As part of our UC Insights 2018 series, I sat down to speak with Bryan Martin, Chief Technology Officer of 8×8 to ask him his thoughts about the past year and what he believes is to come in the world of unified communications.
Do you consider 8×8 to be a disruptive vendor in the cloud communications marketplace? If so, why?
“I believe that no one has disrupted this industry, from a technology and business perspective, more than 8×8. We have a long history of helping businesses create value through exceptional employee and customer experiences by providing the tools to communicate, collaborate, and analyse data from every real-time interaction across the organisation, globally, in a single, seamless, easy-to-manage solution. This mission is no longer about just replacing legacy phone systems and contact centre systems. It’s about helping companies become obsessed about their customers by breaking down communication silos and moving communications to a single, seamless system that enables the right expert employees to provide customers with a delightful experience over any channel anytime from any device, and offering the data analytics to anticipate what customers need.”
“To do this, we’re bringing real time communications, collaboration and contact centre services together in one platform that’s easy to use and administer.”
There’s been plenty of consolidation and new entrants entering the market in 2017, which were most significant for you and why?
“What I think is significant about all of the recent M&A activity is that it proves that the demand for cloud communications, collaboration and contact centre services in the mid-market and enterprise space is here.”
“8×8 itself made a significant technology acquisition in 2017 with Sameroom, an interoperability platform that enables cross-team messaging and collaboration across disparate team collaboration services. We did this to strengthen our collaboration offerings and to enable compliant, real-time team collaboration between employees, partners and customers within and outside the enterprise across different team collaboration clients.”
“We also increased our channel reach with new partnerships, including Ingram Micro, the world’s largest wholesale technology distributor, to bring our cloud communications, collaboration and contact centre solutions to even more partners and customer deployments around the globe.”
What challenges and opportunities do you predict are coming in 2018?
“We are beginning to see the dominance of a view towards a single, unified platform for all communications, moving away from the world where IT buyers cobble together different components to serve the business. I think that 2018 will continue this trend towards truly unified cloud communications solutions that enable every employee and customer-facing rep to communicate, innovate and problem-solve at the new speed of customer expectations.”
“A solution that is not fully unified across multiple channels can be hard-to-manage from an IT perspective and clunky and painful to use for employees. This inevitably leads to a poor working environment and employee experience, which can dramatically impact customer service levels. On the other hand, a single, fully unified communications, collaboration and contact centre that is easy to manage, and use by all employees, wherever they are in the organisation and no matter what their age or experience, which can result in happy and efficient staff and a fully collaborative, customer-engagement driven business.”
What will be (or should be) on a CIO’s priority list for 2018?
“In the age of the customer, where any customer has the social power of the Internet to broadcast his/her experiences, customer experience should be a top priority for the CIO and the entire business in 2018.”
“In fact, 80% of CIOs believe that IT is responsible for this and they should be putting it at the centre of their investment. We believe the basis for any excellent customer experience is by bringing together employee and customer communications with voice, video, messaging, meetings and contact centre solutions into a single, seamless, exceptional communications experience. This means ensuring continuity over every and any channel as well as anticipating customers’ needs by leveraging data insights across every interaction. By doing so, businesses will provide more value with each interaction. These interactions should be over any channel, where context and the history of the customer are known and retained, resulting in one-call resolution, with an absolute focus of the business being on continuous improvement for that customer.”
“Amazing customer experiences are born out of great employee experiences. In fact, every employee is engaged in customer experience (CX) wherever they are in the organisation. They need the tools to be able to work quickly, seamlessly and effectively to meet customer needs.”
“As the workforce becomes more virtual, companies need to and are investing in capabilities that enable seamless interaction, no matter the geography. This will change the way companies approach customer experience in 2018.”
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- Welcome to our UC Insights Series for 2018