According to Gartner, the digital workplace delivers a more social, mobile, accessible and data-driven work environment. Conferences about digital workplaces, digital business and digital customer experience abound, where highly experienced thought leaders talk about the future and recommend paths to achieving success.
To understand how real companies are accomplishing real digital workplace goals today, we worked with Dr. Jay Liebowitz, Distinguished Chair in Applied Business and Finance at Harrisburg University during his summer sabbatical. We visited with three Coveo customers and interviewed several people at each, from C-level executives, to program managers, business analysts, business architects, IT managers, individual contributors and their managers. We wanted to learn exactly how intelligent search apps are impacting their digital workplace and digital customer engagement journeys, all while helping them achieve their business goals.
Gartner refers to the “portfolio of digital workplace tools and services, which is applied to customers, partners and employees,”[i] as part of the digital workplace. The organizations we spoke with are applying this model to consolidate information from multiple sources via secure, unified indexing technology. Success across this application requires relevance, contextual accuracy, high levels of security, and value for the end-user accomplishing a task.
One company we met with, Ribbon Communications (formerly Sonus Networks), a mid-sized public technology company that provides networked solutions, is experiencing both rapid industry and business transformation.
To educate its customers on its new portal, Andrea Strathmeyer, Customer Communications Engineer and Senior Technical Instructor for Ribbon Communications, published a video to introduce direct and indirect customers, partners & distributors to the company’s powerful search capabilities on its new self-service portal.
With customers in nearly 100 countries, Ribbon Communications and its industry are transforming from providing products and services to a relatively small set of about 250 carriers worldwide to a new generation of products and services for large enterprises and new distribution channels. Part of this evolution requires supporting not only the channels, but also their end customers. Ribbon Communications must now not only ensure that their own direct customers are successful, but also the customers of their partners and distributors too. Moreover, in this transformation they need to be “easy to do business with.” According to Ribbon Communication CIO Bill Parks, “If we have great products and are easy to do business with, [our partners and distributors] will do business with us. If we have a great product and are not easy to do business with, then they will sell something else.”
Ribbon Communications has been using Coveo embedded in Salesforce Service Cloud and Community Cloud, incorporating Salesforce Knowledge, Confluence Wikis, SharePoint, and additional systems. Ribbon Communications initially began using its intelligent search apps for customer support professionals, embedded within Salesforce Service Cloud, where they “live,” to simply surface information relevant to solving the cases on which they were working. In this case the individual and his or her context become the search query. This example of “contextual data finding the user” based on what she or he is working on—provides that more consumer-like experience—a hallmark of the digital workplace.
Ed Quinn, the Ribbon Communications Salesforce Business Analyst and internal group leader, noted that intelligent search is a business tool:
“Before having these intelligent search capabilities, no glue existed between organizational siloed systems—and hence the organizations themselves. I am amazed every day with the flexibility of this technology. It’s more than search: it’s a glue between solutions and silos, and it’s a business tool.”
According to Ribbon Communications CIO Bill Parks, employee and customer proficiency is an important area of focus for Ribbon Communications in terms of allowing their employees to “upskill” in the flow of work, and allowing their customers to become more savvy through Ribbon Communications’ ability to provide them with more intelligent, informative customer portals. “Our definition of ‘customer’ has evolved,” said Parks, to include “external customers – direct – large partners and distributors, indirect partners and all of their end customers. We needed the capability to understand all of them and to satisfy all of their varied needs.”
Providing greater capabilities for the customer to quickly find answers to their own questions via the company’s customer portal, and to begin to predict what challenges they will have in the future to head them off, can have a profound impact on satisfaction and engagement, and as we have seen, on customer proficiency. Importantly, this capability is helping Ribbon Communications to scale its operations to serve not only its end customers, but its new distribution channels and their customers too.
In the digital workplace, applications become even more fragmented and specialized; organizations like Ribbon Communications favor best-of-breed technologies and continue moving to the cloud at a rapid pace. To learn more about how Ribbon Communications and two other leading companies are employing intelligent search to scale, to innovate faster and better, to go to market faster with new products – and new acquisitions – and to provide the “glue” for the digital workplace and digital customer engagement:
Join Dr. Liebowitz and me for a webinar on September 30. We’ll talk about three real-world transformations enabled by intelligent search technology.
You’ll learn that what matters now is how quickly, securely and relevantly data and information can be incorporated into everyday work to help people learn faster, work smarter and better serve fast-evolving markets.
[i] Gartner, Digital Workplace Organizational Change Imperatives
27 October 2014 G00270161