With remote work here to stay, now is the time for partners to seize the massive work-from-anywhere opportunity.
That’s according to John DeLozier, 8x8’s senior vice president and global channel chief. He spoke of this opportunity during Wednesday's Channel Partners Virtual keynote titled “'Hey, You’re on Mute' … the Operate from Anywhere Opportunity.”
According to Forrester, an additional $15 billion was spent weekly on Band-Aid, work-from-home solutions during the first three months of the pandemic.
“Operate from anywhere was critically important,” DeLozier said. “It used to be when you started a business or you merged business … commercial real estate was your first thing. Not anymore. It's about communications. One year ago, it was a mad dash. Hospitals, schools, customer service professionals and very mission-critical contact centers throughout the world had to spend some money and had to figure out how they could put a Band-Aid in place quickly on their businesses. Some were more prepared because they were already making that move to the cloud. But most weren't and some to this day still aren't. Some aren't even in business anymore because of it.”
As things have started to calm and normalize in the new norm, now is the real golden age of communications, he said.
“Forrester also said that our digital interactions over the next year or two will increase by 40%,” DeLozier said. “This is the opportunity I'm trying to convince you of, that I hope you realize. Customers need partners, partners need great suppliers, and great suppliers need all of you to be successful. So the time is now. Fifty-five percent of businesses are in the process of running to the cloud to consolidate their UC tools. So how do we take advantage of that?”
It’s important to break down the silos between voice and contact center, he said. Voice and contact center run together.
“It’s you as a partner explaining to customers the benefits, and there are many, of having the same vendor, the same supplier in play for your voice and contact center solutions,” DeLozier said.
Secondly, it's breaking down the barriers around video, he said. It's important from a voice and video meeting perspective to have the same platform in play so you're able to take advantage of the benefits of both.
“Why are those two things mostly important?” DeLozier said. “It’s because you have to measure them. That's where analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) ... really come into play. You want to know what's happening from the receptionist desk phone all the way into the contact center from an omnichannel perspective. All of those interactions that are going on with customers are very important.”
Tim Banting, Omdia’s practice leader for enterprise communications, said recently that 55% of the time, best of suite trumps best of breed.
“That is very true when it comes to efficiency measurement and making sure that there's a nice, consolidated effort across the board with your customers,” DeLozier said. “Band-Aid point solutions, they're just not sustainable. We know that even partnerships can result in ugly divorces. We've seen that as well over the last year in this mad scramble. And so you have a group of folks out there that have not made the move to the cloud. They’re on-premises, so it's wide open. You have a group that's made a mad dash to the cloud with these disparate point solutions. And then you have those that have made the move to the cloud and they went the best-of-breed route. And now those partnerships between those best-of-breed vendors have dissipated and gone away.”
A big problem is lack of collaboration due to disparate tool sets and ineffective measurements, he said.
“The average IT team with your customers wastes 20 hours per month working on disparate, Band-Aid data point solutions that are not best in breed from the best-of-suite perspective,” DeLozier said. “That's six work weeks a year. That is a lot of time, and we definitely know that time is money. Contact center is no different. Fifteen percent of contact center professionals, the leaders, the managers in those spaces, spend a majority of their time searching for data that they never find. So very important that when you think about your customers, you think about the collaboration and consolidation of voice with contact center, voice with meetings and video, and finally analytics and great data that pass over all of those places on one platform to give you the information that you need, integrated versus not integrated and jumping to the cloud. It is here to stay.”
This is the cross-sell and upsell opportunity for partners as customers are running to the cloud in an integrated way, he said.