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UCaaS Specialist Nextiva Unveils Workhub For ‘Contextual’ Collaboration

Gina Narcisi

“Communications can be an albatross with all the different channels and all the technology out there today. This drops everything into one bucket … This will be the further differentiator between [Nextiva] and RingCentral and 8x8 because they have pieces and parts, but they don’t have anything all together like this,” said one longtime Nextiva partner about the company’s new Workhub platform.

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Nextiva, a provider of cloud-based unified communications, has unveiled a collaboration “hub” that brings together multiple channels to gives context to communications.

Nextiva Workhub is a software platform for team collaboration that lets users manage their conversations with internal teams and outside customers from a single place, eliminating the need for countless, separate communication tools, according to Chethan Visweswar, Nextiva’s global vice president of product development.

The problem with collaboration products today isn‘t the lack of tools, Visweswar said. It’s the lack of context that comes with employees use multiple communication tools.

“You might have access to some very powerful tools, but the context is lost because nothing is harnessing that conversation,” he said. “What are we really trying to focus on is bringing together those communications into a contextual conversation.”

[Related: Channel Champion Eric Martorano Is Leaving Nextiva ]

Nextiva’s new Workhub app breaks down walls between UC and collaboration applications to give users a single conversation view, or threaded conversations, Visweswar said. The platform can pull in communications and meeting information from a variety of voice, text, video, and file sharing applications, as well as email applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail. These threaded conversations allow users to view data such as notes on calls, recordings, customer surveys and calendars in one place so they won‘t have to dig around for the information they’re looking for, he added.

Businesses using Workhub will benefit from improved productivity because their users won‘t have to switch or toggle between communication channels, reduced application costs and improved customer engagement, the company said.

“Communications can be an albatross with all the different channels and all the technology out there today. This drops everything into one bucket,” said Matthew Brewer, vice president and sales lead for Brewer Communications, a longtime Nextiva partner.

Brewer Communications, an Oilville, Va.-based telecom solution provider, leads with Nextiva voice products for its base of midmarket and enterprise customers in the medical and manufacturing verticals. Workhub opens a lot of doors for the firm because it gives customers “one windowpane” into all their communications and interactions with their own clients, Brewer said. It can also help businesses cut out other software they may be buying for collaboration, he added.

“The way they have [communications] threaded -- it just simplifies how you communicate and how you keep track of how you communicate as well,” he said. “I think it will eliminate some other applications [customers] are paying for that they might not need by having it all in this one bucket.”

Businesses will be able to track customer conversations that mention shipping issues, for example, to uncover and address trends. For partners, Workhub can help automate tasks, such as automatically sending out a customer survey to clients that reached out for assistance, Visweswar said.

Nextiva competes with the likes of RingCentral and 8x8. The latest platform will advance the company beyond the bounds of business communications by giving users a customer management and customer engagement offering, too, said Chris Reaburn, chief marketing officer for Nextiva.

“Taking those communications and threading them together into a single conversation is unique -- I can pick up any channel and advance the conversation. What we’re doing that maybe puts us in the realm of a Zoom or a Slack, is that not only have we developed the team collaboration capabilities for teams to collaborate within the four walls, but also, draw outside parties into those into those collaborations,” Reaburn said.

Brewer looks forward to future iterations of Workhub that will include analytics for partners and end users, he said. “What will be nice is to be able to look historically, from a management perspective, to understand customer sentiment and engagement,” Brewer said. “There are more things that are coming in the product, but they‘ve hit the ground running … This will be the further differentiator between [Nextiva] and RingCentral and 8x8 because they have pieces and parts, but they don’t have anything all together like this.”

Workhub has been in beta with more than 3,000 customers and is now generally available to customers and through the channel, Reaburn said. Workhub can be easily accessed through a browser.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company in April launched its new NextivaOne partner program as a ‘springboard’ to recurring revenue growth through the channel. The company is doing just over 50 percent of its business through the channel today and the channel is the company‘s biggest route to market.

 

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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