Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>

Dave Michels | March 08, 2017 |


8x8 Bridges Messaging Islands

8x8 Bridges Messaging Islands As part of an 'open cloud' initiative, 8x8 picks up for its ability to provide interoperability among disparate team messaging services.

As part of an 'open cloud' initiative, 8x8 picks up for its ability to provide interoperability among disparate team messaging services.

8x8 today made several announcements that reflect a broad vision for cloud communications services. The announcements fall into three categories: integration, a messaging acquisition, and APIs.

8x8 is offering an increased number of pre-integrated, supported cloud services. These include the usual suspects of popular business applications such as Salesforce and SAP, but what's unique -- and surprising -- is a number of integrations with messaging-based services such as Slack, Cisco Spark, and Microsoft Teams.

Yes, 8x8 is offering messaging interoperability with several services that don't necessarily integrate with other services. This it has accomplished via, a workstream messaging interoperability service in use by more than 200 organizations. It gained Sameroom in the acquisition of its parent company, LeChat, last quarter for an undisclosed price.

Defragmenting Team Collaboration before, and 8x8 now, addresses the challenge of fragmented communication caused by messaging islands. Teams continue to select tools and services that work best for them, not necessarily what works best for the enterprise. Messaging services are proliferating like ants at a picnic -- faster than IT can contain them.

Consider the messaging solutions from Microsoft alone, which include Yammer, Skype, Skype for Business, Outlook, Outlook Groups, Teams, and GroupMe. That's a lot of choices with little or no interoperability from just one vendor. Factor in other common services such as Atlassian HipChat, Slack, Cisco Spark, and Google Hangouts. All of these services fragment communications, which creates compliance and data control challenges for enterprises.

IT commonly deals with this problem by decreeing which apps can and can't be used, but that's an uphill battle that fuels shadow IT. Nor does a single app solution address the collaboration challenges between teams that span across multiple organizations. Another approach is to use to allow teams to choose their own tools, yet still communicate and collaborate with each other.

Many believe that workstream messaging applications can potentially replace email, save for constraints due to interoperability limitations. Email and telephony are so powerful because they span across vendors, companies, and countries. Email works regardless of the user's solution: Exchange/Outlook, G Suite, IBM Verse, etc. "Entropy is the primary growth driver for Sameroom," says Andrei Soroker, Sameroom founder and now 8x8's director of product strategy for Sameroom.

What's particularly noteworthy is that 8x8 is not launching its own workstream messaging solution. Instead, it has unspecified intent to expand its existing instant messaging service with additional capabilities, and said that it will direct customers with more advanced requirements to existing services such as Slack.

This is a highly differentiated approach within UCaaS. Most providers are introducing new workstream messaging solutions, in essence creating new islands. They are not addressing interoperability or evolving current IM services.

Open Cloud
The final set of announcements relate to 8x8's new open cloud initiative. Open cloud provides expanded and rich APIs and scripting tools to allow customers to personalize and customize their hosted PBX experiences -- in real time. It effectively brings the CPaaS era back to the PBX.

The APIs fall into four broad categories: communication microservices, provisioning and service management, analytics and data extraction, and dynamic communications flow and routing. The APIs are complemented with Script8 -- 8x8's internal scripting tool now available to customers. These tools expose 8x8's core switching solution to programmatic control.

For example, customers can integrate other applications to directly interact with the PBX. A CRM record can dynamically impact call routing to get a specific person to a specific agent, or new extensions can be created for employees as they are onboarded in HR. Business intelligence systems can directly integrate with 8x8 raw usage data. 8x8 is also providing customers access to customizable scripts including two-factor authentication, store locator, and emergency broadcast.

8x8 describes its expanded service as the first "communications cloud" built on the pillars of UC, contact center, video, analytics, APIs, and interoperability. 8x8 intends to differentiate with simultaneous strategies for rich communications services with coupled platform services for customization and integration to facilitate a comprehensive communications strategy.

These announcements indicate that 8x8 remains highly focused on UCaaS as its core and is not chasing new segments with me-too services. Instead, 8x8 intends to strengthen its core hosted services with integration, APIs, and enhanced control.

Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter and Google+!
Dave Michels on Google+


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.