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Analysts weigh in: Key trends from Enterprise Connect

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During the RingCentral keynote at Enterprise Connect last week, our VP of CX Product Marketing, John Finch, shared an observation made back in 2010 saying at the time that “every innovation in CX has already been introduced.” At that time, it was as if innovation was at a lull, and there wasn’t much left to conquer. It made me think about Charles Duell, the United States Office Patent Commissioner who in 1902 was erroneously credited for stating that “everything that can be invented has been invented.” 

While both of these prognostications have since been debunked, I thought of them a lot this week. Having the benefit of connecting with over 26 analysts over the course of Enterprise Connect this year, I had the opportunity to collect a number of analyst insights from the show. Many of them —to no surprise—were AI related. Suffice to say, innovation in enterprise communications is far from over.

One comment that struck me most was from Futurum analyst Craig Durr. He said that AI is moving “from promise to proof.” If you attended EC 2023 last year, you’ll know that there were many AI-related announcements that, even 12 months later, are just now starting to make an impact with end users. 

2024 is a different story.

There are many storylines that came out of Enterprise Connect, but the one I found most interesting this year was the new opportunities in redefining UCaaS and CCaaS integration thanks to the benefits of AI. Based on these conversations, I think there are three factors that are/will drive a new era of collaboration between employee and customer experiences.

Buyer behavior is changing

AI is having a disruptive impact on the purchasing process for organizations looking for deeply integrated UC and CC applications. As contact centers have seen more traction with AI applications vs. internal communications, contact centers owners are driving more UC+CC decisions rather than IT organizations. Robin Gareiss, president of Metrigy Research, told me it was the inverse just 3 years ago. Forrester analyst Will McKeon-White told me that same – essentially the UC buyer is becoming less influential on these combination purchases.

Another reason the contact center leaders are having a louder voice is also because more contact center seats are moving beyond traditional customer service agents. According to Zeus Kerravala, who works with many channel partners, more and more contact center seats are being provisioned to non-contact center agents and to people in sales and marketing.

Modalities are not the point. It’s all about experiences

While there are many proven benefits to integrating UC and CC, including the reduction of call handling time, decreases in internal support tickets and agent performance improvements, there are still many other benefit opportunities.

In fact, Sheila McGee-Smith, president of McGee-Smith Analytics, stated that UC+CC needs to evolve to become a common platform, not separate, integrated applications. IDC Research Vice President Denise Lund said the same – that the biggest problem in enterprise collaboration is that modalities are not yet fully unified. 

AI is the connector

Probably the biggest catalyst driving this new era of UC and CC integration is AI. No surprise that one of the biggest technology disruptors in the past decade would play a significant role here. To date, data collected from customer interactions and employee conversations have been largely isolated, not contextualized, and rarely, if at all, shared between organizations.

Denise felt that AI as well as voice are the connectors that can make this single platform dream a reality. Not only will AI enable real time data analysis and access to insights, it will (and is now) producing richer and greater intelligence than organizations have ever had available to them.

Jon Arnold, Principal of J Arnold & Associates, noted that we’re only at the beginning for the knowledge and insights that AI can generate from our everyday conversations. This is where RingsSense “comes into focus, as it serves to centralize both the conversations employees have in the workplace, along with the conversations contact center agents have with customers.”

To his credit, John quickly called out his swing-and-a-miss proclamation while on the EC stage, and proceeded to highlight new innovations to RingCentral’s native contact center solution, RingCX, including RingSense AI, virtual agents and AI assistance. This all comes just five months since the general availability launch of RingCX. And while Mr. Duell, if he was still with us, might disagree, we have even more innovation coming in 2024.

Originally published Apr 02, 2024

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