Senior Product Manager, RingCentral
RingCentral, the leading provider of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) recently announced an AI-powered extension to its workplace communication technology suite. The UCaaS leader already offers advanced AI-driven integrations for Glip team collaboration with Salesforce Alert Bot, Kore.ai, and Gong.io. Unveiled at the ConnectCentral 2017, the new bot integrations provide advanced artificial intelligence automated workflows for calls, tests, and video meetings. Ted Jaffe, Senior Product Manager spoke to us about RingCentral’s Connect Platform.
MTS: How do you see Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions converging with modern MarTech platforms?
Ted Jaffe: The way enterprises are communicating and collaborating at work has immensely evolved over the last 3 years. Mobile applications and cloud-based services in the workplace have proliferated, clearing the way for innovation that was not possible with on-premise installations, such as the ability to communicate with people inside or outside the company across multiple mediums of communication (voice, message, video call) or the ability to receive a transcribed voicemail in text format that can easily be searched in the app later for future reference.
MarTech platforms specifically are one of the early adopting segments of mobile applications and cloud-based services. MarTech platforms thrive on fast data and information-transfer between different marketing tools and solutions in real-time. With a flexible and open UCaaS solution, marketers can leverage out of the box tools or build a custom integration that infuses their team communication with the data being sent across various platforms to enable their teams to be more data-driven but also enrich the quality of their team communication. By integrating a MarTech platform or service with the UCaaS, a marketer could build a workflow where key marketing and analytics data is reported into a single place on a regular cadence that can be quickly acted on and new information can be shared in real-time with other team members or other MarTech platforms for further enrichment.
In general, the infusion of MarTech with communications becomes a key piece of the business intelligence strategy, where more rapid workflows can drive and expose new revenue opportunities.
MTS: Phone systems and collaboration apps are increasingly focusing on a consistent, intuitive interface. What separates RingCentral’s technology from others in the market?
Ted: RingCentral puts an enormous amount of investment and focus on application design. Specifically making the apps easy for anyone to use – we believe this is a key part of our differentiation in the UCaaS market from competitors.
To further expand on this, for mobile applications, RingCentral’s design philosophy leverages native operating system design guidelines for iOS and Android since users are already familiar with how to use these platforms from experience.
In addition to our design philosophy, we see a major differentiation in having a unified communications experience across team messaging (Glip) and UCaaS (RingCentral Office). This enables users to have a seamless collaborative communications experience – for example: sending a message, listening to a voicemail, sending an SMS/MMS, and making a phone call all from within the same app within a single conversation.
MTS: How does the RingCentral Connect Platform use data to deliver a superior user experience? How can users customize their notifications and scale their productivity using RingCentral?
Ted: By allowing our customers and partners access to open APIs through the RingCentral Connect Platform, new boundaries can be reached for how communications transfuse with the business processes. For example, an SMS-based workflow can be created to enable a company to alert all of their employees of a critical incident or an important reminder. Or, an enterprise can integrate internal messaging (Glip) with their website for support inquiries where support agents can respond to customer questions and inquiries through the same app they use to communicate with other employees. This leads to faster response times since the agent does not need to switch platforms to communicate and can get answers to questions they do not know more quickly, either through asking other coworkers in a group message or searching their account to see if the question was answered previously by another agent.
MTS: In the age of mobility and Just-In-Time integrations, how does RingCentral ensure seamless connectivity and uncompromised security for best performance?
Ted: RingCentral has consistently delivered five 9’s of uptime and service to its customers by means of ensuring high investment in people and world-class tools to keep systems up and running and in event of a disaster, having a seamless backup and recovery policy to ensure no downtime is experienced.
MTS: How do you use machine learning algorithms and AI technologies? How do you see AI/ML transforming On-Premise PBX by 2020?
Ted: There are many exciting opportunities for AI in the communications realm. Recently, RingCentral announced new advancements to its Glip team collaboration platform to better automate processes and enable seamless workflows. These integration advancements include:
- Salesforce Alert Bot: Salesforce Alert Bot in Glip captures Salesforce events and sends notifications to Glip teams. This feature enables sales managers to have immediate updates on opportunities without having to open Salesforce in a separate application. We expect to have this Bot be available in early 2018.
- Kore.ai: A chatbot platform partner of RingCentral, Kore.AI has enabled four leading bots within the Glip platform, including Salesforce, Twitter, Asana, and Trello.
- Gong.io: A conversation intelligence platform for sales teams, the Gong.io integration provides call transcription and analytics within the collaborative Glip platform, so teams can replicate best sales practices and drive effectiveness at scale.
In today’s multi-cloud applications environment, legacy on-premises systems cannot meet the needs of digital enterprises. Open platform integrations are critical to enabling intelligent business workflows, and RingCentral takes an ecosystem-friendly approach to workplace communications with powerful AI, chatbot, and application integrations that enable greater productivity.
MTS: What’s the next frontier for open, self-service enterprise communication technology providers?
Ted: AI (as mentioned above) is a massive opportunity to exploit new opportunities in UCaaS that were not previously possible.
As more data is collected through software-based interactions, service providers can leverage that data and hand it back to customers in the form of rich and more intelligent interactions in the business process. However, service providers will need to ensure they have very clear transparency over how algorithms in the applications use the data and enable subscribers to maintain administrative control over the account data and how it is used.
Another frontier on the rise is building a platform for a richer application integration experience – going beyond the traditional SaaS integration style and enabling the users to define and even design exactly how they want the integration to work without writing any custom code.
MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Ted.
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