Recently, ShoreTel Sky sat down with independent industry analyst and consultant David Michels who specializes in IP PBX UC strategies and solutions, cloud communications and enterprise mobility. In this latest interview piece, we asked Dave to share some insight on the evolving market for enterprise mobility.
ShoreTel Sky: How is the mobile movement impacting the traditional PBX? Does VoIP fit into this new picture?
Dave Michels: Users have always been mobile, that's not new. What is new is that they are now equipped with personal smart computers. When the user was mobile, we used to just send calls to voice mail or perform simple call forwarding. Both solutions addressed mobility to some degree, but with a whole bunch of trade-offs.
Today, many enterprise solutions can actually turn a mobile phone into an office extension, bringing the full at-office experience to wherever the person may be. This is much more than what call forwarding did, and even offers the ability to make outbound calls with an in-office look. The office isn't where the phone is, the phone is where you are.
ShoreTel: Can the cloud alleviate enterprise mobility challenges? If so, how?
Michels: The enterprise has historically been a fortress. Users inside the fortress have certain rights like the ability to make and receive calls using internal systems. For those that were outside that needed to be inside, we created VPNs or other solutions to foster the illusion.
Cloud systems approach the problem differently. Everyone is outside. Connecting a mobile client to a cloud system uses the same set up and authentication process for users within the fortress or at home. The fortress, just becomes another place where people work. There's quite a bit to this. For example, with an onsite call manager, a remote user making an external call uses double the enterprise bandwidth than a similar user on a cloud service. The cloud effectively treats all users as remote users or, more importantly, as equal users.
ShoreTel: How will enterprise mobility impact business communications in general?
Michels: We are seeing a significant improvement in productivity by allowing users to select not only where they work, but when and how as well. It's become so powerful a force that lack of mobility options is now considered a retention risk.