Collaboration Tools Take the Lead in Customer Discussions with West
Global UC specialists West explain that collaboration tools now take the lead in many of their discussions with enterprise customers
Traditionally meeting technologies have been the main focus for enterprise customers in technology discussions. The prioritisation of the meeting may well now be changing with the rise and continued onset of collaboration tools. Rather than a focus on the premise of the meeting, enterprise organisations are now starting to think more holistically about their communication and collaboration possibilities with the help of specialists like West.
The continued development and increasing popularisation of collaboration platforms over the last five years has shifted the focus of many large organisations away from the narrow approach of just facilitating meetings, to a more rounded philosophy focusing on all aspects of communication and collaboration.
West also take a very different approach to many of their competitors when it comes to their solution portfolio. Rather than focusing solely on one technology area, or particular vendor, West incorporate a host of solutions designed to facilitate a customer’s entire requirement around a unified communications network, whilst remaining platform agnostic. Their portfolio includes advanced networking solutions to form the foundation for their unified communications offerings which cover the core-hosted voice, SIP trunking, audio, web and video, webcasting, cloud contact centre solutions, proactive notifications and sophisticated IVR including AI. One of their fastest growing specialisations is within their collaboration platforms.
UC Today chatted to their Director of Sales Engineering, Pascal Coignet, to understand more about the trends that they are seeing in terms of collaboration.
“What we are seeing at West, is a trend from our customers where, rather than talking about meetings, that term has transformed into the wider collaborative experiences.”
It appears to be more and more apparent that the traditional conduits for enterprise organisations, like meetings and instant messaging, are now becoming one aspect of a broader collaboration discussion. Once standalone platforms and applications in their own right, meeting and chat functions are increasingly becoming just one tool in the armour of a fully featured collaboration solution. Pascal explains that this is not driven by West or even the giant collaboration vendors like Microsoft, Cisco and Google, that West specialise in, but by the customers themselves. More and more enterprise customers want one single solution that can manage all of their meeting, messaging, sharing and co-working requirements and even contact centre where customer service advisors can proactively engage back office functions whilst actively engaged in customer enquiries. All of this falls under the banner of the collaboration solutions.
West can offer their customers a variety of collaboration solutions with all of the features and functionalities that organisations expect to be available to their users to enable and enhance their performance as much as possible. Pascal, who is responsible for the EMEA at West, also described the difference in uptake of collaboration platforms and tools geographically. In Europe and the United States collaboration tools have been more readily adopted within the enterprise, and this probably reflects the level of technological development of each region.
The fully flexible and customisable approach of West allows them to cater for variances in an organisation strategy, whether that is a result of location, market sector or size. Offering customers the most suitable collaboration solution that encompasses all of their desired functionality is their main focus.
“Our approach is to ask customers, what exactly are you trying to create for your customers and end users ? We look at what they have in place today and try to paint the picture of what their collaboration environment could look like.”
Within the collaboration and UC space West offer customers a number of different tools and exercises to best evaluate their current arrangements and most effectively plan for their future strategy. Tools include analysis of their current experience, both internally and the external experience for a customer in dealing with a particular brand. They also track and manage personas within a business to try and ensure any solution offered provides the most valuable collaboration experience for users.
Pascal explains that a shift towards collaboration as the primary solution focus perhaps coincides with another business trend that West are keenly assisting their customers with. The drive to transformation digitally has been felt within organisations around the globe. More and more C-level executives are starting to realise the potential benefits of bringing their businesses in line with the most innovative and potentially disruptive competitors in their sectors. This realisation is fuelling a rapid digital transformation and perhaps the uptake of collaboration tools is seen as an effective way to achieve part of that transformation.
“Everything is connected in that sense, we try to give customers options to think differently about their staffing and how all of their staff can communicate and work together more effectively. Taking an “outside-in” approach.”
An approach to collaboration which centres on the customer’s requirement as the main priority is not unique within the industry, but West are in the minority with their requirement led solutions. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, what industry sector you are in, if you have five hundred users or five thousand, the approach is the same. Evaluate and understand what you are doing currently and then examine which tool, or set of tools, can best enhance your current processes and procedures. It’s fascinating to find out, from West, that more and more of their customers are looking at collaboration solutions as their primary platform to facilitate all of their required functions and transform the way they do business.