Making a Case for Extraordinary Business Communications
Part of the UC Today Market Guide 2019 Series
The communication space has evolved drastically in the last decade. Not only are we moving more aggressively from hardware to software, but we’re seeing a slew of new technologies too. IoT, artificial intelligence and more are all joining the comms landscape, thanks to solutions like UCaaS and CPaaS.
ALE is a market-leading communication company that serves more than 830,000 customers in the current landscape. Under the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise brand, they deliver award-winning UCaaS and CPaaS solutions through open standards. Xavier Martin, the Vice President of Market Development, spoke to us about the evolution of comms. His position in the heart of marketing for ALE solutions makes him the perfect guide to their market strategy.
The Evolution of Comms in the Last 15 Years
According to Xavier, things were much simpler for communications companies 15 years ago. Because customers had no choice about how they installed their system, there wasn’t nearly as much complexity involved in customising each implementation.
“Now every customer has multiple choices in front of them. They can decide where their communication environment will be. For instance, they can keep their strategy on-premises, or they can move it into the cloud. There are even opportunities to blend both options with hybrid strategies. Then the second biggest change is that communications are no longer exclusively from person-to-person.”
Today, businesses in the midst of digital transformation are looking at ways to connect everything, including objects, and devices. “Though communications are more complicated, they’re also much richer and more immersive than they were a few years ago.”
How Has the Buying Process Evolved?
The added complexity of communications and a new appetite for digital transformation has also changed the buying process for today’s companies. According to Martin, the buying strategy is following the trends of the consumer world.
“In the last 2 decades, we’ve seen a massive shift from products to services among consumers. For instance, people no longer buy music, they consume it through streaming services. We’re no longer spending money in advance; we’re spending cash as we use things.”
The same habits are becoming common in the business environment too. As the cloud becomes more accessible, budgets and strategies are shifting. People are moving away from one-off purchases at the beginning of the cycle with CapEx strategies. Today, people want the OpEX solution, where they can choose exactly what they’re spending their budget on, and access absolute flexibility.
Is UCaaS Important to Digital Transformation?
Xavier told me that UCaaS is essential to digital transformation for a number of reasons.
“First of all, UCaaS is the service that’s enabling companies to get their foot in the cloud. In the past, organisations struggled to implement UC on-premise because of its complexity. It was another layer on top of the communication system that added a lot of complexity”
“Now companies can take the best and leave the rest. They get their solutions from the cloud through UCaaS. Another thing that makes UCaaS so important is that it’s breaking down the barriers around advanced technology. Digital workplaces of all shapes and sizes are emerging. UC is no longer limited to the enterprise.”
According to Xavier, UCaaS is the first application that genuinely delivers the experience that was promised by the arrival of the UC era so many years ago. “It delivers communications without the boundaries of the on-premises environment.”
What Does CPaaS Offer to Digital Transformation?
CPaaS is the secondary cloud-based technology that’s transforming the communication environment today. CPaaS is particularly effective in the customer experience environment. It involves using APIs to connect everything with communications. “CPaaS can be implemented in many ways. For instance, it allows you to manage conversations through any channel, or create chatbots.”
CPaaS is also highly useful in the way that it’s not connected to any specific vendor or organisation. “Open standards mean that people can connect their bots however they like. Companies can connect bots to artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience through context. You can even use CPaaS to deliver customers to the right agent at the right time. There’s also the option to add CPaaS to IoT applications, so people and objects can interact through the buyer journey too.”
How Hard Is it to Implement UCaaS and CPaaS?
Ultimately, although things like UCaaS and CPaaS can seem complicated at first, they’re not as tough as they seem, according to Martin. “The cloud architecture eases everything in terms of technology adoption. Our cloud solutions are based on open standards. Even learning how to use the applications is simple.”
For Xavier, the real challenge is simply deciding what you want to accomplish in your organisation. “Start with your business objectives and KPIs; then the strategy will become more obvious.”
“No-one needs to rip or replace anything; they can find the process that’s right for them”