Expert Insights: Your Path to 2024
Over the next three years, communications and collaboration technologies are likely to become more tightly integrated into enterprise applications, business processes, and cloud-based infrastructures. At the same time, advances in AI and CRM are likely to increase the value and functionality of communications services, both internally (to end users) and externally (to customers via the contact center). And finally, end users will continue to set the agenda for deployment of video, mobility, and other services. So what will this all add up to by 2024, and how should your enterprise be preparing now to make sure you haven’t fallen behind?
This conversation among leading industry analysts will help you understand which trends to pay attention to, which hot topics are really just vendor push, and which technologies you need to master if you hope to position your enterprise for the next three years. You’ll come away with a better grasp of how the latest technology trends are likely to play out in the real world, and where you should invest your time and money to best prepare your enterprise for 2024.
Destination 2024: A View from the Enterprise
If your enterprise is going to be ready for the state of technology in 2024, you need to start preparing now. In this free-flowing discussion, enterprise communications/collaboration decision-makers will describe their strategic technology planning processes and roadmaps and highlight the advances they believe will have the biggest impact on their businesses over the next three years. They’ll talk candidly about which technology trends they feel are over-hyped, versus those they’re already investing in, and they’ll discuss how the next three years of technology progress is likely to change their enterprises’ business processes and IT/communications infrastructure. From AI to the cloud to contact centers, video, and more, you’ll see the next three years of technology progress through the eyes of the enterprise leaders who are tasked with turning that progress into tangible benefits for their organizations.
Contact Center 2024: The Assimilation of Sales, Service and Marketing
In the digital age, with more and more retail and commerce moving from brick and mortar to the Internet, the role of marketing has shifted. Driven by the indisputable rise of smartphones and mobile communications, companies are being forced to adapt to the reality that mobile has the potential to become the primary marketing channel. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate these trends. Functions that were traditionally the contact center’s purview - sales and service – are increasingly finding it challenging to serve as the human connection in the path from customer acquisition to retention, without the necessary data context to inform that role. / As a result of these simultaneous trends, the industry is already seeing the seeds of sales, service and marketing coming together to better address a new, digitally focused definition of a customer journey. In this session, leading contact center analyst Sheila McGee-Smith will share best practices and future directions for the emerging fusion of sales, service and marketing.
- Understand the basis for a potential merger of sales, service and marketing—why it’s happening and how quickly it might occur.
- Learn the role Artificial Intelligence and Customer Data Platforms will play in the blending of these formerly disparate functions
- Understand how the role of customer service representatives is likely to change as the view of the customer journey expands to including digital marketing activities
- See how contact center software purchase decisions may change as this shift occurs
Making Embeddable Communications Part of Your Strategy
As organizations seek to blend digital-rich tools with more personalized high-touch support and productivity capabilities, they increasingly need to embed voice, messaging, and video into customer and employee-facing applications. The pandemic broke the ice for many of these initiatives, as enterprises began communications-enabling traditional business processes, from the everyday meeting to virtual waiting rooms, over-the-web medical treatments, streaming exercise classes, remote test proctoring, virtual tours for factory or farm inspection and many others. In addition, with brick-and-mortar sites shut down, frontline workers (food workers, bank tellers, retail store clerks, etc.) have been idled unless they can be equipped with the ability to engage with customers from afar, via mobile app.
To keep this momentum going post-pandemic, the question is whether to use an out-of-box solution like Zoom or RingCentral or to take the API approach and develop the solution internally. The argument for the latter approach — driven by communications platform as a service (CPaaS) — is that this enables a specialized fit-for-purpose, pay-as-you-go platform, is fully embeddable, and brings an extensive API-centric partner and SI ecosystem to the table.
This session will help you understand how to continue building agility and flexibility into the business applications and workflows that have benefitted from APIs, as well as identifying those that can benefit in the future. A leading CPaaS expert examines the road ahead.
- Understand when to consider APIs vs. pre-packaged SaaS applications
- Discover the value of integrating communications into existing apps and workflows
- Discover the value of a broad communications portfolio (voice, messaging, email, video, chat apps) on a single platform
- Learn how integration with additional digital tools such as AI, AR, robotics, geolocation is simplified with APIs
- Understand how APIs make rich enterprise-grade security and compliance possible
- Uncover new opportunities enabled by CPaaS
AI for Customer Experience: Plotting Your Roadmap
Since 2018, the number of companies using or planning to use AI for CX initiatives has increased by 61%. But making AI part of your CX strategy can range from deploying an isolated chatbot to incorporating a broad machine learning knowledge base for use in multiple interfaces — adding significant complexity into deciding your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”
One point is clear: If you’re not using or planning for AI in your CX initiatives, you’re at a competitive disadvantage. You have many options, including natural language processing, intelligent call routing, AI-enabled self-service, agent analytics, and much more.
In this session, learn how you can get started on, or accelerate, your AI strategy to leapfrog your competition. You’ll come away with detailed insight, based on research with 700 companies, on how to leverage AI to improve business metrics.
- How are companies using AI today for their CX initiatives?
- What should you be doing now, within the next two years, and by 2024 — and why?
- How do AI strategies change across vertical industries, and based on B2B or B2C customers?
- How are companies measuring success, and what level of success can you expect with various types of AI?
- With contact center agents working from home, how is AI helping to improve both the agent and customer experience?
The Future of Video Conferencing: Business Value, Not Just Features
Video conferencing vendors continue to add features to their offerings at a dizzying pace, and this trend is likely to continue or even accelerate over the next three years. But will these new capabilities increase the business value of video conferencing or distract users from their day-to-day business? In this session, the industry’s leading video analyst will host a no-holds-barred discussion with subject-matter experts offering their views on which future advances will drive productivity and enhance collaboration for the enterprise. The panel will discuss likely advances in ease of use and workflow, camera control and imaging systems, transcription and translation, audio processing, integrations with business processes and third-party systems, and more. This session will provide a glimpse into the future of visual collaboration, and the insight you need to plan for the good, avoid the bad, and ignore the hype.
- What are the most fruitful areas of innovation for video conferencing in the next three years?
- Which developments will drive real business value and in which areas?
- What should you do now to prepare for the next generation of visual collaboration?
The Rise of the Smart Office
The office of the future is one that provides IT managers, along with peers in HR and Facilities, the fabric to ensure safety and productivity. It will enable measurement of metrics including air quality, density, and distractions to ensure worker health and mental well-being, while incorporating the use of technology to facilitate productivity and encourage engagement. Communications and collaboration leaders must gain an understanding of the options available, and the role played by desktop and mobile devices, video conferencing endpoints, meeting controllers, and sensors. They must also identify how collaboration, building, and room management applications can provide necessary insight to support safe working environments. Attendees will gain an understanding of the convergence of hardware and software in enabling the smart, and safe, office of the future.
- What is the role of unified communications endpoints and applications in enabling a safe working environment?
- How can organizations best leverage applications for evaluating worker health and provisioning workspaces?
- How will physical workspaces evolve to support social distancing?
- How should IT work with Facilities and HR teams to ensure success?
- What privacy issues must organizations consider in terms of enabling social distancing and contact tracing?
The Home-Based Office of the Future
Over the past year we've learned a lot about working from home--the equipment, hardware, software, best practices, and common pitfalls. Now, enterprises must begin planning for a post-pandemic world of remote work—how technology advances and workforce trends may influence buying decisions, tips for success, and corporate policies over the next three years. The session will consider both the remote worker and IT perspectives, including security and management. Beyond the tech, we’ll also consider issues including employee safety and privacy.
- What hardware upgrades/advances for remote workers will become commonplace and affordable for deployment at scale?
- How will software/applications improve to foster better, more efficient remote collaboration?
- What security issues will be most urgent?
- How will IT support and secure remote workforces?
Reimagining the WAN
Steadily gaining traction over the last few years, SD-WAN has come to the fore as enterprises work at modernizing their network architectures to address requirements such as support for multiple clouds, connected devices/IoT, and — since the pandemic — a largely remote workforce. However, as more applications get consumed from the cloud and the network edge extends to employee homes, security issues get harder to separate from the network. Many see the answer in integrating security and network controls, and this has led to the rise of secure access service edge (SASE) technology and its convergence with SD-WAN. / In this session, you’ll discover the evolving role of SD-WAN and SASE, learn why it’s crucial to rethink your WAN strategy around software-based, automated, and centralized management and control of security policies, uncover the best ways to identify and get to the root cause of poorly performing edge devices.
- Understand the role of SD-WAN and SASE, and how your enterprise can benefit by converging the two
- Learn how to bake security into network policies
- Learn the differences between SASE, VPN, and zero-trust approaches
- Discover how to assess and make the most of edge functionality
IT Heroes: Sharing a Vision of Excellence
From COVID-19 response to a call for social equity, the past year has seen unprecedented opportunity for IT professionals to shine in numerous ways. For many, responding to the novel challenges of 2020 was an extension of a long-term commitment to providing exceptional service. For others, the unique circumstances spurred them into action like no other project has ever done. Whatever the situation, Enterprise Connect is honoring enterprise IT professionals and teams who go above and beyond their day-to-day communications/collaboration responsibilities to provide exceptional service, vision, and expertise in our inaugural IT Hero Award.
In this session, we bring together our winners to share their stories and engage in conversation on how to make a difference today and always.