ACP: The Amazon Connect Podcast

12: The Independent User Group for Amazon Connect Inaugural Meetup

June 24, 2024 Episode 12
12: The Independent User Group for Amazon Connect Inaugural Meetup
ACP: The Amazon Connect Podcast
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ACP: The Amazon Connect Podcast
12: The Independent User Group for Amazon Connect Inaugural Meetup
Jun 24, 2024 Episode 12

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode of the ACP podcast, we broadcast from the inaugural meetup of the Independent User Group for Amazon Connect, held at the London Stadium in the UK. We kick off setting the scene and highlighting the excitement surrounding the event. 

Throughout the episode, we managed to track down and talk to some of the key figures attending the event.

Alex discusses his thoughts on the collaborative nature of the event and its focus on networking and knowledge sharing. John Ing, the event's founder, shares his vision behind setting up the user group and reflects on the impressive turnout and the potential for future events. Vikram Modgil from Amazon Connect talks about the importance of customer feedback and the increasing interest and engagement in Amazon Connect from various stakeholders. Jonathan Boyd from emite, a sponsor of the event, elaborates on data management and visualization for contact centers and appreciates the collaborative format of the event.

We also chat with other sponsors. Stuart Dorman from Sabio highlights the rapid growth of Amazon Connect and its innovative capabilities, while Simon Leyland, CEO of CloudInteract, emphasizes the importance of building a community around Amazon Connect. We spoke with customers attending the event, who shared how the event addressed their questions and provided valuable insights for improving customer experience.

The episode wraps up reflecting on the day's success, the engaging discussions, and the importance of collaborative events like this one

This episode captures the essence of community-building, collaboration, and the dynamic growth of Amazon Connect, making it a must-listen for professionals in the customer experience and contact center industry.

Find out more about CloudInteract at cloudinteract.io.

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode of the ACP podcast, we broadcast from the inaugural meetup of the Independent User Group for Amazon Connect, held at the London Stadium in the UK. We kick off setting the scene and highlighting the excitement surrounding the event. 

Throughout the episode, we managed to track down and talk to some of the key figures attending the event.

Alex discusses his thoughts on the collaborative nature of the event and its focus on networking and knowledge sharing. John Ing, the event's founder, shares his vision behind setting up the user group and reflects on the impressive turnout and the potential for future events. Vikram Modgil from Amazon Connect talks about the importance of customer feedback and the increasing interest and engagement in Amazon Connect from various stakeholders. Jonathan Boyd from emite, a sponsor of the event, elaborates on data management and visualization for contact centers and appreciates the collaborative format of the event.

We also chat with other sponsors. Stuart Dorman from Sabio highlights the rapid growth of Amazon Connect and its innovative capabilities, while Simon Leyland, CEO of CloudInteract, emphasizes the importance of building a community around Amazon Connect. We spoke with customers attending the event, who shared how the event addressed their questions and provided valuable insights for improving customer experience.

The episode wraps up reflecting on the day's success, the engaging discussions, and the importance of collaborative events like this one

This episode captures the essence of community-building, collaboration, and the dynamic growth of Amazon Connect, making it a must-listen for professionals in the customer experience and contact center industry.

Find out more about CloudInteract at cloudinteract.io.

Tom Morgan:

It's time for another episode of ACP, and a special one this time. We are live from the London Stadium in the UK, home of the Olympics 2012. Alex is with me. Hello, Alex. Hello, Tom. Pleased to see you. We're here at the inaugural Amazon Connect User Group event, which is quite exciting, isn't it? Like, there's a whole bunch of different people, so just to sort of describe the scene, I'm looking out of the window at the, is it the West Ham Stadium?

Alex Baker:

Yeah, West Ham Stadium, and they're just setting up for a big Foo Fighters gig, which I'm going to be at, which I'm also quite excited about. Oh,

Tom Morgan:

that's, that's very interesting, that's good. So, yes, so whilst they're setting up whatever, whatever the Foo Fighters need, inside, we're setting up here, getting ready for a day of action. We've got partners here. We've got customers here Amazon connector here. And I think the intent of the whole day is really sharing information. Isn't it? It's, it's about sharing expertise. It's about networking. And, and everybody in the industry in this kind of area getting to know each other.

Alex Baker:

Yeah, agreed. Yeah. I guess you use a user group. There's a lot of people that I can see here that I know have quite deep into their Amazon connect journey, but. Perhaps wanna share some, some lessons learned, some knowledge about some of the, the stuff they've discovered and, and figure out some interesting things that they could look at next.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, absolutely. And and we are gonna catch some of these people throughout the day and talk to them and, and find out what they're thinking. As well as catch up with John Ing, who's the, the founder who I've, I've just noticed walking in, giving out badges. We're gonna go straight into the keynote in a few minutes time. Everybody's kind of got their coffee and teas and lots of, it feels like lots of people know each other, you know, and I know, you know, lots and lots of people here, but it, it already feels like this is a, you know, a community of people. So it feels, it feels like the right time to have a user group for this sort of community.

Alex Baker:

Yeah, definitely. It's, I'm quite excited about the, it's kind of like a podcast sitting amongst friends, that sort of fireside chat type arrangement, isn't it? It's looking like it's going to be a good day.

John Ing:

First of all, thank you. Okay. There's some information I'll share with you, which actually, when I start to reflect on where this was going and what was happening, it's, it's, it's actually quite mind blowing. And to get this amount of people in a room in relatively short order is, you know, it is, is mind blowing. It's amazing. And I really appreciate your help and support and engagement in this. And it is quite amazing. It's just 40 working days since I announced that I wanted to do this. And the response has been absolutely phenomenal. It's been quite humbling to be honest, but it has been absolutely incredible. Yeah, I think it's important for us to understand this, because this is not an AWS event. This is not an event that's going to have 22, 000 people turn up. It's about people that want to come and join, come and play, and be part of the conversation. The vision of this group is really about bringing the right people together. You know, people have got it using it on again. It's really important that I see this is a as an ecosystem of people. It's not just about the people that are using it and consuming it. It's about the people that help organizations consume it. And it's also about people that are interested in learning about the product potentially to consume it in the future. So there's a whole sort of end to end journey there. And this is about trying to bring some of them people together in a safe environment share knowledge. Share best practice collaborate and obviously solve operational problems because a lot of you will be running contact centers or helping organizations run contact centers with very similar operational challenges. You're all using connect and therefore you might have a solution to something that somebody else might not know about. And that's where I think this really starts to help is that you can solve problems together. This wouldn't be possible without the support of our sponsors. So Emite. Sabio and CloudInteract. You know, these events, you know, take time, energy and need money. And it's through their help and support and engagement that we've been able to pull this together. So I do really appreciate that. This morning is more conversation. So it's a little less structured than previous that you might be used to at various different other events. And that's on purpose. The idea being is that you as tables will have a conversation. Get talking about certain stuff, sharing information. And you know, the, the taglines is share, learn, collaborate. That, that, that's really objective. This group here is about sharing what you're doing learning from each other and then collaborating together. I don't think there's anything else I need to say, so crack on.

Tom Morgan:

So I'm with John Ng, who is the founder of this use group and who delivered the keynote John, congratulations on the first, the first inaugural event. What was really kind of the vision behind setting this user group up and your kind of thoughts?

John Ing:

The main reason is that there was an example where I was, I was actually an AWS community event. And obviously I've met lots of different organizations having worked in different areas of over the last six years or so. And somebody come up to me and said, yeah, we've got this problem. You know, looking some guidance and help with how to solve it. And I'm thinking, actually, organization over there has just done that, right? And they just don't know about it. They don't know about it. And I thought, we're missing a trick here. How can we bring these people together in a safe environment and generate that conversation? So that, that's what this is about, is that you know, organizations have moved to connect, they've invested a lot of money in connect. And this is about how, how do we make sure that they continue to get value From that product. And how do we ensure that the products doing what it needs to do to help them service their customers? And you know, there's no user group for Amazon Connect. You know, I felt that just trying to get these people in a room and just testing to see whether there was a demand and an interest. And I think based on this morning, I think there very much is.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, absolutely. And this has been a very different format to what I was expecting. It's after the keynote, it's been. I'd say deliberately collaborative. I think you've, you've split us up. You've made us talk to each other, partners and customers. And I think that's been really interesting and really useful. And

John Ing:

yeah, it is on purpose. You know, it's, it's quite scary to put an agenda together and have a two and a half hour slot and says, yeah, discuss and hopefully somebody's going to talk to each other. Now, you've all got common interest, so you're all here for a common purpose and invariably when you do that, you know, when people start talking, you know, they learn, and that's, this is what, you know, it's really about, you know, sharing, learning, collaboration, that's sort of the tagline of, of, of the group and the event, and, you know, I think what we're hearing this morning, I've heard two or three absolute golden nuggets, which would never have happened unless we'd today.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, absolutely. And and where do you, where do you see this going? Regular events?

John Ing:

Yeah, I'm, I'm, I wait for feedback. How regular? I don't know. And, you know, the people here today will hopefully give us an indication of what that should be. You know, so I'll wait for that feedback. I'd like to think that it will be reasonably regular to keep the momentum going, keep the group going. One of the things I'm, I'm keen to try and do is how do we. Keep the conversation going even though we're not talking. Yes in between the events. Yeah But how do I do that in a safe and secure way so that we almost mimic being in the room? So that's something I'm working on the moment

[Background Noise]:

And

John Ing:

then as I mentioned in the keynote about the interest globally is just phenomenal You know, I'd never thought that I would get the interest that I've got And, you know, people have contacted me from, from Australia, the ACPAC region and also the US. Take it on the road. Yeah, you know, it is, you know, it is strange to think that actually the next one could be in Sydney, Australia which is just, just mental.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah. Yeah, no, it's really, it's really exciting. Yeah,

John Ing:

no, it is. Yeah. A bit stressful. I've not slept much this week.

Tom Morgan:

No, it's a lot. I don't think people realize putting together an event like this is a lot, isn't it? There's a lot involved. It's a lot.

John Ing:

There is, I mean, an example of that, I mean, I don't know if you saw the the logo and the branding on the front of the stadium.

Tom Morgan:

That was fantastic.

John Ing:

When, when someone sends you an email, can you send me the file in this format? And I've never seen that format before. And you think, how do I do that? Cause I haven't got a team of people. And so yeah, it is, it's a, it's a lot of time and energy. And, and I was keen to do that, you know, I freed up my time to do this. I'm not doing anything else at this point in time. I'm really keen to try and get it off the ground and see where it goes.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, no, fantastic.

John Ing:

Well,

Tom Morgan:

congratulations and here's to many more. Thank you. I've just bumped into Vikram and Vikram, you, you work at Amazon, right? You work for Amazon Connect.

Vikram Modgil:

Yes. Yes. I am in a growth acceleration team.

Tom Morgan:

Fantastic. And so you're here at this event. I mean, this is not an Amazon Connect event, but you're here. So I guess, what are your thoughts? Like, you know, I know you, you've not been here long. You've just come in and I've grabbed you. That's unfair. But I mean, just in general terms, like the, you know, this user group that John's setting up.

Vikram Modgil:

Yeah, I know. I think this whole week has been like that. A lot of customers want to meet each other. They want to meet people such as, you know, who are helping them implement people like partners. They want to meet AWS people also, I hope. So we've seen a lot of interest in just various different events which AWS organized and externally organized. So really excited to see the interest in this room. I see a lot of familiar faces who we've been meeting the whole week. So it sounds like everybody is very open to share, open to learn, and open to network, and then I think that's why I'm here.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, no, absolutely. And they, like, as you say, there's a good community of people here already, customers and partners. How important do you think that is for people coming in to this space, like considering Amazon Connect as their contact center solution to be able to have? Sort of trusted people they can talk to for that full on experience. If you like if I've used it, you know, I've kicked it I've got into problems within got out again. And you know,

Vikram Modgil:

yeah, yeah, and I think there is And this is what I learned recently talking to a lot of customers who are just meeting with each other. So what they Generally want to talk about is what what do I do next? Where I go next right and then if somebody is in a journey slightly behind or they're just starting, so they want to share their experiences and, and it's been very contrasting. Like some people have gone about the same experience of migration in a very different way than they would, even though they were trying to solve the exact same problem. So they have shared those stories with each other. Then obviously there's no one way to do things, right? So they've gone about it in a different way and they've had different experiences with the same product solving the same problem. So that's when they hear that, then. I think the importance of meeting others or going through the journey is even higher, because then you're basically, where you're going in the future, if you talk about that, that you would probably think together, brainstorm together, and you may have two different ideas to consider, rather than, you know, the one solution that you got, right? So I feel like that's, That's, that's been most valuable for people generally. Yeah.

Tom Morgan:

And is there, is there value to sort of Amazon in, in getting that feedback from customers as well? Are these useful sessions for that? I'm thinking as opposed to sort of going to individual customers, does it give you a bit more of a, it's kind of roundup if you like.

Vikram Modgil:

Yeah, I think that definitely when customers are meeting with each other in person or virtually in, you know, self organized groups, etc. Right? Like that's that's a very unbiased and unique experience that they get. And we try to facilitate that as much as we can. But I think seeing some independent folks, you know, coming up with similar concepts and maybe they've heard also the same thing from their customers and partners that, you know, customers, we need to, they want to engage with each other. They want to talk about, they're passionate about the product, right? That's what they want to do. You know, matters to us the most, right? So we're, you know, more than happy to be, you know, an attendee there and you know, figured out you know, from a feedback point of view, what what are they saying? Are we thinking about it? Are we not thinking about those things and assess and, you know, come back because there has to be an action, right? I think what, what doesn't work is when you give feedback and nothing happens, right? And then so, so we, these groups are, you know, Interesting and important. So we're trying to figure out what is the better mechanism to make sure that there is also action followed by discussion, right? Not just a discussion.

Tom Morgan:

Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you, I imagine, talk to lots of different customers across the world. I know you're based in Seattle and you're over here in the UK, which is great to see you. What, what's kind of top of mind for customers at the moment?

Vikram Modgil:

I think goes without saying. I think everybody's trying to figure out gen AI and, you know, infusing AI in every single process that they can. There are several other things on, you know we've heard this for million years. Like the omnichannel word. Mm-Hmm. And there's also personalization aspects of it. Mm-Hmm. there are several themes depending on which part and which industry they're from. Okay. Right. But these are Gen I seems to be right now. Yeah. Very top of mind. Most. That's

Tom Morgan:

something we're all trying to figure out, right? Yes. Thanks very much for your time.

Vikram Modgil:

Thank you.

Tom Morgan:

I'm with Jonathan Boyd from Emite. Emite are one of the sponsors of today's event. So first of all, Jonathan, what does Emite do?

Jonathon Boyle:

So Emite's end to end data management, data visualization and then allows customers to share that as insights across their business.

Tom Morgan:

And so is that just for Amazon Connect or do you do other platforms as well?

Jonathon Boyle:

No, so we, we're broad spectrum. So basically we work with any of the CCAS platforms. Our specific focus and I guess our, our history and heritage is all around customer experience. So any of the platforms, whether it's Genesis, whether it's Amazon Connect, Nice, et cetera. We work with all of them to help basically bring all that data together and make it useful for organizations.

Tom Morgan:

Okay, got it. And it's it's about the customer experience, I suppose, and using that data to kind of drive outcomes and like better customer experience through understanding the data. Is that

Jonathon Boyle:

fair? Yeah, absolutely. So there's different types of analytics. So you've got things like descriptive analytics in terms of what is happening. So you're looking at the organization and seeing what's going on at that point. You also have the ability to look more into. Why it's happening. So more detailed analytics. And then you also need to have more prescriptive analytics, which is more around once you've surfaced those insights and you've got how to resolve. Is it working? Is it happening in tracking and managing that? And then, of course, you've also got predictive analytics, which is the hallmark, of course, of machine learning and AI and companies are experimenting with those algorithms. But if it doesn't have that earlier data points, then you're basically using data that may lead you down the wrong path. So it's all about helping organizations to make sense of that data and yet turn it into value. And thoughts on today's event so far? I think it's been fantastic. A lot of the events tend to turn into something that's more about vendor versus customer and trying to turn it into a sales event. With this event, it's very different. We're all coming together in a very collaborative way to work together towards that common purpose, and that is, you know, how do we help organizations get the best of their contact center, but also how we turn that into less of a cost center, And more of a value driver for the whole business, because there's a huge amount of data that helps them form really important decisions for those organizations, and it's all underpinned by technology.

Tom Morgan:

Absolutely. It's about that kind of partners and customers getting together and talking together as well. Excellent. Thanks so much.

Jonathon Boyle:

You're very welcome.

Tom Morgan:

I managed to find Alex again. We've been kind of split up for quite a lot of the day. John has split all the companies, the customers, the partners into different groups. And we've been kind of spending time in workshops and we're in doing things. So from your kind of point of view, from what you've seen over there on table blue, it was, I think the blue team. Yeah, what's your experience of the day?

Alex Baker:

It's been super interesting. So for me, it's interesting hearing some of the stories of customers that are already on the platform have been for quite a few years in some cases and some some really big customers. But it's a lot of the feedback from multiple customers is that they've done the migration and what next? And it's, some of them maybe feel like they need a little bit of extra help to kind of pick out what is the right thing to do next? What will give the best return on investment? Which of the cool products to, to, to start using and how can they, if they're making a business case for those, how's the, what's the best way to present that to the, the, the powers that be to, to get the approval? Yeah,

Tom Morgan:

there's, there's been lots of different conversations going on, haven't there? And, and a couple of sessions with AWS feedback, there's like feedback to AWS as well, and hearing their point of view, I think I found them quite interesting as well. I don't know what you thought?

Alex Baker:

Yeah, I'm, I'm. Fair play to AWS. There's a really good turnout of AWS people from all over the place here, really quite senior folks, and they have genuinely been sitting down and listening to a lot of feedback and taking it on board. And yeah, I think it's, it's a great event for that reason. They've got the immediate access to some, to some customers that have put some decent volume through the platform. And they, they can get some really good feedback from them face to face. I think it's been very useful around.

Tom Morgan:

I've also found James who is a customer. This is interesting. You're not a customer of AWS. I thought it was really interesting. You are a customer of AWS. You're not an Amazon Connect customer. You don't use Amazon Connect, but I thought it was interesting you're here anyway. So I wanted to get your thoughts on on how the day went and whether you found it useful as a kind of potential customer.

James:

Yeah, so I think It's been really useful obviously networking with lots of different companies, and I think the thing that I've noticed over the last three years is really around the scale of the customers that are now using the platform. So for me, I think that can potentially open the conversations again with, you know, the business, the teams that potentially could help. You know, in, you know, identifying whether this is a technology that is the right thing to do. I've always thought that Amazon connect can solve good problems. So, yeah,

Tom Morgan:

but, but having the hearing from customers of significant size, that that's a confidence boost to you and it's sort of not so much to you, but it, it helps paint the picture. Right.

James:

Absolutely. I think that that's the biggest challenge when I looked at it before was the features were not as they weren't really there in terms everything that it could do. And so therefore it was, I guess, a harder conversation to have. So I think, yeah, now more larger scale enterprise customers use it. I think that sort of cements the position that where Amazon are going. And there's obviously a lot more happening. It's, it's growing quite quickly.

Tom Morgan:

And one of the things about today is it's independent from Amazon Connect, right? So you've got the warts and all story, like there were entire sessions today devoted to working out what could be done better, what could be done less of or more of as a potential customer. Is that useful?

James:

100%. And this is where I think it doesn't just, you don't get the sales pitch as such. I think that's the problem. Move to this technology because it can do everything you want. Great. Brilliant. But I think if you see the problems that people have faced and potentially how they've solved them, then that mitigates questions that get asked later down the road. You've got potentially an answer or a way to solve that.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, no, absolutely. I think it says something as well. I think that there is a community of people that are willing to get together and talk about it. Like, I think we're all passionate about this technology and the stuff it can do. And yeah, we've got our niggles. Everyone does. But like, getting together, talking them through, solutionizing problems, and then that feedback to AWS, I think it kind of shows the power of the platform, right?

James:

Absolutely. I think what I saw today from the AWS people in the room is that they were making lots of notes. They were really listening to pain points that people were having, or potential new features, or even just to cement the fact that we've thought about this already, and, and therefore, you know. It's probably going to be something coming soon in the next 12 months. So that was really good to hear that, that they're actively engaged too, because I think if it was just them not engaged, it's probably, there's a bit more of a barrier to kind of see the things that matter most to the companies that use it. Yeah.

Tom Morgan:

It completely makes

James:

sense.

Tom Morgan:

I'm also here with Stuart Dorman. Stuart, you're from Sabio, right? One of the other sponsors.

Stuart Dorman:

Correct. Yes. Yeah. Great to be here today. So what does Sabio do? So we are an expert services company focusing on the world of customer experience. So we help organizations work with technologies like Amazon connect and other contact center platforms to extract value from that technology, make it work for their operations, use it to drive brilliant experiences for their customers and their employees. So yeah, we've been doing that for about 25 years now. Amazon's a really growing, fast growing part of our business. We do quite a lot with Salesforce as well. And you know, the coming together of those two platforms is also quite an interesting space right now.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, absolutely. And that's interesting. So you've been around for 25 years. So Connect has been around for a lot less than that. So you've obviously got a lot of experience with other platforms as well. So how, how do you think Amazon Connect, like, lines up, like, in terms of good and bad points against them in composition?

Stuart Dorman:

So it's high level. I think it's matured rapidly over the last few years. We, you know, we've worked with a lot of Sort of traditional, you know, contact center vendors that a lot of those that are now moved into the CCaaS space. And I think if you look back a year or two ago Amazon was, was mainly driven by it decision makers as opposed to operational decision makers. That's definitely changing now. So we're increasingly seeing it as operations are interested in what the capabilities are. It comes at it from a different angle. I think it looks at it more for an AI and a data perspective, which is quite interesting. But, you know, particularly over the last year or so with the. Raising of awareness of what I can do with chat, GPT being launched, et cetera. You know, AI is being taken a lot more seriously as a customer service tool and a productivity enhancing tool. And Amazon really plays well into that space. So I think that's, that's where we see it really pulling away, if you like, from some of the other CCaaS platforms. Yeah.

Tom Morgan:

Okay. They're very well positioned. Right. And then that consumption model helps as well. Like with the, the AI stuff is a similar model, I guess, for consumption. So yeah, yeah, yeah. That's interesting. So. And coming just kind of to this event, has it been good so far? We're kind of into the afternoon now, so you've had a chance to sort of do the morning and what are your thoughts on the

Stuart Dorman:

event? I thought the last session was really interesting, just getting feedback after the workshops that were run. Seeing the challenges that people are facing not just with the platform, but across, you know, the industry. So yeah, I think the common theme seems to be that, and I'll actually talk about it a bit later when we, when I do the Sabio introduction. But. We're starting to see the capabilities of a lot of these platforms pulling away from people's actually ability to use it and operationalize it. And, and that's only going to continue. So, you know, the big challenge isn't now the capability of these platforms. It's how do you extract as much value from them as possible? So that was quite a common theme, but yeah, it's been a really interesting day so far. Yeah,

Tom Morgan:

absolutely. No, it's been, it's been good. And I guess as a sponsor, like you saw the value in this happening, which is kind of why you thought, you know, You know, you thought it would be a good idea to kind of to help sponsor and and hopefully looking forward to more events like this.

Stuart Dorman:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, it's been great to support John with this event. It's been great to meet other customers that are using connect and say understanding their pain points and hopefully, you know will continue to sponsor this. You know, I think it's great to get have conversations with the other other people that are using the platform.

Tom Morgan:

And just final question advice for. Kind of people who are just coming into this space. So they're just realizing they need a contact center. Maybe they've signed up with connect and they've kind of tried it out a little bit. Where should they go next?

Stuart Dorman:

I think the key thing really, as I mentioned earlier on is there is such a rapid pace of innovation on this platform at the moment. It's really hard to keep up with it and contextualize a lot of the features and capabilities that you might use. Leverage some of the AI capabilities, you know, some of the other conversations that came up around. Using sort of language translation those types of things. It's actually quite hard to do that. Yeah, and and You know, therefore, you know that those are the kinds of organizations that we want to help a savvy. I want to help You know improve the way that they're using those platforms getting more value making sure they can tie it back to a clear return on investment I'm really getting as much as they can Fantastic.

Tom Morgan:

Thank you So I've met Becky, who is a customer who's come along today. Now, Becky, I heard that you came with lots of questions today. So, did you get them answered, first question?

Becki:

The majority, yes. It was great to find out how other people are using different parts of the Connect platform and the nuances that sit within that and the complexities and the Challenges that other people have and that's what I was really interested in. Are we unique? Is there something different I can learn? Is there any best practice that I can take away?

Tom Morgan:

As a customer how how useful are days like this?

Becki:

Fabulous, absolutely fabulous, really, really interesting to hear, you know, what else is out there, what other partners can offer in terms of support, where we've got some of those challenges, and just really good to talk through some of the problems with experts that have got the knowledge.

Tom Morgan:

Most interesting thing you picked up today that you didn't know coming in today?

Becki:

Oh, what I didn't know, oh my gosh.

Tom Morgan:

Or or I guess thing that surprised you most, maybe, or Because AWS are here as well, right? And providing feedback and, and, and that. I think,

Becki:

I think that partnership with AWS is just amazing. That honesty around what's happening or what's not going to happen is really key to that partnership. But I think the couple of things that really inspired me is around how the use of WFM in various different platforms or the use of data to drive colleague or customer. Positive sentiment and outcomes is really inspiring on what we could go and do differently.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah. No, definitely. There's a whole Just it's almost like just when you think you're done with a contact center. Now, we've got WFM now we've got AI It's like you you it's a challenge to stay on top of this stuff, right?

Becki:

There's too many of us and I include myself in that that think old school contact center. Let's drive data around number of calls, a H T adherence. Whereas there's so much to be done. Let's trust our agents do the right thing, and let's really think about the customer experience. And how do we evidence that sentiment? How do we show that to the colleague to show the difference they're making to customers every day? And how do you Help drive their behavior to want to be proud of the job that they do and stay within a contact center.

Tom Morgan:

Excellent. Oh, that's, that's really interesting. Thank you.

Becki:

No worries. Thank you.

Tom Morgan:

I'm also here with Simon Leyland, who is the CEO of CloudInteract, who's the other sponsor and is also my boss. So hey Simon. Thanks for me to be here.

Simon Leyland:

No problem. Hi Tom. How are

Tom Morgan:

you? I'm, I'm good. And this is interesting because I didn't know we'd sponsored this until way after I knew it existed and we were planning on doing a podcast from here anyway. And then I found out we were sponsoring. So I think actually first question before we even get into the event was why, why did you choose to sponsor it?

Simon Leyland:

Oh, it's really simple. We, We feel that there's a big latent demand for Amazon Connect throughout the whole of the UK. But we feel there isn't that much of a community that is relevant to, to, to Connect. So, where partners, where Amazon, where customers. We can all come together, talk about Connect, talk about customer experience. So, you know, John's doing a brilliant thing with, with this group. And we were great to be on from day one. So, yeah, it was a bit. It was a, it was a very easy decision for us to make and it's been a great day so far.

Tom Morgan:

Excellent. And yeah, I was going to say, how has the day been for you? Kind of as a CEO of a partner company, what's it been like?

Simon Leyland:

Yeah, I mean, it's been, it's been really good. There's a really good spread. I mean, considering he's only done this in 40 days, you know, the vision that he's got, that this is going to grow and grow. It's been really helpful today. You know, lots of great, great questions from customers. Lots of really good interaction with the AWS. Product teams making good contacts. Yeah, really good. Yeah.

Tom Morgan:

I think what's been interesting as well is customers have been talking to customers, partners have been talking to partners and AWS have, have been talking as well, but I think it does feel like they're in listening mode as well.

Simon Leyland:

Yeah. And we all have to be in listening mode and you know, this is not about selling and it's not about you know, generating business. It's about contributing to the community. Getting people talking and then it will grow the community and then the, and then the business will grow from that as a collective. We all win together. So

Tom Morgan:

you'll definitely be back at the next one?

Simon Leyland:

Oh, I think so. Yeah. I mean, it'll be interesting. I think the next one's in Sydney, isn't it?

Tom Morgan:

Is that approved then? Expenses approved?

Simon Leyland:

We might send Nick. Sounds fair.

Tom Morgan:

Simon, thanks very much. John is back with us at the end of the day. Congratulations, John. I thought it was a really, really good event. How did it go for you?

John Ing:

First of all, thank you. I'm, I'm absolutely delighted. Where I started a day quite anxious and quite nervous to do something different. You know, I think he's definitely been clarified that this is breaking new ground. You never know whether that's the right thing or not. But I think coming to the end of the day you know, the verbal feedback I'm getting, what I've started to see on some of the feedback is extremely positive. We will be doing another one. And I think that is testament in itself, isn't it? The fact that people are keen to do it again. And you know, hopefully we can get some more people to it. And the fact that we've now done one, we've got a sort of a record of what it's about and we've got some people that can sort of provide some sort of testimonial to it.

Tom Morgan:

One of the things we were talking about is there was really, really good engagement and really good leading from, from Amazon. And actually, as we're talking, Vikram from Amazon is coming in behind us. So that's a very good time. So we're just saying how, how many people from Amazon that were here today. And that was, that was really good. It's really good to see.

Vikram Modgil:

Yeah. Yeah. I think we had our head of architecture, our director of product. We had somebody local, Emiya, technical leader, and then myself. From the HQ. Yeah. So yeah, we had a few.

[Background Noise]:

Yeah,

Tom Morgan:

it's really good for you, John. I guess that's a good validation as well. It's great that those people are there, but it like it helps as well, doesn't it? For attendance and it helps. It helps everyone here as well. The partners and the customers because they get that immediate feedback as well.

John Ing:

Yeah. And again, thank you, Vikram. Without your help, this would not have been possible from the AWS point. I know you've put a huge amount of effort in corralling your guys, and I really appreciate that. But yeah, no, it is you know, the whole, this whole idea is about getting the right people together to have that conversation and then share that information with AWS so that hopefully we all can make the platform better so that we can all provide better customer service to our customers. And that's what this is all about. You know, I said at the start of the day, the mission and the objectives around what I was trying to do here. You know, I'm really thankful for AWS to, to lean in and, and, and play their part in that. And you know, again, the verbal feedback from some of the guys from, from the AWS team you know, the same, when can you do one in New York? So yeah, we'll see.

Tom Morgan:

So get those flights booked.

John Ing:

Indeed, yeah. So yeah, no, I mean, yeah, it's a bit overwhelming at the moment, I think. And you need to sort of reflect on it. I need to. Think about it. And but no, it's been a been a very, very good day from my perspective.

Tom Morgan:

And I think for us, it's been exciting to be in on the ground of what is clearly going to be something that's got legs and something that goes. So, yeah, no, thank you.

John Ing:

No, yeah, absolutely right. I think we are. We are breaking new ground here. You know, it's like anything. If you're there at the start, that's really an exciting place to be. And again, you know, the feedback will help influence what this looks like going forwards. And therefore everybody in the room will have a part to play in what the next iteration might look like.

Tom Morgan:

So we've come to the end of the day, it's the drinks reception. Alex is still with me. So how do you think the day went?

Alex Baker:

I think it went really well. There were some very interesting speakers. We got a great round up of feedback from actual Amazon Connect customers that are putting some heavy usage through There was really impressive attendance from AWS. You know, a whole load of AWS folks here who were able to sit in on the feedback sessions and, and take that feedback on board and give some answers. And I think, I think John's done a great job organising a really good, useful event and we're looking forward already to the next one.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, and I absolutely agree, agree with all of that. It's been a, it's been a really good day, day of learning, day of meeting new people and Big thanks to John for putting it together and very much looking forward to the next one.

Alex Baker:

Yeah, agreed, and I think we've also, we've met some new faces who hopefully will be making guest appearances on a podcast and hearing more from them soon.

Tom Morgan:

Yeah, absolutely.

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