Derrick Monahan has over 20 years of experience in the areas of collaboration and video, enterprise networking and mobility. Most recently, as Practice Manager for Unified Communications (UC), his focus has been on the core architectures, including unified call control, collaboration edge, collaboration management and conferencing.

Q&A with Derrick Monahan

Tell us about your background and how you got into technology.
In college, I was doing research as an undergraduate in ophthalmology. There, a research fellow in my lab was involved in delivering distance learning using a video conferencing solution for remote and rural schools. I was intrigued by this and how it solved an important issue of delivering quality education to areas that didn’t have access to the same resources.  After graduation, I decided to shift my focus from biology to IT and immediately earned my MCSE. I worked for an aerospace company designing and supporting the server environment. After some exposure to networking, I quickly learned the Cisco CCNP/CCDP track and moved into the role as a Network Architect and Integrator with IBM. This role eventually led to a CSE position with Cisco where I enjoyed working directly with customers across multiple verticals in Mobility and Collaboration. Having a diverse background in Servers, Data Center, Enterprise Networking, Mobility and Collaboration has allowed me to take a more holistic approach to solution design.
What is your role at WWT?
As the UC Practice Manager, I am focused on the UC strategy around the core collaboration solutions including call control, management, edge solutions and conferencing. Regardless if these solutions are delivered on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid service, one of the key areas we focus on is productivity and the user experience.
What innovation is happening in your technology focus area that has you really excited?
The innovation that I am excited about is twofold. First, it involves the long-awaited adoption of video. Second, we are seeing UC evolve into what is termed today as Workstream Communication and Collaboration (WCC). WCC solutions take UC further by adding both content and context, including adding elements such as documents, customer applications and video. As a result, WCC solutions organize personal and group conversations into one tool, across devices and locations. I believe there is a fine line between a productivity tool and a burden, and email has crossed that line for me. The innovative solutions we are seeing are much better at organization, binding conversations and content in one place. This delivers on the UC promise of contextual communications.
Describe a recent interaction with a customer that led to solving a problem.
I recently met with a customer who had minimal visibility into their collaboration investments and how the users were using them. The customer did not have a simple way to plan for capacity growth, ensuring a level of service their customers expect. In addition, provisioning multiple user devices (IP phone, multiple soft clients and services) was not only expensive for IT to deliver to their customer, but was not very timely. The lack of effective collaboration tools added complexity and made it challenging for the customer to use.

 

After a collaboration workshop and demo utilizing a collaboration monitoring, management, analytics and provisioning tool, the customer saw the immediate benefit of freeing up time of senior level architects while also helping with capacity planning of their SIP Trunks as the company grows. User experience could now be measured, allowing IT to focus on improving the quality of voice and video calls of the end customer. They saw a reduction in cost due to a simplified provisioning workflow.