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4 Key UC Themes Taking Shape at Enterprise Connect 2022

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Each year, the Enterprise Connect team creates an event program centered around providing enterprise IT communications and collaboration professionals insight and expertise that’ll help inform their technology decisions and strategies for the future. After two whirlwind years of IT changes, Enterprise Connect 2022 is shaping up as an event that identifies and focuses on several key trends engendered by those changes and how they translate to enterprise IT communications and collaboration professionals and departments.
 
Below, I review four emerging themes based on the Enterprise Connect schedule (click here to view) for next year’s hybrid event, held from March 21- 24, 2022. They include:
 
1. Hybrid work comes into sharper focus: Many communications and collaboration providers billed 2021 as the year of hybrid work. And while many enterprises have either piloted return-to-office programs or brought more employees back into the office, others weren’t quite ready to pull the triggers. If 2022 does become the year that the pandemic is brought under control, enterprises that had a wait-and-see approach to returning to the office might find it time to get serious about their strategy.
 
The chair of the Video Collaboration & A/V track, Ira Weinstein, founder & managing partner of Recon Research, will be hosting two hybrid work-focused sessions, including a session titled “Collaboration in the Hybrid World: Enterprises Speak Out,” and another focused on virtual event platform. Senior Analyst at Wainhouse Research Craig Durr will present a session titled “How to Match Your Technology Strategy with Your Enterprise’s Evolving Hybrid Work Plan” on how to repurpose the office to facilitate hybrid work. I’d also expect that the keynotes from Cisco, Zoom, and others will dedicate a significant portion of their presentations discussing how their products and services address hybrid work.
 
2. All eyes on contact centers: Contact centers have become less of an island to an enterprise organization and more of a vital part of business strategy execution as enterprises look at ways to win over customers with personalized, tailored, and empathetic customer experience (CX). This shift in focus has brought with it a slew of contact center innovation on the vendor side — from AI-based features like intelligent virtual agents (IVAs), sentiment analysis, and others — and questions of contact center ownership on the enterprise side.
 
Contact center expert Sheila McGee-Smith will tackle the purchase question head-on in her session, “Who Should be Making Contact Center Decisions in 2022? IT? Customer Service? Marketing?” During the session, she will explore the key strategic issues facing contact centers in the coming year. Omdia Analyst Mila D'Antonio will check in on the digital-first CX mandate in a session where she will review challenges in meeting customer expectations and improving digital omnichannel engagement.
 
3. The IT “basics” are more important than ever: For all the talk of the metaverse and VR collaboration, many IT organizations are more concerned with crucial, everyday IT tasks like ensuring users have a strong Wi-Fi connection or migrating to the cloud. To the former, Terry Slattery, principal architect at NetCraftsmen, will share his network expertise on ensuring robust Wi-Fi connections for both in-office and remote employees. When it comes to making sure your cloud provider delivers exactly what you need, telecommunications consultant Melissa Swartz will bring back her cloud gotcha session and share tips on how to migrate successfully and how to avoid cloud services pitfalls.
 
4. Addressing IT challenges beyond the purchase decision: From chip shortages to staffing issues, enterprise IT departments are facing a host of unique challenges that often go beyond deploying technology. Swartz will facilitate an open format discussion among IT/communications professionals, which will feature experience and advice on how to work around supply chain issues. To the staffing concerns and what they mean for IT operations, Editor-in-Chief for No Jitter Lisa Schmeiser will be hosting a discussion on how to prioritize IT projects in the era of the Great Resignation. Additionally, I’ll be hosting a discussion on how IT departments can continue to promote diversity throughout the IT organization.
 
From four days’ worth of in-depth, expert-led conference sessions and an expo hall showcasing the latest innovations across the communication and collaboration industry, we hope that you’ll find some insight to make the tough IT decisions that will lay ahead in 2022. If you want to learn more about the event, please visit the event website here. We hope to see you either in person or in the virtual environment.

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