During the 2019 London Tech Week Comms Business caught up with Enghouse Channel Director Dave Smith about their ongoing relationship with Node4 and how this partnership is delivering for customers.
Q – What exactly is the nature of the partnership between Enghouse and Node4?
To give a bit of background, at Enghouse interactive we provide omni-channel contact centre solutions. These are provided by a network of certified channel partners, of which Node4 are a silver partner. The great thing about our relationship with Node4, is that working with them ensures we can utilise the extensive skills in contact centre integrations with Cisco, either on premises or hosted in Node4’s data centres.
Q – How long have you been working together – and what does this kind of partnership mean for the channel, the industry and for businesses?
Enghouse began its partnership with Node4 about 12 years ago, and this long-standing relationship was originally built on the NEC Unified Communication (UC) platform. For the last eight years, Node4 has shifted its focus to Cisco UC, and we complement this very well. At Enghouse, we value Node4 as a significant partner because it has invested a lot in certification for sales, support and deployment skills. These are increasingly important attributes in partners when it comes to selling in the channel, as it ultimately means we achieve a large number of successful deployments.
Enghouse adds a contact centre to the Node4 portfolio, which has been deployed globally with over 5000 customers. Now more than ever, customers are seeking to work with partners that have a broad portfolio of solutions, and Node4 fits this perfectly, which is why they are a choice for so many public and private sector customers.
Q – Is it important for UC providers to work with data centre owners, and what benefit does this bring to the industry?
I think it is very important that UC providers have their own data centres, especially as we are increasingly seeing this latest customer shift towards hosted and software as a service solutions. Many customers however do not feel comfortable with a multi-tenant public solution, for fear that it gets too complicated. Node4 leverages this by offering private and hybrid cloud UC, contact centre and quality monitoring solutions, providing a full managed service that allows the customer to concentrate on their business. I think we will only see this grow in terms of channel trends, a managed solution of multiple cutting-edge technologies is increasingly the preferred IT deployment for customers, and the partnerships within the channel will only continue to reflect this need.
Q – What kind of trends or shifts are we seeing at the moment in terms of UC, both for end users and in the channel?
We have already discussed the growing trend for UC and contact centres that are hosted in a private or hybrid cloud environments, but we are also seeing customers looking to communicate via, and utilise in business, more advanced technologies for increased automation and productivity. The customer is seeking to use different contact methods based on location and urgency, things like using voice, email, web chat, SMS, and social media as channels to the end user. At Techfest, we are showcasing all of these different channel methods, plus we are discussing and demonstrating the benefits of chatbots across all the channels, with a hand off to a live agent if required. Our channel partners are seeing Chatbots as a new and exciting area to discuss with their customer and build a strong business case for saving and improving customer experience.
Q – What are your key takeaways from Techfest so far? Has it shed a light on potential future channel predictions in the UC space?
Customers are looking for a new and exciting way to understand technology and the benefits it provides, and this London tech week, Node4’s Techfest provides a fresh and exciting approach which I have not seen in my 30 years in the industry. I think that the blend between chatbots, artificial intelligence and the customer experience will lead to exciting changes for partners and customers alike.
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