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Time for the Enterprise to Go OTT

By Todd Carothers

In the telecoms world, the acronym OTT (over-the-top) has become synonymous with service innovation and improving customer experience. As the rise of the enterprise consumer gathers pace, this could well be the case in the enterprise market before too long...

In order to compete with the growing range of innovative services provided by the likes of Google, Facebook, Skype and the ilk, that capture the user so effectively and give them an experience they just can’t do without, traditional telecom providers have been forced into developing new services that move above their traditional markets of lines and minutes.


Now enterprise IT teams are getting in on the OTT act, moving beyond IT caretaker roles to delivering innovative business services to their users; services with the kind of brilliant experience that consumers take for granted in their personal lives; providing the kinds of communications tools to enterprise users whose reputation and user-base will grow virally within the business; to make unified communications (UC) really work.

Here’s how…

 - Listen to the consumer inside every business user

The rise of the tech-savvy, mobile, enterprise consumer and the dramatic uptake of services such as Skype and WhatsApp show there's huge demand for great communication services.

While not every enterprise has leapt into the cloud or embraced BYOD, their rise has served to shape perceptions of the value offered by traditional suppliers past and teach IT teams the art of the possible: they’re glimpsing ways to be a better service provider to their enterprise users.

For business communications there is really nothing more important; fail to deliver the right user experience, and forget any promised benefits of productivity or cost savings. Users have got to want to use the communications tools you give them. They are crying out for services to match the mobile and app experiences they have in their personal lives, at work. And importantly, they want to do it on any device they choose, in a secure and compliant manner.

- Find your inner Service Provider

IT teams need to turn themselves into the enterprise's equivalent of an OTT service provider to rival the likes of WhatsApp and Snapchat. To deliver what employees want, need and will use as a go-to communications service, they need to go above traditional business communications – in the same way traditional telecom providers are doing. This is about giving the end-user the experience and choice they want, but without losing control over security, policy and cost.

Unlike UC solutions of the past, an OTT model can offer compatibility with any vendor and many-vendor, on-premise and cloud. Cisco in your datacentre, Lync messaging in the cloud, MobileIron securing devices and CounterPath Bria softphone endpoints? Sure! Who cares? It should just work. And any other combination thereof for that matter. Over the top. The important bit is that it must work with a consistent user experience, on every device and OS out there. Plus, with the management tools and systems that allow enterprise IT teams to innovate, implement and deliver.

Enterprise OTT promises to brush away those old impediments of UC past – the right experience for the users, and for the teams delivering that experience. The RoI comes back to the promises initially made by UC vendors all that time ago: productivity and cost savings. Except this time it’s about unifying your users’ communications, rather than forking out for unified communications.

It’s a whole different attitude for enterprise IT. If you can find it in yourself to embrace the service provider within you then you can recapture the imagination and cooperation of an increasingly savvy and cynical user-base by innovating and delivering services that they will use and enjoy using, and that you control.

To learn more about CounterPath's take on Enterprise OTT, check out these additional resources:


Todd Carothers

About Todd Carothers

Todd Carothers is the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Products at CounterPath and oversees Product Management and Marketing initiatives. Growing up in Silicon Valley and having witnessed the technical marvels coming out of Xerox PARC (where his dad was a patent attorney) Todd developed a deep passion for the high-tech industry. With a particular interest in Internet and mobile applications, Todd eventually found himself within the massive Telecommunications sector and companies that were on the leading edge of new services that added significant value to operators worldwide.