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Combine UCaaS and CCaaS, Add AI, Stir


A contact center button
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This No Jitter post by industry analyst Rob Hilsen touches on two of the themes that we’ll be hearing a lot about at Enterprise Connect March 25 - 28: The convergence of UCaaS and CCaaS, and (of course) AI. These themes are related, as they both represent drivers of transition in the way enterprises deliver CX.

The UCaaS/CCaaS theme is a variation on the eternal best-of-breed vs. single-vendor conundrum. Companies like RingCentral and Zoom, for example, initially secured their position in the enterprise via communications channels—voice and video, respectively—but are now pushing heavily, and it appears successfully, into the contact center market.

As Hilsen points out in his No Jitter post, contact centers gain efficiency and the opportunity to deliver better service when they’re more closely linked with the UC infrastructure and the wider cohort of their colleagues outside the contact center. It’s also true that, conceptually, UC systems are adding more contact center agent-like functionality to their tools. One of the promised capabilities of AI-driven personal assistants is their potential for adding elements like sentiment analysis into the richer meeting summaries they aim to deliver: Employees can get the kinds of insights on their co-workers that agents want about their customers, which is useful if people are using the meeting summaries the way companies like Microsoft believe they will—to catch up on collaboration you might not have been a part of, and “read” a room you weren’t in.

There’s also the opportunity to bring richer information to the engagement: How many meetings have you been in, that slowed to a crawl while somebody tried to dig up a file or remember what everyone decided on the last time? A knowledge worker-oriented, AI-driven “screen pop” could deliver that information quickly.

Bringing UCaaS and CCaaS together promises a better experience for both the customer and the employee, be they a knowledge worker, frontline employee, or contact center agent. We’ve got two sessions on the program at Enterprise Connect exploring the momentum toward consolidation: Blair Pleasant of COMMfusion will lead a discussion with several of the vendors that are driving this convergence; and Mila D’Antonio and Adam Holtby of Omdia will present research and conduct a discussion delving into the specific business benefits they’ve uncovered for closer EX/CX coordination.

The challenge for enterprises that want to go this direction will be what it’s always been: Mergers and acquisitions, and other business factors that can introduce a multi-vendor aspect to even the most carefully-planned single-vendor infrastructure. In some ways, I can see it being even more complex and difficult in a UCaaS-plus-CCaaS world: The more that UCaaS extends its tentacles into CCaaS and vice versa, the more complicated it’s likely to be for an enterprise to integrate with platforms of newly-acquired companies.

Relative to AI: Near the end of his article, Hilsen addresses the question of whether generative AI will replace voice communications channels (and thus agents). He comes down firmly against such a likelihood, at least in the near term, but you’ll find vendors and other industry observers who believe AI really will be able to replace human agents to a degree some may now think unlikely. I think this will be a live debate at Enterprise Connect 2024, and we’ll see more support for the agent-replacement position than you might expect.

We’d love to have you join us in Orlando and be part of these discussions and debates. Our Early Bird discount for conference registrations expires this week, though, so sign up now. See you at Enterprise Connect 2024, March 25 – 28!