Enterprise Connect 2018 happened last week, and, as always, there were interesting trends and new topics that emerged as important for organizations to consider in their strategy and vendor choices. These topics and disruptions show how the industry is changing. First though, while hot new technologies dominated the headlines, the reality is that organizations have to deal with the reality of their requirements and their current implementations. Brent Kelly and I did the Cisco/Microsoft comparison session (as we have for the last five years).
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I often write recaps of industry events, and I have first impressions to share for Enterprise Connect in two regards. First, I’m getting my thoughts organized while they’re fresh and the buzz is still strong, but also because this was my first time attending the event. Most of my BCStrategies colleagues have been going for years, so I’m seeing Enterprise Connect with fresh eyes.
In Microsoft’s Q2 earnings call on January 31, CEO Satya Nadella got to the topic of “voice” very early in his remarks, noting “We're making voice a first-class input for productivity.” But he was talking about voice with regards to Cortana, making his case for the importance of a digital personal assistant to whom one can dictate and from which schedules, email and news can be read.
I can’t think of one thing – or company – that stood still in our space during 2017. Every player of note had at least one major development, and every trend that impacts collaboration moved forward or evolved in some fashion. I’m still using the same mobile device – that’s another conversation – but everything else has seen change, and here are my top shakeups and shakeouts that will set the stage for 2018.
At the event, we heard from CEO Paul Segre, who proudly announced that the integration with Interactive Intelligence was completed at the end of September, and they are now moving together as one company.
Verint Systems Inc. has announced the addition of new automation and artificial intelligence capabilities to its Workforce Management (WFM) solution. With these new capabilities, users can use voice-controlled digital personal assistants, and automatically perform schedule-related tasks from their mobile devices.
Two years ago, everything was about mobility, and last year was all about the cloud. Those uber-trends are still with us, with a lot of runway left, but there’s something bigger in the room now – Artificial Intelligence. Of course, these trends are connected – especially in the collaboration space – so we have to pay attention to all of them. Each is relevant to collaboration in its own way, but it’s interesting to note how they’re getting increasingly abstract, and that doesn’t make UC-related buying decisions any easier.