home Customer Experience, People, Uncategorized Don’t forget the EX in pursuit of the CX

Don’t forget the EX in pursuit of the CX

Giving employees collaboration tools via the cloud and unified communications (UC) to create better customer experiences (among other critical objectives) is smart business … and Australian business leaders know it.

Employees are being given access to tools from anywhere via any device, to encourage collaboration and productivity across an organisation’s communications network, be that between branches or regional divisions, remote workers or offices on different sides of the world.

But if the underlying wide area network (WAN) isn’t intelligent, automated and business-driven, there’s a real chance these tools could have the opposite effect.

If frustrating glitches and interruptions in service are getting in the way, you’re essentially providing your employees with daily negative experiences. This is at the same time as they’re being asked to work on improving the customer experience. That’s counter-intuitive to employees doing their best work.

Overcome frustrating performance challenges

When VoIP and video were primarily LAN-based technologies and internal bandwidth was abundant, there wasn’t much interest in networking as it relates to UC. As organisations switched their communications to the internet versus an on-premise IP PBX, they would replicate their older architectures in many cases. Each branch or location with a large number of users would be provided with its own VoIP gateway, making it easier to control quality on the network.

Then came the cloud and “everything as a service.” With Internet backhauled to the data centre, the inefficiencies of traditional architectures became magnified with real-time traffic. In those organisations that maintained this inefficient network design for the cloud, users began experiencing choppy or dropped VoIP calls and video conferencing became unusable. 

For both employee and customer experience improvements to be realised, an organisation’s network infrastructure must be addressed. Solving frustrating performance challenges for voice, video and real-time collaboration tools is the crux of why the next big thing in UC is software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs).

An intelligent network

Many companies spend a significant amount of time, money and energy migrating from legacy, on-premise VoIP solutions to cloud-hosted UCaaS services, only to revert to an on-premise solution because they didn’t rearchitect the underlying network. They couldn’t get their employees to use the tools because they didn’t work.

While this is certainly a choice, it’s the wrong one because it limits your options and ensures that you’ll be missing out on the true potential of UC. The better choice would have been to transition to an SD-WAN designed to support the next generation communications solution.

An SD-WAN enables an organisation to avoid convoluted and inefficient network design because it gives users direct access to UCaaS services from any branch location. This is dramatically more efficient than having to traverse the corporate private WAN.

The future of UC lies in artificial intelligence (AI), mobility, and predictive communications. With a self-driving WAN or SD-WAN, businesses can structure their network so that it’s business-driven, designed to serve the business and its objectives. It can become an intelligent network, using machine-to-machine learning and AI to build in automation that is guided by business intentions and protocols.

The intelligent network will become more self-aware and outcome oriented, automatically reacting to conditions in cloud environments and network circuits that would impact application requirements, to deliver the highest quality of experience to users.

Real-world infrastructure matters

Remember: these UC solutions are the tools you’re giving to your employees to drive value for your business. Employees can use these tools to undertake time and cost effective collaboration in support of your focus on agility. They cut through silos and improve productivity. They can innovate and make better decisions together and, yes, design a better customer experience. Why ruin your chances for the best ROI possible, by not having the right network underneath your UCaaS? Support these tools with the right infrastructure and improve the EX to help them get the CX job done.

Graham Schultz

Graham Schultz is ANZ regional director for Silver Peak, responsible for accelerating growth and customer adoption of the company’s SD-WAN solutions. Schultz has over 20 years of industry experience, spanning cloud, virtualisation, networking, storage and business intelligence.