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23 March 2018

Enterprise Connect 2018 - In Review

Frank Mirecki

Highlights from the Largest Unified Communications and Contact Centre Showcase in North America

It's a Wrap! For three full days, Enterprise Connect 2018 showed its wares to 2500 business leaders, industry experts, and system integrators. The largest of its kind in North America, EC brings out the largest players in the UC (Unified Communications) and CC (Contact Centre) industries.

As always, BrantTel Networks was present, and we're here to give you the inside scoop on an eventful three days in sunny Orlando.

The Show Floor

The show floor was one of the busiest in the history of the conference. The big players were in full bloom and with the most visible booths. Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, Microsoft, Mitel, Oracle, RingCentral, and 8x8 were always among the biggest and busiest booths at the show. Many niche players were present, too, including system integrators or large US-based VAR's. This made for an entertaining walk-through with attention-grabbing sales tactics and giveaways by vendors.

Our Takeaways

At Enterprise Connect 2018 there were different learning tracks for Unified Communications and Contact Centre. With that in mind, we'd love to give you some reflection on both. We attended as many sessions as we could to scope out the latest offerings, intent on bringing the best back home to market. Here are some of our highlights.

Unified Communications

Team Collaboration Reaching Maturity

With the rise in popularity of Slack, River and other online team collaboration tools, it was no surprise that this was part of the battleground for Unified Communications at the Conference. Each vendor had their proprietary tools. This can mean one thing: the race for Team Collaboration supremacy is on!

Though these team tools are likely here to stay, one area of concern is their ability to integrate with other business functions. One feature we still see as lacking in these offers is a user's ability to customize for their needs, although they are improving, and becoming more mainstream.

3 Years from Now

This slide was memorable, and we felt it captured where the Canadian UC market is going, too.

Communication Platform

Maturity takes time, and this is no exception. The key takeaway remains that Team Collaboration will stay at the forefront of digital transformation, and the tools and their integrations will continue to improve.

Contact Centre

The Contact Centre market is growing predictably. Many companies are facing increased competition and are looking to capitalize on strong customer service practices. At this point, projects show the market growing at 21% and with Cloud Contact Centre growing at 18% through to 2022.

Cloud Contact Centre

BrantTel Infographics

60.6% still using OnPremise Contact Centre, with 40% of that group planning on moving to a Cloud solution. There's a lot of buzz about the benefits of the Cloud deployment model for even larger contact centres, and the clear benefits of economies of scale around Contact Centre are coming into focus.

As with Team Collaboration, customization and integration availability are still issues with Cloud deployments, as they tend to be with all multi-tenant platforms. Luckily, many of the largest providers have Developer Networks, where 3rd party software development allow some customization of the solutions. This is the grey area around multi-tenant solutions, and this segment will no doubt continue to face some obstacles.

While we won't deep dive into the many Cloud offers we checked out, we will call out one that was indeed interesting: Amazon. Amazon has invaded our lives and quickly become one of the largest companies in the world. Alongside your storage, compute and web space you can buy a Contact Centre there as well. Amazon introduced Amazon Connect in 2017, but we sat in on a session that gave us a surprising outlook on how far it's come along in such a short time. Still behind the leading vendors, but making up ground.


The Bots Are Growing Up!

While last year's hot topics were the Customer Journey and how to augment this with contextual information, this year's focus was around the automation of these contextual bits of information using AI. Agent Assistance and Agent Collaboration were also very hot topics. The use of automated bots and AI workflows to route customer information to an agent is almost now a staple of every modern Contact Centre offering. The Bots are growing up!

There's certainly more to talk about, so keep your eyes peeled for more posts helping you know what to expect in both UC and Contact Centre through 2018!

Frank Mirecki
23 March 2018

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