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Opening the networks E

nterprise organisations are under pressure to open up their networks in order for employees

to use their own devices such as tablets and smartphones. It may not be a corporate handset that is being updated for much longer, but many companies don’t have a BYOD policy yet and security is the main concern. “There are also financial implications,” noted Pete Hannah, Business Unit Director, Unified Communications Business Unit, Avnet Technology Solutions UK. “Allowing employees to use the latest smartphones could easily incur a cost associated with bandwidth and data on contracts. Managing costs may mean understanding and considering FMC technologies for organisations across multiple handsets and up to four or five different Operating Systems. There is also a need to update wireless LANs to make them robust enough to support all the different devices.”

Pete Hannah

Growth in BYOD and the business use of social networking tools are being driven especially at the top end of the market. Mobility and the integration of enterprise mobile apps also present a challenge.

Members of the younger workforce expect to use their own devices on the corporate network because this is what they use daily and competently. While most people agree that BYOD will help organisations attract the best people and ultimately reduce costs by allowing flexible working, these individuals will demand the latest communication services via their own familiar devices from any location and on any network. “With BYOD security checks need to be robust,” added Hannah. “Likewise, when monitoring social networks for unsolicited or unwelcome comments about the company, the enterprise will need social media management software to trawl social media sites. For example, word searches which then pull these into the corporate network so any issues or negative comments can be addressed.”

These new challenges are not easy to deal with but the channel has been solving tricky problems such as these for many years. The diverse number of technologies and skills required for the integration of comms, networks, apps, wired and wireless represents

an opportunity for agile partners with a variety of skills. “With the support of a strong solutions distribution partner now is the time for resellers to build on core competencies and introduce new solutions to help customers adapt to the demands of flexible working and implement new BYOD standards and policies to reduce complexity,” added Hannah.

He offers two top tips for IP PBX resellers/integrators operating in this sector. “The first is to ensure customers have a very good data network if this is being done as an IP PBX deployment including wireless, because tablets and smartphones use 400 per cent more wireless than a PC,” pointed out Hannah. “Secondly, have a very good security policy in place to accommodate BYOD and social media. Both of these initiatives may require resellers to learn new skills and technologies, and they will have to look outside of their organisation to grow and develop into these areas. Avnet would also recommend working closely with a solutions distribution partner as two heads are better than one. Distributors have a deep pool of expertise and experience to complement a business partner’s own resources.”

Cutting the cord The increased iPad and tablet uptake is driving the need to ‘cut the cord’ and is starting to push aside the laptop culture in favour of mobile devices. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has recognised these trends and can now work with channels to offer fully integrated UC services on these devices going beyond just video. “Mobilising the enterprise isn’t just about deploying a few smart devices and tablets, it’s about having full control and access to the right communications services environment wherever you are, whatever you are doing and whatever you need at that point in time,” commented Nigel Jones, Director, Presales North Europe, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.

“Channels and integrators need to address the complete end-to-

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end approach to help monetise services around BYOD trends and consumerisation,” he said. “The overall quality of experience will be a major factor for success, and channel delivery will play an important role in determining how networks, devices and applications perform together correctly.”

Multi-media comms A major opportunity for resellers is that they can move the conversation beyond just selling a voice-based solution and can now sell a fully integrated and multi-media communications architecture encompassing voice, data, mobility solutions, Internet and business process automation. It creates an opportunity sell applications to meet business needs.

“The BYOD smartphone is a disruptive technology, but enterprise class customers want to bring it under corporate control for reasons of cost, legal compliance, network security and data protection,” commented Colin Mann, Marketing Manager, Aastra Telecom (UK). “That is why manufacturers such as Aastra are including FMC solutions as part of their UC enterprise class platforms such as the Aastra MX-ONE.”

An integrated approach also delivers significant user benefits including one-number contact and presence information. By offering an integrated approach combining UC with FMC technology resellers can monetise BYOD, bringing the personal device within the corporate communications process.

“But resellers should be prepared for a long sales cycle,” warned Mann. “Only consider solutions that offer interoperability, open standards platforms and applications can be a great benefit for the resellers’ tool kit. Broaden the conversation and therefore the sales opportunity beyond technology to address business issues and solutions. Adopt a solutions-sales approach. Don’t try to box-shift to an enterprise organisation.”

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