Last week, I attended a user/vendor roundtable (literally, around a boardroom table in a law office) organized by a well respected Canadian consultant. There were some dozen customers, Nortel and Microsoft, and Cisco and Avaya. It was intended to provide insights and practical advice to the attendees.
In general, I think the format was very conducive to a good and generally friendly exchange of information over a 2 hour period.
I found myself agreeing with the Cisco spokesperson more often than not.
To Cisco's comment that in today's climate, saving money was very important, I AGREED.
I then observed that Nortel data solutions could immediately lower your energy bill by 40% and your TCO by up to 50% (as verified by third parties). In addition, UC based on software can also save money by unifying the IT infrastructure, not just the user experience.
Cisco then said that UC was about collaboration. I AGREED.
I said this was a narrow view, stating that while collaboration is very important, UC is all about optimizing business processes, a view that resonated with the audience, particularly when I illustrated the point by giving the example of accelerated patient discharge at Orlando Regional Health.
Cisco then said that integrating Cisco-based communications into business applications would take too long to deliver benefits. I AGREED.
This is exactly the problem with Cisco's network-centric approach which inherently creates bottlenecks for enterprise application innovation. With the Nortel Agile Communication Environment (ACE), we developed an app in 10 minutes while on stage at the Websphere development conference. Now that's the path to business agility and application innovation.
So who says I never agree with Cisco;)