical applications to various CRM systems. We really allow the unified communications capability to drive the business process, so linkages to CRM and to or a number of other CRM products out there, linkages to vertical software for hospitality, education and professional services firms, legal. We try to find ways now to take that very rich UC suite and enable that across those business processes that the enterprise might be using. I'm using Salesforce and I'm using hosted unified communications and these two things work well together and the plugs that are available and the integrations that are available are really simple and scalable in the cloud network. It's a very important part of our strategy to make sure that this unified communications capability that we're delivering through the operators is really treated as a platform that enterprises can build on and integrate with their other capabilities.

Q: As a CIO or senior IT person, what are the key things you should be looking for in UC as a service?

A: I think the enterprise customer should really be looking at operators that have the ability to deliver a complete unified communications suite, not just one component of it. I think over time you're going to be looking for service providers that can deliver this mobile integration. I think it will become more and more critical to strategy. I think what's really important is to validate that the service providers can deliver the technology with scale, with high quality, with a high level of support. That's another element here. You're clearly trusting someone else to run your enterprise network. Make sure that trust is warranted, and that you feel comfortable that the operator can in fact deliver a high quality service.

Q: The flip side of that is what are the things they should watch out for when they're dealing with a service provider on hosted UC?

A: I think that you want to make sure you really have a solution that's open, expandable, that you can really mix and match components. I think competitively you have lots of vendor lock-in, which ultimately goes against the whole concept of moving unified communications into the cloud. As an enterprise you want to be able to use the max devices. You want to be able to pick phones. You want to be able to pick clients. You want to be able to integrate with your technologies. You maybe will want to substitute out a particular element of the UC stack for something you think is better or fits better in your environment. You want to be able to have that flexibility in these solutions. Unfortunately, the unified communications field talks a lot about openness and interoperability, but everybody seems to be selling closed solutions with very little openness.

Q: What should we expect to see from BroadSoft over the next year?

A: We're very focused on expanding the unified communications stack. We have quite a bit of work going on to continue to refine the user experience. We do lots of research. We have a fairly rich set of user experience clients out there. We continue to work with both our operators and their end users on fine tuning that experience, making sure that all these capabilities are easy to use. We're clearly building out more capabilities around integrating with mobile networks and we're going to see more and more of our customers go to market with these integrated mobile-led solutions. I mean that's going to be a huge differentiator in the market. We're going to see unified communications solutions that are really first and foremost led by mobile access, mobile devices, and then followed in with fixed devices and with soft clients. We have a number of operators, customers of ours, who launched services like that in Europe. The customer receptivity is really high, and they really never understood they could buy a single subscription. They really thought they'd have to buy PBXs and mobile subscriptions forever, and the concept of being able to buy just one has been extremely powerful in a number of market launches we've seen in the European marketplace. We've seen a really, really strong drive and I think you'll see a lot more of that over the next 12 months.

Q: Is there an enterprise customer that's working with one of your big service providers that we can show as an example of this?

A: I don't really have the ability to talk about the end users. But what I'll do is I'll use BroadSoft as a wonderful end user. We're about 700 employees in about 21 markets. We operate seamlessly across time zones and geography. I work effectively anywhere I am, I have hard phones and soft clients. I'm able to work at home, on the road. I can do video conferencing from hotel rooms on my iPad. The ability for us to just work so effectively across the global landscape is powerful. I think about what it would take to implement what we use internally with premise-based technologies, the cost, the complexity, the infrastructure, the installation - unbelievably complex. Eighteen months ago we moved into our latest office here. Basically, I just unplugged my phone from my last office, plugged my phone in and I was up and running in five minutes with all my unified communications capabilities. To be able to transport yourself anywhere and be connected with the cloud, and have access to all your unified communications capabilities, that's very powerful, very cost effective, very productive for employees.

Q: You have one sentence here in the elevator with a CIO, and you say 'you should care about BroadSoft because...'

A: We're powering the unified communications and the solutions service that's coming to you from your service provider.

This story, "BroadSoft CEO: Here's why communications is moving to the cloud" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon