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The Enterprise Connect expert-led conference program will discuss the latest systems, software, services and applications for enterprise communications and collaboration. The conference is designed with one objective in mind: To help you optimize your investments in communications and collaboration systems, software and services. ALL TIMES LISTED ARE (U.S.) EASTERN TIME ZONE.

Cisco, Microsoft, or Zoom? Making Sense of Their Enterprise Platforms, Part 2


Brent Kelly  (President and Principal Analyst, KelCor, Inc.)

Phil Edholm  (President and Founder, PKE Consulting)

Date: Tuesday, September 28

Time: 2:00pm - 2:45pm

Track : Collaboration Platforms

Session Type: Virtual Conference Session

Vault Recording: TBD

(Second part of 2 parts)

Experts agree, the pandemic of 2020/21 has accelerated adoption of advanced communications capabilities significantly. During the pandemic, remote work and communications became everything. As enterprises return to their own version of a “new normal,” integrating these now familiar communications skills and modalities across the fabric of how they work will become a critical strategic need.

In this two-part session, independent industry analysts Phil Edholm and Brent Kelly return for a deep dive on three market leaders in advanced collaboration: Cisco, Microsoft, and Zoom. They’ll highlight similarities among the vendors’ offerings, but will focus mostly on differentiators among them in four important areas:

Hybrid Work — Learn how these vendors have transformed their solutions to enable the hybrid work environment that most companies are experiencing, plus discover how each is building out the ecosystem of devices to support hybrid workers. You’ll get each company’s vision and roadmap along with an analysis of their capabilities and functionality. Phil and Brent will express their views on how compelling these capabilities and devices really are for hybrid workers.

AI in the Platform — The three companies all have strategies for extending platform breadth, and a key differentiator among them is how and where they implement AI processing in terms of the architecture and components. A decision to perform AI processing in the cloud versus in the endpoints will define overall solution capabilities and features.

Adjacencies — An emphasis on re-engineering supply chains and business processes with an ever-increasing focus on cost and efficiency creates significant adjacencies in today’s communications system. This portion of the session will look at three in particular:

Frontline — Applying advanced communications and teaming capabilities to the frontline workforce to transform business processes and the workplace. Phil and Brent will examine each company’s focus and efforts on frontline workers, and they will examine whether telephony still has value for these workers as opposed to other communications mechanisms.
Business Processes — Many business processes are moving to cloud platforms, but does it make more sense to integrate these processes with a communications platform such as those offered by Cisco, Microsoft, and Zoom? Integration can be simple widgets, or it can be as complex as embedding the business process within the communications app or embedding communications as a subcomponent of the business process.
Contact Center — Microsoft and Zoom do not provide contact center directly, while Cisco does. The enhanced capabilities of customer care management are a significant focus for many organizations, either as part of a frontline focus or as a continuation of a typical call center. The session leaders will explore whether there is an advantage to having an integrated contact center offering directly from the UCaaS vendor.

Enhancing Meetings — The rapid adoption of advanced collaboration tools has shown both their business value and their deficiencies. This analysis will focus on the tools each vendor provides to enable better interactions and outcomes before, during, and after the meeting, with an eye on improvements to the overall experience and flow, including how these vendors are using AI to improve their offerings. The solutions each provider offers for large meetings (i.e., broadcasts and webinars) will be analyzed and compared.

To wrap up, Phil and Brent will leave you with an assessment of how they expect each vendor to address future tech direction. Join them and discover which vendor’s platform resonates most for your enterprise.