Q: So how quickly is this hosted UC market taking shape?
A: The big shift has been building for quite some time. I think the big shift that has taken place recently is that a lot of the operators have been delivering what I would call hosted PBX functions, very much voice-centric capabilities...
Q: The managed Centrex kind of thing?
A: Exactly. Centrex was not a loved term, but definitely in the hosted voice world, a much richer experience, passing lots of the control over to the end users, but very much centered around replacing the PBX into the cloud. I think what's shifted in the last 18 months is really taking that core and adding on the rest of the productivity capabilities that I mentioned before and transforming what I would call hosted voice or hosted PBX to now it's hosted unified communications capabilities. It's not a U.S.-only phenomenon or a particular market. We're seeing this happen in every market that we participate in around the world. One of the things driving that is that unified communications is a very complex service to build. Lots of services, lots of functional elements, lots of complexity. The operator can reduce that complexity for the enterprise, so they can get this rich unified communications suite without all the complexity and with interoperability and upgrades. They can really take advantage of the productivity gains without all that major investment in both capex and ongoing operating expense.
Q: One of the things that service providers are criticized for is that they haven't moved very quickly into the cloud services market. At least in the customers' minds, they don't have a great track record. What is it about the product set that you deliver that would make the enterprise user comfortable with this hosted UC?
A: Many times the challenge the operators have is that they're delivered a set of components of technology and they're required to integrate and create the end service. We've brought everything together for the operator from user experiences, and what I mean by that is clients that run on all the various devices that are delivered out of the network, upgrade out of the network, to the core functions, to the bridging functions, audio conferencing functions. The very massive amount of interoperability to all the devices that make up the solution, so handsets and gateways and all the things that need to be done, but the end user really doesn't want to know how complicated that is. We've done a tremendous amount of work in making sure all that is really simple, integrated, easy to use, so that the operators can deliver much more effectively. We've also focused for the operators on how to deliver the value proposition. We've done lots of work in terms of helping them do a better job of understanding the customers' requirements, and how to match that to the capabilities in the suite.
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