8×8 eyes enterprise solid demand for cloud comms, unveils Atlassian-powered video conference suite

San Jose based cloud unified comms specialist 8×8 is focusing firmly on the ongoing global trend of enterprises opting to move their traditional, on-premise communication services to the cloud, an opportunity the firm is tipping as a $60 billion addressable market.

Highlighting the release of the firm’s Video Meetings web conferencing service, 8×8 VP Asia-Pacific Brendan Maree told Telecom Times he believed this market currently has been less than 10% take up by cloud.

We see a massive opportunity, for us the revenue opportunity is making it easier than ever to transition to the cloud, knowing that this will bring enterprises innovation faster, at a lower cost, still confident in the knowledge that all of their critical data is secure. “

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“Enterprises increasingly want to interact across multiple channels with their customers – voice, video, chat, etc. We are making this easier than ever before by providing a single platform solution,” he said.

Maree said 8×8 Video Meetings was fully-integrated with the company’s raft of desktop and  mobile all-in-one applications, “providing a highly-competitive video offering in the market.” 

“It enables teams to collaborate effortlessly with crystal clear video and audio quality from a single application for voice, chat and video collaboration,” he said.

Maree said the new release of the web conference service was based on Jitsi open source video communications tech, 8×8 acquired from Australian issue tracking specialist Atlassian late last year.

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“8×8 has integrated and reimagined the new videoconferencing solution into our X Series service plans and the 8×8 all-in-one communications app during the last 11 months,” he added.

“In general, we believe it is important both to have internal innovation and to be constantly scanning for good technology on the outside. By maintaining balance you get the best of both worlds. If you only innovate externally, it is much harder to maintain and extend a seamless platform,” Maree said.

Touching on the firm’s overall M&A strategy, he noted the company had absorbed 8 acquisitions in 8 years. “These have provided us ownership of our technology stack for voice, video, chat and contact centre, and most recently an API platform via our acquisition of Wavecell,” Maree said, referring to the Singapore-based cloud comms provider it snapped up last July in a deal worth about $125 million.

“We have a different approach than competitors in the market – ownership of one platform  – and we are seeing this translate into mid-market and enterprise ARR growth.”

In terms of  the company’s global near term strategy, Maree said  it viewed the improved video offering, now integrated into its cloud platform, as an key competitive advantage because of the tight integration with the firm’s other communication services.

“We are seeing increased needs from the Health, Education and distributed businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

Cisco to underpin AI powered contact center strategy with CloudCherry acquisition

Cisco is set to snap up CloudCherry, a Salt Lake City based Customer Experience Management (CEM) specialist that provides rich APIs, predictive analytics, and customer journey mapping with integrated sentiment analysis.

Cisco said the purchase of the firm, with the majority of its employees based in Bangalore, Indi, aligned with its strategy around the cognitive and collaborative contact center. This approach will see Cisco focusing on cloud analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to boost agent productivity and confidence, enabling them to provide more personalized customer experiences.

Upon completion of the transaction, the CloudCherry team will join Cisco’s Contact Center Solutions business, led by vice president and general manager Vasili Triant.

1551998238-bpfull.jpg“With CloudCherry, we’re augmenting our contact center portfolio with advanced analytics, rich customer journey mapping and sophisticated survey capabilities that all our customers can use,” said Triant.

“And with more than 17 integrated feedback channels available, CloudCherry can help us better understand and enrich the agent and employee experience as well! CloudCherry’s predictive analytics and journey-oriented solution helps companies understand the correlations between various factors that influence customer experience, ” he said.

“Predictive analytics help agents make journey modifications in real-time, such as up and cross-selling and enabling discounting or couponing to meet customer needs during the interaction, to improve first contact resolution and customer happiness,” Triant added.

In addition, Cisco said CloudCherry’s open API platform complemented its own open and cloud architecture approach, by simplifying how customer data is ingested from systems of records, transactional data, and other data sources.

“This enables our customers to fully leverage their business technology investments, while helping contact center agents close the feedback loop and improve customer loyalty and satisfaction,” said Triant.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and required approvals.

8×8 readies for rapid ANZ growth, picks Perth-based Scope Logic as WA, SA partner

8×8 has selected Perth based IT and services specialist Scope Logic as a new strategic partner in Western Australia and South Australia, in a bid to speed up its footprint in both states to meet rising demand for cloud-based voice and contact centre services.

In addition, 8×8 will enable Scope Logic Group to offer organisations a cloud-based customer experience platform combining voice, video, chat and contact centre capabilities.

8×8 APAC VP Brendan Maree emphasised the company’s rapid growth in Australia and New Zealand, adding: “We want to increase our momentum further in 2019. The best way to achieve our goals is to appoint more partners and particularly those with a regional presence such as Scope Logic Group.”

“The company is a great fit for 8×8 enabling us to bolster their collaboration solutions portfolio while being able to provide end user organisations with the potential for new customer experiences,” he said.

Established in 2008, Scope Logic has grown from delivering managed technical solutions into a leading cloud solutions provider specialising in implementing digital transformation for customer engagement, operational efficiency and data security.

8×8 cuts ribbon on ANZ support centre in bid to offer 24/7 worldwide customer service

US cloud-based UC provider 8×8 cloud has opened an Australia and New Zealand support centre in Sydney as part of a push to offer around the clock global customer service support.

The firm said the support centre complemented its regional support centres in the wider APAC region. ‘[It] now provides customers and partners with direct access to  Australian support-based engineers to bolster their ongoing requirements,” it added.

In addition, 8×8 has four data centres in the region, located in Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai and Sydney.

The support facility, based in the Sydney central business district, is staffed by experts to provide technical support for cloud, contact centre automation, and unified communications, benefiting customers through pre-sales, implementation and ongoing technical support to help speed up ongoing deployment benefits.

The centre is open during Australian business hours to enhance coverage in the Asia-Pacific region as part of the Santa Jose based firm’s 24/7 follow-the-sun global support model.

“The Sydney support centre follows the recent opening of our Sydney office and enables us to provide world-class technical support from a far more convenient location for our Australian and New Zealand customers and reseller channel partners,” said Brendan Maree, Vice President Asia Pacific, 8×8. “At the same time, it will enable us to foster stronger, more dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships with our customer and partner ecosystem.”

UK unified comms specialist eyes ANZ for key regional expansion plans

It has been eight months since UK-based unified communications firm Via launched in Australia, and country manager Glendon Evarts is confident that there will be plenty of growth opportunities for the company in the region.

“There is a huge opportunity in the Australian market to help partners accommodate their customers who are after unified communications, particularly because there aren’t too many options,” Evarts told Telecom Times.

According to Evarts, prior to launching in Australia, founders Edward Worthington, Alex Tebbs, and Gareth Sobocinski recognised there was a real opportunity in the market to provide Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams services with a full set of telephony and contact centre features.

“It’s where the NBN is rolling out, and internet connection is becoming less of an issue in terms of running your communications over the internet versus traditional phone lines, which presents an opportunity for unified communications out here in the cloud,” noted Evarts, while pointing out that Via also has an opportunity to serve as an alternative to other local UC providers such as Telstra.

“Unfortunately due to a recent deal between Microsoft and Telstra, if our partners didn’t develop their own direct routing to Microsoft Teams for calling and their customers wanted calling through Teams, then they had it do it through Telstra. But now our partners have the option to use us, which will give them a better margin than someone like Telstra,” Evarts said.

As part of entering the Australian market, the company has set up a local datacentre in Sydney. Via also has existing datacentres in the UK and North America. “It’s just so we can service our 20,000 customers,” Evarts said.

Evarts added there are plans to also grow the local headcount. Currently, the company has 30 staff, 75 percent of which are in development and support and – as yet – all based in the UK.

AVAYA LAUNCHES PRIVATE CLOUD DELIVERY FOR UCAAS, CCAAS SUITE

Avaya has introduced a new private cloud delivery model of its OneCloud services for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS).

The firm said the new delivery capability, unveiled at its annual ENGAGE user group conference as part of its new Intelligent Xperiences or Avaya IX naming convention, offered enterprise players a fast, convenient and automated path to the advantages of cloud comms.

Avaya’s OneCloud ReadyNow private cloud offerings feature preconfigured, per-seat consumption and standard bundles of both UCaaS and CCaaS services. “Based on input from customers and partners, the new nomenclature streamlines the company’s portfolio of solutions and reflects the wealth of experience Avaya brings to bear for customers as they transform digitally and move their solutions into the cloud,” the firm said.

8×8 NAMES SENIOR ANZ CHANNEL, ALLIANCES LEAD

San Jose based voice, video, collaboration and contact centre specialist 8×8 has appointed Steve Shaw as Senior Manager Channel and Alliances for Australia and New Zealand.

Based in Sydney, Shaw will be responsible for continuing to build and manage a team of 8×8 channel partners within the region and assisting them to grow their unified communications and cloud contact centre business.

Shaw joins 8×8 with some 20 years’ experience in the IT industry and was previously Senior Sales Manager for ERP and Applications at Oracle where he was responsible for new business development in New South Wales.

Prior, he was Sales Director for Enterprise and Government ANZ at Avaya where he was responsible for partner accreditation and supporting the company’s focus among banking, insurance and airline companies.  He also worked as Enterprise Sales Manager at Optus where he managed a team of business development managers with a whole of business focus, including carriage, infrastructure and IT solutions.

Brendan Maree, Vice President Asia Pacific, 8×8, said, “Steve brings considerable industry experience and skills leadership in the channel which will help bolster our ongoing commitment to working with partners to help Australian and New Zealand businesses operate at the new speed of business with a cloud-based communications technology platform that is comprehensive, scalable, and easy-to-use.  We look forward to the positive impact he will have in enabling our channel partners to realise end user customer value in using one cloud technology platform for both employee and customer communications.”

Shaw added, “I am looking forward to using my knowledge and understanding of how to propel channel enablement to support and differentiate our channel partners, while adding significant value to our customers, and simultaneously maintaining partner profitability and rewarding performance.”

Shaw has also previously worked in sales positions at GTECH, Telstra and LexisNexis.