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Interview with Jon Arnold

by | May 17, 2021 | Interviews,

Jon Arnold

Jon Arnold

Key Topics:Future of Work, Digital Transformation, Collaboration Technologies, Contact Center, Speech Technologies, AI, Customer Experience, Workplace Productivity
Location:Toronto, Canada
Jon Arnold is Principal of J Arnold & Associates, an independent analyst practice providing thought leadership and go-to-market counsel, with a focus on the business-level impact of digital transformation on the future of work. Core areas of expertise include unified communications, cloud communications, collaboration, Artificial Intelligence, speech technologies, Internet of Things, contact centers and customer experience. He has been consulting in many of these areas since 2001, and his independent practice was founded in 2005. JAA is based in Toronto, Ontario, and serves clients across North America as well as in Europe.

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

I became a technology analyst when joining Frost & Sullivan in 2000 to help establish their presence in Canada. During my time there, I became one of the leading analysts in the emerging VoIP space, and from there became an independent analyst, and still operate that way today. As VoIP matured, my expertise grew to adjacent areas such as unified communications and various collaboration technologies. As an indie, I have had many opportunities to share my expertise across all forms of media – writing, podcasts, video, social media, and speaking.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

Basically the age-old man vs. machine narrative. Most interested in the convergence of technology advances with the need for people to stay human and not to filter all aspects of existence through the lens of technology.

Who influences you within these topics?

Nobody in particular – I follow lots of people on various social platforms, along with my own personal network throughout the tech space, including fellow analysts, consultants, thought leaders and publishers.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Building authentic relationships with customers – too easy to fall into the trap of social media and “influencers” who can create more of an obstacle than a bridge to having real, direct connections with customers.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

Not sure what “space” you’re talking about, but in my world of collaboration tech and future of work, the future could well create a world of digital “haves” and “have nots”. Those who have access to the right tools, along with the requisite knowledge for using them stand to do very well, and will form the next generation of managerial class. Technology will likely become the driving force for wealth creation and economic power, and this is really no different that preceding forces that defined these things before the rise of the Internet. That’s just how the world works, and it’s very different from the Utopian vision that technology will somehow democratise everything and remove the barriers that hold so many people back. That would be nice, but we’re way past that now.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Again, I can only speak my world, which is very much B2B. This is very different from B2C and mass-marketing where brands rule. That doesn’t really apply in the B2B world, where we only talk about vendors and service providers. On that basis, the leaders are the ones you would expect to see – Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Genesys, Salesforce – plus emerging players like Twilio, and cloud players like RingCentral, Vonage, Dialpad, Five9, Talkdesk. There are loads other smaller players doing great things, and if you ask me a year from now, am sure there will be new ones to add.

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

My website outlines all of these services in detail, along with plenty of examples/references. These examples are standard fare for analyst thought leadership, but I also work with clients/brands on an advisory consulting basis in areas such as go-to-market planning, business strategy, and M&A. Finally, prior to being an analyst, I ran my own B2B market research practice for 15 years, with expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research across many vertical sectors.

What are your passions outside of work?

Playing music – piano and guitar (video clips are on my site), listening to music, fitness/athletics, Judaism, cooking, reading, cinema, theatre, travel, nature and of course, family and friends.

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