Welcome (back) to our Ask a CTO series, where I get to sit down for Q&A with our in-house expert on all things tech, Edify co-founder and CTO Bracken Fields. Great questions arise whenever we host webinars, attend trade shows, give demos, and even when we onboard new customers. For questions that require technical answers, I go straight to Bracken.
He has previously explained the impact of moving to cloud solutions, explored the contact center’s biggest problems, discussed the importance of all-in-one solutions, offered input on the shift to remote agents, and detailed why usage-based pricing is the only way forward. In this installment of Ask a CTO, Bracken and I spoke about how choosing software and hardware are often inextricably linked. While our software solution gives agents every tool they need to serve customers inside of a single screen, the topic of hardware always comes up.
So you’ve bought Edify or are considering switching... Now, what do you do about hardware? What does that look like for your agents with all-in-one CCaaS? Do you need new headsets, laptops, and policies? Will you be implementing a whole new way of working in the process?
One thing is for sure: it’s becoming increasingly important to consider the entire agent experience, from the moment they crack open their laptop to the moment they complete their last interaction and log off for the day. One way to ensure a smooth experience is by putting your entire contact center agent pool on the same physical hardware while using the same cloud software solution company-wide. We spoke at length about this topic and our recent designation as Chrome Enterprise Recommended for the contact center; see what Bracken had to say about it.
Bracken, in September we announced that Edify was officially Google Chrome Enterprise Recommended, meaning that our solution has met the highest performance standards and is easy for employees and businesses using Chrome OS to adopt. The tangible benefits of this are numerous. As a highly seasoned CTO, can you share your thoughts on why this is good for businesses?
Sure! From the beginning, we really architected Edify Huddle CX to run on Chrome OS. Now that we officially have the CER badge, businesses wanting to deploy a cloud contact center solution can be assured of several benefits, namely: ease of use and productivity, fast deployment, the perks associated with having your entire workforce on the same technology (hardware and software), tip-top security, and an unbeatable price point. Running Edify on Chrome OS truly powers a one-click contact center that fully supports customers and agents.
Can you talk a little bit about ease of use? For someone who’s not a technical expert (like myself), what does this really look like?
Deploying Chrome OS is incredibly simple. With other browsers, CTOs and IT Directors have to spend time and money to “lock down the computers” to restrict their functionality for work purposes only. Running Chrome OS on a Chromebook essentially eliminates the need to do any of that.
For example, many computers come pre-loaded with entertainment and gaming options. Do you like playing solitaire on your computer? While I too love a good card game, it’s not work-related nor a good use of time during business hours. With Chrome OS, IT doesn’t have to go in and turn that off one by one because it’s not there to begin with. This is such a great feature because employees don’t like to be controlled and micromanaged and leaders don’t want to be in the position to have to do so. Now the uncomfortable scenario doesn’t exist in the first place and the expectation is clear: you use this system and browser to get on the internet for work purposes...or log in and open up Edify. We can install apps and do other cool things on the computer, but it doesn’t have unnecessary built-ins that need to be manually removed.
The process for deployment is straightforward, too: You mail your agents a set number of Chromebooks with Chrome OS, they log in with their assigned usernames and passwords that were set by the administrator, they then proceed to launch Edify, and...that’s it! They’re handling interactions in minutes.
What do businesses gain by having their entire workforce on the same physical hardware while using the same cloud software solution?
Businesses gain fantastic management capability thanks to how well this suite is managed. Companies can go buy well-priced Chromebooks, instruct everyone to log in with their assigned usernames, and the benefits begin to happen effortlessly. Each employee’s email address, calendar, contacts, etc., automatically syncs.
For IT and contact center directors, it’s a lot easier to manage tech issues when there’s only one type of laptop they’re dealing with and one software solution they’re trained to administer.
Can you talk about the security benefits of running Edify on Chrome OS?
As leaders, we don’t have to worry about our users - which are our employees - doing malicious things with the hardware we provide them. With other systems, users could do random things on their computers during the workday if we don’t “lock them down” properly. Chrome OS makes it easy to avoid this problem together. Typically if you have fewer options, you can get in less trouble.
Running the Edify contact center solution on Chromebooks makes it easy to ship each agent a dedicated clean device for work use only, which can then be supported and secured on a completely remote basis. All the agent has to do is crack it open and log on, then your in-house information security team can supervise totally from that point onwards.
Chromebooks are accessible, easy to use and manage, and protect business and customer data, making them quite attractive as a go-to option for powering growing WFH / WFA contact center operations. Agents can be productive and protected wherever they’re logging in from. Even the physical device itself can be bricked, shut down remotely, and replaced fast without breaking the bank. All your data, software, and profiles are stored in the cloud - not on the local hard drive - so they’re completely interchangeable.
And with features like multi-cloud architecture, global availability, 100% SLA, and certifications for even the most regulated industries, Edify gives you peace of mind by removing the risks of downtime and security concerns. Two incredibly secure solutions create one unbeatable business experience.
We’ve talked before about Edify’s per-user-per-day pricing model. How do you think this plays well with what Google has to offer?
The low price point of purchasing Chromebooks for contact center agents (and everyone else) combined with Edify’s innovative usage-based pricing model for enterprise business communications truly removes all barriers to entry for running a distributed contact center on a cloud-native software solution.
Forward-thinking companies will quickly realize they can spend less on hardware and software, and spend more money on hiring and retaining talented agents instead. It’s a win-win.
The last thing I want to mention is that Chromebooks are so user-friendly, even kids are using them. This is the laptop that school systems are purchasing for kids to use in classrooms today. Therefore, it’s a platform that the workforce of tomorrow is already familiar with.
We built Edify to improve the agent and customer experience alike, and I think that the physical hardware you supply your agents with should do the same.