From new generative AI announcements to award-winning innovation, here are some extracts from our most popular news stories over the last seven days.
AWS Throws Its Hat Into the Generative AI Ring
WS has joined the generative AI march. But, instead of building models entirely by itself, it is recruiting third parties to host models on its cloud.
Enter Amazon Bedrock. It provides the platform for users to build generative AI-powered apps from pre-trained models created by various startups. These include AI21 Labs, Anthropic, and Stability AI.
In doing so, AWS is giving the pick axes, shovels, and drills to miners instead of digging for the treasures itself – as Microsoft and Google are doing.
Such a strategy is not new for AWS, according to Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon. He told CNBC:
If you think about what AWS has been doing for many years, we’ve been really trying to democratize technology so that large and small companies alike can afford and have access to build amazing customer experiences.
Until now, organizations that wished to build custom large language models (LLMs) for their unique business requirements would likely have to train the system for many years. In addition, they’d spend eye-watering sums of money.
That does not sound like an appealing prospect. AWS believes it can offer a differentiator by offering foundational models, which businesses can customize for their unique purposes.
This mission sits at the core of Bedrock, which serves up many of these models from third parties – alongside its own “Titan” models.
Now, these are not consumer models like ChatGPT or Bard. Instead, they developer-focused LLMs, which businesses can finetune and build generative AI experiences on top of.
Bandwidth Strives to Make Best-of-Breed CCaaS-UCaaS Convergence a Reality
Consider the current state of the CCaaS and UCaaS spaces, as per the latest Gartner Magic Quadrants.
NICE, Genesys, and Talkdesk are the leaders for CCaaS.
Microsoft, RingCentral, Zoom, Cisco, and 8×8 are the leaders for UCaaS.
Across these reports, no single vendor is a leader in both markets – despite a prolonged push to pull these technologies together.
Some are relatively close, including the likes of Cisco and 8×8.
Nevertheless, this status quo highlights how brands wanting to converge CCaaS and UCaaS with a single vendor must accept a “lesser” solution in one of those areas.
The alternative is for brands to cobble together best-of-breed solutions. Enter Bandwidth Maestro.
Bandwidth Releases Its Maestro Solution
Bandwidth has released its Maestro platform, positioning it as the connectivity fabric that allows businesses to bridge the gap between best-of-breed CCaaS and UCaaS tools.
“It’s an entire ecosystem of partners and integrations, pulled together with this key differentiator: a visual builder,” said Travis Hinton, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at Bandwidth in conversation with UC Today.
The visual builder includes a drag-and-drop interface that allows businesses to build and customize communication workflows across the two platforms.
Moreover, it also integrates with conversational AI and CPaaS platforms for businesses that wish to pull other capabilities into these workflows and extend them.
Concentrix’s Acquisition of Webhelp Is Good News for the Customer Service BPO Space
At the end of March, Concentrix announced its plans to roll up fellow BPO Webhelp.
This is the latest in a string of similar moves in the space. Indeed, Sitel snapped up Sykes, and HGS acquired TeklLink International within the past couple of months.
Yet, with a $4.8BN price tag, the Webhelp acquisition is the biggest yet – underlining Concentrix’s position amongst the new category of BPO giants.
While it had been somewhat pegged to North America, the BPO provider will now significantly increase its presence in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
In fact, it will double its base of approximately 1,000 clients, working with 200 additional companies from emerging economies and 25 from the Fortune 500.
Noting this, Chris Caldwell, President and CEO of Concentrix, stated:
With our combined strengths, we will be uniquely positioned to redefine the industry and design, build and run the future of CX.
While this is a big statement, Everest Group estimates that the acquisition will result in Concentrix enjoying a market share of between six and eight percent.
With this, it joins the likes of Foundever, Sitel, and Teleperformance at the forefront of the space, which they threaten to dominate with their extensive expertise, reach, and resources.
As such, some have expressed concern that other BPO players may struggle to compete with these leaders, given their superior scale.
Nevertheless, such moves may also open up opportunities for more niche, specialized providers.
Gartner Outlines Four Step to Combat Change Fatigue
Step one is to treat change fatigue as a business issue. According to Gartner’s research, eight out of ten CIOs don’t regularly discuss change fatigue in the workforce.
Sanchez-Reina also noted that “most CIOs” primarily work with business partners to discuss project timelines and communication operations. Although, within their conversation, business leaders generally do not address employee standing, and “ultimately, they do not address worker fatigue.”
Step two is to distribute change leadership across multiple individuals. The firm notes that when a company uses a single manager for project, product, and initiative operations, they can overlook worker fatigue.
Gartner recommends that businesses distribute management obligations across various individuals to keep a focus on the workforce. Companies can achieve this by securing overseers and tactical decision-makers.
Step three is to secure cooperation between top executives and lower organizational layers to enable understanding between departments while undergoing change.
Sanchez-Reina also added:
CIOs should create teams that include technical experts as well as experts from all of the functions that the initiative will touch. The blend of people with different perspectives will contribute to the cohesiveness of the people involved in the change.
Increased cooperation between teams can lead to a multidisciplinary workforce that can share accountability and solve problems as a team, such as those related to changes in the workplace.
Finally, step four is to respect the emotions of their employees when undergoing change. Sanchez-Reina says it’s “critical for CIOs to create a mental track record of as many positives as possible” and understand the positive or negative emotional impact workplace change may cause.