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Customer experience driving collaboration investments

Improving customer experience is one of the main factors behind the decision by users to invest in unified comms and collaboration tools

Improving customer experience is one of the key drivers behind the increases in customer spending in the unified comms and collaboration space.

A number of vendors operating in the market shared their views of the current landscape at a recent MicroScope hosted roundtable and agreed that there was growth that resellers could tap into.

Andrew Lilley, director of sales engineering EMEA 8x8, said that upgrading legacy equipment was one of the issues that many customers were wrestling with but there were other factors at play: "What's driving a lot of that spend is around improving customer experience".

"If you look at things like the fact that 35% of the population working these days are millennials so the way that they want to interact with businesses is very much a mobile app driven culture. So that's driving a lot of the innovation, a lot of change, because if you don't get that customer experience right first time, they will go somewhere else. We are living in an app driven world where people have  choices," he added.

He said that the pressure on users had increased over the past few years and things were now at a stage where there were dangers that failing to invest would impact competitiveness.

"Over the last few years of all the technology stars have aligned. This app driven culture, 5g networks, the ability to do everything from a mobile phone and the Uberisation of customer experience. So, what I'm seeing in some of the research we've done is that millennials - and other age groups as well - want to do everything through an app and want to do social media, messaging and video, so a  unified solution is what they need in the workplace as well," he said.

Vaughan Klein, director, collaboration, EMEAR at Cisco, said that the growth numbers all pointed to this market segment offering opportunities for the channel.

"When Cisco published its annual results the publicized line on collaboration came in at $5.8bn growing at 15%. That's the fastest growth rate we've seen in that business for many years. If I have a look at what transpired here in the EMEA market place, every theatre, segment and product category group saw growth. So there is something going on in the marketplace around the desire to invest in collaboration," he said.

Keith Bartlett, EMEA director of channel sales at LogMeIn, said that there were differing attitudes towards collaboration depending on the vertical, with some like construction being quite slow to adopt the technology.

"In comparison, major telecoms companies, the media industry and retail as examples, are at the forefront of digital transformation and have derived ROI benefits accordingly.  It would be interesting to see where the split is and map it to size of the company," he said.

Rick Hawkes, sales engineering manager at Avaya, said that vendors had made great efforts to make the technology simpler to use and that was also having a positive impact.

He added that bringing voice, video and messaging together into a single place was something that users had responded to and were looking for from suppliers.

See MicroScope’s December ezine for the full transcript of the roundtable discussion.

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