In today’s hybrid working environment, organizations have many communication and collaboration tools. Even across various business units, different tools may be used for different purposes.
With customer needs already complex, the needs of the Cloud and Managed Service Providers (SPs) who support those organizations are even more complex.
In a recent webinar, we explored the challenges that SPs are facing now that more and more organizations are moving towards the adoption of the hybrid workplace, and cloud technology.
The top areas of focus for SPs and their customers
Today we’ll expand on some of the topics in the webinar and look at what SPs are doing to ensure they continue to provide a seamless experience for their end-users and avoid disruption in their customers’ business in a progressively complex environment. Top focal points are:
- The growing adoption of multi-vendor, hybrid and cloud collaboration architectures
- The expanding focus on employee experience (EX)
- An increasing reliance on Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and insights
The challenges of new architectures
- As companies embrace remote working, SPs are becoming more open to supporting new vendors and new communication platforms, as users embrace the added flexibility of their UCC applications.
The problem is that when users encounter problems during a conference call, there’s a tendency to switch from one platform to the next. This offers convenience from a user’s perspective, but it also means that issues may go unnoticed, or unreported for longer. SPs need to identify issues quickly, and act to remedy problems to reduce downtime – or they could risk failing to deliver on their Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
- Organizations are now becoming far more security aware. With global organizations now permanently operating with a part-time or full-time remote workforce, the spike in security flaws and digital threats are causing a great deal of concern for SPs.
Things like compromised passwords, leaking of personal data, phishing and malware are just some of the security concerns. Also, routers designed for residential use can be a security risk, with many lacking proper network protection, firmware updates or other elements that could put a business network at risk.
- Most newer cloud collaboration vendors are natively multi-vendor, whereas an on-premises UC environment is more likely to be closed architecture. The management of this mix of ecosystems and devices introduces additional operational challenges for SPs.
The importance of employee experience
Working remotely either part time or most of the time is now a top priority for most employees. Remote working, and the investments that came with it during the onset of the pandemic are undoubtedly here to stay. Even large enterprises who were initially reluctant to switch to remote working, and considered it a temporary solution, are now acknowledging that the model is permanently affixed to the modern working culture.
With the majority of users preferring the hybrid approach, many polls and surveys of organizations globally reveal that they would be likely to change jobs if required to return to full time in-office work.
The images below reveal the results of a survey by PwC, showing a poll of 1,200 office workers in December 2020, but almost a year on, the figures supporting hybrid work are even stronger.
Service providers can support remote employees in a number of ways, enabling them to make the most of their hybrid working environment.
- SPs provide guidance on selecting, implementing, and configuring cloud applications and services, so that employees can fully utilize cloud technology.
- SPs can help employees install and configure hardware and software for collaboration solutions. They can assist with the installation of webcams, microphones, and speakers, along with the collaboration or conferencing software itself.
- SPs provide IT engineers, so no matter what IT issues are encountered, they can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
- SPs help employees with security, bringing employees up to speed on firewalls, VPNs and other security standards.
AI, analytics and insights
While remote networks are all different, the overreaching common factor for all remote networks is the need for monitoring. Monitoring of employee and user experience and performance as an ongoing strategy is vital. However, SPs face some challenges.
- They are constantly trying to find ways to scale their businesses without having to equally scale their employee headcount.
- Trying to deliver outstanding services while reducing manual processes.
- Trying to increase revenue per user and margin on their services, as these financial metrics can decrease as customers move their services to the cloud.
SPs can achieve this by defining and refining processes, and implementing technologies that enable them to scale their services while ensuring that their customer outcomes are met.
Technologies that can automate, correlate, extract insights while learning the behavior of these systems are key.
Analytics are no longer just the domain of technical experts. By having access to historical and ongoing data, analytics are used by everyone to help make informed business decisions, improve productivity, and achieve faster resolution.
As the number of technologies increase, SPs are increasingly realizing the importance of multi-vendor monitoring solutions. With many organizations implementing multiple communication platforms, for example Microsoft Teams, Webex by Cisco, Zoom, Blue Jeans, etc., a multi-vendor performance management solution like IR Collaborate will help them meet those needs.
Data means everything in today’s technology driven world. With the right data presented in the right way, businesses and service providers can make the right decisions. As the main goal of a service provider is to optimize performance and to ultimately help the clients grow and increase revenue, this goal would be impossible without analytics and reporting.
Reporting and analytics work by helping improve an SP’s services, putting clients at ease with hard data. Clients get an executive overview of all that an SP is putting into their business. It all comes down to how the data that goes into reporting is being monitored and recorded.
Across hybrid cloud and multi-vendor environments, IR Collaborate can help SPs deliver deep insights, comprehensive visibility, and customer-specific reports. This adds more value, and helps you confidently meet SLAs, with the evidence to back it up, and improve customer onboarding and management.
IR Collaborate can simplify the growing complexity of service assurance for managed service providers, and ensure that their clients, and their clients’ customers have a great experience every time, by enabling:
- Customizable dashboards
- Multi-tenant, multi-vendor visibility from a single pane of glass
- Streamlined deployment models
- Secure, API-based access to customer data with robust access controls
- Integrated, automated incident management workflows
- Rapid troubleshooting
- End-to-end visibility of user experience
For more on how IR can help simplify service assurance for Service Providers, watch the full webinar on demand.