Last year, IR introduced a network assessment and testing tool. It is being well received by Microsoft partners, and the new version is switching from software to a cloud-based tool.
IR, an Australian-based global company that makes experience management solutions for unified communications [UC] and contact centres has announced that IR Prognosis UC Assessor, their network assessment and testing tool, is now available as a cloud-based service. The solution is certified by Microsoft and recommended in the Skype Operations Framework. Accordingly, it was announced today at the Microsoft Ignite event in Orlando, where IR is in attendance.
IR – the name is a contraction of Integrated Research – has been in business since 1988.
“We make cloud services and software solutions used for monitoring and management to enable the best experience possible,” said Skip Chilcott, Head of Product Marketing for IR. ‘Our sweet spot is organizations of 4000 and greater. We work well in larger environments because we can show problems hop to hop through an entire network.”
IR Prognosis UC Assessor is one of the newest tools in the IR portfolio, but it does have strategic potential.
“It is a very small fraction of our revenue today,” Chilcott said. “However, it lets us apply our expertise in a new area, and we are able to work with customers and partners at a much earlier phase than is typical for us.”
This is Version 2.0 of IR Prognosis UC Assessor, and with the enhancement comes its being switched to a cloud-based service. The solution is designed to identify network quality and performance levels according to Microsoft minimum requirements, and does troubleshooting and remediation of identified problem areas across the entire network path.
“Microsoft requires partners to do these assessments or they won’t support them,” Chilcott said. “Running network assessments can be complex, so organizations typically hire partners to do that for them. We have been doing this for a year as a software version. Most organizations typically do network assessment with hardware. We decided that moving this to a cloud version was the most streamlined and most effective way of doing it.”
Chilcott acknowledged that most of their customers are still mainly on-prem, and that while many have moved some things to the cloud., the majority haven’t fully committed to it.
“There is certainly a trust factor to get over here,” he said. “However Skype for Business is one solution that most customers do run in the cloud in some fashion. Running it as a cloud tool will let us do more with cloud services.”
Having the solution as a cloud tool will also be a significant asset for IR’s channel partners, who are increasing in number as Microsoft is adopting the tool as a new standard.
“We started this with zero partners 9-12 months ago,” Chilcott said. “We now have 70 partners and we are growing that number. Microsoft is encouraging this because the tool is so easy to use.
“It will help partners deliver network assessment as part of a broader deployment strategy,” Chilcott continued. “It enables partners to do a complete pre-assessment before they deploy, and cuts their assessment setup time and remote management to a few minutes. In addition, this is something that most customers tend to keep in place and run it forever.”
Chilcott also noted that as the channel for this grows, with the move to the cloud, IR has changed some go-to-market elements to appeal to partners.
“With the change to a cloud-based service, we are also changing the pricing and licensing to make it more channel friendly,” he said. “Partners can now pool them across customers and get economies of scale, which is very service provider-friendly in particular.” Licensing and testing has also been changed form being structured around sites to the number of tests.
Finally, while IR is stressing the utility of Prognosis UC Assessor for Skype for Business Online, Chilcott stressed that it isn’t Skype-specific, and will be able to be used in conjunction with other offerings solution providers and MSPs sell.
“We also support the new Microsoft Teams offering with this,” Chilcott said.
Prognosis UC Assessor is available now.