The graying of collaboration

I had the opportunity to attend the Avaya Evolutions event at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto recently. According to Avaya Canada’s Market Manager, Rob Daleman, over 900 end user customers registered for this event.

The trade show featured display exhibits from a variety of new and long standing telecom carriers, dealers and VARs. There were educational sessions geared to all levels within an organization, whether government, education or corporations.

One of the more interesting education sessions was from a customer who had deployed VoIP and unified communications solutions throughout his corporation over the past year and one half (national and internationally). He stated that his internal and external business customers were the ones that ‘had no fear’ and drove the project and the extension technology changes required to their telecom, network and communications applications environments.

What were our ah-has from the event?

During various networking discussions, I had the chance to chat with numerous telecom professionals, many whom I had not seen for quite awhile, in some cases two or three years.

I also had the opportunity to chat with some new technology professionals, where this event was their first ‘telecom event.’

Many of the experienced telecom professionals said that this was one of the first ‘big customer events’ in a long time, and they saw it as a sign that the industry was finally turning around.

A few also commented that many of the customers attending were younger than they expected, and that they were also very inquisitive and curious to learn not just about the new telecom technologies, but also the older legacy parts that their organizations were still depending on.

Some of the more experienced professionals commented on the pace of change and growing complexity that the new converged telecom solutions required, whether it involved more network technologies, more telecom/IT applications or integration between enterprise applications and communications applications. They expressed concerns about their ability to keep up and evolve their skills to be able to deploy and support these converged IT/telecom/network solutions … haven’t we at FOX GROUP said this before?

Lastly, many of the customers expressed their concerns about the expectations we would have of the vendors to bring the various IT, telecom and network knowledge and skills together to help us as customers. Since many of the organizations don’t have the expertise, we would obviously need our vendors to have the skills and experience, particularly for this early stage of UC deployments in Canada.


We don’t believe that the maturity of the telecom customer base has anything to do with fear of change. We believe that it is more about our concerns of the telecom industry’s ability to provide service and support for complex solutions that are evolving when they continue to reduce their experienced workforce.

We all understand how much time, effort and expense it takes to develop the ability to design, install and support these various technologies. As early adopters and experimenters of next generation technologies, we at FOX GROUP particularly understand and appreciate the pain our clients face on a regular basis.

As the economy improves, we encourage the telecom and IT industry to increase their investment in staff education and professional development, and think of ‘outside of the box’ alternatives to leverage their experienced professionals other than retire them out.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback. mailto:[email protected], 905.473.3369 x 1001.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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