UC EXPO 2017: Developing Audio with PGi
Adding value to Skype and audio
PGi is an audio conferencing company that delivers both to indirect, and direct markets. Traditionally, the company had an emphasis on direct sales, but they now have a growing partner channel that’s becoming more significant. PGi has been at the forefront of conferencing and collaboration for more than 25 years, transitioning from pure audio to web and video conferencing as their product suite expanded over the years.
Today, the marketplace is changing significantly, and PGi has remained true to their fundamental goal of enabling their customers to be more efficient and productive through the use of the best collaboration services possible. PGi has long led the tech charge for collaboration, and I had the chance to sit down with Andrew Bissett Regional Vice President of Global Accounts, and Doug Remmington, Senior Vice President of Sales – EMEA, to discuss how the company was adapting to the changing UC environment.
How Does PGi Add Value for Skype?
One of PGi’s core focuses over the years has been their working relationships with major tech brands like Microsoft and Cisco. One of the ways PGi partners with these companies is by integrating their global audio network into enterprises’ existing Skype for Business platforms, allowing companies to get the most out of their existing Skype investments. If we take a look back at PGi over the years, and their Skype for Business offering, we can see that their focus is on delivering a suite of services that constantly evolve and grow.
“For more than 13 years, we’ve had a strong relationship with Skype for Business leveraging our audio integration capabilities. We were the first audio conferencing provider to be recognised by Microsoft as an Elite Launch partner, and our platform was the first to be integrated into Lync online, which would subsequently become Skype for Business.”
During the show we discussed PGi’s new Skype for Business offering which will deliver the best possible return on investment for PGi’s customers by enhancing their Skype for Business experience. When Skype first began, it came with the option of Lync server deployment, and Lync online deployment. If a customer needed enterprise voice, they would often use the server, as that was considered more “secure” at the time. However, there wasn’t an integrated enterprise audio solution for Skype online at the time, which is how PGi came to support the application.
If you’re an Office 365 user, on Skype for Business, and want to enable your external audio conferencing, PGi is in the admin drop-down box. Additionally if you look back to the inception of the Skype for Business product PGi and Intercall were your primary options for global audio connections.
PGi: Differentiation on a Global Scale
In a crowded UC space, I was interested to learn more about how PGi differentiated itself in the marketplace. Bissett and Remmington informed me that one of the biggest values PGi offers is their suite of services that they use to enhance Skype for Business and offer customers greater return on their investments.
“The key part of our new offering is our long-standing global audio network, rock-solid audio, 24/7, global customer support, and the enhancement we give to Skype.”
Of course, beyond the technology part of conferencing, the next step to success is ensuring user adoption. If enterprises invest in a UC platform, that platform isn’t nearly as effective if employees don’t adopt and implement the technology to help them perform their daily tasks. PGi’s representatives told me: “Training and adoption is a crucial step in any software integration within an organization. If the technology is there but the implementation, training and real-time support isn’t, a company may not see as strong a return on their investment due to poor adoption rates. We’re proud to say that customers that leveraged PGi’s implementation services program see up to an 80% activation rate of their new collaboration tools, which is significantly higher than the industry standard. By offering enhanced audio quality in Skype, a dedicated team of implementation service managers, and global, in-meeting support, we see stronger adoption rates.”
The in-meeting support solutions provided by PGi are one of their most valuable benefits. For instance, if you were to experience technical difficulties in the middle of a meeting, you can simply press Star and Zero (*0) to connect to a 24/7 PGi operator. “Our customers have always seen the value in that”. In the past, that support was offered from an audio perspective. Now, PGi is utilising this resource to offer help for Skype for Business users to solve for and support a number of issues with their application – not just audio.
One of PGi’s main differentiators is their global presence. Over the years, PGi has hosted over 1.2 billion people from 155 countries in nearly 300 million virtual meetings. PGi’s global coverage difference also means their customers can leverage one of more than 160 local access numbers across countries, anywhere, at any time.
What Will We See from PGi in the Future?
Of course, I was keen to learn what we could expect to see from PGi as we moved further into the future.
“If you look at PGi’s history, we’ve always had an emphasis on quality, global reach, and reliability. We have an active customer community that we work diligently with to continuously develop and improve products that meet our customers’ existing needs.”
“We also have an incredible product team that ensures we’re not just answering the charge of today, but are thinking through what’s coming next in the UC space. Over the next three years, I expect that we’d continue along the same pathways, evolving our products based on customer needs and emerging trends within our industry.”
PGi focuses on differentiating themselves not just with their use of technology, but with the ongoing support and services that come along with that technology. As PGi continues to evolve, the company believes that strategic partnerships will continue to be an important part of what they do.
“I think in terms of where we’re going, and where UC is headed, we’ll continue to focus on simplicity and better productivity for our end-users. We’re helping people to become more productive, regardless of what they’re doing, and wherever they are in the world. It’s all about bridging the gaps in productivity, and transforming your business.”