RingCentral Takes On ‘In Decline’ Cisco, Avaya, Touts AI Partnerships
(Pictured above: RingCentral’s Vlad Shmunis at ConnectCentral 2018, Nov. 13.)
That’s what Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral’s founder, chairman and CEO, told attendees at the start of this week’s ConnectCentral 2018 conference in San Francisco. This is RingCentral‘s third annual conference, and attendance has grown from 250 for the first event to more than 1,000 at the ongoing conference.
The theme of the conference is “Unite.”
“We’re here to unite as an organization, to learn and inspire each other,” said Riadh Dridi, RingCentral’s chief marketing officer. “We can unite and unify all modes of communication into one experience for users. When we’re united, all ideas can be flowing freely, all voices are heard and innovation happens. Innovation not only is essential for competitiveness, but for survival.”
RingCentral has completed six straight quarters of revenue growth. The company’s growth and the “negative growth of legacy providers is perhaps not an accident,” Shmunis said.
The world is ready to move away from on premises and “folks like Cisco and Avaya are in decline,” he said.
“The current reality is, organizations are distributed, every enterprise is running multiple apps, is operating internationally, and people are mobile and mobile from home,” Shmunis said. “Legacy systems are just not designed to do that. You need to reimagine the way that businesses communication, not just here’s a different dial tone. That’s why Cisco is in decline and Avaya (was in) bankruptcy. Cloud is winning and RingCentral is winning in the cloud.”
RingCentral’s product strategy is to evolve with its customers needs: more distributed, more collaborative and more mobile, Shmunis said.
“The future of the industry is fairly clear and fairly noncontroversial,” he said. “It will be legacy is dead, long live the cloud. Everything is going to go to cloud. There [are] a few hundred million seats out there that are legacy and will eventually change to cloud. Major legacy providers, Cisco, Avaya, Mitel, do not have a born-in-the-cloud platform. They cannot replace that, we can.”
During the conference, RingCentral announced new voice analytics artificial intelligence (AI) partnerships with Gong.io, ThetaLake and Velvetech to deliver real-time and post-call voice analytics services to global customers.
David Lee, RingCentral’s vice president of platform products, said there’s a lot of promise for AI in business communication.
“And we’re uniquely positioned in this space because we help our customers capture a lot of their digital conversations … and AI happens to need data to do anything useful,” he said. “That’s why we’ve been attracting close to a dozen partners in the AI space to come and work with us, and they’re doing very interesting things that have business outcome impact, so sales performance improvement especially has been a big area. Two of the three new partners we announced today are in the sales coaching, sales training and sales performance improvement space.”
Other areas for AI in business communication include assisting in compliance, such as detecting if employees are saying things that violate a company’s regulatory requirements, Lee said.
“You can see these early adopters all focus on driving and improving business outcomes,” he said. “It’s all because you have this AI service that can surface and characterize successful conversations, and help a company try to train the rest of their sales force who may not be as successful to say and do successful things.”
RingCentral also announced the availability of the RingCentral mobile app, a reimagined collaboration-centric experience for enterprise communications, and RingCentral Engage, a digital customer-engagement platform based on its recent acquisition of Dimelo.
Dave Sipes, RingCentral’s chief operating officer, said digital business transformation is being driven by changes in employee behaviors and customer behaviors, and “we’re enhancing that through modern communications.”
“Time is short, this is happening quickly and you don’t want to be a laggard toward it,” he said.
John Wernke, NICE inContact‘s vice president of channel marketing, said RingCentral’s strategy is similar to his company’s strategy. The company provides cloud contact center software.
“If you’re not born in the cloud, it’s really hard to get to the cloud, and that’s what we see with these companies that weren’t born in the cloud,” he said. “It’s a real struggle across not only product, but commission structures and payments, and how you manage your accounting and all sorts of things. It becomes very complicated. A lot of companies tried to make the shift 10 years ago and they hit the skids because that changeover from license revenue to subscription is a tough one to manage financially. So born in the cloud is the way to go.”