The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
The Unified Communications industry changes daily. We keep track of it for you.
UCStrategies is an industry resource for unified communications enterprises, communications vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing unified communications arena.
A supplier of objective information on unified communications, UCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of unified communications since its inception.
Ross Daniels, Director of Marketing, Cisco, discusses Customer Collaboration and the changes he’s seen in terms of market trends. Ross also talks about Cisco’s focus on the mass market with its new packaged contact center offering, and provides an update on SocialMiner and the role of mobile in customer collaboration.
Blair Pleasant: Hi. This is Blair Pleasant. I'm with Ross Daniels at the Cisco Collaboration Summit in Los Angeles. Hey Ross, how are you?
Ross Daniels: I'm excellent. How are you?
Blair: Good. So, today you talked a lot about some of the changes that are going on in the area of customer collaboration. What are some of the biggest changes you've seen in the last year?
Ross: A couple of things from sort of a market trend point of view. I think one thing that's really interesting is that we're seeing a lot more willingness from customers to really look at single vendor solutions, consolidated solutions than maybe we've seen in the past. That's something that from a Cisco point of view we're pretty excited about.
We think that having a full stack solution across collaboration and certainly, the entire contact center stack, that the willingness for customers to take a look at solutions in that way is an advantage for us.
Other big trend items we see certainly continued interest in social media. We see, I'd say, a lot more excitement around cloud than we've seen in the past especially for hosted contact center solutions.
Lastly, I would say mobility is something that's really leapt onto the scene this year as well.
From a Cisco point of view, I think our biggest change is really the significant focus that we've had on the mass market with our package contact center enterprise we've had really good early traction with some of our partners as well as some early customer successes with that solution.
Blair: You talked about social. Tell me about SocialMiner and how it's doing, and what the uptake has been lately.
Ross: SocialMiner is still a really important piece of the portfolio. We're seeding the market with licensing of that with really every contact center seat that we're selling. We're starting to get ready to have some customer testimonials around that as well. There's a regional bank in New England that has had some good success with the product. They're ready to start talking about it.
We still see, I'd say, a little bit of that conflict between who owns social media. Is it marketing? Is it customer service? That's not really a conflict. Everybody acknowledges that marketing owns social media. It's really about getting customer service involved with it. I think once that happens we'll be able to see a bit more uptake.
Blair: And then you mentioned mobile. Where does mobile come into play in the customer contact?
Ross: I would almost say that mobile in terms of an excitement point of view is where social was a couple of years ago. It's kind of at that level of hype and excitement in the industry. We are seeing customers deploy tons of mobile applications. We're not seeing, at this point, a lot of them thinking about customer service as an integral part of that.
What we're doing on our end is working with some key partners, folks like Bucher & Suter that have an application that we're actually working a lot with, in enabling that application with some of our interfaces on the back end.
Blair: Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean when you're enabling the mobile applications? How would that work in a customer care scenario?
Ross: Really, what I think we need to see happen is for the application developers to use the right development tools. We have a good one with our partner Bucher & Suter. When they're writing the mobile applications to really think about customer service and connecting into a customer service scenario from the mobile app. Much as you would try to do in an IVR today, any information that you would enter into the mobile application would carry with you once you transferred to a live agent from the mobile app. All of that context, what you were working in the mobile app, anything that you were looking for would be immediately available to the live customer service agent when that came through. That's the kind of thing that we're working on with the back end interfaces.
Blair: How long do you think it will take to actually see some adoption of that kind of thing?
Ross: That's a good question. Again, I think we're seeing some early successes in that. Again, a lot of folks who are not quite ready to talk about it. I would like to see where we are in a year and see...what I would say is that just like with social media, the enterprise excitement around this is very real. The mobile apps are happening just in the same way that social media is happening. It's getting customer service and marketing to talk to each other and start to integrate these things together. We have some work to do there.
Blair: Once again, it’s not the technology. It is some of the other issue that companies have to overcome.
Ross: That's absolutely right. Yes.
Blair: Today and last year you talked about lather, rinse, repeat. Talk a little bit about what you mean by that.
Ross: That's my famous marketing saying. I say that Cisco customer collaborative marketing is very easy: it's lather, rinse, repeat. What we really mean by that is that we've gotten on this sort of regular cadence of events and activities and how we approach the market, from working with analysts, working with consultants, some of the stories that we're pitching into the press as well, how we enable our sales force, how we enable our partners. It becomes sort of this virtuous cycle where we're able to build on the messages that we initially test with the analyst community, build those out with our customers and then ultimately take them to our partners as well in terms of enablement.
We had our third annual Customer Collaboration America's Partner Sales Summit just a week or so ago. We had over 400 people join us in Westminster, Colorado, really to spend three days with us learning about customer collaboration and the right sales strategies and marketing messages to take to market for the next 12 months.
We will repeat that cycle again in May or so when we meet with the analyst community and revamp the messaging for the next 12 months.
Blair: I'm looking forward to hearing it, then.
Ross: Thanks very much.
Blair: Thank you, Ross.
All Content Copyright © 2013 UCStrategies.com. All rights reserved.
Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?