Using Collaboration for Insightful Business
Currently serving as the Vice President Collaboration at Carousel Industries, Kevin McCarron has two decades of illustrious career in the Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) industry. Having joined the industry right after college, McCarron has worked in different roles in systems integration and IT service provider organizations. At Carousel Industries, McCarron leads Carousel’s Cisco, Avaya, and Microsoft-centric UC&C Business Unit. McCarron talks to us about collaboration technology and its trends in today’s market.
Trends and their Influence on Company Strategy
The trends are drastic, whether it is convergence voice on IP networks or video as opposed to siloed separate networks. We’re at the point where we’re fully converged; there is very little that is not. First, we saw the convergence of voice becoming an IP-based application, later down the road we started seeing these applications run on commodity hardware. Then we saw virtualization, and with that, video became something that was converged and not separate. The trends are rarely reflected within IT service providers, integrators or enterprises. When evaluating a vendor’s solution, it is important to look at their ecosystem. This is often assessed by the third party development community, where application development-focused organizations leverage APIs and SDKs to build on the vendor’s Solution. This is very legitimate in terms of data-points, which reflects on the vigor of a given vendor’s ecosystem. When we work with a client, we ensure that they are looking at things holistically; so it is still common to have a telecom team, to have a video team, and an applications team. You still have to get fairly high up in the IT stack to see where all that comes together and yet that is the reality of how a business utilizes the technology.
Identifying the Right Partners
Companies need to know that their partner has a viable financial model, if they don’t, one of two things is going to happen—They’re going to sell their organization, and then the partnership takes on a different tone that could be better or worse, but it not stable; or they go out of business. If companies have a partner that isn’t strong or has a siloed voice model, for example, and has not been able to develop their portfolio side of it, is very troubling. Our partners should not be overly hardware focused, as the industry is software-based today. The partners should be financially stable, have portfolio flexibility and have the ease of doing business with. They should have flexible consumption models; companies don’t want to put a metaphorical gun to their client’s head to try and define the consumption model that they have to choose. They need to be open to having a strong developer ecosystem as a variety of consumption models are still needed in the cloud space.
The trends are drastic, whether it is convergence voice on IP networks or video as opposed to siloed separate networks
Projects that you Currently Oversee
We are in the process of re-defining all our XaaS offerings company-wide, including our UCaaS and CCaaS offers from the Collaboration team. As these spaces mature, a more integrated set of XaaS offers that bring together networking, data center technologies, security, and all elements of collaboration are something we don’t think the market has perfected yet. We are doing our best to ensure that our offer sets are not siloed and easy for clients to consume. Vertically-aligned offers are another area of development, the contact center is a natural space to start, given its high degree of alignment and integration with LoB. Finance and Healthcare are where we are focused now, and I believe this is the beginning of a trend within our company and the general marketplace to create more value, with offers tailored to the needs of specific industries.
Strategic Points to Steer the Company Forward
When looking to achieve our strategy of XaaS transformation, whether we refer to sales, sales operations, project management, adoption services, service delivery as a whole, or any other area, it is a cross-company, all-consuming effort. Because of the Convergence mega-trend mentioned above, a risk that might develop can affect every client. Despite this, it’s still possible, and necessarily for our success, to define area of focus, and be disciplined in our execution around those decisions.
Advice for Aspiring Peers
People entering into this space should focus on having a fundamental, foundational set of technical skills. A well-rounded skill set has always been important, but more so, now. Get an understanding of vertical knowledge, get experience in the vertical you want to align yourself to, be it healthcare of finance. It is equally important to have a foundational background, these days it is around having an understanding of APIs and development. That doesn’t mean people have to venture out of their space to become developers. Have an understanding of the development so that ‘You’ know what the APIs are capable of, which will be an important skill set going forward.