RingCentral Rise Helps Service Providers Bring Co-Branded UCaaS Offers to Market

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • RingCentral Rise represents a significant investment in the company’s relationship with service provider partners.
  • Rise is innovative in the way it combines technology, managed services, and a channel program to create co-branded UCaaS offers.

RingCentral has solidified its position in the cloud-based collaboration market.  This has been largely driven by the expansion of its portfolio beyond its flagship chat service (Glip) to include conferencing, team collaboration, voice, and contact center capabilities.  A separate but equally significant component has been the inking of partnerships with vendors ALE, Atos, Avaya, and Mitel and service providers such as AT&T, Telus, and Verizon.  The recent introduction of RingCentral Rise represents a new branch of RingCentral’s go-to-market strategy and signals a renewed commitment to the company’s network of service provider partners. Continue reading “RingCentral Rise Helps Service Providers Bring Co-Branded UCaaS Offers to Market”

WebexOne 2021: Cisco Paints a Portrait of the Hybrid Workplace

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • WebexOne 2021 provided a window into how Cisco sees the hybrid workplace evolving.
  • Cisco has been aggressive in improving the Webex platform yet still faces intense competition.

Introduction

Like its competition, Cisco has made supporting hybrid work the focal point of its cloud-based collaboration initiatives.  But Cisco stands out as being especially aggressive in assembling hybrid work capabilities.  In the past 12 months, the flagship Webex platform has seen more than 1,000 improvements.  The latest round was dissected at the recent WebexOne 2021 event.  The occasion served as not only a showcase of the latest and greatest from Cisco, but also a window into how the company sees the market evolving.  Some of the key highlights are described below. Continue reading “WebexOne 2021: Cisco Paints a Portrait of the Hybrid Workplace”

8×8 Sets Its Sights on the “VIP” List of Cloud Collaboration Providers

Summary Bullets:

G. Willsky

• Customer Experience as-a-Service (XCaaS) represents the integration of UCaaS/CaaS.

• The chief mission behind XCaaS is raising engagement between employees from all parts of an organization and its customers to optimize the customer experience.

Appearances can be deceiving. In the cloud collaboration market, 8×8 lacks the name recognition afforded rivals such as Facebook, NICE inContact, Google, Slack, or Zoom. But the company stands out as one of the first to offer UCaaS (focused on employee communication and collaboration) integrated with CCaaS (focused on contact center agent interaction). XCaaS, or “Customer Experience as-a-Service” could lift 8×8 from the pool of “wannabes” and onto the VIP list.

Continue reading “8×8 Sets Its Sights on the “VIP” List of Cloud Collaboration Providers”

Zoom Takes a Giant Leap Forward at ‘Zoomtopia’

Summary Bullets:

G. Willsky

• Zoom has matured beyond its video-centric roots into a holistic UC&C player.

• Enhancements revealed at the annual ‘Zoomtopia’ event demonstrate just how far Zoom has come – and portend how far it may go.

In a short span of time, Zoom has jettisoned its video-centric roots and blossomed into a holistic UC&C player. But Zoom has not been content with resting on its laurels. Enhancements just announced at its annual ‘Zoomtopia’ conference represent a big leap forward. Zoom has arrived and then some.

Continue reading “Zoom Takes a Giant Leap Forward at ‘Zoomtopia’”

Event Platforms Bloom in a World Gone Hybrid


Summary Bullets:

G. Willsky

• The best event platforms enable execution of hybrid events spanning in-person and virtual attendees.

• Event organizers benefit disproportionately from event platforms as compared to attendees.

When COVID-19 arrived, virtual meetings became de rigueur seemingly overnight. Almost as soon as vaccines began to be administered and a pandemic ‘exit strategy’ took shape, team collaboration platforms graduated from facilitating ‘meetings’ to enabling ‘events’. What features do event platforms typically possess and are these platforms worthy of accolades? Let’s find out.

Team collaboration platforms have expanded to include large-scale, multi-session events and conferences. Such affairs are reminiscent of the pre-COVID world when no one thought twice about jetting to destinations near and far to cram into hotel venue rooms or convention centers. The best platforms today reflect the need for some to join from the comfort and solitude of a home or office while others navigate crowds traversing miles of institutional carpeting stretching under their feet. Vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Zoom have invested heavily in fortifying their event capabilities.

Continue reading “Event Platforms Bloom in a World Gone Hybrid”

X Marks the Spot: Employees Company-wide Support the Customer Experience via XCaaS

Summary Bullets:

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

• In combining UCaaS and CCaaS, XCaaS acknowledges that ultimately, employees from all parts of an organization jointly drive the customer experience.

• While the term “Customer Experience as-a-Service” sounds like a gimmick, cloud-based communication, collaboration, and customer service technology are firmly entrenched and will remain so.

XCaaS = UCaaS + CCaaS

On the surface, this equation may resemble algebra, trigonometry, or an amalgam of the two. But you won’t spot it in any mathematics textbook.

Instead, this summation depicts an alchemy that has arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has driven much higher usage of UCaaS (i.e., Unified Communications as-a-Service) and CCaaS (i.e., Contact Center as-a-Service) solutions which in turn has created a hyper-focus on employee communication and collaboration as well as serving customers. In combining UCaaS and CCaaS, XCaaS (i.e., Customer Experience as-a-Service) is an acknowledgement that every employee ultimately serves the customer, both those who are customer facing and those who are not, and facilitates communication and collaboration between those two universes to optimize the customer experience.

Continue reading “X Marks the Spot: Employees Company-wide Support the Customer Experience via XCaaS”

Cisco Aims to Facilitate Events Suited for the Post-Pandemic World

Summary Bullets:

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

• Socio’s platform enables execution of hybrid events spanning in-person and virtual attendees.

• Event organizers benefit disproportionately from the platform as compared to meeting attendees.

In May 2021, Cisco announced its intention to acquire Socio Labs, an event management platform provider. The acquisition is expected to finalize in Cisco’s Q4 fiscal year 2021 (May-July) subject to customary closing conditions and required regulatory approvals. Cisco declined to reveal the value of the transaction.

Socio’s platform enables execution of hybrid events mixing in-person and virtual attendees. As the end of the COVID-19 pandemic draws nearer, “hybrid” has emerged in the lexicon to represent a new normal in the workplace – a blending of in-office and virtual employees. Cisco’s new events capability is a corollary to that reality.

Continue reading “Cisco Aims to Facilitate Events Suited for the Post-Pandemic World”

Zoom Sheds Its Video-Centric Roots and Blossoms into a Complete UC&C Vendor

Summary Bullets:

G. Willsky

• Zoom was first to market with a free platform combined with one-click meeting access. Usage quickly soared.

• Zoom’s popularity has generated challenges but the company has addressed them head-on.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the work environment. Enterprises have been forced to adapt with unprecedented speed to radically altered ways of doing business both internally and when engaging with customers, vendors, and suppliers. Flexible working and enhanced collaboration are now hardwired into organizations large, small, and in-between.

Continue reading “Zoom Sheds Its Video-Centric Roots and Blossoms into a Complete UC&C Vendor”

Virtual Care via BlueJeans Telehealth from Verizon Business Echoes In-Person Appointments

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • The new BlueJeans Telehealth solution narrows the gap in quality between the traditional connected health model and an in-office visit.
  • Verizon Business could leverage the technological expertise amassed in building BlueJeans Telehealth towards similar solutions for additional verticals.

The practice of administering medical care in a virtual setting has become routine. Nevertheless, remote engagement between patients and medical professionals still lags in quality to an in-office visit.  The new BlueJeans Telehealth solution by Verizon Business narrows this gap by augmenting the traditional connected health model.  While BlueJeans Telehealth positions Verizon Business well in the healthcare vertical, the competition is not sitting still and thus success is by no means assured. Continue reading “Virtual Care via BlueJeans Telehealth from Verizon Business Echoes In-Person Appointments”

RingCentral Puts Competitors on Notice

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent initiatives have increased brand awareness for RingCentral and enhanced its reputation in the unified communication and collaboration market.
  • RingCentral’s diverse portfolio of voice, video, messaging, and contact center services makes it a competitor to be taken seriously.  

RingCentral is by no means a new kid on the block.  Last month marked 22 years in operation.  Since the time of its founding, noteworthy milestones have been reached.  For example, in 2003, the company introduced its cloud phone system. In 2009, a presence in the UK was established.  In 2012, a partnership was forged with AT&T.  In 2013, an IPO was completed.  Fast forward to the present and RingCentral continues to achieve.  In the past year alone, the company has propelled forward with new features, new services, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions.  RingCentral is serving notice to competitors: ignore it at your own peril.

Continue reading “RingCentral Puts Competitors on Notice”