Peer-to-Peer Blog: Must There Always Be a Bleeding Edge?

Synnex's Paul Hayes

Paul Hayes, Director of Strategic Initiatives, SYNNEX Corp.

OK, here we go, my first blog! So, being a Data Guy” that has found himself in the middle of a Voice World” these past few years, I decided that the best thing I could write about is whats up with unified communications (UC)? Well, whats up is that there is a big paradigm shift, and if you are reading this rookie blog” you are probably in the middle of it. 

Paradigm shift” always got my attention, from the first time I heard of one, because it meant there is a big change coming  whether you like it or not (and you probably should know about it). We all saw it with Kodak, and how film disappeared almost overnight to be replaced by digital images. And, there was the end of sitting with your travel agent planning your exotic escape. Now, we can knock those arrangements off while driving to the travel agent (or in my case, while driving to the airport to take the exotic trip another story )  But, you get the idea. Things change, and are changing faster every day. 

Now, we see what is happening with the true integration of voice, data and video unified communications.”  That is now the subject of discussion for historical telephony providers AND data solution providers. Just as these technologies are converging, so are the people that follow those separate industries.

The difference here, versus other paradigm shifts,” is that the history in some ways is doomed to repeat itself.  What I mean is that there is just too much invested in both infrastructures to expect all of it to shift totally away (at least in the next few years). So, does that mean we dont need to change that much, that fast?  Or, do we need to find a way to leverage these existing infrastructures better? Can we get these colliding worlds” to co-exist, in a highly collaborative effort, to make it all work better, faster, cheaper, with a low risk of pain?  Another way to say it is, can we just skip the bleeding edge” and go right to the new paradigm?

Will the real UC please stand up? I think we will all know it when we see it, and find ourselves very comfortably using its solutions in those everyday business activities that non-techies” can actually understand and use.  (I can remember being six and barely knowing how to answer the family rotary phone; now my 10-year-old niece can communicate with the world from her iPhone while researching a school paper, playing an online game, creating a music video and giving driving directions to her mom via GPS. Did I also mention she has music playing in the background?)

Personally, I do think some of the answers are in other industries, as much as they are in looking at the history of phone systems and computer networks. Most new solutions like to overwhelm you with how new” they really are and how complicated they are to understand. (How the watch was made versus what time is it.) 

So, maybe the land rush” for telephony and desktop resellers and manufacturers into UC should instead be a collaborative effort?  Im sure the Peanut Butter people didnt always think about working with the Jelly people, until someone said, Hey, how about we make a sandwich with what we have here?” Yes, this is complicated stuff, but the complexity needs to be left behind the curtain” for the end users if we want to get there without the pain and suffering found at the Bleeding Edge.

Paul Hayes is director of strategic initiatives for value-added distributor SYNNEX Corp. His focus is on cloud-based SaaS and unified communications solutions. He joined SYNNEX’s Integrated Communications Group in 2007 to develop a consultative data and communications solutions sales model and later became director of production management for the same group and recruited and launched more than 20 product lines. Previously he spent eight years in various roles, including president, of Express Systems Integration, a regional data solutions provider. Prior to that, he spent four years at Inacom Information systems and got into the IT business in 1994 when he opened and managed the first Sears Business Systems Center reseller. He also is a member of the 2010-11 PHONE+/Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.

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