Building the Cloud Phone System of the Future
Once upon a time, the idea of a phone system for businesses was to become a technology of the past. However, the evolution of interfaces, the introduction of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and, more recently, cloud telephony software, has catapulted enterprise voice communication into a new (almost cool) digital dimension. One company that can speak to this business phone system transformation is Aircall. Implied in the name, the company is an entirely cloud-based voice platform built to make phone support easy breezy when it comes to management, accessibility, transparency, and collaboration.
To uncover the latest scoop on business phone systems and find out where the market is heading, we spoke to Aircall's COO and Co-Founder Jonathan Anguleov.
For those who may be unaware, what is the difference between a business VoIP and a cloud-based phone system for businesses?
The difference lies within how the datas are processed, in real-time. Both use the internet to make and receive calls, but using cloud-based systems is more efficient, as they integrate with the other softwares used by a company to display all information available at a given moment about a customer. Cloud-based systems allow businesses to save on costs as information that is transmitted is saved and can be accessed via the cloud making it easier to safeguard, update and extract information.
How has the acceleration of voice technology following COVID-19 impacted the corporate telephony market?
In the past year, we've seen more players have entered the market with smarter solutions that allow for better collaboration across internal and external teams. The corporate telephony market has evolved to allow for greater integration into existing business systems so conversational data from calls, for example, can be effectively analysed and categorised into CRM systems.
The industry roadmap and focus have evolved to focus on productivity and providing more holistic solutions that go beyond what we used to call UCAS and CCAAS. At Aircall, we offer ‘Aircall Now' for Intercom and more telephonic features for those who make less calls. Major players have also entered the market and are making defining moves; take Zoom's acquisition of Five9, for example.
In 2019, you led a keynote at the B2B Rocks conference called ‘Play Nice: Your Solution Needs to Integrate With Other Software'. Can you sum up why you believe in this collaborative approach so strongly? How far does this ethos guide Aircall today?
A strong collaborative approach is about multiple specialised functions working together. Your product should communicate with as many other products as possible; it's not about having a product that does it all and working in a silo.
Aircall allows partners to build on our product which in turn, makes us more accessible, valuable in the long term and thus, creates greater retention. Integrating with other top SaaS players that compliment your product is essential.
At Aircall, we went to the top and integrated with Salesforce and Zendesk at an early stage and those integrated partners are major engines to our new sales leads.
Collaboration and integration go hand-in-hand, especially in the SaaS industry - there's no point in reinventing the wheel (i.e. creating our own CRM) when you can partner with top SaaS players that compliment and elevate each individual product. So, the key is to have a specialised product that is adaptable and that enables your customers to build on top of it as well as tailor it to their needs. Ultimately, this makes your product more appealing globally.
What makes a ‘phone system of the future' and why should modern businesses of all sizes get on board with this technology?
There's a growing demand for personalisation in the industry, so a phone system of the future provides an omniscient experience that gives the support worker a 360-degree view of the customer so they will know all the details of how to best serve them i.e. the conversations they've had prior.
To effectively adapt to new environments, tackle new challenges and explore new opportunities, businesses need airtight processes that allow stakeholders to connect and converse efficiently. AI-backed, cloud-based solutions not only support the communication needs of a dispersed and flexible workforce but also empower more productive conversations, allowing businesses to better cater to their customers.
How should organisations go about cutting through the noise and choosing the right cloud phone system for their varying departments/teams? Are there any key considerations to mull over?
The growth of the communications industry has accelerated significantly in the past year as businesses shift their operations online and undergo impromptu digital transformations. It's essential for organisations to look at which system can best integrate with their business model and best serve their end goal. A by-product of the digital era is information overload - it not only can dilute the quality of communication but impact productivity and create confusion throughout the supply chain.
2021 has been a successful year for Aircall, with milestones including a Series D funding campaign that raised more than $226 million and global office expansion. What will the money be used for and where is the company heading?
With the announcement of our latest funding round earlier this year, we earned Unicorn status, a great accomplishment for us but also just another step in our growth. With this new funding round, we will invest in a myriad of projects such as developing our technology with new AI capabilities and additional productivity features for call centres. These technology investments will allow Aircall to further help sales and support teams and enhance our global infrastructure capacities. Alongside this, we plan to enrich our app ecosystem with new integrations covering all use cases, from e-commerce to financial services, Sales, Support, etc.
Aircall has always been a global company and this funding round will allow us to continue on this trajectory. We aim to expand our UK and EMEA presence with new offices in London and Berlin allowing us to be closer to in-market customer needs. As well as internal expansion, we'll continue to build valued relationships, integrate with key industry leaders and leverage local networks. This capital will allow us to partner with major telecommunications companies and engage the UK channel ecosystem to bring our technology to every professional around the world. In the UK market, in particular, Aircall aims to form strong partnerships, including with channels and resellers.
On October 21st, we at EM360 will be attending The Digital Transformation Conference at the America Square Conference Centre. Here, you can talk to us about all the latest content we have to offer this upcoming winter, arrange interviews with us to help spread your company's message and potentially even feature in one of our podcasts!