Looking forward to Decentralized Communication

Matthew Hodgson, Director, Amdocs [NASDAQ:DOX]
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Matthew Hodgson, Director, Amdocs [NASDAQ:DOX]

1. How has your IT operating model changed during the last five years?

Amdocs provides mass-market UC solutions to Telcos, rather than focusing on operating its own internal UC solutions.

2. What do you think are the biggest obstacles that the Unified Communications technologists face in working in a more agile and outcomes based model?

The biggest challenge by far is the explosion of alternative UC technologies. It’s no longer just Microsoft versus Cisco —players like Slack, HipChat and even WhatsApp are the real contenders to the throne. Users are bringing their own apps to the table, and it’s up to corporate IT to react. Technologies like Matrix.org can help bridge the old with the new, letting disparate teams on Slack and friends integrate with the official corporate UC deployment whilst preserving IT infosec requirements.

3. Moving from traditional IT to a service offering model requires a major mindset shift in IT. How did you make that happen?

Amdocs is in the business of selling SaaS models, so this wasn’t a big stretch for us. In practice some customers require on-premise deployments; others are happy to use cloud-hosted deployments. All of our UC solutions are written to be “cloud first”, so no transition was needed.

4. Even though you do not measure your team on project deadlines, fast delivery must still be important to you. How are you delivering faster?

All of Amdocs’s UC development has been done via Agile methodologies-typically a dialect of Kanban. The real secret however is that the team operates as an incubated startup, with autonomy from the rest of Amdocs (other than where shared resources benefit and make sense). This gives us best of both worlds: a small and agile hungry startup mentality... but the resources and funding of a multi-billion dollar multinational like Amdocs when required.

  We are incredibly excited about the advent of decentralized communication-applying the equivalent technologies to Bitcoin and Blockchain but to the UC space   

5. What set of skills do you think is required for the technology leaders to be successful in the new enterprise landscape?

Adaptability is everything. Adopting open source solutions and hiring in-house to support them rather than submitting to the conventional wisdom of buying Microsoft and Cisco can provide a huge advantage. Why hand all your data over to Office365 or Slack when you can host it for free (modulo support) via open source UC systems such as Riot or Rocket.Chat?

6. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?

We are incredibly excited about the advent of decentralized communication-applying the equivalent technologies to Bitcoin and Blockchain but to the UC space. Projects such as Matrix.org, IPFS and Blockstack are creating entirely new ecosystems for neutral and interoperable communication on the net, structured algorithmically such that no single company controls the ecosystem. This lets users and businesses connect together without going through a choke-point controlled by a single solutions provider, liberating the companies to control their own communication as they please, and providing a common layer of interoperability between all the different silos and wall gardens of communication that we see today. We expect to see the same revolution in the UC space that Bitcoin has the potential to trigger in the FinTech space. There is no better time to be involved in UC!

7. We are all dealing with technology every day. How does technology drive your life in Unified Communications?

Our team is decentralized over London, Rennes (France), Stockholm (Sweden), and enjoys an open source community of hundreds of contributors who are dotted around the world. The team simply couldn’t exist without decentralized unified comms—the entire functioning of the organization depends on dog-fooding our own technology. So it’s fair to say that UC drives our life... just as our life drives UC!

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