Published on October 2, 2016 @ 10:50 am

News The Road Ahead: How Enterprises are Accelerating their Adoption of Next Gen Collaboration Platforms

A Report from Microsoft Ignite
By Julian Phillips, EVP, Whitlock
julian@whitlock.com
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The enthusiasm of IT leaders at Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta last week was striking. Many of my conversations with executives at the conference centered around one challenge: how can they accelerate the adoption and deployment of unified collaboration platforms.

Perhaps it was the steady stream of people inspired by their experience with Microsoft Surface Hub or Hololens in our booth, but I was struck by how many enterprises have moved beyond the pilot phase of Office 365, Skype for Business and Unified Communications and are now ready for the next class of collaboration experiences.

CIOs are now planning and ready for enterprise-wide deployments and want strategies for how to minimize risk, integrate legacy hardware investments, and move forward with cloud-driven software and device solutions.

Simply put, they need solutions that just work in the real-world, but are truly unified.

In over a dozen customer roundtables we’ve hosted around the world this year and at Microsoft Ignite, we have summarized the goals and ambitions of IT leaders today as the three “S”s:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Standards
  3. Scalability

Solutions need to be faster, more stable, and integrate well with critical UC device platforms. Users need simplicity to immediately experience the power of these tools (from the user interface to deployment and management), and integrated UC platforms need to be built for scale across the global enterprise.

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Microsoft Surface Hub has been a game changer in these discussions as a catalyst for how you can maximize the impact of Office 365, Skype for Business and teaming in general. The use cases for Surface Hub in manufacturing, healthcare, and in product design (as an example) are becoming self-evident after even the briefest of demos. The high quality of the device was noted by many at Ignite who have experienced over a decade of use with interactive white boards as soon as they picked up the Hub pen and started inking on the screen.

The real power of the device, however, is in its ability to immediately transform collaboration from a 2-D, one-way presentation of content to a third dimension of collaboration where group members get out of their chairs, interact together with the device, and immediately dial in remote team members with Skype for Business.

The other revolution is when you begin to consider Surface Hub, not as a device, but as a new type of application platform. Product design apps like JT2GO or team collaboration platforms like Mural or even data modeling apps – these are all user scenarios where the Surface Hub just wows.

Whitlock-Microsoft-Gold-Partner-400x115At Whitlock, we are seeing tremendous customer interest as a unique integrator and advisor in this space. Our six decades of experience with audio visual systems and enterprise management, combined with our credentials as a Microsoft Gold Partner in Unified Collaboration, enables us to add value to customers where they are asking for it most: integrating the legacy with the next generation platforms seamlessly so that these solutions just work – in the real-world.

So, what’s the one thing that IT leaders should do to prepare for 2017 that will drive the most impact? Be bolder. Order the next generation of devices and UC platforms with confidence. You’d be surprised who has already started!

The maturity, security and scalability of these platforms powered by the cloud has come to a head, and the benefits far outweigh the concerns. With the right plans in place, you can roll out the new classes of devices on your network, and manage the risks proactively. The Future of Work is here. Now. Go after it… And Whitlock is here to help you along the way.

 
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