How RingCentral helps businesses adapt to the changing face of work
The cloud-based communications and collaboration provider has come into its own, as CMO Jaya Kumar explains.
The world of work continues to change as businesses navigate the new post-COVID normal. Hybrid working has become a must-have for many organizations, and collaboration and communications platforms have become a crucial keystone for charting the new course of working.
RingCentral Chief Marketing Officer Jaya Kumar
One company helping businesses navigate the changing world of work is cloud communications and collaboration provider RingCentral. We spoke with Chief Marketing Officer Jaya Kumar about how RingCentral is helping organizations adapt.
How has the world of work changed in the last few years?
During the COVID pandemic, the thinking was: “Goodness gracious, we’ve got to get moving — everybody is now physically not going to be in the office.” It was a traumatic event that technology was trying to solve. I personally don’t believe there was much innovation there: It was a case of asking what was available, what could be utilized and what’s most effectively Band-Aided together.That was then. I believe now, in the last 12 months, the shift to hybrid work is driving more systemic innovation than we have ever seen. At RingCentral, we’re focused on making hybrid work simpler for organizations so they can best set up, run and manage their business. We’re asking ourselves what's the benefit that we can derive, or that we can enable, that is better than the best-in-class in the industry?
What are customers asking for?
We have a vantage point on how businesses – of all sizes and across every industry – are adapting to hybrid work all over the world. When you distill it all down, customers are asking us one thing: “Can you become the Tylenol for the hybrid problems we have?”
To answer that question, we think about two audiences: an IT audience and a line-of-business audience. Both have three common needs.The first is: “Please make it simple for me to set up your product.” If you’re giving me a product, does it integrate well into the way I’m working? Is it easy to do a one-click setup? Can I scale quickly?
The second point we hear is: “Please make it simple to run,” meaning: Let me tell you all the challenges I deal with in the hybrid world. How do I effectively use this technology to get my work done? Does it streamline my meetings experience? How can I be more productive in my daily tasks?
And the third is: “Please make it easy for me to manage,” and by that I mean: Give me data so I know how my communications system is working. Help me identify the gap areas and problem solve.
How is RingCentral adapting to these changing needs?In a hybrid world you have to embrace a pure customer-in perspective. I genuinely don’t believe the industry as a whole knows what its problem statements are yet. We’re lucky to have two-way dialogues with our customers so we can understand consistently the problems that emerge and learn new problems we need to address. We’re building this needs-based architecture of customer problems by vertical, business use-case and personas, and that’s becoming the petri dish on which we innovate.
The No. 1 thing driving all our innovations is untethered, radical mobility. One customer told us before the pandemic they had a call center in one place, but post-pandemic, 90% of that call center is in employees’ homes. In that world, how do you set it up? How do you do this with 5,000 people in 5,000 homes? Radical mobility is critical to business operations in today’s world.Our other focus is making it easy to run meetings. There are endless variables that can disrupt a meeting, for example when people arrive five minutes late or time zones prevent everyone from being on the call. The ability to give meeting participants an AI-generated summary of what was discussed keeps teams aligned and in- the- know so they don’t skip a beat.
We’re making a massive investment in pervasive AI. And the way we think of it is intelligence augmentation at every node of interaction. If you’re calling me on a phone, imagine if before that meeting took place I knew exactly who you were, your area of interest and so on. All of that could be synthesized through a pervasive AI module that gives you a synopsis of who they are. It not only helps contextualize the conversation, but it makes it more productive.
How is security and reliability evolving in today's hybrid world of work?
As you can imagine, our security team nearly had a heart attack when we said at the start of the pandemic that all the people sitting in the office with this protocol are now going to be working in a home environment. Nobody had a clue what that environment was.
The speed at which security has been built up over the last 12 months has been a derivative benefit of what we’ve seen during the pandemic. Privacy, compliance and security are three legs of the same stool. What we’re seeing increasingly is that intersection continuing to happen. RingCentral has invested in all those elements.
We also pride ourselves on our uptime: the five nines. There are no more nines left to fill. Our reliability and uptime are five times better than the nearest competitor. I almost feel like it’s a given factoid that when we build in innovation, the reliability comes with it.
What makes RingCentral's value proposition unique? What do you stand for as a company?Our value proposition is, well, simple -- RingCentral simplifies communications. We make it simple to set up, simple to run and simple to manage your business. Our messaging, video and phone capabilities are all integrated in a single app so users can seamlessly switch between modes and devices, from any location, making work effortless. Our analytics give IT leaders and line-of-business owners the comprehensive insights they need to make tough decisions and fill in gaps in their business. We’ve also spent a lot of time making our user interface ridiculously simple, so that even setting up a webinar, for instance, is as easy as scheduling a 1:1 video meeting with a colleague. We’re taking the friction out of communications so people can simply focus on getting work done.
What's your vision for the future of work?
There is no debate: The pandemic has structurally changed how people like to work. It’s multi-generational. But there are a few megatrends. By far, the first one is hybrid is here to stay. I know I don’t see myself going full-time to an office five days a week. In a global survey we ran with 4,000 users across eight industry verticals, the data was consistent: The majority of people didn’t see themselves working five days a week in an office.
Second is the notion of flexibility. That’s a huge thing. Can I work in any office and my mobile phone connects to my laptop, and I don’t need to do anything? Flexibility of technology will be crucial.
And thirdly, participant equity. Is there a way, regardless of where I sit, to enable celebration that is spontaneous in a technology platform? How do people in Asia work in an American-led or European-led company? The ability to show up with a video recorded into a meeting that synthesizes my point of view so I don’t need to be there at 2 a.m. is key. It’s about unlocking human potential and using the power of technology to make them flexible, to make participant equity happen and to enable people to be completely untethered from any device.