CXTech Week 11 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 11 2021 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. What is CXTech?  The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.

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Covered this week:

OnHoldWith the Worst Offenders of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Great piece from Fonolo showing the reality customers face with call centers. The strategy is clear for some well-known brands, encourage customers to use the website not agents’ time. At TADSummit EMEA/Americas 2020, Thomas Howe covered this reality in this presentation “How will legacy enterprise communications adapt to programmable communications?

Most customers today are happy to be served by the company’s website. Take booking a flight: you can see all the options, seating, on time performance, and compare to other airlines. Over the phone it’s like looking through a dusty keyhole at your options. The call center is increasingly for exceptions not business as usual.

My greatest frustration is when I have exhausted the online route, and need to resort to the call center as the need is timely, if not I’ll use the email / contact form. There should be a priority real-time contact method, a single use call back or VoIP call (so it can not be reused to cheat the system), that recognizes the online route has failed, and this customer needs a higher priority response as this interaction potentially has data to improve the online experience.

Some brands do pride themselves on serving their customers over the phone with timely response and onshore agents. Investment firms are an example, I think partially as most of their customers are baby boomers, so have grown up expecting to use the phone, and their margins are fatter than most.

Keep an eye on Malaysia

There’s some interesting things happening in Malaysia at the moment:

  • 5G special purpose vehicle (and no, it’s not an autonomous vehicle); and
  • Axiata’s rapidly expanding role in financial services.

5G GOMSPV (Government of Malaysia Special Purpose Vehicle). The Malaysian government recently announced plans to own the fifth generation (5G) spectrum and build the country’s only 5G network instead of leaving it to the telecommunications operators. There are benefits, think of it like a mobile NBN (National Broadband Network), as outside the main cities mobile is the only broadband.

Axiata’s Financial Services: Axiata has launched over the past 3 years a number of financial services that meet the needs of the bulk of the Malaysian market. The 2 main services are:

I think we’ll see Axiata package up Boost, Asparasi, and other capabilities such as carrier billing, identity authentication, insights and analytics into a financial services entity that will spin out to grow and dominate in Malaysia. Telcos can innovate, they just need to keep the service innovation at arm’s length to the rest of the business, copy what’s working in other similar markets, focus on local compliance and local market needs, and let it break free when the time is right.

thinQ Announces Strategic Acquisition of Commio

I missed this one, at the start of February, they acquired Commio, a vCLEC (virtual CLEC, like VoIP Innovations) to provide redundancy for inbound voice origination, support for battling robocalls, and expands thinQ’s nationwide market reach.

The acquisition gives thinQ customers the ability to switch their phone numbers between providers to mitigate origination service impacts in near real-time. Commio’s interconnections with a pair of nationwide tandem service providers will also expand thinQ’s domestic reach.

I think of thinQ as least cost routing, with now cheaper (or better margin) phone numbers. You can purchase phone numbers for inbound voice, bring your own carrier via SIP trunking and use Twilio, Nexmo, Plivo, SignalWire, etc. to route outbound domestic, toll-free, and international calls, plus text-enable numbers to scale. Dodge the Twilio Tax on your calls 😉

Crexendo Acquires NetSapiens for $50M ($10M cash, the rest stock)

More consolidation in the enterprise comms market. Crexendo provides UC (Unified Communications), call center, and collaboration services. NetSapiens similarly provides UCaaS, call center and collaboration to 1.7 million users on their platform through a community of partners. Crexendo’s partner program was not as extensive as NatSapiens.

Dialpad Launches Partner Portal

Dialpad has launched a partner program to extend its reach into enterprises for UC, contact center and collaboration. Crexendo has bought in a program from NetSpaiens.

Back to a point I’ve labored many times, businesses need someone local to help them run their business on their IT and telecom / communications platforms. Increasingly telecom is just a piece of the overall IT investment, as it looks like another IT application today.

Genesys to Acquire Bold360 (chatbot)

Like Five9 and Inference, Sinch and Chatlayer, CM.com and CX, buying a chatbot is the fashion. My hope is Symbl.ai doesn’t get bought before TADHack Global 😉

Telecom (as We Knew It) Is Dead

Great review by Miguel Monforte on the evolution of the mobile core, its transition to cloud computing, and the many questions that remain.

Oracle’s plan is definitely a question mark. Its appears focused on specific network functions and services, thanks to the purchase of ACME Packet and Tekelec all the way back in 2013. Pulling back from the telecom gateway and services layer, focusing on BOSS (Business and Operational Support Systems).

The telecom network as we knew it will hang around for years to come. IN (Intelligent Network) services are still migrating to IMS (3G/4G). SS7 is still in use in a surprising number of networks. The transition will be slow through most of the 2020s, then by 2030s we’ll see some telcos switch to fully cloud native cores.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Dania Alkhalaifa is now Senior Account Manager – Retail and Logistics at Unifonic. An example of the increased vertical focus within CPaaS providers.

Mark Owen is now VP of Sales at Enea Openwave. I’ve known Mark since his Aepona days.

Laura Apel is now Senior Vice President Marketing at Mitto.

Stanza Perry is now Senior Scrum Master at Five9. Stanza was with Tropo.

Kevin Foster is now Founding Director at Kevin Foster Consulting Ltd. I’ve known Kevin for over 25 years! While so many people at BT Labs treated their technology as a state secret, averse to collaboration. Kevin made DSL a success at BT because he collaborated so widely.

Jeff Yee is now CEO at Airwaive. An online marketplace connecting wireless service providers to property owners, enabling small cell networks.

Ric Vicari is now Senior Vice President Of Sales at wejo.

Benoit Paquin is now Head Of Solutions – France at Mavenir.

Emerino Marchetti is now Vice President, System Engineering at Federated Wireless. He worked on Sprint’s APIs many years ago.

Natalia Aliabyeva is now Product Marketing Lead Professional Services EMEA North & Central at Salesforce.

Shira Levine is now Senior Manager, Portfolio and Segment Marketing, Cloud Solutions at SES Networks.

Scott Udell is now Director of Product Management at ChaosSearch. We worked together at CTP two decades ago!

Paul Ross is now Project Manager at Virgin Media.

We’re hoping Michelle Howie will be able to join us at TADSummit Asia 2021. Here’s a couple of IoT (internet of things) applications that Michelle thought were worth sharing.

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