The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has had quite an impact on the tech world and, in some cases, it has accelerated the move by customers towards more cloud solutions.
One of the areas that has seen a surge in interest is cloud-based communications, with many customers having to react to the need to operate with a remote workforce during the period of lockdown.
In May, 8x8 signed up a partnership with Virgin Business Media (VMB) to help more customers take steps into a cloud environment in a move that underlines the reaction by vendors to the current trends in the market.
MicroScope’s editor Simon Quicke put some questions to Andrew Halliwell, product director at Virgin Media Business, to get a sense of what is happening in the market.
Simon Quicke: How many customers are looking to make more of a move to cloud communications?
Andrew Halliwell: Before the coronavirus outbreak, many analysts predicted a compound annual growth rate of around 16% in the UK market. We expect this growth to be further accelerated in the coming months as working from home looks set to continue for both office workers and contact centre agents.
What’s more, as traditional voice services such as ISDN30 and analogue lines depreciate in the lead up to 2025, we expect to see more organisations taking the opportunity to move their communications estate to the cloud, fast-tracking cloud communications adoption as a key driver of digital transformation.
Quicke: Have you seen that demand increase since the arrival of Covid-19?
Halliwell: Absolutely. In the short term, the focus for most organisations has been to get the bare minimum number of users enabled in a short timeframe to ensure business continuity, and we’ve seen a massive spike in activity as businesses pivoted at record speed.
However, as we come out of the current phase and into the next, we expect to see digital communications, collaboration and customer experience becoming top priority for most IT directors.
Quicke: Are VMB customers looking at cloud comms as part of a larger digital transformation strategy?
Halliwell: Digital transformation strategies are driving many organisations to move to cloud communications services and applications, especially in the current climate, but many might not consider their networks in this process.
Investing in the right networking technology will help companies realise the benefits of cloud adoption. It will also be key to realising an excellent digital customer experience, which we will see becoming the main differentiator in the UK market – even more so than price.
Ensuring a positive employee experience, including equipping employees with the right tools for the job, plays a large part in creating a successful customer experience. The right network is needed for these tools to perform at their best, which is where companies such as Virgin Media Business can provide support.
Quicke: Why 8x8? What attracted VMB to that partnership?
Halliwell: We were looking for a solution which covered our end-to-end communications requirements from within a single platform (telephony, collaboration, conferencing, analytics and contact centre). Ultimately, 8x8’s solution ticked all of our boxes for a cloud communications platform.
The fact that 8x8 own all their own software and development processes was very appealing, in addition to supporting a great catalogue of business application integrations. We also found that the team are clearly very committed to helping us address the needs of the public sector customers, who represent a large proportion of our client base.
8x8 is a truly disruptive business whose relentless customer focus and innovative products make them a natural partner for Virgin Media Business.
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