Parting Thoughts About Enterprise Connect 2016
Before the events and memories of last week’s Enterprise Connect Conference and Expo in Orlando begin to evaporate as I return to the office and begin the digging out process, I wanted to capture the key trends, messages, sentiments and overall positive buzz that made the conference so exciting.
For RingCentral, this year constituted our largest show presence to date. Our visibility in the Expo Hall was substantially greater than in past years. Our booth was pretty much packed throughout the conference. Presentations on topics like “The Power of an Open Platform” and “The Connected Customer” by RingCentral speakers including David Lee, Marco Casalaina, “Business Communications Simplified” by Matt McGinnis and “Glip: Teamwork Realized” by Ted Jaffe were consistently well attended and enthusiastically received too. Members of the RingCentral team also participated in a number of sessions and panel discussions at the conference.
For me, and I believe for many others, the key take-away from the Conference is that 2016 is going to be the year of the cloud. Talk about the cloud as a future communications platform is passé. This year the presentations, panel discussions and casual conversations among attendees focused not on whether organizations should migrate their business communications to the cloud, but rather how and how quickly. As Michelle Burbick put it in her No Jitter post, Cloud, Cloud, and More Cloud, “With cloud stories being shared right and left, this year’s Enterprise Connect might just go down as the year of the cloud… much of the transformational speak seemed to keep coming back to cloud. While we’ve been discussing cloud and hosted services for years now, it has seemed as if the enterprise hasn’t really been ready to take it seriously — until now, of course, when all at once, it seems as if everybody is ready to at least consider cloud solutions, if not go full-in on it.”
For a pure cloud UCaaS company like RingCentral, that theme was music to our ears. RingCentral was born in the cloud and has never doubted organizations would come to realize the transformational power of the cloud as a business communications and collaboration platform.
In that regard, it was interesting to see how legacy players in the communications industry are scrambling to figure out how to cloudify their traditional on-premise solutions. Of course, we’ve seen this late to the party syndrome before in other technology sectors as some vendors saw the value and power of the cloud early on and have been offering applications and infrastructure as cloud services for some time, while others are clambering to catch up.
It was also exciting to hear industry anaysts and other leaders and influencers recognize that RingCentral is leading the way in unified communications and collaboration (UCC) by adding true enterprise PBX capabilities into collaboration, making our solution even more powerful and all-inclusive. While some companies, like Slack for instance, are simply adding voice and video to messaging solutions, at RingCentral we’ve merged our RingCentral Office and RingCentral Global Office capabilities with Glip, providing users with a more powerful enterprise-grade ability to collaborate internally as well as externally.
There was a broad recognition and there were various discussions of UCaaS as a simple, secure, reliable and cost-effective business communications strategic platform for multinational companies to use to seamlessly connect their widely dispersed offices, workers and customers. So it was no surprise that many attendees were quite interested in our recent launch of RingCentral Global Office.
There was also a great deal of interest in communications APIs. In fact, there was a whole track devoted to the subject and the growing importance and use of communications APIs to enhance the ease of communications and to develop apps using APIs. This was another area in which RingCentral stood out. We provide an open platform and access to our open APIs, which enable customers to develop apps to streamline workflow and achieve higher levels of productivity.
One of our customers, Daniel Heighton of Construction Monitor, a firm that aggregates data on building permits and turns them into leads for builders and sub-contractors, participated on a panel about APIs. He made a presentation and showed a demo that illustrated how Construction Monitor was able to use RingCentral’s APIs to rapidly create a powerful workflow solution that led to a substantial increase in revenue. It was a compelling presentation and we thank Daniel for joining us in beautiful Orlando for the conference.
There was so much going on at Enterprise Connect that I could go on and on, but suffice it to say it was a week well spent for all who attended. The agenda was well planned and got people thinking and talking about the direction of the industry and the vital role the cloud will play. I’m sure there will be a lot more discussions about this and many more exciting developments to come, so, stay tuned.