8x8 Beefs Up Integrations, Speech Analytics, Reporting

With a trio of enhancements, 8x8 continues to bulk up its cloud-based blended UC and contact center platform, the X Series, introduced last March and since upgraded with a team messaging capability.
 
Integration Overhaul
To start, 8x8 has completed a “soup to nuts” rebuild of its integration platform and announced three new integrations on top of it, said Dejan Deklich, EVP and chief product officer at 8x8, in a No Jitter briefing.
 
“The one thing you care about now in the enterprise and midmarket essentially is how do you quickly reduce complexity for users; how do you get better, faster, and cleaner ROI; and how do you actually connect your product to everything else,” Deklich said. “The goal is to be able to do that as quickly as humanly possible,” while also offering external engineering teams and customers a simple way to work with the APIs, too, he added.
 
While 8x8 has long supported such integrations, “the old framework didn’t do that as well as it should have,” Deklich frankly stated.
 
To address its goal, 8x8 rebuilt its integration platform on a microservices architecture and industry-standard APIs, all the while keeping its blended goal front and center. “I don’t want to build an integration just for UC or just for contact center,” Deklich said. “I want to build one integration that then works for everybody else.”
 
In addition, 8x8 wants to do more than support the standard integrations required by most enterprises, added Meghan Keough, VP of product & solutions marketing at 8x8. Its intent with the revamped integration platform is to also enable developers, including those within the enterprise, to use its APIs to “really embed communications into their end-to-end business processes in a way that works for their organizations.” (For more on the role of developers in the contact center in particular, tune in to our latest episode of our No Jitter On Air podcast: "Crafting the Contact Center," with guest Jeff Thompson, of ProdAdvisory.)
 
With that in mind, the 8x8 Integration Framework now offers integrations for Microsoft Dynamics CRM; Bullhorn, a CRM system for recruiters; and team messaging app, Slack -- with plenty more on the way, Deklich added.
 
Speech Analytics on Steroids
8x8 also has changed up its approach to speech analytics, in part to meet customer demands for closer to real-time call transcription, Deklich said. To address that requirement, 8x8 has moved speech analytics into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud to take advantage of its “fancy new” GPUs for processing such compute-intensive workloads, he said.
 
As an added benefit of now running the speech analytics load in the public cloud, 8x8 will be able to “play the clouds against one another,” thereby gaining cost efficiencies for the end customers, Deklich added.
 
This is about democratizing speech analytics, extending the opportunity beyond large enterprises and the big on-premises horsepower required for setting up and training models, Keough said. By placing the compute in the cloud, 8x8 can now offer speech analytics for much smaller customers, too -- like that 50-seat contact center that might be small but still would like to automate workloads -- up and running in a month or so, she added.
 
With the enhanced offering, businesses can get real-time insights through predefined categories, topics, and hundreds of words and phrases.
 
And 8x8 doesn’t intend for its speech analytics capabilities to be limited to contact center conversations, Keough noted. In a heads-up to some of what 8x8 has planned for our Enterprise Connect conference and expo, coming the week of March 18 in Orlando, Fla., she said it will be announcing speech analytics for UC, too, broadening the scope of data available for providing customer insight. (You’ll find 8x8 on the expo floor at booth 506.)
 
“It’s not just a support team or a customer service team of folks sitting in a cubicle somewhere that are engaging with your customers. … Now organizations will really be able to tap into all their customer interactions. Speech analytics won’t be constrained to one small team because of cost or scale issues of on-premises solutions,” she said.
 
Contact Center Dashboards
Lastly, 8x8 has beefed up its real-time dashboards for contact centers, making them more customizable, shareable, and displayable as wallboards. These new dashboard capabilities start to show the value of unified analytics across all products, Deklich said.
 
As 8x8 has learned through customers, “when you give agents insight into what is the current status and current state of their call center and support team, they self-regulate and shift their behavior to optimize the customer experience,” Keough noted. For example, when agents see real-time queue status displayed on a wallboard, they might hold off on taking a break until a less busy time, she said.
 
“They self-monitor.”