8×8 Launches New Technology Partner Ecosystem

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This week, cloud communications platform provider 8×8 announced what it has dubbed the 8×8 Technology Partner Ecosystem.

This ecosystem has been developing for some time. When 8×8 CEO Sam Wilson had the “interim” removed from his CEO title in May, one of the key goals was that the company would continue to build its partner ecosystem.

8×8 reports that the ecosystem already includes more than 30 partners, including Cognigy, Avoira, Awaken, Balto, Converse360, Cresta, Engage Hub, LogicDialog, PromptVoice, Roboyo, Skybox Communications, and Syndeo.

Of those partners, Richard Brown, Director at Converse360, said in the announcement: “Self-service is no longer just the step before speaking with a live agent, but rather can now offer customers engaging, dynamic and personalized experiences. Our integration with 8×8 provides a seamless handoff between our two systems, allowing organizations to focus on their own customers rather than their technology stack.”

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8×8’s XCaaS Designed for Open Architecture

8×8 built the ecosystem on its XCaaS platform open architecture (XCaaS stands for eXperience Communications as a Service) to nurture an ecosystem of leading technology partners that encourages innovation and provides enterprises with the solutions they need to provide their own customers with exceptional experiences.

In a pre-briefing, Talon Morris, Director of Product Marketing at 8×8, told me they looked at the marketplace and saw a lot of great artificial intelligence talent.

“Our customers want it, and we know that they can benefit from it, especially given our investments in the contact center and what our customers are trying to do from a CX standpoint,” he said. “So we retooled our platform to make it easier for our customers and built this ecosystem of partners that will help us bring customers and partners together in a frictionless way.”

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8×8 Partnership to Enhance Conversational AI

Morris added that the company’s integration with Cognigy was a first step in the journey. Now, with the Technology Partner Ecosystem, they’re looking to engage with various other leaders and innovators in the industry. According to Morris, each member of the ecosystem has already built integrations.

Morris added: “Instead of us trying to build everything in-house, now can we basically make it a plug-and-play type atmosphere for our customers but effectively provide enterprise-grade integrations now and also the customer development that’s required.”

With the new ecosystem program, customers will be able to:

  • Access data across apps and interfaces, as well as ensure that conversational context is maintained during any handoffs between the 8×8 XCaaS platform and the partner integration.
  • Utilize next-generation, open technology and explore new integration categories.
  • Create tailored solutions using readily available technologies that conform to precise needs without custom development and the associated costs.
  • Integrate with a carefully curated select group of CX partners.

ChatGPT has Raised the AI Bar

Morris told me that 8×8 focuses on conversational AI as the program’s initial focus. Given the momentum created by ChatGPT, the focus on conversational AI should enable 8×8 to roll out new features much faster than if it tried to build the capabilities in-house. My research shows that about 30% of customer interactions are at least partially solved by AI. I’m forecasting this to grow to 80% in five years, so the race is on.

“We looked at conversational AI and service partners that can help support both 8×8 and those conversational AI partners all in one,” Morris said. “That’s the first category, at least to tackle and prioritize. But that’s not where we’re stopping. Our business development team is working rapidly across the industry right now to bring in various other partners.”

In the announcement, Hunter Middleton, Chief Product Officer at 8×8, said that one-size-fits-all approaches no longer work.

“Instead, organizations expect their technology solutions and providers to innovate, adapt and evolve to meet their current and future business and customer needs,” he said. “The program complements our native AI-driven 8×8 XCaaS platform capabilities, giving enterprises the flexibility to build the right solutions to meet and exceed their customer experience goals.”

The AI space is rapidly developing. Billions of dollars of venture-backed investments are pouring into thousands of startups, leading to revolutionary advancements, especially in improving CX.

So in this context, getting locked into a single communications provider’s AI technology is preventing organizations from truly benefitting from the phenomenal rate of innovation. I believe 8×8’s new Technology Partner Ecosystem enables enterprises to easily plug in the right AI solutions that best meet their business needs and transform the contact center and customer engagement.

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