More businesses than ever before are using Cloud Communications, driven by the simplicity of the technology and the lower investment and maintenance costs. Cloud communications is more than simply Voice over IP (VoIP), hosted PBX, CaaS or Unified Communications (UC). It is a revolutionary way to build, deploy, and scale enterprise communication systems that reduce Capital and Operational costs, provide services in higher definition, and allow people to work in ways and places that they never imagined, adding greatly to productivity, operational efficiencies and a better work-life balance. The Cloud enables enterprises to move away from outdated and expensive technologies at a much faster pace.
Arkadin Cloud Communications is a world leader in the field, innovating and customizing cutting-edge Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) solutions for its clients. The company is transforming and adapting rapidly to take advantage of new business opportunities in the fast growing and dynamic Cloud market sector which is expected to reach up to €30 billion by 2020.
Arkadin began as an audio conferencing services provider but diversified approximately 10 years ago to include web conferencing, video conferencing and large virtual events, while Unified Communications services were added in the last five years. Today, Arkadin has the most extensive UC&C presence in the world, with over 50,000 customers spanning the largest global Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses that are serviced through a network of 56 operations centers in 34 countries.
As a member of the NTT Group, one of the world’s largest ICT companies, Arkadin has sophisticated networking and telecommunications capabilities for unmatched performance and reliability. Together with its partnerships with leading technology companies, such as Microsoft and Cisco, Arkadin is able to offer an attractive all-in-one-vendor service package to meet all Cloud Communications needs, resulting in tremendous efficiencies and scale for clients.
Arkadin’s mission is to lead companies to greater growth and success by delivering outstanding Cloud Communications experiences that put people at the heart of the digital workplace. Its product and operations teams are constantly searching for innovative technologies and business strategies to ensure its customers are prepared for the demands of a changing digital landscape and new generation of workers. It is gaining widespread support for its approach by demonstrating that Cloud deployment is the best and most efficient way to deliver digital communications.
The Trailblazers of the Company
Through the leadership of Board member Olivier de Puymorin, who founded the company in 2001, Arkadin has grown into one of the fastest growing providers of Cloud UC&C services, with a workforce of over 1,300 Arkadians. To ensure a smooth transition into the Cloud sector, Mr. de Puymorin assembled a talented team of executives under the leadership of CEO Didier Jaubert. Mr. Jaubert appointed Christophe Reyes to lead the company’s global Cloud UC practice as Managing Director, UCaaS.
Mr. Reyes’ 25+ years of experience in the high-tech industry in EMEA and track record of success in driving strategy for global companies through Arkadin’s Global Strategic Accounts Group (GSA) has had a significant impact on Arkadin’s growth. And it has given him valuable insights into what customers require for their digital transformation journeys and Cloud UC deployments.
Turning Challenges into a Roadmap of Opportunities
While the need for digital workplace transformation is well understood, Mr. Reyes says the challenge for businesses is how to harness Cloud technologies that deliver the productivity and operational efficiencies to meet their business objectives and that will receive broad support and engagement throughout the organization. Without that, many companies will be reluctant to give up their legacy, premise-based equipment.
Mr. Reyes points to four key challenges for the industry, each of which is being addressed by Arkadin to ensure long-term leadership in the Cloud.
- Digital Workplaces that Align with Cultural Identities: Digital transformations involve both technological and cultural evolutions. This is often misunderstood. The environmental and cultural impacts on employees must be addressed to capture their hearts and minds. Otherwise it will be virtually impossible to achieve wide-spread adoption of new Cloud technologies.
- Convergence of Traditional and Non-Traditional Ecosystems: The Cloud Communications market is becoming attractive to a much wider swath of vendors than in the past few years. Telephony and Telecom operators, Cloud infrastructure specialists, software providers and device and infrastructure manufacturers are vying for this business, resulting in a crowded marketplace that makes it complicated for businesses to choose the right partners.
- Convergence of Synchronous and Asynchronous Technologies in the Cloud: Combining synchronous technologies, such as telephony or conferencing, and asynchronous applications, such as email or messaging, is complicated since they have different specifications for deployments. A good example is the migration of voice from on premise PBX systems to Cloud UC deployments. The co-existence of the two causes a lot of frustration, as a result many businesses are not willing or able to replace their PBX systems. Arkadin has responded to this need with services that combine cloud PBX functionality with leading UC technologies.
- Network Readiness, Security and Data Sovereignty: Migration to the Cloud results in increased demand on network resources. Service providers need to enhance their network infrastructures for an acceptable level of service. There are also new security and integration issues to be addressed. Arkadin follows best practices with ISO 27001 certified services to ensure a high level of security for large enterprises.
Mr. Reyes underscores the importance of seeking the guidance of experienced service providers with the technological and customer support capabilities for satisfying immediate and long-term needs.
Distinguished Services that Focus on the User: It’s a People Thing!
According to Mr. Reyes, Arkadin’s success and long-term strategy for leadership in the Cloud is based on the user: It’s a people thing! Everything starts with the user, not the technology. He cites specific Arkadin programs that ensure customers succeed:
Digital Readiness Assessments: The first requirement for any Cloud/Digital Transformation initiative is an assessment of the people impact for ensuring broad engagement at all levels of the organization. Arkadin’s assessment program identifies client’s business processes and network and desktop readiness to determine if they support the needs of their workforce.
Change Management: A company’s digital transformation and migration to Cloud UC technologies provides a platform for massive organizational change. Bundled voice, conferencing and video applications have the power to determine where and how people work, how they collaborate with customers, partners and employees so the effects are far reaching with both technology and people revolutions at play. To be successful with measurable ROI, organizations must have a plan to address impacts on employees. Catalyst, a recent Arkadin client, needed a partner to drive change to support a telephony overhaul to Skype for Business. According to Project Manager Owen Davis, Arkadin’s change management service was instrumental in winning their business: “Arkadin has been a great partner. They focused on the change and how to manage it so our people would not be left behind or left out.” Arkadin’s change management program includes intensive training and the appointment of early adopters as evangelists to champion the new technologies.
Customer Success Teams: Dedicated customer success teams are in all regions to ensure close client relationships and services are up and running smoothly. End-user training programs are carefully measured, and regular Customer Satisfaction Surveys are implemented to address issues. Arkadin’s Cloud experts are also dedicated to consultancy for developing future IT road-maps.
Innovative Customer Adoption Program: To address the long-standing challenge of user adoption, Arkadin created a best-in-class end-user product onboarding portal called SmartStart. The easy and intuitive portal, which is customized for each user’s preferences, has everything required for an onboarding journey in an easily accessible place. Smartstart has significantly shortened the adoption time for Arkadin’s collaboration services, and minimized the disruption caused by business change for getting users up and running quickly and efficiently.
Global Support: Arkadin is a global company by its presence, culture and reach. Its teams operate in the same time zone as the clients they serve, speak the same language, and share the same culture. This enables them to be truly responsive in delivering end-to-end, 24-hour multilingual support, fast and efficient roll-outs, highly effective training and immediate response to customer issues. This is a huge advantage and a key competitive differentiator.
Endeavors for a Bright Digital Future
Arkadin aims to remain at the forefront of Digital Cloud Communications technologies by bringing their clients into the future with simple to use UC&C cloud services that enable a truly digital workplace for greater productivity and ROI. Alliances will continue with leading Cloud UC&C companies to ensure clients have the most advanced services.
Arkadin is also planning to leverage innovations like AI and Bot technology to facilitate greater user adoption in the digital workplace. The company has a vision to integrate UC into business applications and is now focusing on innovative approaches to all aspects of the business (operations, product development, support, marketing, etc.) to deliver a premium customer experience.