By Ian Purdell-Lewis, Managing Director CCaaS Canada, Avaya
In Part 1 of this series, I discussed how channel partners need to help their on-premise customers adopt powerful cloud solutions that address the needs of the new future we’re heading into, and why a subscription model is the best way to go. In Part 2, I discussed the importance of actually moving customers to the cloud versus having them merely pay for internally stored apps and processes on a subscription basis. As I conclude this series, I want to revisit the “new future” of experiences and discuss all the possibilities your customers will have by fully harnessing the power of the cloud as part of their move to subscription.
Once your customers have made it to the cloud, it’s time to start introducing new levels of transformation to stay current and create experiences that matter. Here’s what you should be educating your customers on…
‘Work from anywhere’ and the need for Workstream Collaboration.
Your customers must contend with a new future of “work from anywhere.” Avaya’s Executive VP and Chief Product Officer, Anthony Bartolo, puts it best in this blog. Even if employees meet the Health Canada’s guidelines for returning to work, businesses can’t expect to begin immediately refilling offices. There will be much higher sensitivities around employees’ health conditions and the health conditions of those they live with. Even being generally uncomfortable with the idea of going back to the office will be considered sufficient by many.
Outside of health considerations, it has now been proven that remote work can thrive in a world of social distancing. Most businesses would be wise to embrace a new world of work that freely flows between the office and everywhere else. Yet this highly distributed and potentially inconsistent workforce also poses key challenges. At Avaya, we believe the solution requires shifting from Unified Communications to Workstream Collaboration (configurable workspaces built on top of workflows). This topic warrants its own discussion, which Avaya CMO Simon Harrison explores further in this blog. Overall, Gartner predicts that 70% of teams will rely on Workstream Collaboration as their primary means of communicating, coordinating, and sharing information by 2022.
The rise of the “everything customer” and Multiexperience (MX).
These are topics that we at Avaya as well as Gartner have been discussing for a while now, yet most organizations (possibly including your customers) are still figuring out how to fully grasp. There has been an explosion in the ways people can connect via new touchpoints offering multiple modalities. A smartwatch, for example, supports touch, calling, the ability to scribe text, or can be used for more advanced natural language understanding via a virtual assistant (VA) like Siri. It offers a number of ways to provide a message update, and you can interact with that message based on how well a company has designed outbound messaging for a smartwatch device. A smartphone, meanwhile, supports voice, touch and so forth, but also facial recognition to authenticate and support gestures. You can interact through the screen by shaking it to undo something, and a variety of other physical responses. Touchpoints such as a browser on a laptop or smartphone have evolved and been joined by many more including home devices like Google and Alexa, Smart TVs, and VR or AR devices. These touchpoints all offer more modalities. This is what Multiexperience is all about – today’s increasing market of different devices and their respective user experiences – and cloud plays a key role. Paul Lang, Avaya’s Head of Contact Center Solution Marketing, explores the “everything customer” and Multiexperience further in this blog.
The consumerization of enterprise technology.
Taking this a step further, each device (smartwatch, smartphone, laptop, etc.) and modality (scrolling, shaking, texting, etc.) can support different personas in a variety of ways. As an employee, you can join video conferences, send messages, and collaborate with colleagues via your phone. As a parent, you can check in on your kids, send photos, and chat with the family. As a consumer, you can research and purchase online. If you’re a developer burning the midnight oil, you might want to order a pizza while you continue working seamlessly – all from within your Workstream Collaboration app. There’s a bit of overlap between these topics, so check out Harrison’s linked blog above for more information on this as well. The bottom line is that organizations need to lean into the changes that are happening with the user experience – be it for customers, employees, managers…everyone. These are major changes that are here to stay, not just during the temporary “new normal” of COVID-19. Your customers need to consider this in their cloud transformation objectives.
Harnessing the full power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation.
AI is about much more than just “ticking a box” for your customer’s business. It’s about the power of leveraging data and connected application ecosystems for meeting a person in the context of where they are and what they’re doing to deliver profound service value. This goes far beyond customer service. Imagine agents using conversational AI to automatically transcribe the content of their call into a CRM, while creating actionable workflows based on key word recognition, or a contact center supervisor asking an AI-enabled VA, “How am I doing in my SLAs today?” and the solution automatically displaying the data from a unified management dashboard – no training or prior experience needed. Very few vendors are currently able to step up and deliver on AI in this way, and we’re proud at Avaya to be one of them.
Tapping into the cloud via subscription also enables your customers to apply new levels of automation around communications and workflow processes with Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS). As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, we have customers at Avaya including public health departments that have leveraged Avaya OneCloud CPaaS as part of a subscription to proactively engage with and collect data from thousands of residents via automated outbound voice calls and SMS notifications. Doing so helped this particular health department increase its number of successfully investigated COVID-19 cases by 25%.