Today, many businesses are in the process of a complicated digital transformation (DX), moving into the cloud, discovering new software, and exploring disruptive technology like AI and analytics. Of course, these transformations don’t have a one-size-fits-all pathway for success. Small to large enterprises need to find their own route to delight their customers, outshine the competition and adhere to their budgetary requirements.Connected MamConnect
Connect Managed Services, a leader in the managed service environment for communication and contact centre services, offers the flexibility that today’s organisations need, through a diverse range of vendor-agnostic services. Using unique automation and monitoring tools, combined with the freedom to mix and match solutions from the vendors that suit their clients, Connect Managed Services allows you to choose your path to the cloud.
We sat down with the CTO of Connect Managed Services, Martin Cross, to find out more.
Tell Us About Yourself and Connect Managed Services
Martin has been in the telecommunications and UC industry for a long time.
“I joined Nortel in 1997, and they bought a company that was providing managed service solutions to defence businesses. I liked the model of what they were doing there, but I wanted to expand beyond defence into the enterprise space.”
“With Nortel, I grew an enterprise version of the managed service offering within the company, starting from nothing, and developing to a £25 million turnover business.”
When Nortel started experiencing problems in 2000, Martin jumped out of the organisation and started his own company, consulting with other businesses who wanted to learn how to deliver managed services projects. One of his clients was a company called Connect Communications, who gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“Eventually, we built the business into a multi-vendor service that works with Avaya, Cisco, Amazon, Genesys, Microsoft, and all the big players. This means that we can support some of the biggest brands, including Barclays Bank, BP, and Johnson and Johnson with their digital transformation projects.”
What Makes Connect Managed Services Different?
Connect Managed Services offers an innovative approach to digital transformation for their customers, based on a programme that they call “Stabilise, Enhance and Transform“. The plan creates a seamless journey away from disjoined legacy-based technology, into enhanced and flexible cloud solutions intended to both improve customer experience and increase service levels.
“We start bystabilising the business, taking over the management of a client’s contact centre or telephony stack, and supporting it with our unique automation and monitoring tools. From there, we can start to enhance the estate with a range of best-of-breed solutions, ideal for cutting down costs and improving performance. Then, our vendor agnostic solution means that we can take your estate out of the legacy format and into Gartner‘s best of breed cloud solutions at your own pace.”
As a vendor-agnostic managed service provider, Connect Managed Services allows their customers to work with any business they want, with a model that delivers long-term relationships to customers.
“We make sure that our customers aren’t spending all their time putting out fires. Our approach delivers a more complete and reliable digital transformation.”
How Did You Start Building with Amazon Connect?
Martin told me that his company saw Amazon as a highly disruptive company, capable of delivering great things to their customers. Beyond the contact centre, Amazon released the “Echo,” which was the fastest selling product of all time.
“Digital assistants started taking off like crazy, and we believed we could take the solutions from Amazon and start transforming customer environments into something more exciting.”
Last year, Connect Managed Services made two acquisitions, including the purchase of “CoolHarbour,” a pioneer in the Amazon Connect solution. The CoolHarbour acquisition meant that Connect Managed Services could tap into Amazon at a deeper level, exploring the innovation it offered in its “Lex” service. Lex and Amazon Connect create conversations between companies and customers based on “natural language understanding” (NLU) technology.
Adding Amazon Connect into their offering allowed Connect Managed Services to access a highly complementary service that helps their clients to access higher levels of customer experience (CX), at a lower cost.
What Makes Amazon Connect So Disruptive?
Martin told me that from a technology perspective, the sheer scope of what Amazon Lex can offer is fascinating. “Nuance is a big disruptor for the contact centre and natural language market. A lot of NLP (natural language processing) systems simply can’t understand context very well, but Lex shines in that area. It means that companies can start to develop conversational, transactional IVR experiences, personalising those moments for their customers as they go.”
Martin told me that if a customer calls a business with Lex in place, and Lex knows that customer placed an order the day before, it will greet the customer and ask if they’re calling about a previous order. “The customer can then ask for details about the order, change things, and more without ever talking to a human agent. There’s so much opportunity there. First, you’re delighting the customer with a quick and personalised service. Then, you’re also reducing costs because you don’t need to bring as many agents on board.”
“What’s more, with Amazon’s cloud, you’ve got a model that scales according to the number of calls you get.”
The thing that makes Connect Managed Service’s link to Amazon Connect so appealing is the fact that they can layer the Lex technology onto existing call centres and enhance their customer’s productivity immediately. “We can lift a legacy Avaya or Genesys infrastructure, add it into the cloud, and add Lex on top, then change the cost model, so we effectively take an old legacy system into the cloud with the price of an upgrade, instead of an entire rip and replace.”
What’s more, Connect Managed Services customers get to take the best bits of different platforms, rather than having to commit to a single solution.