Slack Reinforces Its Focus on Productivity with the Announcement of Slack Canvas

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• Slack Canvas fulfills the truest potential of hybrid work tools – increasing productivity.

• Productivity has been a focal point at Slack, and that places it in an enviable position.

Slack has announced Slack Canvas, which is scheduled to launch in 2023. Slack Canvas supplements channels, which are the centerpiece of the Slack platform. Slack defines channels as repositories that centralize people, information, and tools, thus facilitating collaboration. Any channel can have a dedicated, customizable canvas associated with it. Canvases provide a permanent place to organize and store resources that can be shared with and updated by a team.

Continue reading “Slack Reinforces Its Focus on Productivity with the Announcement of Slack Canvas”

RingCentral’s ‘Customer Service Essentials’ Allows Smaller Businesses to Test the Contact Center Waters

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• Customer Service Essentials reflects a growing propensity among vendors for combining contact center and unified communications capabilities in a single offer.

• Customer Service Essentials lets smaller businesses dip their toe in the contact center waters, but it is merely a pricing bundle at its core.

RingCentral recently launched Customer Service Essentials, a contact center offering targeted at the small office/home office (SOHO) and small business markets. Customer Service Essentials bundles RingCentral’s flagship ‘MVP (Message, Video, and Phone)’ offer and Live Reports, which provides real-time call center performance data.

Continue reading “RingCentral’s ‘Customer Service Essentials’ Allows Smaller Businesses to Test the Contact Center Waters”

The Long, Long Road to Ethical AI

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary bullets:

• The preeminent ethical concerns used to be the loss of jobs due to AI, bias, or applications of facial recognition, but the ethical debate has become more complicated.

• Even though AI has been around for years, the AI and ethics conversation is just getting started; increasing awareness and education, as well as broadening the types of participants involved in the conversation, are foundational first steps.

Organizations are eager to leverage the insights provided by AI to streamline operations, enhance productivity, generate new business, and personalize customer experience. Several companies have already deployed the technology, or are at least experimenting with it, and are now looking to scale AI by rolling the technology out to a broader user base and additional departments. But as AI becomes more widely used, many companies are unclear about how to best navigate the murky waters of AI and ethics. No organization wants to risk the public relations fiasco that would ensue should it be determined that the AI algorithms it uses yield biased results against a specific demographic, or are being applied a way that is not in line with corporate ethics policies.

Continue reading “The Long, Long Road to Ethical AI”

UK Service Providers Ramping Up Focus on UK SME Market

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:             

  • Vodafone has published insights into the UK SME market – the latest move amongst service providers as they look for future growth in the business segment.
  • Service providers are increasingly understanding the importance of behavior, maturity, and small business strategies when addressing this vital, complex, and substantial market opportunity.

Vodafone’s ‘SMEs Like Me’ report examines attitudes, motivations, and challenges of British small businesses. The report’s publication is yet another indication that service providers’ focus is increasingly turning to small businesses as their best engine for future growth in the enterprise market. This is especially true when the multinational corporation, large enterprise, and public sector markets are over-supplied and, in many cases, flatlining.

Continue reading “UK Service Providers Ramping Up Focus on UK SME Market”

UC&C Platforms Are Becoming Homogenized

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Three forces are driving homogenization of UC&C platforms: common features, a continuous surfeit of bells and whistles, and interoperability between competing platforms.
  • The need for in-office and remote workers to communicate and collaborate – and thus demand for UC&C platforms – will remain robust in the hybrid world.

Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) platforms are becoming homogenized. There are three forces driving this phenomenon: (1) a common set of features has emerged from the major players, including meetings, chat, calling, and events (some players have created an augmented core by also including contact centers and AI); (2) competitors are continually and rapidly complementing common features with a surfeit of bells and whistles (e.g., live reactions such as likes, enhanced lighting for video feeds, and polling); and (3) interoperability between platforms and cooperation between competitors are fast becoming the norm.

Continue reading “UC&C Platforms Are Becoming Homogenized”

Red Hat Summit: Ansible’s Growing Prominence

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:             

  • Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is growing in prominence within OpenShift and the industry in general
  • Ansible’s popularity has prompted a new round of key partnerships to expand OpenShift’s ecosystem

Red Hat Ansible has matured into a shining star, not only among OpenShift’s portfolio, but the industry in general for its ability to abstract the complexity of building and operating IT automation at scale as part of enterprises’ business transformations.

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8×8 and Genesys Announce an Integration, but There Is Much More Than Meets the Eye

Gregg Profile Photo
G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • The integration enables collaboration between contact center agents and subject matter experts throughout their organizations.
  • The announcement reinforces trends around coopetition, contact centers, and linkage between UCaaS and CCaaS.

8×8 and Genesys announced that 8×8’s ‘Work’ now features integration with Genesys’ ‘Cloud CX.’ 8×8 Work includes enterprise voice, video meetings, and team chat capabilities. Cloud CX is a contact center offer that works across phone, email, chat, text, and social channels. The integration will enable contact center agents to collaborate with subject matter experts across an organization. Agents will access subject matter experts through a company directory, while those experts can indicate their availability to respond to customer inquiries. Agents will access both offers through a single sign-on. Both offers can be downloaded from either vendor’s app store.

Continue reading “8×8 and Genesys Announce an Integration, but There Is Much More Than Meets the Eye”

Cisco’s Webex Adoption Methodology Is an Antidote to Competitive Homogeneity

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

  • Three market drivers are causing the lines between competitors’ UC&C platforms to blur.
  • Facilitating platform adoption is a meaningful source of competitive differentiation.

The lines are blurring between competitors’ UC&C platforms. Feature sets are beginning to look similar.  Interoperability between disparate hardware and between disparate software is becoming more commonplace.  Acquisitions and partnerships are bringing functionality from opposing players under one roof. Continue reading “Cisco’s Webex Adoption Methodology Is an Antidote to Competitive Homogeneity”

Should Enterprises Voyage into the Metaverse?

Summary Bullets:

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

• Enterprises should beware the hype – the metaverse is not a decision that needs to be made this year, if ever

• However, elements of the metaverse are with us now and can offer genuine benefits – e.g., for training or collaboration

The ‘metaverse’ is manna from heaven for tech journalists (and, indeed, analysts!) as it is poorly defined, can be applied to both current technology and fantastical future ideas, and is a concept much loved by technology giants such as Microsoft and Facebook/Meta Platforms Inc. This sort of scenario is true of many new technologies, but the metaverse is a more ethereal and intangible concept than most – to the extent that even its name is meta.

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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”