ContentInsightsWhat happened at the 8×8 Analyst Summit 2024?

What happened at the 8×8 Analyst Summit 2024?

As the industry events continue to come at a rapid pace – following financial releases and ahead of this year’s enterprise connect – 8×8’s Analyst summit was the latest Cavell focus

Taking a novel approach to the usual event locations that we attend, 8×8’s Analyst Summit took place in the treetops of San Diego Zoo providing a welcome change to the usual corporate locales. There are also analogies between a zoo filled with exotic creatures and a communications market, which could be described as a competitive jungle.

Again, in an event packed with highlights, we have looked to distil some of the key news announcements that are most interesting and relevant for us and the industry.

8×8 continues its GTM transformation to becoming CCaaS leader

The transition towards contact centre and customer experience (CX) solutions as the prime communications market opportunity can been seen throughout the industry. Traditional UC revenue and margin streams and are being squeezed and providers across developed communications markets are looking to CX solutions and services as a key delivery priority.

8×8 has been the communications vendor most openly talking about this strategic refocusing. A unified communications (UC) market leader, 8×8 has always had a strong contact centre capability with the later in its range of X-series products. Now it sees itself very much as a CCaaS first company, leading with this proposition in the market. Despite this transition over the past 24 months 8×8 acknowledge that there is still work to do to generate wider market appreciation of its positioning.

In the event’s business update CEO, Sam Wilson, highlighted some key updates from its latest financial release which go some way to showing that its transition from UC to CC is taking effect:

“XCaaS (combined UCaaS and CCaaS) now represents 42% as a total of (8×8’s) ARR.”

This is a not an insignificant milestone with half of 8×8’s recurring revenue formulated by both UC and CC products; this proportion has increased from previous years. Despite this impressive progress CMO, Bruno Bertini, admitted:

“There is still a challenge and work to be done to raise (8×8’s) CX market awareness.”

As you can imagine, with this open dialogue relating to CX refocusing and the associated challenges that align with that – including different procurement stakeholders, internal and partner re-education requirements, and a new range of established competitors – the Analyst Summit very much felt like that of a CX company.

Announcements of Engage and Proactive Outreach reinforce the CX focus

Two key pieces of news related directly to this space. One that follows a wider industry trend: the focus on CX solutions outside of the dedicated, or formal, contact centre environment. 8×8 Engage which was announced just prior to the event. This is already in BETA testing with selected customers, is an AI-enhanced solution designed specifically for those users outside of the contact centre.

The solution is designed to bring some of the capabilities that were once the preserve of agents to other personas within an organisation who speak to customers first-hand. These could be retail store personnel, traveling frontline workers, or subject matter experts within a business. But really the solution is not restricted to any one persona. The only two criteria are that the user speaks to customers externally and is not typical contact centre agent. This is the key distinction between the solution and others out there in the market, it isn’t a ‘lite’ or ‘informal’ contact centre solution, it is an entirely dedicated bridging solution for those that sit outside of the contact centre but need to talk to customers.

The solution will bring a host of carefully selected features that will more greatly empower these non-agent personas to better service the customers they communicate with. Some of the key features available within the solution at BETA include advanced queue management, integrations, and data synchronisation with native and third-party enterprise apps – think of CRM systems – and AI-enhanced features like speech analytics and interaction summarisation.

There do appear to be a wide range of potential persona-based use cases for Engage, and the solution created quite a bit of buzz and speculation about its potential scope in the market. However, there was one key detail that was not revealed during the event, and that was the commercials.

A bridging solution like this only really has scope if the commercials fit. It must be less expensive than a dedicated CCaaS seat. In my hypothetical business, I have a retail-store staff member who needs to speak to customers who want to get in touch about any number of in-store enquiries, I just provide them with a UCaaS package. The amount of direct communication with customers they have has not yet justified the cost of a full CCaaS subscription for them. It would be a nice to have, but currently I just don’t see the ROI for my business. Therefore, the Engage solution must be appealing enough in terms of price that I can realise the benefits all the while making it worth me paying for the uplift from standard UCaaS. 8×8 needs to strike this balance carefully. Too expensive and you risk putting off much of your potential market, and too cheap and you devalue your own primary CCaaS revenue streams.

During the event, 8×8 were clear to point out…

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Patrick Watson is Cavell’s Head of Research. His main area of expertise is the cloud communications industry, with a particular focus on the collaboration sector. For over ten years, Patrick has been a noteworthy member in the technology community, with a degree specialising in broadcast journalism and data analytics.