- On February 14, 2017
Communications as a Service (CaaS) solutions have gained so much momentum in many European markets, that we can say now: Cloud services are the new norm. With more than 20 acquisitions over the past 12 months, tech giants like Google also continue to strengthen their cloud services, and disruptive innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) keep pushing the boundaries of what we think technology can do for organisations. The previous couple of years have been dominated by investments in cloud tech infrastructure, and now the focus is shifting to cloud services and what they can do for consumers, businesses and organisations.
With remarkable growth throughout the cloud services industry (and also for us at NFON!), we are confident CaaS solutions will continue to accelerate in the future. The CaaS ecosystem has evolved into an open network of leading-edge applications, empowering people to communicate and collaborate at work, and become more productive than ever before. Given that cloud telephony is an integral part of this ecosystem, let’s look into what we need to ready ourselves for in the near future.
1. Getting Ready for the Digital Workforce
The post-millennial generation starts entering the workforce by the end of this decade. Every time a new generation joins the workforce, organisations are faced with the decision of whether or not to adapt to the needs of younger workers. Younger colleagues bring fresh ideas, preferences and habits, as well as a different work ethic and culture.
What makes Generation Z so special is that they are the first generation to grow up with constant digital communication and extensive information sharing. Gen Z has little patience for subpar IT and communication systems, and they simply assume that modern organisations run on cloud services – in the same way as they grew up with them. Organisations that cannot adapt to the digital force of Gen Z will face strong recruitment and turnover challenges.
To stay genuinely competitive, businesses must become more responsive to technology innovation and the needs of digital employees. We need to take advantage of – and not fear – the opportunities that digital transformation brings. to create a work environment that is flexible, interconnected and ubiquitous – and powered by digital technology and CaaS solutions.
2. Getting Ready for Universal Communication Platforms
The role of employees in organisations will further evolve from being ‘tech users’ to being ‘tech decision drivers’. The end-user usage and experience of IT and communication applications will dominate decision making across sectors. As the need for real-time collaboration between different teams and locations continues to grow, integration and compatibility issues will become problems of the past.
We are seeing more cooperations between cloud service providers (CSP) and technology vendors: The cloud telephony service needs to connect to the CRM system; the ERP application needs information from the connected car fleet; the connected home needs to alert WhatsApp; and so on. In addition to systems and apps requiring greater communication, customers are also demanding more responsive and seamless services across all channels, including voice.
And as telephony has digitised, voice communications have been integrated into the CaaS platform and like any other digital channel, are part of the modern communications mix. Whilst critics have been sceptical about the fate of voice, it has for sure not lost its luster. We predict the human nature of voice – and our desire to maintain a human connection in the face of bots and AI – will ensure the channel’s relevance for years to come.
3. Getting Ready for Seamless Customer Service
Many customers still prefer voice over anything else. Especially for complex matters and critical discussions, voice can be the most efficient way to communicate – it’s personal, direct and tone is easier to decipher. Yet voice is just one out of many contact options, and organisations that want to differentiate themselves from their competitors through outstanding customer service will need to evolve their traditional call centers into modern contact centers, where voice is just one of many contact methods customers can use to engage with agents.
According to DMG Consulting, cloud-based contact centers are becoming the model of choice for managing customer service. Ever-increasing customer expectations require service agents and sales representatives to have a coherent customer profile at hand when responding to enquiries. For contact centers, taking advantage of CaaS is ideal, as cloud services such as Ncontactcenter integrate with CRM applications and other systems that store customer information, making customer data universally accessible by all agents.
4. Getting Ready for Communications Compliance
CaaS solutions can help organisations comply with unwieldy data privacy laws and data protection directives. According to Cisco, we have just crossed the 1,000 exabytes threshold in global IP traffic and might reach 2.3 zetabytes per year by 2020. Considering how sensitive communication data is, we expect to see new directives for data protection and integrity released by legislative authorities all over the world.
The European MiFID II directive will require the financial services industry and its contact centers to reengineer their communications compliance, where for example, every customer interaction must be securely recorded and archived. Compliance with the new regulations is monitored by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, and all requirements must be implemented by the end of 2017. The good news: CaaS solutions such as Neorecording ensure rapid adaption to such requirements and help organisations get ready quickly.
The bottom line: Digital transformation is underway. CaaS solutions can ensure private and public sectors remain competitive by fostering significant increases in productivity, collaboration and communication. Teams will optimise their day-to-day routines through cloud services that seamlessly communicate with each other, resulting in a workplace full of genuine Information Workers.