Saturday, January 16, 2010

UC@GMC - The endpoints

Ah, the touchy subject… Let me tell you what I think.

Microsoft have the leverage to learn from the best when comes to VoIP. OCS EV proves every day to be a valuable alternative to the Big Boys (and big money) solutions. I know at least one place where Nortel slashed their yearly maintenance fees 60% in desperate attempt to “distract” the College from moving to Microsoft UM and… yet this same college uses Exchange as email solution, OCS as IM solution, SharePoint as collaboration solution and so on. What would be the logical choice for VoIP in this case?

OCS on its way to mature as complete solution and yet Microsoft repeated one more time a common in the past mistake – looked in the mirror and said “yeah, we are the biggest and we know better” when comes to the endpoints. It is so typical in the IT world when one programmer write piece of code and another programmer goes like “Man, this is beautiful!” while for the rest of the world this still looks like Sumerian. I have a feeling the hardware part of OCS never left the corporate presentations until hit the market. You see, EDU sector is different. Say, in Geico, you can give the employee a banana, tell him - “This is how you make a phone call from now on” and that’s it. In EDU, we will form a committee and two focus groups to discuss “Is this a phone and can we use it in our college?”

There are three main objectives during the planning phase:  
  • To reduce or offset completely the stress when pushing major changes in the work environment
  • To complete the deployment with the lowest TCO thus achieving fastest ROI
  • To achieve maximum savings of MRC
Back in the days, when I told my boss that we need to place a $500 phone on the desk of an entry clerk that makes less than a $20,000 per year, he sent me to take a drug test and began listen only when I introduced endpoint for less than $80. Besides, Snom 300 series looks like a phone, feels like a phone and works like a phone.
We did some ‘physiological” tests. Catalina devices were introduced to different categories in our college. Needless to say, IT folks absolutely love it; the CIS faculties were OK with it and the rest – “Take this thing away from my desk, now!” When Snom 300 was introduced, all we got is “Ah, I have new phone.” And of course, with Tanjay we got “Can I keep it” and the answer is “No! It is too expensive and you will never use even 10% of the features.”
All our executives have Tanjay not because it looks cool but because it introduces features unseen before. It is simply the ultimate collaboration tool one could have on its desk. Let say the CFO calls branch office Director to discuss a budget request from the Dean. At some point the Director will say – “You know, I see the Dean is available, let’s escalate this call to a conference…” and all this from a phone device. Beautiful!
Down on the floor, all we have is “Georgia Military College, Business Office. How may I help you?”

1 comment:

Chris Norman said...

Good feedback for the folks at MS. You are probably right with some heads being stuck in the sand when they first released OCS when it comes to endpoints. I think as look at the the relationships MS is building in realtion to products that this will be changing in the near future. Nice blog by the way keep the posts coming.