The role of system integrators in the cloud
Client expectations of flexible and agile IT services in the cloud-based world have changed the role of system integrators (SI) who had to move from working behind the scenes with the IT department on in-house, on-premise software to shaping business strategies as cloud orchestration experts.
The focus is now to solve a business problem and improve revenue, not just build.
According to Forrester, SIs have been partnering with emerging technologies to accelerate time to value. Nigel Fenwick, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said: “There’s demand in IT transformations for SIs and service providers to help clients architect their technology so that the business can evolve with new technologies even faster. Modern system architectures make it easier for services firms to connect systems through APIs and microservices than it used to be.”
The evolution of System Integrators
Before delving deep into the role of system integrators today, let’s rewind and look at how it has changed over the years. Long gone are the days when managers struggled with on-premise hardware, lack of interlinked systems and automation, manual data import, and ineffective harnessing of technology to address business needs.
Enter System Integrators – the problem solvers bringing their magic to interconnect disparate proprietary systems, roll-out upgrades and apply fixes and patches to maintain interoperability and ensure smooth support. Solutions were often dictated by technical constraints and run through the IT Department.
Fast forward to the world of cloud computing, where software is now a service and mainstream, and businesses have started adopting multi-cloud environments to address their business problems. Cloud communications platforms play a key role in supporting businesses in this era or providing greater cohesion, easier integrations and driving better engagement.
While some businesses prefer using a single cloud communications provider, it is difficult to find a one-fits-all approach, and many opt for a multi-cloud approach to build a best of breed environment integrating niche solutions. The integration points include moving from in-house operations to external clouds with most happening at the platform layer, between hyperscalers cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications.
Nowadays, the common cloud services and channels are available via plug and play APIs providing ways for cloud platforms to grow together via partnerships and integrating services across different clouds to achieve interoperability.
Connecting solutions together helps clients address their most pressing business needs. Deeply integrating these different platforms be it CPaaS or SaaS is the key secret to building blocks for customer experience.
The role of system integrators in the cloud
System Integrators (SIs) connect multiple solution vendors to help address business challenges. Through connecting the different pieces of the puzzle, they help in providing a single version of the truth and actionable insights to achieve business goals.
Now we all know and have played with LegoTM at some point in life, and while we all know it as one of the biggest successes in the toy market, it provides a perfect analogy from a technology standpoint.
From the first simple set of blocks in primary colors, LegoTM developed different pieces, an array of characters, and a set of mechanisms and automation components – that can be mixed and matched depending on the desired outcome. And the key is the compatibility between all the pieces, just like a plug and play API.
Think of the enterprises existing IT infrastructure as your Lego base, and on top of that, you have various APIs and out-of-the-box SaaS and CPaaS solutions that are the blocks that can be built on top of it.
However, unlike the simplicity of building with Lego, sometimes building the right communication technology may not be that simple, with the need to undergo change management.
That’s where SIs come in – the key to the successful implementation by ensuring the components developed remain compatible, efficient processes are implemented, and a single version of the truth is available throughout the enterprise based on the needs to know.
Achieving this holy grail requires overcoming several challenges.
Challenges system integrators face
The cloud changed everything, and SIs had to reinvent themselves by transitioning from technical services to business consultancy with the center of decision moving from the CIO to the COO. Here are some of the key challenges they are facing now:
CX is complex and requires an array of solutions to serve the customer, operate the contact center effectively, leverage the multitude of channels to deliver a personalised, rich, and engaging experience, while automatizing repetitive low value tasks, and gaining insights from analytics. Different solutions address different market segments with different needs. For example, mid-size contact centers are looking at simple, fast to deploy and cost-effective solutions while being able to grow with their organisation.
- Licensing models:
As a service, the cloud frees customers from the burden of traditional licensing models and offers innovative consumption models that increase or decrease with the business activities or seasonality, reducing operational risks. This is particularly important for businesses with high seasonality like eCommerce or linked to external factors like winning or losing a contract for a BPO.
The cloud massively impacted service delivery with e.g., installation, maintenance, support, upgrade, and security of the platform now undertaken by the cloud provider. While there are still technical services such as integration and data migration, the SI becomes a trusted advisor to ensure customer success and delivering those critical services to allow customers to focus on their core business in an ever complex and fast-moving environment.
And that’s where partnerships come in.
A cloud communication partnership can close gaps in a SI’s portfolio by:
- Enriching their existing portfolio
- Addressing new vertical market segments
- Differentiating from the competition with innovative solutions
- Gaining a competitive advantage with end-to-end delivery.
- Offering flexible commercial models and new sources of revenue on traffic.
What are system integrators expecting from cloud vendors?
They want to extend their capabilities; reach new clients, new sectors, industries, and/or geographies; and ultimately expand their revenue stream, all made possible through a mutually beneficial program. In a nutshell:
- Solid proof of success and profitability
- Ease to do business with
- Fast acquisition of knowledge (enablement)
- Sales and technical support
- Quick wins and fast ROI
- Vendor support during initial projects
- Demo / Sandbox / Proof of Concept environment
- Partner Program
How system integrators can build with Infobip
SI’s can integrate multiple components to deliver a complete solution responding to the customer requirements. Our engine to accelerate digital transformation provides:
- CPaaS: engage with customers on the channel of their choice, based on the type of task or activities with end-to-end delivery and quality of service.
- Customer engagement solution: leverage advanced personalization and automation capabilities to help orchestrate communication across digital and mobile channels.
- Contact Center-as-a- Services (CCaaS): A digital-first cloud contact center solution for personalized omnichannel interactions through a single interface that increases customer satisfaction and agent productivity.
- Open APIs allows integration to 3rd party CRM, CDP, or plugin additional services such as Workforce Engagement, Authentication, Analytics, Payments, or Robots.
Connection between the building blocks and Infobip solutions:
- Each block is clearly its own entity, existing independent of other blocks. As a cloud solution with an array of CCaaS, customer engagement solution, chatbot building platform, customer data platform and CPaaS capabilities – each component can be used together or separately via API or interface.
- All blocks look similar, as if they are parts of the same ecosystem. Our solutions and user interface are easily integrated with other solutions and cloud environments ensuring a consistent customer experience.
- Blocks can attach to each other. Communication solutions to solve industry specific use cases can be built on top of other technologies or even on top of our Infobip cloud communication platform. Our solutions come with out-of- the-box integration and documentation for easy deployment, leveraging standard APIs.
- Blocks come in varied sizes and formats. Our solutions can be a small extension of an existing technology stack, or they can be new end-to-end customer experience solutions.
- Blocks can be used in different ways dependent on how creative you want to get. We are a single cloud communication platform, which means we deliver solutions for every industry. We co-create with our partners to innovate and execute transformational business models across all industries.
With us, SIs have more blocks to build with and create great communication ecosystems for customers.
Benefits of partnering with Infobip
We help SIs extend and enrich their portfolio with digital-first solutions to reach new market segments from SME to Enterprise. Our native cloud communication platform helps SIs build recurring revenue streams in the buoyant SaaS Market.
- By partnering with us, SIs can leverage a $200bn market, which is growing at 27% annually.
- Our quick-to-learn and easy-to-implement solutions are charged on a flexible pay-per-use model with recurrent revenue streams.
- We also share the profit on traffic usage with our partners (small fees on very large volumes) – very few vendors are doing this.