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Esna EVP Davide Petramala at the Cisco Collaboration Summit [with video]

Posted by Diane Lai on Thu, Feb 20, 2014

Davide Petramala, Esna's EVP of BD & Sales, shares his thoughts on the future of collaboration and how Esna enables collaboration across a variety of cloud applications.

"Communication should be easy and people should have the freedom to choose how and when they communicate with one another." ~Davide Petramala

Esna EVP Davide Petramala at the Cisco Collaboration Summit [with video] |


Video Transcription:

James: I'm joined today by Davide Petramala from Esna. David, welcome to Florida.

Davide: Thank you, James.

James: I believe you're from Toronto?

Davide: Absolutely.

James: The weather must be a lot better here than it is there right now?

Davide: Just slightly a bit better.

James: Pretty much the same as London. I was looking at your company website today and I was really interested by something I read and I'm going to read it out. "Communications should be easy and people should have the freedom to choose how and when they communicate with one another."

So, tell me more about how Esna enables that freedom of communication?

Davide: That's a good point, right? That's the key selling proposition to what we do. Our concept is, you have to deliver collaboration or the ability to communicate where people spend their time. And that could be a business process, that could be an application, it could be a device.

Our concept is to embed it where people spend most of their time. When we look at the Enterprise, in particular, what we do is we embed it in applications. Look at lines of business, CRM' s, Salesforce automation, e-mail. Different lines of business spend their time in these applications driving their day to day business. Our goal is to embed live collaboration tools without deploying any software, without any complexity. Just making it relevant there for them to use.

And again, by doing that and some of the technology we do is pure web services. But the idea of doing that is, we know where people are going. People aren't tethered to PCs. People aren't tethered to this sort of traditional way of accessing work, right? It could be a mobile device, it could be a virtual device, it could be a PC. But that shouldn't matter.

The idea is, I log into my profile. I'm a user in the organization. I'm in that application driving my day to day business. And I should have those tools embedded inherently there for me to use. And that's what we do. That's the strength of Esna. It's embedding the collaboration tools in the interfaces, regardless of what the application is, that people are going to leverage on a day to day basis.

James: And make them readily available at any time on any device, I would imagine.

Davide: On any device. That's the concept.

James: So, tell me. I use my iPad all the time as an anchor. I'm sitting here, I've got my questions, my notes. So, what you're saying is Esna can help me have everything I would need to operate as a professional on this device?

Davide: Envision this. You're asking me a question and you don't know, you forget something. Wouldn't it be nice to either touch something in the application that you are in on that device and ask a question of someone else, let's say in the film crew or someone else you know and get information on Esna? And they can provide it to you while you're in the interview. That's sort of what we do.

James: Really? That's amazing. I think we need to work with you. So, tell me, what are Cisco and Esna doing together?

Davide: It's pretty interesting stuff, actually. Esna has been around for about 20 years. I'm one of the founders, I run the business side of the organization. And through our history, we built products for other vendors globally.

In the last five years, what we did was we embarked on strategic relationships with application providers. We looked at, I'll get around to the Cisco piece. But we looked at market disrupters. So, we looked at CRM, It was a massive disrupter in CRM and Salesforce automation.

Google Apps. You had this whole new concept of e-mail that required no physical device. You could just log into your profile and have access to it. And then we looked at Jive Software and social. We looked at these major disrupters and one common theme was, there was no software.

It was a pure web service. People were adopting it in droves. We saw that's where businesses were going. And then, Cisco approached us because they saw what we were doing in this space. We were embedding collaboration in this sort of ubiquitous world. And over the last year, we've worked extensively with Cisco to integrate their collaboration assets.

So, we look at them as the leader in Enterprise collaboration tools. From WebEx, to Call Manager, to Jabber, even Unity Connection. And what we did was we sort of took our framework and embedded their collaboration assets as integrated components, so they could live and breathe in the environments that we support.

So, now, an Enterprise, who lives in Cisco, who has invested in Cisco, can make that move toward Cloud and mobile environments and seamlessly have those tools available to them. It's been pretty been successful. Actually, we launched this about eight months ago with Cisco. We already have about 80,000 seats deployed, where people are leveraging Cisco technology with our integration into sort of some type of Cloud service, whether it's Salesforce, Google or Jive.

And it's been widely adopted by organizations like Office Depot. In the education sector, Vassar College, George Washington University. So, we're seeing every sector being touched by this joint development. And it's a nice, emerging development. So, it's not just what we do today. Now, we're looking at it and we're saying "You had all the market disrupters, but who are the market leaders?"

Oracle made the statement, everything they do is going to be Cloud in the next 12-24 months, right? You look at IBM in the social. So, now, that we've shown or provided the proof points around the disrupters, we're now looking beyond that and saying "Who are the market leaders?" Let's make that sort of ubiquitous access to Cisco everywhere.

It touches every major Enterprise. Because, really, it's looking at where they're going, not where they're at today.

James: It's 80,000 in six months, what's the predictions for the next six months?

Davide: That 80,000 was built on the work of a small Esna collaboration team, which was about eight people. Cisco has now built their business development team. They're sort of evangelizing this product. And now, we've opened this up to theaters like AMEA, Asia-Pac, Latin America, North America. We see that quadrupling.

The funnel today, so you're talking 80,000 seats deployed. The funnel today is 3 million users that this has been proposed to already. So, we see massive growth. And the truth of it is, the original project was really based on the value of people that were living in Google.

Only recently, in the last two or three months, we expanded that to Jive and Salesforce. And as we add more applications, we're adding more relevancy of where Cisco can deliver value to organizations.

James: You mentioned education [inaudible at 00:05:56]. Tell me how a college, for example, would use the technology?

Davide: Think about faculty now trying to collaborate with students. The stat we have in North America and it's relevant in Europe, the UK, as well. Is Google owns 60 percent of that market share. 70 of the top 100 universities in North America are on Google Apps.

So, can you imagine? Your faculty is living in Cisco, your students are living in Google. And what we do is give them the ability that it doesn't matter; they can communicate as if they're all on one platform. So, students would know if their professors are available on the phone, off the phone or online.

Professors could post a message and have that distributed to all of the students through Google Groups or Google Circles. So, for example, they could leave a message and that can be forwarded to Google+ with circles that coordinate with their students.

James: And it goes straight onto their devices? iPod, iPad?

Davide: Absolutely. That's the big point.

James: It wants to access people in a matter where they are and what they're using.

Davide: Exactly. So, by leveraging, by integrating that sort of corporate world with that consumer world that is sort of that next-generation tool; again, it's untethered, right? Google+, Gmail is on any device.

In the university world, it's delivering collaboration at the lowest common denominator at the lowest cost. There's no infrastructure. You're taking advantage of this massive Google Cloud and embedding Cisco collaboration.

James: So, you're taking the Cloud and social media and apps and putting it all together? And you're the enabler of all of that?

Davide: Absolutely.

James: I read a Gartner report recently and I think you're a Gartner core partner,  I think it's called. And Gartner was suggesting that the take-up of Cloud technology is less than what actually think. Which is quite interesting and I think they stated something like 28 percent of IT managers have migrated their cloud and the rest are holding back.

What are your thoughts on that? Do you think that's true? Do you think more people have migrated than what we actually realize?

Davide: I think when you say "Cloud," it's a generic term. So, the idea is, what do you mean around Cloud? So, for example, I'll keep it, sort of, to the Google world. So, if you took Enterprise e-mail, the argument is, and the latest stats that came out was Cloud e-mail only really represents about 20 percent of the Enterprise market. That's a good, generic term to say "Hey, it's still not mainstream."

But then, you've got to dissect it into industries. Well, in education, that's 60 percent. In retail, that's 40, 50 percent. So, there's already certain segments of the market where it's mass adoption. Even federal space in North America, you saw massive growth in Cloud adoption.

Then, you've got to look at what's siloed business. So, sure, e-mail might be a laggard in terms of adoption because of some security around e-mail, but think about CRM and Salesforce automation. You cannot tell me that it's less than 20 percent adoption. Because that technology is way too dynamic and too expensive for an organization to invest and build on ground. You have to be agile.

So, in that segment, you're seeing mass adoption. So, we try to avoid to take the generic view that "Oh, Cloud is only 20 percent. It's not here yet." We look at the view as "Where are we affecting enterprises at the silos of business that are core to the way they operate?" And that, to me, is like ERP process, that CRM process, that Salesforce automation, that's e-mail.

These are tools where people live in and they leverage those tools to communicate. You take those certain segments and you'll see the penetration higher. And then you tailor on top of that, certain verticals that you want to focus on. And it's an active, growing market.

James: It seems like you're proving that the Cloud definitely is here and people are using it. Why should a partner collaborate with Esna?

Davide: Well, I think there's many reasons why they should collaborate with Esna. But the reality of it is, we provide and I'll give you an example in the traditional, collaboration space. A lot of vendors sort of emerged from the voice world and then they brought into the video world. And they're struggling because getting the attention of the CIO is tough because it may take a lower priority of moving certain business applications to the Cloud.

What we do is partnering with Esna makes them relevant. We tie their voice and video strategy to the CIO's agenda and long-term plans. So, by partnering us, we give them the ability to be in that market space, enabling collaboration in the Cloud today. It's not a future, it's not a past. We give them technology that sort of wraps around tools that they're already well-versed in.

So, we think about a partner. Their value is their immense knowledge in video technology and voice technology. Now, when you wrap around partnering with Esna that takes that knowledge and now embeds it in next-generation Cloud and mobile workforces, that gives them the ability to go out and talk to every enterprise out there.

Think about the concept of That probably touches 90 percent of the enterprises out there. And the concept that users can live in Salesforce and instantly escalate any dialogue to a WebEx or a voice and video call from Salesforce itself. Salesforce becomes interfaced to collaboration. That gives the partners an ability to go to talk to all their customers and breathe life to systems that are sitting out there, really being leveraged for nothing other than dial tone, right?

James: I think your story is very interesting. You speak with great passion. If anyone wants to find out more about how they could work with you, how could they do that? Are you on social media, is it a website? I'm sure you're everywhere. It's all connected together.

Davide: It's all connected together. For the Cisco channel, in particular, we've created some great micro-sites where they can contact us, get information. In fact, we make all the technology available online for people to use. It's Web.

So, we can turn their customers on instantly. So, if they go to, that gives them access to the whole portfolio and all the documents and how to become a partner. If they go to, they can actually deploy the software by simply clicking on and then their Chrome turns into a Cisco endpoint. embeds WebEx in Chrome as well. So, those are key three sites that I'd encourage all the Cisco channel partners to go visit right away.

James: Great. Davide, thank you for your time. It's been a pleasure.

Davide: It's been a pleasure to meet you. Thank you very much.

James: Enjoy Florida.

Davide: Thank you, I will.


Would you like to embed WebEx into your Google Apps?  Download our guide to turning Chrome into your communications hub. It includes information on all of Esna's Chrome extensions that enhance collaboration inside Google Apps. 

Turn Chrome Into Your Communications Hub

Topics: business communications, Communication-enabled Business Process, better collaboration

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