Creating the Borderless Enterprise with Open APIs and Unified Communications

Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services all promise to transform businesses for the better, but only if they can be integrated properly. Open APIs combined with communications platforms may be the answer to this challenge.

Moussa Zaghdoud is Director, Cloud Business Unit ALE

New technologies are bringing new ways to work. The shift towards a more mobile workforce is growing as communication platforms and smart devices allow internal and external employees, partners and contractors to work and collaborate seamlessly, regardless of location, device, or time zone.

But legacy systems are making it hard for all businesses to make this move, as most lack the flexibility to adapt to these technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services all promise to transform businesses for the better, but only if they can be integrated properly. Open APIs combined with communications platforms may be the answer to this challenge.

Breaking Enterprise Barriers

As the number of organizations containing mobile workforces and shared workspaces increases—over 1.8 billion people by some estimates—the ability to provide cross-enterprise collaboration becomes critical. Employees can’t work out of the office unless they have access to everything they would have on-site, including the ability to communicate with colleagues and customers.

Communications platforms as-a-service (CPaaS) with open APIs are making this vision of the future possible. A platform with open APIs makes it much simpler to integrate new technologies and processes while offering a better connection between users and real-time information. For example, integrating with third-party applications could help automate workflows and advance collaboration among teams across enterprise boundaries, including time zones or countries.

Optimizing the Healthcare Industry

The benefits of this travel further than just the employees. For example, in the healthcare industry, a connected platform can integrate with existing hospital equipment to help manage critical, real-time communications. This can help provide essential services while freeing up staff time, including notification services and alarms across a range of devices and platforms and real-time video conferencing to check on discharged patients recovering at home.

Some patients may need to be reminded to take their medication after discharge. By integrating a communications platform with the hospital’s processes and the patient’s electronic medical record, automated notifications via text or instant messaging services can act as a timely reminder.

The Rainbow Among the Clouds

Because CPaaS is cloud-based, developers can add real-time communications features, such as voice, video, and instant messaging, into their own applications without disrupting current infrastructure. A CPaaS with open APIs can also integrate with current in-house and third-party apps, providing a separate and secure environment while allowing multiple users to access the platform at the same time.

CPaaS with open APIs enables developers to extend connections to standalone infrastructures. These provide a simple and secure way to extend communication and collaboration capabilities to systems outside of company borders, opening the door to new collaborative working models driven by innovations such as IoT, AI and automation.

For example, the open APIs behind communications platforms such as Rainbow allow organizations to benefit from proactive notification services which incorporate security devices, operational equipment and even fire safety alarms into one connected communications platform—saving lives and minimizing production downtime.

Driving Digital Transformation

As CIOs prepare their enterprises for greater collaboration across workforces, CPaaS can serve as the catalyst to drive this change for businesses. Conferencing, instant messaging and video calling can be added to these apps, bringing employee workflows in line with each other and being a powerful driver for digital transformation within the enterprise.

However, enterprise grade functionality of these apps—voice over WLAN, call routing, directory services, calendar integration and others—has to be ‘consumer grade’ in its elegance and ease of use. The connected platform becomes a ‘relationship machine’ that helps IT organizations deliver the services and technologies to transform how people work.

Open Architecture, Secure Infrastructure 

The shift towards open platforms will no doubt raise security fears. Businesses in all industries are becoming a target for cyber-attacks, so it is important to manage security issues on four specific levels – the OS, Transport, Application and User layers. It is also important to ensure company confidentiality so users can only see people from their own company, or those with a public profile.

There should also be a ‘second pair of eyes’ to ensure total platform security. Any CPaaS solution should be put under constant scrutiny by third party software such as the Nmap network security scanner, Nessus cloud for vulnerability management, Qualys for cloud security and SSL Labs for server testing, and audited by an external independent company.

Open for Business

The enterprise without borders is here, with the necessary control to secure your business during digital transformation. With open APIs, we are truly on our way to a connected enterprise, with platforms that connect workforces, processes and systems to enable real-time collaboration to make real-time decisions and actions inside and outside an organization.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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