Industry Trends and Predictions for 2018

With the GDPR deadline looming on 25th May 2018, businesses need to understand their role as a processor or controller of data under the terms of the new regulation, to appreciate how it affects them.  Channel partners will need to rely on suppliers like Tollring to inform them on how their solutions facilitate GDPR compliance.  In turn, the channel will need to rely on their customers to implement the necessary practices required to comply. The whole channel is affected and with high penalties for non-compliance, this is a regulation that cannot be overlooked or ignored.

Alongside regulatory changes in 2018, business analytics offerings will evolve to a new level.  As ‘telecommunications’ evolves to ‘unified communications’ (UC), analytics offerings will extend to include ‘omni-channel’ customer interactions, enabling businesses to understand customer communications better than ever before.

Understanding customer interactions will continue to be a major focus.  For those adopting a customer-first ethos, the entire customer experience, including every successful and unsuccessful customer interaction in their ‘customer journey’, needs to be understood and visible to the business.

Business analytics is becoming more exciting, with the introduction of new forms of analysis, such as sentiment, keyword and key phrase analysis.  The integration of the latest cloud cognitive services, like those provided by Microsoft Azure, will promote a new era of ‘democratisation of data’, enabling new more affordable analytics tools to be made widely available to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

SMEs, with little reliance on old legacy computing, are proving to be the early adopters of cloud services, overall adopting new technologies faster than their larger corporate counterparts.  According to the Cavell Group, the UK and Ireland have the largest installed cloud base, driven by the SME sector, with predicted growth at 15%+.  With such massive cloud adoption and growth, the market is going to evolve rapidly, presenting a huge opportunity for the channel.

Cloud-based omni-channel solutions are beginning to emerge and are set to disrupt the high end of the contact centre market.  Growth in the demand for omni-channel in the SME sector is going to explode over the next few years as the barriers to entry (such as cost and deployment overhead) are removed, the customer service excellence benefits understood and Omni-Channel as a Service (OCaaS) becomes the norm.

The threat of fraud is on the rise.  As the cloud explodes, so the risk of telecoms fraud increases exponentially.  Tools that combat fraud are becoming increasingly important – it is vital that resellers look carefully at the platforms they deliver to customers to ensure they can detect, prevent and notify any fraudulent activity.

In 2018, resellers should look at offering analytics solutions that they can enrich and enhance with their own specialist knowledge, experience and skill sets.  Intelligence systems only offer true value and ROI when part of a wider service.

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