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Dimension Data: Embracing the Shift From AV to UC
I recently co-wrote an article with fellow industry analyst, David Danto, covering the Enterprise Connect show in Orlando last March. As a follow up, I thought I would reach out to David to learn a little more about, Dimension Data, a $6 billion, global, business IT service provider, with an impressive breadth of services and depth of expertise. David is a principal consultant at Dimension Data, and covers collaboration, AV, multimedia, video, and UC - aligned with their Converged Communications Americas team.
Chatting with David, it soon became clear that the big picture isn't about particular products or equipment, it is about strategy. The channel is changing as customers are looking for more than the AV focused approach of yesterday. Customers don't want to just purchase equipment anymore; they want holistic solutions that involve the creation, and support, of a full featured, integrated, communications / data environment.
David strongly believes that if today's AV companies fail to shift away from the old product focused strategy, they will become dinosaurs. End users are tired of purchasing expensive, complicated AV equipment, which then sits unused, providing no ROI. We have learned that in order to achieve adoption, you have to enable and promote adoption. Part of this means that visual collaboration technology must be deployed as part of a larger program, which takes into consideration the specific needs and expected workflow of the users, on a location by location basis.
Dimension Data answers this call in the most obvious and direct way. They actually want to talk to the users. Whereas traditionally AV vendors tailored their sales to please the whims of the executive or general contractor with checkbook power, Dimension Data tailors their solutions to meet the needs of the actual users. After interviewing the users to understand their actual expected workflow (as part of their "Unified Communications Development Methodology") Dimension Data creates a catalog of options to meet those needs. A custom "blend" is created for each client. Simple templates are then designed for commonly used room configurations or other deployment assets, allowing for easy scalability and a consistent user experience.
Keep in mind, "converged communications" is but one of seven major service areas in the Dimension Data portfolio. Wrapping up your comms services into a larger service package can significantly simplify an environment. The most obvious example is the "one neck to choke" analogy. If something does go wrong, you can avoid the situation where multiple service providers are claiming the issue isn't on their end. Dimension Data can wrap up all your service contracts and manage them all, which means that they will be responsible (and responsive) to any and all service issues.
While their breadth is clear, I wanted an example of their depth. With the current interest in Lync in mind (and the difficulty I have had with some of its inner workings), I asked if Dimension Data is doing anything to provide special help for Lync users. Apparently, I picked a good example, because it turns out Dimension Data has created a Lync certification program for its experts which is so intensive it is known internally as "The Jedi Course." So yes, they are aware of the need for Lync support, and those of us who struggle with it shouldn't feel so bad. This is but one of many certifications programs they offer to employees, as part of a larger program to encourage employees to develop their expertise.
David and his colleagues will be at the upcoming InfoComm exhibiton in Orlando, in booth 1589. If you are considering a new Unified Communications or conferencing deployment, or just looking to update and improve your current workflow and environment, Dimension Data could have the answers you are looking for, and then some.
About the Author
David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.
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