How are you all doing with MAKING IT COUNT in 2022?

Greetings Colleagues and Friends,

I must admit that my enthusiasm for the New Year has been met with a bit of trepidation.[1]  Since my last article, my jumpstart to the new year of planning has been replaced with a very unexpected trip to Florida to help mend my mother who was in critical care with COVID-19. I’m extremely grateful to share that she has recovered and is now at home doing well. It was a 3-week nightmare that I pray no one ever experiences. Thank you for all the support from our partners, clients, and friends during this time that I was away. We felt your thoughts and prayers. I know it had everything to do with her quick recovery!

On another somber note, our firm lost one of our longest friends and clients this week. The CIO of one of our retailer clients passed away unexpectedly. We worked with him for 15 years and are all still in shock. Rest in peace, good friend. You will be missed dearly and there will be no other in all our days just like you – this we know!

I share these things to remind us all that life is precious, and our time together is short—a minute amount of time to share humanity, kindness, honesty, and friendship. As I think about MAKING IT COUNT this year, I am 100% committed to investing my time to things that matter: people, friendship, helping one another out. I am writing to you today to connect and share information that may be useful to your day-to-day journey and reach out a hand to help if needed.

With that, let’s dive in.

Our Advisors, Brad and Nick, were honored to attend the Advisory Groups for Cloud and Contact Center this month in Tucson, AZ. Thank you for inviting us to share our experiences and knowledge with the leading Contact Center and Cloud providers. We are dedicated to helping shape the future of this industry, as well as learning from each other and hearing more about what is hot in these spaces. iSymplify was invited due to our experience with designing, implementing, and supporting several solutions across multiple providers. We work with each client to design the perfect balance of technology, partnership and solutions that drive successful outcomes. As we put on our R&D Caps last week, one thing we routinely picked up is the new economy will continue to be built on strong partnerships that span well beyond customer/supplier. Today, companies are facing slim in-house teams, aggressive financial goals, and a shift to remote work. Companies need real solutions and real partners to fill in the gaps and help reach their goals.

Here are a few highlights from Cloud Advisory:

  1. Technology Suppliers go all in on Technical Advisory (or Channel). Our firm is a Technical Advisory Group that works in what is referred to as the Channel. Every major technology supplier is now actively working with Technical Advisement firms as their key growth accelerator. Technology suppliers are making tremendous commitments to training, staff augmentation and support of Advisement firms such as iSymplify. Why? The answer is simple. Technology firms cannot afford to staff locally in every location where they have clients. They recognize that Technical Advisors are experts in their clients’ businesses. The Channel is not new. It has been around for 25+ years, but suppliers are embracing it like never before. They see it as a way to better serve their clients without having to staff and support additional employees. To demonstrate this, in January 2022, Cisco signed its first Channel Partner Distributor and has indicated this as the path to cloud-growth. What does this mean for enterprise companies? Think back to account teams of the past when you had an army of resources at your disposal. Once again, you can work with a talented team of independent advisors that know your business, know the industry, and will help you drive the best solution and price for your business. Your organization will gain multiple resources assigned to your account that have a keen interest in providing customer support, institutional knowledge of your technology purchase, and an account team that doesn’t change every other quarter—a true partner that is alongside your business for the duration of the contract, without constant knowledge gaps.
  2. Labor shortages are real and continue to be. Technical talent is becoming hard to hire and hard to keep. Companies are working with Managed Service Providers and Cloud Services partners to make up for the shortfall in engineering and day-to-day management. While this may be old news, companies are now recognizing the benefits both financially and in proficiency. Elastic engineering models are on the rise as companies realize they may not need a certification or talent ongoing, but instead for a specific project. Elastic engineering drives accelerated delivery times, ensures projects stay on budget, and keeps top talent engaged with fresh and innovative work, rather than ongoing maintenance. Working with partners can help a company strengthen their technological progress, speed, and customer service to outpace their competitors.
  3. Security remains a topic of priority and concern. Now more than ever, companies are working with managed security firms to lock down and secure their environments and shift the complete compliance burden away from their internal IT team. Leveraging partners for best practices and integrating them into an evolving cybersecurity practice allows companies to focus on innovation and evolution of their business rather than “becoming a security firm.” Security firms can provide important data analytics and business insight needed to create a holistic cybersecurity approach for your firm. IT remains the business leader in designing and executing digital transformation plans. Partnerships for securing the environment allow your IT team to focus their time and talent on solving business challenges and driving outcomes.
  4. Gamification for improved Customer Experiences. For those contact center leaders out there, gamification is now prime time and not something that would be “nice to offer” to your agents. Gamification is now a way of effectively managing a remote workforce and building a culture with their remote staff sprinkled throughout the globe. Along with competitive salaries, employees now long for job satisfaction, a desire to be part of a team, working toward the common good, and just simply needing a sense of purpose at their places of employment. Gamification is helping businesses create and inspire motivation, solve new challenges, and it provides positive reinforcement to an often-remote workforce. Not only does this result in increased employee satisfaction, but it also offers improved customer experience by working with a committed, enthusiastic ambassador of your brand. This allows teams to adapt on the fly and provides management contact metrics to be compared and evaluated. By leveraging data analytics in real time, businesses can measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to drive decisions, brand loyalty, and employee engagement.
  5. Data Center Buyback Programs. Yes, this is a thing for those large enterprises with under-utilized data centers. There are solutions in the marketplace now that provide you with the ability to remain the anchor tenant, but options to sell off the data center expense and management. There are also options to transform from colocation to cloud in your same datacenter. While this is not modern technology, it is a new way of looking at your legacy in-house facilities. This could be a creative way to unload some technical debt, provide a more unified security model, reduce the footprint of multiple vendors servicing the datacenter, controlling costs, and alleviating the talent pressure.
  6. Outsourcing? Streamline delivery of the tech stack. Bob Schweiss, our Sr. Technical Advisor, . Ideally, delivery of a remote-work solution includes all required apps and built-in security. Wireless office packages are now available and include:
    • Simplified remote desktop and app delivery
    • Optimized media traffic including CCaaS, UCaaS, and CX tools
    • Quick onboarding and offboarding of workers and contractors
    • Desktop lock down, which minimizes worker data-privacy concerns
    • Reduced office space and hardware overhead

This is just the beginning of what is new in the technical world. If you would like to learn more or discuss in detail, reach out to iSymplify. We would love to sit down and talk about strategy with you.

Til’ next month, MAKE IT COUNT!