Key Enterprise Communications Transformation Trends

Accelerated in part by the requirement to maintain operations across distributed workforces for the foreseeable future, organizations are changing the way that they evolve their communications and customer contact technologies to deliver the innovation their customers demand while minimizing operational risk.

Two new trends are emerging, creating fundamental changes in the way enterprises transform to meet customer demands.

  • Micro-Transformations – making incremental additions to the existing environment to add capabilities
  • Best of Need, not Best of Breed – choose the technology that is right for specific requirements, not just what prevailing thought says is the best thing on the market.

In part 2 and 3 of this series, we will describe both trends, including their origins, benefits, and the required considerations to make each of these successful.

Part 1 – A Brief History of Communications Technology Transformation

For decades, transforming enterprise communications technology meant a wholesale abandoning of an existing integrated set of platforms for another one, and enduring disruptive change in exchange for additional capabilities, security, stability, or long-term cost savings.  These migrations can take several shapes – moving from one premises-based technology stack to another, moving a premises-based stack into a private or public cloud, and migrating into an as-a-Service model – and require meticulous planning, budget, and a real tolerance for organizational (and oftentimes customer) pain.

This pain includes (but is not necessarily limited to) rebuilding external interfaces, changing business processes & operational procedures, adapting enterprise analytics, and providing training for any of the users or managers of the technology (in the context of Contact Center, think agents, supervisors, managers, operations personnel, and IT).   All of these factors come at a cost that delays the expected return on investment.

Even in a pain-free transformation it often takes a year or more to get to a breakeven point where the investment in the new technology is offset by the benefits it brings.  Increases in sales and productivity and reductions in cost take time to materialize, and organizations need to be prepared for this financially.

Despite the inherent drawbacks, customers subjected themselves to these more complex transformations because the prevailing wisdom was that an environment made of best-in-class tools from multiple solution providers was inherently difficult and costly to operate, cumbersome (in some cases impossible) to integrate with other enterprise platforms, and maintain.  Choosing a single solution provider meant sacrificing functionality of fit-for-purpose tools in certain areas, but came with perceived stability, performance, and a single throat to choke when issues arose.

This may have been more than a subjective perception; integrations between standalone applications were complex, making operations difficult and adding risk to individual platform upgrades due to unintended consequences.  Despite careful planning, oftentimes upgrading one platform created unintended problems in others.  This interrelatedness (more closely resembling a game of Jenga than an enterprise architecture) made troubleshooting even more complex, resulting in organizations delaying or skipping upgrades and enhancements to avoid operational instability.

Fast forward to today – two important conditions have enabled a new kind of communications technology evolution:

  • Technological Advancement.  The current state of containerized and composable application architectures & orchestration tools, API-driven integrations, and CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) capabilities means simplified deployment of new features and predictable operation of diverse technical environments.
  • The Proliferation of, and Appetite for Data.   Organizations appetite for data increased faster than solution providers’ ability to provide it to them.  Full-stack solution providers often struggle to provide a single reporting interface for their technology, forcing an evolution in Business Intelligence tools needed to satisfy requirements for the aggregation, normalization, and presentation of disparate data in appropriate semantic context to the diverse groups that depend upon it.

The results of these two forces?  The Micro-Transformation (more on that in part 2).

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Axim specializes in Enterprise Communications Transformation, from cloud to legacy technology to customer experience.

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