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Hi, and welcome to The Bridge. I’m Scott Kinka. My guest on this episode is Ashish Seth. He’s the Vice President of Product Management at RingCentral. Ashish is a recent addition to RingCentral. He’s got a legacy and contact center and that’s his charter at Ring. Mind you, focusing on the Ring Contact Center product. He was the former Chief Product Officer at LifeSize who if you recall, acquired Contact Center vendor, SerraNova. He was also at one point the Vice President of products at Nice inContact. So, this is a contact center guy. He’s been in Silicon Valley, at the cutting edge for 20 years.
Interestingly enough, he changed jobs twice during the pandemic. I asked him, like I’ve asked some of our other guests, if he considers himself part of the “great resignation”. He had a really interesting response; he said he “was part of the great opportunity”. And one other thing he added there was breakdowns lead to breakthroughs, a quote that got our producer Gene jumping out of his chair a little bit. He echoed a theme that we’ve heard from several guests that the pandemic was an accelerator for cloud communications and customer experience technologies. Frankly, we’ve had security networking data center vendors say the exact same.
I asked them to explain RingCentral’s strategy in light of the pandemic. And you know, it was kind of interesting. I mean, you said what you would expect. You see CC one that connect them, but for them it was about intelligent experiences, right? Phone, video meetings, contact center agents, together in a single application. And to him, he felt like the opportunity was very real because of hybrid work, not sort of in conflict with hybrid work, right? How he sees it, you know, what RingCentral’s customers are. You know, when most of us talk about hybrid work, we talk about this happy medium between being in the office, being on the road like I am today and being at home and it’s really more of an option based scenario.
Ashish’s thought was that it’s really about work styles, about cognitive enablement, about enabling the styles of work. So in in his mind, some people should always be at home. Some people should always be in the office, and the key is to equip each one of the work styles with the tools that work for them and enable them to have their place in this, sort of, connected workforce. Function-based as opposed to option-based hybrid work, which was just a really interesting way of looking at it.
Since we’ve both been in the business of developing contact center software, we were talking a lot about where the agent sits going forward which he believes will fall into remote work now more than ever. Given the transiency of the labor force and, you know, and the fact that it’s just easy to stand up an agent that way, but we talked a lot about what would be lost in that environment. And the real thing is peer to peer engagement. You know, tap tapping someone on the shoulder, getting help or, or even just therapy after a difficult interaction. Also missing really when you can’t sort of tap the shoulder is the role of the subject matter expert in the contact center. Much harder to engage them now.
And that really brought it back for me to this idea of the connected experience, right? Some of these SMEs are not agents, and regardless of who you escalate to, those escalations need to be seamless. You know, the contact center solution in a business has historically sort of sat alone, it’s been its own island, but now you’ve got this blend of mobile video meetings, traditional calls into the contact center. That led us into an interesting conversation about the lines of really who is an agent in the modern customer experience. Those lines are blurring because customers want to interact differently. The information workers never really thought of themselves as agents, and now they’re in these workflows. It’s really a shift of how we think about customer experience, not sitting off to the side of the business. And of course, look as a UC provider. I asked Ashish about Teams, about Zoom and where he sees RingCentral sitting, how the market sees them. And his answer, you know, was that they’re a compliment. They believe they deliver the connected work experience where a truly voice centric is going to focus on a voice centric provider like Ring, where other business will you choose a collab first experience, but integrate it with their quality, their five 9s, their international reach on the backside. So, they are a Microsoft partner, as an example.
So we had a very interesting discussion on direct routing as a result. We talked about hybrid hosted PBXs and kind of what that means going forward and really how all that works. And then lastly, at the end, we had a great chat about virtual reality in the workplace, which you know, not here yet, but certainly I said to him that I would bring him back on the show when these workplace technologies start to get there.
So, looking forward to that in a year or so, maybe two, maybe three. But in the meantime, this is my conversation with Ashish Seth, who is the Vice President of product at RingCentral.
I like to think I’ve had great success helping large organizations and senior IT executives drive efficiencies that have led to exceptional results for over 30 years. Essentially, we help them do more with less. But what I am most passionate and proud of is the company and staff I have built at Cannon Group.
Our mission statement is “Building long-term relationships with clients by over-delivering on value and exceeding their expectations.” I feel we do an amazing job at that, and its reflective in the long tenure of our client relationships. Clearly, our staff is doing something right.
My role has evolved into one that focuses on client satisfaction and new solutions we can offer that provide great value and the long-term vision of the firm. Most importantly, I am also focused on motivating and empowering our team by providing a supportive work environment that encourages a healthy work-life balance. It’s a challenging role that I have welcomed and has paid off–this past year we were recognized as a 2018 Top Workplace by Philly.com
My expertise includes: Information technology, telecom strategy, contract negotiation, cost containment, vendor management, new product innovation, business growth and partner alliances includes his own entrepreneurial venture – CloudSquads, Inc. – that helped enterprises build online customer communities.
As Vice President of Customer Experience at RingCentral, Inc. I am responsible for product strategy, go-to-market plans and roadmap execution for the RingCentral Contact Center and Customer Experience portfolio. My expertise spans CCaaS, UCaaS, CRM Systems, social media engagement and online communities. Prior to RingCentral, Inc. I was the Chief Product officer at Lifesize, Inc – leading strategy and execution of the Lifesize Suite of Contact Center, Meetings and Collaboration solutions. I have held leadership roles in Product Management, Consulting and Engineering at large public companies such as NICE Systems, KPMG Consulting, Oracle as well as startups. My career journey includes my own entrepreneurial venture – CloudSquads, Inc. – that helped enterprises build online customer communities.