COVID-19: The Contact Center Takes the Spotlight

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a seismic shift in contact centers on multiple fronts.

• Almost overnight, the strategic role contact centers play in supporting the customer experience has entered the spotlight.

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a seismic shift in contact centers on multiple fronts. First, almost overnight contact centers have transformed from physical locations filled with agents and their supervisors to having a virtual presence where all staff work remotely. Second, now contact centers are the result of an evolution from voice-centric call centers as they handle multiple channels. Third, with options for in-person service limited or unavailable, contact centers have become central to managing the customer experience. How has the metamorphosis of contact centers transpired? That question will be examined in this post.

Continue reading “COVID-19: The Contact Center Takes the Spotlight”

RingCentral Jumps on the Freemium Bandwagon with RingCentral Glip Pro

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • RingCentral is playing catch-up to competitors such as Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft, which already offer freemium plans.
  • Offering a freemium plan is a double-edged sword, but there are steps RingCentral can take to avoid pitfalls.

RingCentral just introduced RingCentral Glip Pro, a freemium version of RingCentral Glip. RingCentral Glip Pro combines RingCentral Video videoconferencing introduced in April with team messaging, file sharing, contact, task, and calendar management capabilities. Offering a freemium plan enables RingCentral to close a gap with competitors. However, providing a freemium offer also presents potential pitfalls. Fortunately, there are steps RingCentral can take to avoid mishaps. Continue reading “RingCentral Jumps on the Freemium Bandwagon with RingCentral Glip Pro”

Collaboration: We Can Work It Out – or Can We?

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • The unprecedented size of the work-from-home (WFH) population has made ‘collaboration’ a marketing buzzword virtually overnight.
  • To compete in the collaboration space, service providers and vendors will soon need to offer a critical mass of specific capabilities.

A monumental byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic is a WFH population of unprecedented size. Eager to preserve pre-pandemic productivity levels, companies everywhere are seeking to mimic the in-office work environment. Service providers and vendors have answered the call with an abundance of integrated tools intended to facilitate team collaboration. Virtually overnight, ‘collaboration’ has become a marketing buzzword. Continue reading “Collaboration: We Can Work It Out – or Can We?”

Salesforce and Slack to Form a More Perfect Union

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Salesforce’s announced acquisition of Slack came as a surprise, especially given the $28 billion price tag.
  • Although Salesforce and Slack make a natural union, the deal suffers significant drawbacks. Salesforce raised eyebrows last week by revealing its intention to acquire Slack. Careful deliberation of the journey which led to the announcement reveals what likely lies ahead for the pairing.

Slack came from humble beginnings as the in-house messaging tool for a company called Tiny Speck. In August 2013, the tool became widely distributed under the name ‘Slack’ and its parent was renamed Slack Technologies. Slack is an e-mail alternative centralizing people, information, and tools into ‘channels,’ thus making teams more productive.

Today, Slack Technologies goes by ‘Slack’ and has risen to new heights on the shoulders of platform enhancements, partner relationships, and fresh blood in the management ranks. Slack has drawn a global, loyal following of 12 million+ daily active users across 750,000 organizations. Despite its allure, Slack finds itself searching for profitability and in need of a well-funded suitor to rescue it. Just in time perhaps, Salesforce has come along. Continue reading “Salesforce and Slack to Form a More Perfect Union”

Today’s Desk Phone Has Evolved, but Is It Clutter or the Future of Working from Home?

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • The increasingly ignored deck phone is being revamped by vendors such as Avaya and may offer an enhanced experience in the work-from-home (WFH) world.
  • Those employees who miss their office phones or need an occasional extra screen may benefit, but desk phones can also be expensive clutter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the practice of ‘remote working’ from corporate perk to corporate imperative.  Virtually overnight, WFH has become the norm.

Although the WFH population will shrink once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, it will still exceed pre-pandemic numbers.  Not all employers are planning to return to the office, and even many who are will offer WFH to employees as a permanent option. Continue reading “Today’s Desk Phone Has Evolved, but Is It Clutter or the Future of Working from Home?”

Slack Has Blossomed Rapidly, but is Threatened by a Major Obstacle

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• Slack has been quite busy lately enhancing its platform, forging alliances and strengthening internal operations. However, a major obstacle threatens to derail those efforts.

• Slack must determine a way to convert the vast majority of its customers from free plans to paid plans.

Slack comes from humble beginnings as an internal communication tool at a small company. Since then, the platform has evolved into one of the most prominent in the market. A flurry of recent activity including feature rollouts, deal making, management changes, and judicial action has propelled Slack by great lengths in a brief period of time. However, the company is challenged by a scarcity of customers on paid plans. Continue reading “Slack Has Blossomed Rapidly, but is Threatened by a Major Obstacle”

“BlueJeans by Verizon” Has Come a Long Way in a Short Time

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• Verizon has been aggressively expanding and marketing the “BlueJeans by Verizon” offer since the acquisition five months ago.

• BlueJeans by Verizon will continue to play a key role in Verizon’s UC&C portfolio going forward.

Overview

In just five months, BlueJeans by Verizon has become a centerpiece of Verizon’s UC&C portfolio and larger advanced communications strategy. Verizon has left no stone unturned. Product features, integration with existing Verizon offers, sales, marketing, and support have been carefully considered. Very compelling is Verizon’s decision to operationalize BlueJeans as something of an independent start-up within the larger Verizon organization. Despite significant progress, the BlueJeans story at Verizon is not yet complete as more change lies ahead. Continue reading ““BlueJeans by Verizon” Has Come a Long Way in a Short Time”

COVID-19: For Cloud Providers, Time Is of the Essence

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Key themes of Enterprise Connect Virtual included the benefits of cloud-based solutions; the sudden increase in cloud migrations; and the combining of UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS.
  • COVID-19 has suddenly made it evident that cloud services are essential to business continuity as companies everywhere find themselves supporting a remote workforce indefinitely.

Enterprise Connect Virtual took place while much of the country was essentially in a lockdown. Wherever possible, employees were working remotely, with many instructed only to leave their homes for essential reasons. Against this backdrop, the event focused on the benefits of cloud-based communication solutions; an overnight rise in cloud migrations; and the simultaneous adoption of UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS. Continue reading “COVID-19: For Cloud Providers, Time Is of the Essence”