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Where Are We on Platforms, Hybrid Work, Customer Service?


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Every year as we head into Enterprise Connect, I step back and think about what issues seem likely to dominate discussion, and what I’m hoping to learn from three days of breakout sessions, keynotes, and input from vendors and — most importantly — from enterprise decision-makers. With Enterprise Connect an all-virtual event this year, the process of gathering those impressions will be different, but I expect to finish the three days with some conclusions, and — as always — probably just as many new questions to consider.
Here are some of the things I’ll be paying particular attention to during EC next week:
Platforms: The overriding strategic question for enterprises is what the next-generation platform looks like — if indeed there will be such a single center of gravity in the typical enterprise. Our keynoters represent the largest strategic players in the market — Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, RingCentral, and AWS — so I want to hear how they address this issue. Then, to find out how the question of platforms is landing with the customer, we’ve got a panel of enterprise decision-makers who I expect will give us insight about how this looks from the buyer/implementer side.
Supporting Hybrid Work: Arguably, these three words are the most succinct description of what IT/communications organizations’ job will be from here on out. I’m excited about a session from Omdia’s Adam Holtby, who will present the results of his recent Future of Work survey, providing a strong overview and context for the challenge of supporting hybrid work.
However, as is always the case for IT, supporting enterprise workers will come down to a blend of technology and business decisions at the tactical level: What do you do about your WAN? How do you choose, at both a strategic and a feature/function level, among platforms? And how do you deal with the fact that widespread video use is likely here to stay — both for remote workers and those in the office?
Advancing Customer Service: On an Enterprise Connect webinar yesterday, a Twilio representative quoted a figure that 70% of enterprises still run premises-based solutions for their contact centers. And yet everyone knows the cloud is the future. So how do you get from here to there? How do you begin? And how do you get quick wins?
I’m excited about other sessions as well, like our Women in Communications Roundtable, featuring enterprise decision-makers dealing with the unique challenges women face during an unprecedented time not just for our industry, but for the entire workforce. And our general sessions featuring strategic perspectives on the industry as a whole, and on trends in the contact center in particular.
Of course, there are many more major issues to cover, and you can find them throughout the program. This is the first time we’ve ever put our entire conference program online, available for free to all comers. You’ll also find a wealth of information from our sponsors, who will be hosting talks as well as providing information on their sponsor pages within our virtual environment.
If you haven’t signed up yet, I hope you will, and do spend some time with us next Monday through Wednesday. You’ll get the big picture — and the view from ground level.