We are about fully recovered from the elation and emotional highs of the recent Channel Partners virtual conference. Unanimously, it was well-received. Our own Tina Smith and Christina Reed gave a talk about helping channel partners grow revenue. Channel chief John DeLozier gave an inspirational keynote describing his experience the past nine months.

I had the privilege of participating in a panel session called Operate from Anywhere: The Next Evolution of Remote Work with Jennifer Gallego, EVP, Sales West at Avant led by Michelle Ragusa-McBain of the JS Group. We discussed the new business realities caused by COVID such as the existential importance of enabling your workforce to be productive from anywhere.

Gallego noted how at the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of companies put together “band-aid work-from-home strategies” thinking that the return to normal would be quick. As it became apparent that change was happening for the long haul, there was almost an instant 68%spike in interest in unified communications among AVANT customers.

Ragusa-McBain, who advises clients about channel business strategies, explained that VARs, solution providers, and others in the channel community have both a challenge and opportunity to help customers make the transition to operate from anywhere.

Nine months into 2020, organizations have finally recognized that band-aids will not cut it anymore, and if they want to remain an ongoing concern, particularly in competitive industries, they must be equipped to adapt to all of the technological, social, and environmental forces evolving around them.

AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and others created fortunes by building platforms for data to be protected, available, agile, etc. — essentially keeping data productive from anywhere and at any time. The evolution of remote work, to 8x8, is about building that communications platform for your people so they can be productive from anywhere and at any time. The goal is to drive revenue and great customer experiences all the time in all kinds of conditions.

So the big question is, "so now what?" Any IT pro will say yep, I get it, but how do I operationalize operate from anywhere? For the past two months or so, 8x8 has been putting together a vast amount of resources to help IT leaders and business owners gain insights about the next steps and have great conversations with potential cloud communications providers. This includes an eBook about operate from anywhere that contains information about the return on investment, details about the latest contact center innovations, how professional services options reduce costs in the long run, and more. Additional eBooks cover topics about small business, enhancing phone service within Microsoft Teams, and personalizing customer experiences with CPaaS. The hub for all these resources is called The New Digital Workplace Essentials. I urge you to check it out and use the materials to inform how you execute your transition to operate from anywhere.

Thanks to Michelle for leading our session and to Jennifer, who is such a great 8x8 partner. The Channel Partners conference was truly outstanding. I do think the event, in my mind, is a demarcation point. There is no longer a need to make the case for cloud communications or work-from-home programs. The time is now to get going to figure out how to make cloud communications work for your organization. 8x8 is always here to help.

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