Kevin Scott-Cowell, chief executive of 8×8 Solutions UK, reflects on the roundtable discussion on business and technology, and looks at how companies can choose cloud-based communications tools that work best for them
SCOTT-COWELL I think Simon [Walker] is correct when he asks if ultimately people will choose the technology that is right for them. The roundtable discussion made it clear that businesses want technology that gives their customers and employees a choice of how they communicate. Moving to a communications solution that enables methods like text, voice, video and chat gives people a choice in how they communicate, but it must be received by a company or an individual in an unified way in order for it to be manageable. This is the essence of a unified communications solution, whether you choose to work with one based on your premises, or in the cloud.
At 8×8 Solutions UK we’re using technology to bring something that’s been the bedrock of a business or personal relationships: voice communication. I’m still doing that and I spent my career doing that – 30 years ago on private branch exchange (PBX) and now we’re doing it through cloud, it’s a different mechanism.
Businesses want technology that gives them more time for people interactions and adds value to that experience. Phone solutions that integrate with databases to give access to customer information quickly and simply. The ability to speed dial from any device you choose to use, such as laptop, PC or mobile, are examples of how to create more time for people.
It’s about bringing that to more people and making it simple. We’re trying to use that technology to make it easy for the businesses – including sole traders like the butcher Wendy mentioned – to use much more sophisticated things which hitherto were only available to big corporations, because they were the only guys who could afford the cap-ex.
Increasingly we’re integrating systems. In your business you want the systems to work seamlessly together. That’s no easy task, but we are building these integrations in – for example, CRM systems, voice recognition and speech analytics that we’re building in, but we’re always looking at who is going to use them, what’s the use case, what’s the benefit to the business and user?
Security is a topic that is always on people’s minds and Stephen Dunn put it well when he said that, while businesses can invest in security themselves, going to a large cloud services provider means that you can take advantage of the attention they will give and investment they will make in keeping their systems and data secure. He also made a good point when he said that by moving his business to cloud-based services he doesn’t have to worry about anyone stealing his server! The innovation of the next five years will be about integration, adding value and simplicity.
My overall impression was that businesses feel that doing business and communicating with customers has lost its ‘humanity’. They want to make more time for customers, to get back to basics, using technology in such a way that keeps things clear for them and their customers.
Looking to the future, voice will always be the communication method of choice. Voice is still the bedrock of business relationships, internally and externally. Technology needs to help with ensuring the information needed alongside these conversations is made easily available in any format and on any device that suits the user. In five years’ time, voice will still be very much with us.
Choose 8×8 Solutions for your business
8×8 Solutions, the UK/European arm of Nasdaq-listed 8×8 Inc, provides cloud-based unified communications and collaboration services to companies of all sizes across the UK and globally.
The company’s software ensures companies work more efficiently and collaboratively. Globally, it has more than 40,000 business customers, working
with over 500,000 global users and has been named a Gartner Magic Quadrant UCaaS leader.
Owning and developing all of its own technology and holding more than 100 patents has given 8×8 a unique and innovative place in both UK and global markets.
The business provides an extensive product range which includes Virtual Office – an enterprise featured business phone solution – and Virtual Contact Centre, a fully featured multimedia solution capable of being deployed quickly and effectively anywhere.
To find out more about 8×8 Solutions UK visit 8×8.co.uk