Cisco Deploy-a-thon: Growing up
Van Hammond, Product Manager, VOSS Solutions
I've attended 4 HCS deploy-a-thons over the past 5 years, and I've seen the deploy-a-thon evolve from a raw engineering hands-on session with a marketing slide tossed in on the side, to this week’s 5-day event in San Francisco which shows the strong support for HCS from Cisco’s business development team, Advanced Services, and product management teams.
The original purpose of the deploy-a-thon was to accelerate the rollout of Game Changer (CUCDM 10X) via hands-on training for partner engineering teams. Scheduled over 3 days, the first partner deploy-a-thon provided direct exposure to CUCDM 10X and valuable feedback to the HCS and VOSS engineering teams.
Through the efforts of Mo and the HCS business unit, the deploy-a-thon has evolved to be a significant week-long marketing event, where Cisco drives new strategies and gathers Partner feedback… and a little hands-on experience.
VOSS has been directly involved in EVERY deploy-a-thon. As the core platform developers for CUCDM, VOSS engineering and support teams work hand-in-hand with the HCS BU to enhance and expand the partner experience, building a better HCS product to increase market share.
In San Francisco this week, Cisco is hosting the latest HCS deploy-a-thon. The build up to this meeting was significant, and it has not disappointed. The agenda is packed with information that is absolutely critical to HCS partner programs. As usual, VOSS is supporting the Cisco BU as the latest strategy, thoughts and ideas are communicated to the Cisco HCS partners.
The original VOSS 8 platform that Cisco OEM’d back in 2009, known as CUCDM, enabled HCS partners to gain a significant foothold in the emerging Cloud UC market. Feedback from partners operating and using the VOSS 8 platform encouraged Cisco and VOSS to form a joint venture to develop the next generation of CUCDM; version 10. Developed under the project name "Game Changer", the goals were significant; namely to enable solid domain management for the HCS solution elements while offering a flexible platform that could interact with the UC applications to enable market differentiation for partners.
Initially deployed in March 2015, CUCDM 10 has been hardened and tuned over the past two years by the collaboration between Cisco and VOSS engineering teams. The 11.5.1 release last month is the latest evolution of CUCDM and boasts of several performance and user experience enhancements that continue to build on our past successes. VOSS 10 and 11.X are currently deployed in over 40 partner systems and are the benchmark fulfillment systems within the UCaaS/cloud provider industry.
Future of HCS Fulfillment
Over the past six months, Cisco has evolved the HCS strategy and opened up the HCS bundle, affording partners more control and the ability to differentiate themselves within the increasingly completive UCaaS market. Essentially, Cisco’s initiative enables partners to convert their HCS product licenses to open product architecture licenses, and then choose which fulfillment management platform to use. VOSS supports this initiative with a program called H.O.M.E (the HCS Open Management Evolution program) to actively work with partners to transition to OPA and to formalize a direct relationship with VOSS to move from CUCDM to the enhanced VOSS-4-UC platform, direct from VOSS.
The value of transitioning from CUCDM to VOSS-4-UC is that it frees HCS partners from the "one-size-fits-all" model imposed by Cisco for CUCDM, to use VOSS-4-UC which is a highly flexible UC management platform that partners can adapt as necessary to suit their needs and enhance their product offering.
This week at the San Francisco deploy-a-thon, each eco-system partner presented to the partner community; each laying out their strategy and vision for Cisco HCS. Great questions and interaction from the participants led to another solid session.
A highlight for me was the VOSS presentation given by our CEO, Mike Frayne. While most of the Cisco presenters this week focused on the extended future of SPARK Message, Spark Meeting and Spark Call, Mike addressed the current state of partner interest where the evolving Spark components are integrated with the already successful HCS core program. Mike laid out the key differentiators of successful HCS partners, showing the customer adoption profile that proves that the HCS business model is gathering strong momentum.
Central to Mike’s message to the partners was the need for partners to move their marketing / sales / product management focus away from CUCDM to be more customer centric and to build a cloud platform to deliver what the market is pushing for, taking into account all the new technological innovations but being careful to adopt the only those services that have clear financial drivers.
Mike positioned the difference between CUCDM and VOSS-4-UC, with CUCDM being a black box of carefully selected features that are developed and tested in a true carrier grade fashion and certified by Cisco, and VOSS-4-UC as everything that CUCDM contains with additional feature richness and the architectural flexibility to rapidly deliver additional features and integration into existing business solutions, both rapidly and efficiently.
We are looking forward to Thursday's session where VOSS will share the full feature list of VOSS-4-UC, explaining the added value partners can derive from VOSS, above and beyond the features in CUCDM. We will show partners how to utilize VOSS-4-UC to greatly increase the speed and efficacy of customer on-boarding, and provide expanded market features to grow revenues. Thursday will also be the day for the deep dive session on the new VOSS Assurance product provides visibility to network metrics and allows HCS partners to be more proactive in maintaining the HCS network health, with fewer dedicated resources.
If you are interested in learning more about the H.O.M.E program, VOSS-4-UC, VOSS Assurance or VOSS Analytics, please get in touch.