Enterprise shoppers ask BT lots of questions and pose many priorities before moving to the enterprise cloud, according to Randy Schrock, the director of BT One Services for BT Americas.
Schrock suggested that one imperative dominates the thinking of corporate executives considering recommending transitioning to the cloud: "You got to help me de-risk this decision because this is a bet-my-job scenario."
The year ahead will feature efforts to tie elements of an organization's IT infrastructure more fully to its enterprise cloud, Schrock says in Part II of a Q&A with Telco Transformation. In Part I, he spoke about the varied levels of services in regards to deploying enterprise cloud. (See BT’s Schrock: Enterprise Cloud Spans Globe.)
Telco Transformation: What are the keys in enterprise migration to the enterprise cloud?
Randy Schrock: Three things. Number one is user behavior and user adoption, so retraining the workforce as we're moving from a three by four dial pad to a headset with softphones.
Thing two is making sure that the network -- the LAN, the WAN, the Internet, the WiFi -- is prepared to carry the weight of a cloud-based solution. Taking the network readiness out of the equation is a huge part in this.
The third thing is really understanding the commercial elements. "This is where I'm going to retire costs." "This is where I'm going to incur new costs." "This is what the deltas of that look like as it aligns with a business case, or business value definition or corporate strategy." It's the user, it's the network, it's the business case. Those are the challenges.
TT: How do you assure your customers and prospects about the security of the enterprise cloud?
RS: There are three parts to that. First of all, we make sure that they understand the best practices as we understand them today. It involves communicating what those best practices are. That includes their corporate network, firewalling and policies that push down to global phones, smart devices; those things that are out in the wild most of the time.
The second part is just making sure that they understand the security elements that we have built into our service. Chief security officers get involved in these decisions and give us a checklist and ask, "Can you do this, this, this, this, this?" We vet that with the CSO or their security people in their IT group.
The third part is we make sure that they understand that we're monitoring new threats. People are starting to eavesdrop on SIP services, for example. There are a lot of smart bad people out there. As they continue to innovate, we continue to innovate.
TT: What do you see happening in the sector during the balance of 2017?
RS: What we're going to see through 2017 and into 2018 is cloud aggregation. In other words, people want telephone platforms to seamlessly integrate with salesforce.com, or what they've got going on in AWS, or maybe regulatory call recording in an e-discovery platform.
Customers want cloud interoperability, homogenization of those distinct cloud services. Customers are saying, "Why can't I just tie these things together magically like I did with my LAN?" We're seeing an increase in how often we hear [that type question].
The second part, which is a little more challenging, is user authentication and identity management. When we start talking about single sign-on and dual factor authentication, it gets a little more challenging based on the requirements of the disparate systems. The goal is authenticating the user and trying to get away from anonymous joiners -- making sure we have some sort of authentication of who that user is, whether they are in a corporate office, on an iPad, or on WiFi in Starbucks. Those are the more interesting challenges.
A lot of customers say, for instance, "I'm hosting a conference call where I'm sharing our Q3 financial summaries. I don't want a third of the callers to be referenced as anonymous one, anonymous two, anonymous three and so on." We have to make sure those joiners are authenticated and we know who they are.
TT: What else does BT hear from its customers and prospects?
RS: One of the things our customers tell us this very bluntly is "You got to help me de-risk this decision because this is a bet-my-job scenario. We're going to pull out our Avaya infrastructure that's been here for 17 years, or our Cisco Call Manager clusters that we've built our business around. It delivers voice and does it very well. If I'm going to do this, how can BT help me de-risk this decision?"
That's really where we start going back to the roots of our telephony heritage. First, it was copper, then it was fiber, now it's cloud and Internet. You know what, it's still BT delivering this dial tone with the same mission critical focus we did 60 years ago.
We've chosen to do that contractually. When we put SLAs in place, there are financial remedies associated with them. They can come into play if our service is down, or there's a fault, or the customer is not getting the level of service they want. That's a very important question we talk to customers about pretty regularly: How they can de-risk [the enterprise cloud] decision.
— Carl Weinschenk, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation