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NWN Targets UC And Collaboration For The 'New Normal' With Officeanywhere

"If you go to some of these cloud apps, they don't even know how to spell SLA. It's going to be really risky to build your business on top of these for the new normal," an NWN executive tells CRN.

Solution provider NWN has launched a suite of managed unified communications and collaboration services aiming to provide simplification and lower cost for midsized companies, while also enabling workforces wherever they might be located.

The integrated suite of services, Officeanywhere, is based on Cisco Webex and was built in partnership with Cisco, said Andrew Gilman, head of marketing and alliances at NWN.

[Related: NWN Launches First Responder Bundle To Equip Pandemic Response]

Waltham, Mass.-based NWN sees a massive market opportunity, Gilman said, with a growing need for solutions of this type in midsized companies with between 50 and 1,000 seats. While demand for unified communications and collaboration technologies has boomed during the shift to work-from-home, many of these tools do not offer a service-level agreement (SLA), he noted.

"If you go to some of these cloud apps, they don't even know how to spell SLA. It's going to be really risky to build your business on top of these for the new normal," Gilman said.

With Officeanywhere, "you get the reporting, you get the analytics, you get the self-service, you get the simplicity of the offering with the SLA that you typically don't get in this space," he said. "We're building it with Cisco, but we're able to incorporate our own intellectual property and our services."

The integrated offering includes solutions such as end-to-end collaboration; a consistent experience across desktop, mobile, messaging, video, meetings and voice; unified messaging, including instant messaging and persistent chat, across both desktop and mobile; high-definition video and screen sharing for meetings; enterprise calling including IP phones and software clients for PCs; and connectivity services including network and public switched telephone network options.

The cost of the offering, meanwhile, is roughly half that of other offerings in the space, while the complexity is greatly reduced as well, Gilman said. Customers aren't getting 10 different bills from vendors, and are getting solutions that "talk to each other," he said.

"This is one platform with one experience with one SLA," Gilman said.

Notably, Officeanywhere provides unified communications and collaboration for workers regardless of where they're located, with solutions available across the full range of devices so that workers can easily move between office and home work environments, he said.

"It is exciting to see NWN's innovation with the Officeanywhere solution especially as we look at the future of work," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of marketing for Webex/Collaboration at Cisco, in a news release. "As employers are making plans to bring employees back to work spaces, while still supporting those who need to work remotely, this offering provides a single solution to support workforces regardless of where they are, with security built in."

Ultimately, "it's not just the calling--it's not just about the app. It's about the SLA, and about, 'are they going to be there for me?'" Gilman said. "It's the network. It's the connectivity. It's the support that you get. It's got everything rolled together, and you're getting a predictable cost model."

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