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Which Cloud Collaboration Platform Should You Choose?

As every astute observer of the industry is aware, cloud-based ecosystems for collaboration are growing in capability and adoption. Why? “It’s scalability, it’s ease of migration, and it’s support,” said Dr. S. Ann Earon, chairperson emeritus for the IMCCA. “Gone are the days when everybody wants huge amounts of staff to handle all of this from a management perspective.”

On the morning of the final day of IMCCA’s Collaboration Week New York, attendees gathered at Google’s Chelsea Market offices for presentations on the topic of cloud-based systems.

From left: Kevin Hyatt, Disney; Frank Montalvo, 21st Century Fox; John J. O'Brien, Montclair State University; and Josh Klempner, Citi.

On the morning of the final day of IMCCA’s Collaboration Week New York, attendees gathered at Google’s Chelsea Market offices for presentations on the topic of cloud-based systems. Earon led the morning off with an overview of the state of the market, covering issues like interoperability between platforms, projected consolidation through tactics like predatory pricing, and other aspects to consider before selecting a platform in what she described as a volatile market. 

“To choose the right services, you have to ask yourself ‘Does it work with my hardware, my platforms, and is it something I can already use?’ Earon said. “‘Does it work with the hardware and platforms my customers and business partners use? What kind of metrics support dashboards are provided? Will costs remain stable? Will that service exist three years from now?’ So you need to look at what’s best for you.”

Next, a panel of end users shared their experiences with implementing cloud-based systems, and offered some words of advice to others looking to do the same. Here are their takeaways:

1. Consider Enterprise Stability

“Think long and hard in advance on how you’re going to stabilize the platforms that the end users are going to be using to connect to the cloud, because those applications are where your pain points are going to be,” said Citi’s Josh Klempner. “There are going to be issues with roaming profiles, and different hardware settings inside of peoples’ personal systems, and they’re moving from one type to the other—and that little stuff is going to kill you, without a doubt.” He also cautioned not to forget about big production requirements, like town hall meetings, when one-to-many communications are required.

2. Consider Bandwidth

“Focus on network consumption,” said Disney’s Kevin Hyatt. “When you start sending all that traffic out to the internet and back, there is some consternation that I think the network teams are going to have in terms of congestion.”

3. Consider Privacy

Citi’s Klempner pointed out that his company has data privacy agreements with 95 countries that it does business in. “It’s something to keep your eye on in the very early stages, depending on who you are and what you’re doing. The data privacy part in any kind of global operation is going to be important.”

“In higher education, there’s FERPA: many of our students are not 21, so their works cannot be shown publicly,” said John J. O'Brien of Montclair State University. “You have to guarantee that their information or their content does not make it out into the public… HIPAA is also an issue: we have a nursing school, and psychological and clinical services with third-party billing. We’re always trying to tell vendors how important these privacy matters are. We have to protect that data.” 

4. Consider Flexibility

“Step back and take a look at the entire landscape,” said Frank Montalvo of 21st Century Fox. “You want to look at the portability, the flexibility of the product that you’re using, whether it works on a mobile platform. It’s saved me a bunch of time when I’m at the airport jumping on a Zoom before I board the plane. Also, sharing content, like town hall meetings or webinars: we’re on an enterprise license, so we can reach out to a lot of customers globally, whether it’s in Mumbai or Hong Kong, or domestically.”

See other coverage of IMCCA's Collaboration Week New York here: