What's Changing in Cloud Communications (Part 1)

By Erik Linask

There’s a common thread among communications vendors when asked what they are doing for their users: they are enabling their users to communicate more effectively.  That can mean many things, of course.  It can relate to increased mobile capabilities, or it can mean using automation to simplify communication and allow users to spend more time on other tasks, it can mean integrating new channels into platforms, it can mean new collaboration features, it can mean migrating to cloud-based communications, or many other things… or all of them. 

The simple fact is we are all still wasting valuable time every day on tasks that decelerate our work processes due to inefficient of incomplete communications solutions.  But, communications providers recognize those inefficiencies and have built solutions that will help users work, communicate, and collaborate better.  Mike Chase, Director of Channel Management at Jive Communications, which was acquired by LogMeIn last year, will be discussing what businesses can expect to see from their cloud communications vendors in the coming year that will help them work smarter and get more done, at MSP Expo in Ft. Lauderdale.  Ahead of the conference, Mike took some time to explain some of the things that are impacting the space and bringing businesses into a new era of communications.

Please tell us a bit about the latest news at your company

2018 was a year of major change and growth for Jive Communications. In April, we completed an acquisition of the company by LogMein, one of the world’s top 10 SaaS companies. The decision has allowed us to begin to expand and innovate our product, while giving our customers access to all that LogMeIn has to offer.

In terms of product updates, Jive has introduced a number of new features and functionalities into its unified communications and collaboration platform, designed to drive more efficient workflows, improve device and user security, and provide remote access for users regardless of their location. This year, we’ve introduced new features such as:

  • Hot Desking – a feature that allows multiple employees to share workspace and devices across different shifts;
  • Jive Secure – a feature providing end to end encryption all the way to the desktop; and 
  • We’ve also made it easier for teams on the go with Visual Voicemail on mobile devices.

In addition to new products, we are also constantly making improvements to existing Jive products. In 2018 we announced updates to features such as:

  • Visual Dial Plans, to easily route incoming calls;
  • Jive Business Continuity, for unparalleled uptime; and
  • Jive Web  & Jive Desktop which allows users to call, chat and collaborate from a web browser (Jive Web) OR from a downloadable application (Jive Desktop).

Jive’s biggest product update of 2018 was the rollout of The Connect PRO Bundle. This offering integrates the best of Jive's cloud-based telephony solutions with GoToMeeting’s cloud-based video conferencing product to offer businesses instant savings, a simpler user experience, and additional ways to connect with anyone, anywhere, on any device.

What pains are you taking away for customers?

Put simply, we help customers communicate better. Jive Voice is a cloud-based business phone system offering a suite of Hosted VoIP and Unified Communications and Collaboration features to help users communicate. Voice functionality is delivered through web, desktop and mobile applications.

We work with customers to make sure we are meeting their communication needs regardless of how, where, or when they want to connect. Organizations can run their phone systems entirely through a web browser with Jive Web, customizing call flows and communicating via voice, video or chat. Users enjoy HD audio quality and reliable productivity through an all-in-one portal, while companies can easily track metrics to gain insights into usage for each individual employee.  Jive Mobile lets users talk chat, text and video conference on their cell phone. Calls can be held via a unique business number, allowing employees to use their own digital devices without having to share a personal phone number.

While security continues to be a top priority for customers, we offer Jive Secure, which encrypts every call from a handset to Jive’s cloud platform and back to other devices, securing communications from end to end.

How is cloud acceptance changing how your company and your customers operate?

Jive’s customers include high-growth businesses and public sector institutions needing a scalable platform that is more flexible and cost-effective than their existing legacy systems. Increased cloud acceptance — and Jive’s cloud architecture — has led to more and more companies, large and small, simplifying their business operations and communications through an integrated, seamless experience that provides richer context and creates more efficient connections between co-workers and clients. Jive’s cloud delivery model ensures that each organization always has the latest technology, features, and applications—making Jive the last phone system you’ll ever need. 

Jive boasts the highest-ranking customer service and reliability in the industry. Jive also has more data centers than any other hosted competitor, is the only vendor with complete control of its platform, and the only provider to publish real-time status updates.

What are the most important recent communications technology innovations in your industry?

We are seeing consolidation in the market. Our customers want to be able to connect in a variety of different ways, and companies need to support that by offering choices to meet the customers where they are. This consolidation trend was a big part of why LogMeIn acquired Jive. They wanted to bring together market leading offerings like GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar with Jive’s unified communication products. It was a good match that allowed LogMeIn to enter the Unified Communications and Collaboration space to offer our customers access to an end-to-end solution at a scale that’s unmatched by others in the space.

How is mobile changing your business strategy?

As mentioned above, we work with our customers to allow them to connect across devices and around the world. With more and more people doing work via mobile devices, it’s important to support that trend so that business doesn’t stop when you leave the office.

Do you think the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) companies will ever face serious competition?

While the FAANG companies are all leaders and giants in their fields and have maintained impressive profits through economic highs and lows, the technology landscape is quickly evolving, and if they don’t keep up, it is possible that we could eventually see some serious competition arise. These companies have all the talent and resources to stay on top, but their sky-high valuations and expectations also leave little room for error, should anything go wrong.

How is open source changing technology and how your company does business?

Open source is something that we at Jive, as well as many in the tech industry are beginning to use extensively. It is a game changer, allowing more efficient open source infrastructure and solutions for crucial new initiatives. It is also cost-effective and paves the way for faster, more reliable innovation, allowing enterprises to more easily scale their infrastructure.

Read the second half of our interview with Mike Chase here, including his thoughts on many of the emerging technologies that will shape the future of communications.

Mike’s panel at MSP Expo, Another Chasm Crossed! What to Expect from Cloud Communications in 2019, will take place at 2:00pm, Thursday, January 31, 2019.  Because every MSP is facing an increasingly competitive landscape, they should be looking for the latest communications solutions to deliver to their customers.  Likewise, businesses, too, are looking at how to increase productivity and efficiency with next-gen communications solutions.  This session will provide plenty of insight into how to achieve those objectives.  If you haven’t booked your ticket to MSP Expo, don’t wait – register today.

Edited by Erik Linask

Group Editorial Director

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