In a market ruled by emerging technologies and next-generation capabilities, long-established organizational pillars like voice communication still remain critical for federal missions. RingCentral’s head of U.S. Public Sector and Education Stacy Schwartz spoke with Executive Mosaic about the expansion of cloud communications, how artificial intelligence is changing the landscape, the role CX plays and more in a recent Executive Spotlight interview.
Schwartz is a well-known force in the GovCon communications market. At RingCentral, Schwartz delivers cloud-based communications connectivity to government organizations. Prior to joining RingCentral, Schwartz spent more than two decades at AT&T, where she led business units supporting federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Justice and civilian agencies.
Read below for Stacy Schwartz’s full Executive Spotlight interview.
Stacy, what’s your take on the current cloud-based communications landscape? What are the major trends and factors moving the market?
The rapid rise of remote and hybrid work has caused the cloud communications landscape to evolve dramatically in just a few years. Countless industries, including government, recognize now more than ever the potential of secure, resilient cloud communications tools to help meet their missions and goals.
Due to this increased adoption, existing cloud communications technologies have evolved to encompass a broader range of capabilities, from enhanced project management capabilities and task tracking to encrypted file sharing. While all of these are essential capabilities, one key factor agencies should keep in mind is not neglecting traditional 1:1 voice communication. Individualized interactions are the backbone that supports all constituent experiences and are often the easiest and fastest way to exchange important information. Voice communication is the most essential component in these interactions, and ensuring your agency has a secure, reliable voice channel will always be necessary.
Another trend on the top of everyone’s mind is artificial intelligence and how that will impact communication moving forward. The easy answer to that question is there are countless ways that AI can enhance the communication process, and now that organizations have started getting a clearer idea of their AI implementation strategies, I wouldn’t be surprised to see AI taking a more centered role in cloud communications tools over the next few years.
In fact, some organizations are already leveraging AI to gain deeper insights into the communications process and reduce the cost and time it takes to deploy solutions like intelligent voice agents, or IVAs. The automation and optimization of these processes can have various benefits, from enhanced employee and constituent experience to increased overall efficiency and productivity. Regardless of the unique use case, the trend of using AI applications to streamline processes, offer enhanced communication insights and save costs is one that will continue to grow.
What is Ring Central’s strategy for the public sector market in 2024 and how are you helping government overcome challenges to ensure efficient communication with constituents?
The government has a unique responsibility to ensure that all constituents have secure and equitable access to essential services and critical programs. A large element of this responsibility is the ability to communicate with all citizens regardless of their accessibility. This can be a challenge, as there are countless factors, including location, generational knowledge gaps, weather, natural disasters and more that can impact the reliability of communications. Moreover, inefficient interactions with the government at critical times decrease CX and can actively harm citizens’ trust in government institutions.
We’re partnering with federal, state and local agencies to address this problem through modernized solutions. Our goal is to equip the government with the most innovative UCaaS and CCaaS connectivity available to empower agencies to communicate clearly and meet citizens or employees wherever, whenever and however they need, improving overall citizen experience. Our innovative UCaaS model enables 99.9999 percent uptime of connection between users, regardless of outside factors to help agencies meet mission goals. Additionally, our as-a-service offerings help the government move to the cloud as service providers are phasing out the legacy copper wire communication lines currently in use at many agencies.
Another big challenge facing agencies is security. The government has made sweeping efforts over the past few years to ensure the safety of citizen data, but there is still more to be done. Citizens communicate personal and sensitive information to the government daily, and ensuring the channels they use to do so are secure is crucial.
RingCentral takes the privacy and protection of personal data very seriously. We build security principles such as data encryption and incident response into our system from the beginning of the development process. Specific information on our privacy and security efforts is also made clear to all users from the beginning so all of our customers understand how sensitive information is used at all times.
As the government continues to evolve its communications needs in 2024, we’re dedicated to helping them solve communication and CX challenges unique to the public sector space so they can better carry out the mission.
How is RingCentral embracing emerging technologies to elevate its public sector offerings?
The digital landscape is constantly evolving, especially as agencies adapt to hybrid and remote environments. At RingCentral, we aim to improve workforce development and citizen and employee experiences by embracing the rapid growth in technology we are seeing year after year.
We utilize emerging technologies such as AI to allow for more dependable and reliable communication for all employees and citizens. For example, we have embedded AI within our RingSense platform to unlock conversation intelligence for efficiency, better automate mundane tasks, and increase visibility into conversations between citizens and employees. These capabilities allow agencies to gather actionable data from every interaction and use the resulting insights to inform decisions that improve employee and citizen experiences.
Further, we utilize AI and enhanced security solutions to ensure that all our customers can have secure and reliable communications no matter where, when, or how they communicate. All of this combines to empower faster and more accurate decisions and responses from agencies, improving the employee and citizen experience and achieving mission success.
With technology rapidly evolving, how can organizations ensure seamless integration and adoption of new voice technologies while not damaging the employee or citizen experience?
Digital modernization plays a vital role in the constituent and employee experience — especially when it involves communication tools. Communication needs and preferences often vary across agencies and demographics, making modern solutions necessary when delivering good experiences.
One way agencies can guarantee smooth and seamless implementation across platforms is to ensure that humans are at the forefront of every decision, no matter the solution being implemented. Don’t modernize for modernization’s sake. Instead, look at the challenges that citizens and employees are experiencing daily and ask yourself: What communications platforms will best address the unique needs of my stakeholders?
Further, as technology and customer needs evolve, you can’t neglect modernizing older platforms. Voice, for example, is often overlooked when it comes to modernization but remains the backbone of quick and reliable communications.
Finally, agencies should look for adaptable tools. Any communications tools should be able to address unanticipated needs and evolve with the mission, agency, industries and citizens.
At RingCentral, we emphasize mobility at the forefront of our solutions through implementing resilient and reliable technology across platforms. Our technology and solutions are scalable and integrate easily with other applications, helping agencies of all sizes — in any location and completing any mission — to create custom solutions and integrations throughout technology’s life cycle to support unique constituent needs.