How 8x8 is gearing up

Here, 8x8’s Regional Vice President for EMEA Channel Sales Emily Masterton shares insights into key aspects of the vendor’s tech roadmap and the big themes underpinning its evolving partner enablement and engagement strategy.

Changing times in the channel require a close look at the thinking and activities of movers and shakers like 8x8 as well as influential industry figures such as Masterton – who as part of the 8x8 EMEA leadership team for the past four years has introduced new rules of engagement around deal registration and opportunity progression, driven growth of the Elevate programme in EMEA, and was named one of Channel Futures’ Top 20 EMEA Channel Leaders of the Year. Previously at Unify (where she was Vice President - Atos UCC Business Development & Engagement) Masterton was crowned Salesperson of the Year. “But nothing compares to the sense of satisfaction in building a good team around you,” she stated. “The future is exciting for the channel and we’re building a team and programme to meet that future head on.”

Enabling channel partners to fulfil their potential is an ambition fervently pursued by Masterton. She noted that the UK channel is undergoing a period of ‘incredible change’ and that partners are becoming much broader in their scope of operation. “You have Microsoft partners, traditional telco and other providers getting involved in the UCaaS and CCaaS space,” she stated. “Traditional partners are not only seeing the shift from legacy to cloud, some are also having to reskill as they move into a managed service offering, particularly as they work out what AI can do for their customers.”

Traditional partners are not only seeing the shift from legacy to cloud, some are also having to reskill as they move into a managed service offering, particularly as they work out what AI can do for customers

Portfolio development and digital transformation is key to the future success of partners, observed Masterton, especially as a growing number of organisations are considering how AI can be integrated into their workflows and products. At the same time, many more organisations are coming to an understanding of how contact centre solutions can boost their operations. “We talk to companies every day who tell us ‘we don’t have a contact centre’ because they don’t realise the different ways of working that modern contact centre options can bring to both their front and back office functions,” explained Masterton. “What they soon realise is that we have democratised who can have contact centre functionality. It’s not about needing 10,000 staff or a massive building. Even the smallest company can act and behave like a contact centre and have all the same access to data, analytics and tools as larger organisations.”

Marketing as a Service
8x8 is also extending the concept of as-a-service beyond traditional approaches to SaaS. “Our prime offering to partners is a Marketing as a Service (MaaS) function which helps resellers navigate the multiple marketing tools and materials available from 8x8,” she said. “The MaaS programme aligns partners with a marketing agent who can help steer their marketing plan, show them how to get the most out of data enrichment and which applicable campaigns are available.”

Even the smallest company can act like a contact centre and have the same access to data, analytics and tools as larger organisations

This interconnected and multifaceted approach to marketing is essential given that modern day solutions are based on a lot more than the communications platform. Resellers can also handle security, connectivity, data and any potential Microsoft environment, pointed out Masterton. “There’s a lot there for resellers to go for if they are willing to grasp the opportunities,” she added. “Resellers can offer wrap around services and be a full managed services provider. There will always be new areas to explore in the marketplace.”

Harnessing intelligence
In this context, Masterton noted that 8x8 is especially focused on ‘AI with a purpose’, encompassing solutions such as 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant Voice which enables streamlined workflows, minimises manual data collection and eliminates blind transfers to deliver personalised experiences.

“We’re also putting time and effort into our Technology Partner Ecosystems (TPEs),” added Masterton. “No single company can do it alone. For example, mid-market businesses have the same needs as the largest enterprises but lack those budgets and resources, so we created a different kind of TPE which brings together a curated network of ISVs, VARs and SIs to help joint customers solve specific CX use cases.”

Such endeavours illustrate the need for the channel to adapt to the changing requirements of the market. “Today’s customers want to interact with organisations in a way that gives them speedy and effective resolutions to their issues, so it is key to focus on how this can be achieved,” added Masterton. “Understanding customer needs and challenges and taking the time to address their specific pain points to enhance the customer experience are key to building long-term relationships and ensuring that you’re staying innovative and ahead of the game.”

Masterton is just as motivated to see more women in senior roles within the comms channel, and her inspirational career journey and achievements make her an outstanding role model. “In terms of balance, things are better than they were,” she added. “But highlighting internal promotions and opportunities for women would help to improve the ratio, which is something I have been lucky with. Many people put in hard work while keeping their heads down which can lead to excellent potential being overlooked just because they are so focused on their day-to-day.”

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