“Data is the new currency in the IT world and the UC space is no different in leveraging AI and Machine Learning to derive valuable insights from all the employee and customer interaction data,” 8×8 chief product officer Dejan Deklich told Telecom Times in a recent Q&A.

Deklich is responsible for the company’s global infrastructure, product vision and roadmap. Prior to 8×8, Dejan served as the vice president of Platform and Cloud at Splunk, where he was in charge of engineering for the core Splunk Enterprise product as well as the company’s next-generation architecture effort. He also served as the CTO of Merced Systems, which was acquired by NICE Systems in 2011, and the CTO of Attributor, acquired by DigiMarc. In addition he has held positions at Yahoo! and IBM.

Part I

Telecom Times  What emerging trends in UC are you seeing at the moment?

Dejan Deklich  Companies will increasingly leverage AI and machine learning to make sense of their communications data to build a deeper, richer customer experience. Nearly half of CIOs plan to deploy artificial intelligence to improve customer experience by 2020 (Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda Survey).

Second, the consumerization of IT continues to heavily influence the way employees, customers, partners and vendors interact. They demand access to modern modes of interaction. With free and easy access to ubiquitous messaging, video, and collaboration apps employees are increasingly bypassing IT and acquiring their own point solutions to accomplish tasks in the office.

As a result, IT is continuously looking for a way to not only combat the resulting “Shadow IT” but how to embrace it and effectively manage it.

The lines of demarcation between Unified Communications and Contact Center solutions continue to blur and as a result many decision makers in the market are beginning to look for an enterprise communications player that can provide a single system of engagement and intelligence that results in exceptional employee and customer experiences.

Telecom Times  How large is the share of investment in AI for 8×8? Do you see this continuing to rise and rise in the mid-term?

Dejan Deklich  We have made significant investments in AI which are part of our overall strategy to lead the U$40 billion enterprise engagement market with one system of engagement and intelligence.

We recently acquired a Silicon Valley start-up called MarianaIQ as part of the strategic investments 8×8 has been making in AI and Machine Learning. Our AI and Machine Learning team will help CIOs win the customer experience battle with key capabilities like Context-rich Customer Engagements, Intelligent Call Routing, and powerful Speech Analytics.

Telecom Times  Will big data and how it’s used determine which UC companies will prevail in the digital economy?

Dejan Deklich    I am glad you asked this question. There is so much noise about big data and AI right now, it’s hard to identify who is actually doing something that matters and more importantly delivering on the promise of big data which is to help you make smarter decisions.

Data, like I said earlier, is fundamentally changing how we do business so UC companies that are still operating in a siloed fashion with multiple point solutions for voice, video, messaging and collaboration are by design not optimized for big data analytics. If you are a company in the midst of a digital transformation, making room for big data with a single system of intelligence and one unified platform to combine your UCaaS and CCaaS solutions is critical to your success.

The difference big data makes in your digital transformation efforts is the difference you will have driving an electric car versus a horse buggy to accomplish your goals. And I definitely equate big data to the electric car, in-case there was any doubt!

To be continued