The role of digital technologies in today’s modern business setting is rapidly shifting from just being a driver of operational efficiency into a key enabler of innovation and accelerator of transformation in various industries, such as media, communication, information, and many more. As businesses continue to invest heavily in digital technologies to support their workplace transformation strategies, the demand for trusted partners who can create and implement customized solutions that maximize return on investment continues to grow.
Capitalizing on this trend, Yorktel, the leading global provider of video cloud and managed services, has recently announced they’ve become a member of the Microsoft One Commercial Partner program to accelerate digital transformation within the technology sectors. Through this partnership, Yorktel aims to expand their footprint across various market segments and solidify their position as a reliable and valued, sole-source multi-vendor strategic technology partner that provides cutting-edge managed services and collaboration solutions.
VoipReview caught up with Jeremy Short, the Senior Vice President of Microsoft Solutions at Yorktel, to discuss this key milestone as well as Yorktel’s future roadmap. Short also shares how organizations can take advantage of Yorktel’s Microsoft Solutions practice to streamline operations and accelerate digital transformation across their enterprise.
Q: We’ve heard that you’ve recently completed the acquisition of a Microsoft Solutions practice this month, congratulations on achieving this new milestone! How has the move benefited the company and your customers so far?
A: The acquisition has benefited Yorktel by bolstering the range products and services that we are able to provide to our clients, while serving as a strategic partner in helping them plan and implement a successful digital workplace transformation. Through conversations with customers, it had been clear that Microsoft solutions are in demand among Yorktel’s current clients, and we are now in the position to offer simpler, more streamlined products and services for customers’ workplace needs.
As for our customers, they now have one partner for their productivity, collaboration, security, software, and device needs. As part of their workplace transformations, many of our clients have already been looking to add or migrate to Skype for Business or Teams-based intelligent communications, and not just in conference rooms, but across both the physical and digital workspace. Now, we’re able to offer an end-to-end Microsoft solution, as well as address an organization’s Unified Communications (UC), AV integration, and software needs.
Q: Can you expand on the advantages that the Microsoft Solutions practice offers to Yorktel? How does the expansion of Yorktel’s Microsoft Solutions practice enable the company to pursue its goal of leading clients towards a successful digital transformation?
A: The addition of the Microsoft Solutions practice has expanded our offerings and provided Yorktel with new avenues of growth. Yorktel has an impressive install base among top enterprise companies and the federal government, but Microsoft has a near-saturated footprint in these sectors. Combining the two not only allows us to expand our footprint among our current market segments but gives us a strong product offering that is in high demand in the middle market as well. In addition to providing the opportunity to break into new markets, it also secures Yorktel’s relevancy as a long-term strategic partner with our existing client base as Microsoft products becoming increasingly more popular and in-demand.
When it comes to our clients, you can’t have the discussion about digital workplace transformations without including Microsoft. Traditionally, Yorktel has focused on video and interoperability of UC systems. Offering Microsoft solutions round out offerings and enable us to deliver a comprehensive and holistic approach to intelligent communication, UC, productivity, security, and devices (conference rooms and individuals) because they all intertwine. For example, you can no longer talk about security in the context of only conference rooms or individual users. Rather, securing an enterprise requires taking a look at the holistic needs of an organization.
Our new Microsoft Solutions practice also perfectly complements Yorktel’s consultancy division, which has already been working to help organizations design, implement, and evaluate digital workplace transformation strategies from a collaboration standpoint. Yorktel Consultancy now has a greater umbrella of services that look at another vital component of the digital workplace.
Q: According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), $2.0 trillion will be spent on digital transformation in 2020. What do you think are the major drivers of this growth? And how does Yorktel plan to capitalize on these trends?
A: The major drivers of this growth are threefold:
The changing demographics of today’s workforce. In 2017, millennials made up 38% of the workforce, and this is projected to grow to 46% by 2020. Millennials are typically much quicker to adopt new technology as many of them are Digital Natives. They are also looking for greater work-life balance, and in return, employers that offer a more agile working environment. However, we have learned to not prejudge the workforce based on demographics. The benefits of the digital workplace are universal to employees, and we have seen people across different generations embracing technology.
With greater expectations from employees, the focus is now on organizations to recruit and retain top talent in order to stay competitive. One component of this is providing quality technology tools such as premium laptops, the latest AV equipment, and leading cloud-software solutions to improve both the physical and digital workspace and keep teams connected. The physical working environment is also key in talent recruitment and retention. Yorktel has closely examined the human element of how people work and what promotes a healthy and nurturing environment that encourages collaboration and productivity. Through work with leading office space designers and planners, our team has a deep understanding of how physical work environments compliment and coordinate with technology to create a workspace that promotes communication and efficiency.
The need for equal access to information throughout enterprises has been another driving factor. Traditionally, departments within organizations have been very siloed, which can have a negative impact on communications, efficiency, and speed to market. Digital workplace transformations make the flow of communication inherently easier for everyone at an organization through cloud software and collaboration tools.
Since most organizations are still in the early stages of their digital workplace transformation efforts, Yorktel is able to leverage our expertise in this area to provide the products and services that organizations need to successfully achieve their goals. Yorktel Consultancy guides clients through the transformation process from start to finish.
Change management plays a big role in the success of these transformations. Many times, choosing the right technology isn’t the hard part. The hard part is getting the entire organization to actually use the new systems and technologies, and understand how it helps them achieve their objectives. Yorktel has been providing clients with this service for years, guiding them during and after the transition, and now being able to incorporate Microsoft into that transition simplifies the process and bolsters success – for all involved.
Q: Yorktel’s future roadmaps include developing cloud software products and applications with technologies related to AI, AR, Azure Cognitive Services, big data, and IoT. Could you please expound these points? How will your cloud software products and applications differ from other offerings in the market?
A: We see the Microsoft Modern Workplace as the foundation for an organization’s digital workplace and creative landscape. Out of that, we have fertile ground to grow and develop many different types of products and services specific to an organization’s needs to use internally or externally. Part of this is building upon what we’ve already done. We can use our knowledge of other systems that we’ve built and apply the solutions and integrations across industries. Each industry represents a unique set of opportunities to create and update products and services to leverage technologies that are related to AI, AR, Azure, big data, and IoT.
The experts at Yorktel have a proven track record of identifying a need that is universal among a specific industry and providing products and services that serve these needs. When a problem is solved for an organization within a certain industry, the same solution can be applied to other organizations in that vertical.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the cloud and on-premise communication, collaboration, and productivity tools that Yorktel has for partners? How do you plan on using resources like Teams, Skype, Office365, Windows AutoPilot, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to help your partners?
A: Most companies have on-premise infrastructure that needs to be migrated to the cloud, and we provide the tools that simplify and expedite transferring of infrastructure to the cloud. Once that migration to the cloud is complete, the Yorktel Microsoft practice team then assists with managing these various services, and our partners benefit from efficiencies and cost savings in operations from these managed services. Most importantly, it frees IT support staff from maintaining menial, traditional tasks, and focuses these resources on more specific business line tasks. For example, most companies used to have an exchange team that maintained their Microsoft Exchange server. With the cloud, Microsoft provides this service which passes along time and cost savings to enterprises.
Microsoft Teams has enabled a whole new generation of intelligent communication called channel-based communication, which is designed to help reduce email, remove the need for multiple methods of communication, and improve project management so everything is centralized. Skype is valuable for instant messaging and basic screen share, video, and voice, whereas Teams incorporates documents and surveys, among other resources, and combines it with elements of Skype. Most organizations are migrating from Skype to Teams.
Office 365 takes servers from on-premise to online and keeps the software up to date. Users never have to renew their subscription as the programs automatically update when needed. Windows Autopilot leverages Microsoft’s cloud to configure and manage devices, such as laptops running Windows 10. Leveraging this cloud model, organizations no longer need to build tech depos to deploy laptops since they will auto-configure policy and install user-specific applications the first time the end user signs in. Yorktel will leverage this tool, as a critical part of our Device-as-a-Service offering.
Enterprise Mobility + Security protects data, user identity, applications, and the overall integrity of the workplace environment in the cloud era. Anti-virus is many times no longer sufficient as technology continues to advance. Protecting data from outside threats is the biggest concern in the cloud-based era, and Microsoft has an unparalleled ability to protect and secure an organization. Using Microsoft Graph, we can collect data across all installed Office 365 users. When a threat is identified, the artificial intelligence (AI) component of the system proactively addresses the problem across all other accounts.
Q: How can Yorktel Microsoft Solutions practice cater to specific industries? Can you offer some sample use cases?
A: We believe that our Microsoft practice truly can cater to any industry. We provide products and services that help solve problems and simplify business practices that all companies face such as employee retention, reducing complexity, increasing productivity, transitioning to cloud, and more. Additionally, Yorktel continually looks for ways to apply to next-generation technology such as AI and AR to each clients’ system.
This is another way in which the Microsoft Solutions practice perfectly complements our Consultancy services. Our consultancy teams develop an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of each of our clients’ businesses, including their unique challenges and opportunities around technology, communication, and collaboration. This enables us to design and implement individual solutions built around their specific needs and objectives.
Having the Microsoft Solutions practice as part of our ‘toolkit’ substantially expands the range of options available to us in helping clients address their challenges and achieve their individual objectives. A good example would be work that Yorktel has provided for a client in the entertainment media industry. By transforming their digital workspace and applying AI to the data they already have collected, we created a streamlined process that makes searching media archives for highly specific information easier than ever.
Q: What is your message or advice for businesses that have yet to invest in digital transformation?
A: Not every business is designed to live forever. The ones that do invest in digital workplace transformation have significantly increased odds for success as opposed to those who have stuck with what has worked in the past. These businesses are significantly more at risk of a data and security breach than those that embrace a digital workplace. They are less likely to keep employees, as their top talents will most likely leave for other companies that may have comparable pay but a better work environment, hurting the organization’s chances of staying competitive in their industry.
Q: What can your partners and customers expect from Yorktel in the future? Are there any new developments or product offerings your partners and customers should look forward to?
A: We are always exploring new products and services that better serve our customer’s needs. Currently, we’re working on industry-first services that help improve their workplaces and put them in a position to improve their business functions so they can achieve their goals more efficiently.
Yorktel is a trusted, leading global provider of cloud services, managed services, and video-centric collaborative solutions for healthcare customers, large enterprises, and the federal government. Established in 1985 and with offices throughout the US and EMEA, Yorktel empowers organizations to seamlessly and successfully integrate video into their operations – from unified communications and video conferencing to consulting and media services.
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