By: Ernie Wallerstein
Earlier this month, we held our annual Enghouse Interactive user conference, ENGAGE 2017, in Miami, Florida at the Conrad Hotel and Resort. ENGAGE 2017 was all about collaborating and learning from partners and customers alike.
This year’s conference included a mix of thought leadership presentations focusing on the latest industry trends, guest panel discussions, user case studies, and product-focused training breakouts designed to help our partners gain new insights on addressing their customers’ business needs. Each discussion centered on education; an agenda devoid of sales and marketing pitches was overwhelmingly appreciated and, according to attendee feedback, “a welcome change from most other vendor-hosted events.”
Among our overarching priorities was providing attendees with a 360-degree picture of Enghouse Interactive, not just the specific groups with whom they regularly interact. With so many customers joining by way of acquisition, they had not yet had the opportunity to grasp the full breadth and depth of our company. In a market most aptly described as volatile, companies large and small find solace in working with a partner like Enghouse that is debt-free, stable, liquid, and publicly traded with a market cap of more than CAD $1.5 billion.
ENGAGE 2017 attendees left Miami knowing that they are part of an expansive community that spans the globe.
4 Key Messages and Highlights from ENGAGE 2017
While there were many memorable moments at this year’s event, four sessions, in my opinion, were especially impactful.
Award-winning motivational speaker duo, Tim and Kris O’Shea, delivered a keynote presentation that was both informative and hilarious, focusing on the challenges and changes of a workforce dominated by millennials. The presentation touched on just about every call center stereotype imaginable, ranging from typical problems experienced when trying to conference in multiple parties, to individual difficulties like trying to join a teleconference from the car while navigating rush hour traffic (expletives included!). Suffice it to say, examples such as the classic work-from-home in pajamas, and the aforementioned driver trying to contain their road rage, resonated with many of us.
The O’Sheas shared the techniques that make them such sought-after speakers, exploring concepts for reframing situations, supporting team members, and effectively adapting. In addition to bringing the ‘funnier side’ of collaboration to life, they also provided a roadmap for building successful working relationships.
Another noteworthy moment came from a breakout session led by Daryl Gonos and Roger Woolley from Workforce Management Software Group, titled, “The Expanded Impact of Modern Workforce Management.” So many attendees came to hear them talk about how technology is shaping the way we communicate, that the session had to be moved to a larger room.
Sandra Crawford, our Global Director of Strategic Alliances, was joined by Microsoft Senior Product Marketing Manager, Skype (News – Alert) for Business Developer Platform, James Skay, for a presentation on, “The Future of the Collaborative Contact Center with Skype for Business.” True to form, Sandra and James did not waste people’s time with a half-hour product pitch; rather, they provided an insider’s view into Microsoft’s (News – Alert) direction for its next-generation platform and an educational presentation which explored various best practices for Skype for Business contact center integration. I forecast a big spike in enterprise adoption of Skype for Business Cloud PBX (News – Alert) over the next few months, as recent advancements, including TouchPoint Attendant Console for Skype for Business Online, successfully “fill in the white spaces” to create the comprehensive telephony platform for which businesses are clamoring.
Speaking of “the cloud,” we had a panel discussion led by several of our partners and our CTO, Alex Black (News – Alert). Contrary to popular belief, there is no one-size-fits-all modality for leveraging cloud. Some businesses have the freedom to adopt a pure public cloud model, while others are better suited for either a hybrid or on-premise private cloud environment. Also of note, is the emergence of managed private cloud deployments, in which customers’ computing environments are hosted and managed offsite in a third-party service provider’s datacenter, but segregated as a single tenant (as opposed to multi-tenant public clouds).
One final thought about Engage 2017. Having worked in the call center business for more than 20 years, I have been to more than my share of user conferences. More often than not, people are looking for the exit by the third hour. Throughout the four days of Engage 2017, we received daily feedback from multiple partners who said at the end of each day, “I can’t believe it’s 5 o’clock already, where did the time go?”; while others shared that they received the best admin training of their professional careers. High praise indeed – especially considering that some of these sessions lasted several hours!
With ENGAGE 2017 behind us, our team is already looking for ways to build on the success of this year’s conference, and is excited to see everyone next year at ENGAGE 2018 in Las Vegas!