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Interview with Blair Pleasant

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Interviews,

Blair Pleasant

Blair Pleasant

President & Principal Analyst at COMMfusion
Key Topics:Unified Communications and Collaboration, Contact Center, Customer Experience (CX), CPaaS
Location:United States
Bio:
Blair Pleasant is President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and a co-founder of BCStrategies (formerly UCStrategies). As a communications industry analyst, she provides strategic consulting services and market analysis on business communication applications, technologies, and markets, aimed at helping end-user and vendor clients both strategically and tactically. Her primary areas of focus are Unified Communications and Collaboration, contact center and customer engagement. Blair provides clients with a variety of custom consulting services, including market analysis, surveys and research, white papers, product assessment, competitive analysis, strategic development, vendor analysis, marketing and product positioning, partner development, and more.
Blair recently featured on Onalytica's Who's Who in Unified Communications report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I became an industry analyst after studying communication technologies in grad school and realized that being an analyst requires two of the things I do best – researching and writing. I love learning about new technologies, while focusing on how these tools can help individuals and teams become more effective and productive.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

While I’ve always covered communications technologies, my areas of focus changed as the market evolved. My current areas of coverage are unified communications and collaboration, contact center, customer experience (CX), and related topics. I’m most passionate about unified communications and collaboration end user adoption and what organisations need to do to help businesses and end users get the most out of UC&C technologies. I’m also passionate about the convergence of various technologies, such as UC and contact center, and expanding the role of CX to the entire organisation.

Who influences you within these topics?

The usual suspects – vendors, channel partners, end user organisations, and my analyst and consultant colleagues.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Competition is coming from not just the traditional vendors, but vendors in adjacent areas as well. It’s also becoming harder and harder to differentiate – how is one cloud UC service different from or better than another? It’s become more difficult to get your message out when your message sounds like everyone else’s in the market.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

The future is bright! One thing the pandemic showed is the importance of technologies like video conferencing, team collaboration, cloud-based contact center, and more. We’ve all become accustomed to using video, for example, which opens the door to more and more use cases involving video. With the increasing role of AI and automation, business communication technologies will keep improving and end users will continue to get enhanced value from these tools.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

I cover several areas – in the UCC market, the leaders are Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, RingCentral, 8×8, Vonage and Mitel. In the contact center market, the leaders include Genesys, NICE inContact, Five9, Talkdesk, and of course Avaya. But there are many niche players that are also very important – there’s a huge number of players in these markets.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I’ve been doing a lot of white papers, webinars, and podcasts in the past 18 months. I also help brands with their messaging for different audiences, product direction, etc. While I haven’t done any speaking engagements in a while, I look forward to sharing insights with live audiences again in the coming months.

What are your passions outside of work?

Being outdoors – hiking, biking, kayaking (I’m still a newbie at this). I also love reading, socialising with friends, listening to the Beatles, and since I live in Sonoma County, enjoying a glass of wine.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Email.


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