To attract large clients and nurture their loyalty, managed services provider CloudHop wanted to offer social collaboration tools that could scale to support multinational organizations.
CloudHop is enhancing its offering with IBM® Connections™ Cloud and IBM Watson® Workspace—delivering integrated, security-rich collaboration capabilities that support teams of ten to 10,000.
Supportsthousands of enterprise users on a single collaboration platform
Surfacesrelevant information to employees automatically, boosting efficiency
EnablesCloudHop to attract large clients, driving growth
Business challenge story
Targeting enterprise clients
“When we founded CloudHop, we were one of the first managed services providers in East Africa,” says Nadeem Noordin, Co-chief Executive Officer at CloudHop. “Over the last five years, we’ve grown organically across companies of all sectors and sizes, including universities, banks, manufacturers and government organizations.”
Keval Shah, Co-chief Executive Officer at CloudHop, continues: “We see that the quality and responsiveness of our support services are key differentiators. Our stringent service-level agreements [SLAs] give customers the confidence that their mission-critical data and business systems are safe in our hands—and our customer satisfaction rating is consistently above 99 percent.”
To drive its growth, CloudHop aims to expand into new markets and attract large enterprise clients. To achieve its goal, the company realized that it needed to tailor its collaboration offerings to the needs of multinational organizations.
“In the past, we relied on multiple tools for document editing, messaging and security from different vendors, which we had to integrate manually behind the scenes,” explains Noordin. “As well as increasing our management and maintenance workload, this approach made it difficult to deliver collaboration capabilities at scale.
“Crucially, our previous collaboration tools all revolved around email—which we feel becomes an increasingly inefficient way to communicate the larger an organization becomes. After discussing our challenge with Pavaanjeet Singh, IBM Business Leader for IBM Watson Talent and Cognitive Collaboration Solutions at IBM Africa, we were confident that embracing a social business network would enable our clients to work together more effectively. We decided to replace our tools with a single, integrated solution.”
Delivering seamless, scalable collaboration
To deliver a scalable collaboration platform to help its business grow, CloudHop selected IBM® Connections™ Cloud, IBM Verse® and IBM Watson Workspace. Bringing together messaging, online meetings, video, file sharing and collaborative document editing in a single platform, IBM Connections Cloud offers each employee a personalized dashboard to manage their work, communicate with their peers, and prioritize tasks. In addition, CloudHop selected IBM Connections Compliance for Mail which allows email to be archived in the cloud, reducing the size of regularly used mail files while keeping data accessible for compliance checks and e-discovery.
IBM Connections Cloud is tightly integrated with IBM Watson® Workspace—a messaging app that empowers employees to connect and collaborate with their teams from any connected device. With cognitive technology built in, IBM Watson Workspace automatically summarizes conversations, prioritizes important tasks and helps employees focus on the most important next steps to drive a project forward. As a bonus of offering IBM Watson Workspace as part of their collaboration environment for their customers, CloudHop is excited that Zoom video meetings are now seamlessly built into Watson Workspace - further delivering to clients' work teams a frictionless way to quickly and effectively collaborate. The partnership brings the unique capability of escalating any chat within a space or direct message to a video meeting with the click of a button.
“We wanted an enterprise-class collaboration solution that could support anywhere from ten users to 10,000 users, and IBM offered the straightforward scalability we were looking for,” Noordin recalls. “Our goal is to enable enterprises across Africa to use real-time communications to help their people work in a more efficient, accountable and intuitive way—and we felt IBM’s collaboration roadmap was perfectly aligned with our own long-term goals.”
Shah adds: “As well as having demanding SLAs, large enterprises typically have high requirements around data governance and security—particularly those in the financial services and government sectors. Our assessment of IBM collaboration solutions convinced us that we could comply with enterprise requirements such as archiving and e-discovery. Better still, IBM Connections Cloud natively supports security-rich authentication technologies such as biometrics and device pinning, which some of our target clients rely on to keep their information systems secure.”
Working together with IBM, CloudHop is planning the optimal way to integrate its new collaboration solutions with other components of its software-as-a-service offering—including a document-scanning service based on IBM Datacap and the Box cloud storage platform.
“Many of our clients are now transforming from paper-based to digital processes, and we offer document scanning services solutions to help them along that journey,” Noordin explains. “We plan to use out-of-the-box integrations with IBM Datacap to save digital copies of paper documents directly to our clients’ IBM Connections Cloud environments—enabling them to find information even faster.”
He adds: “We have been a reseller of Box solutions for a number of years. Our clients appreciate its fine-grained permissions system, because it enables enterprise-scale collaboration and file-sharing without compromising on security. Our IBM collaboration solutions also integrate seamlessly with Box—and we see great potential in using it to augment the storage capabilities of IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Watson Workspace.”
CloudHop is working with IBM to design a migration tool to move its existing clients to the new platform, and to train its own personnel to deliver high-quality technical support.
“Some of our clients are already using the on-premises edition of IBM Connections, and others do not currently have any collaboration solutions, so we plan to include these clients in our first wave of migrations,” says Shah. “Our work with IBM is just beginning, but we have already been very impressed with the in-depth training and knowledge-transfer sessions that the IBM team is providing.”
Ready for growth
With IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Watson Workspace at the center of its new collaboration offering, CloudHop is positioning itself to win enterprise clients and grow into new markets.
“If you work in an environment where you regularly receive 100 emails per day, there’s simply not enough time to action all those messages and complete all your other day-to-day tasks,” comments Noordin. “Our new approach to collaboration is set to change all that. By enabling our clients to use IBM Watson Workspace instead of email for their internal communications, we will empower them to collaborate in a more efficient, intuitive way.
“For example, instead of having to trawl back through long email chains to see the history of a project, employees will be able to view a chronological list of completed actions at the touch of a button. Similarly, the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson enable people to assign tasks to members of their team in natural language—and track those tasks to completion in a centralized dashboard.”
He continues: “Using IBM Watson Workspace internally doesn’t mean that our clients won’t be able to communicate with their customers via email. By combining IBM Watson Workspace and IBM Connections Cloud, our clients will be able to shift seamlessly from communicating with internal groups via a digital workspace and external parties via email. In fact, employees can share email threads from Connections Cloud to Watson Workspace in one click.”
Looking ahead, CloudHop is already planning new ways to use cognitive technology to enhance its clients’ productivity.
“One aspect of IBM Watson Workspace that we are especially interested in is the virtual personal assistant,” says Shah. “By using intelligent automation to surface relevant information, the virtual assistant will help people use their time even more effectively—for example, by showing recent messages from frequent contacts first.
“The solution’s ability to process natural language will also be a big benefit for our customers. If someone sends a message agreeing to send a file to a contact on a certain day but then forget, IBM Watson Workspace can share a proactive reminder with them.”
As it embarks on its collaboration journey, CloudHop is honing its competitive edge and preparing for international growth.
“Our solutions will be a unique offering in our domestic market, and a source of competitive advantage as we target multinational enterprises,” Noordin concludes. “By continuing to work closely with IBM to develop our collaboration platform, we predict that our new offerings will be a key enabler of our growth in East Africa and beyond.”
Founded in 2012, Cloud Hop Ltd. is a leading managed services provider. Operating across East Africa and Mauritius, CloudHop specializes in software-, platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service solutions to help enterprises reduce their costs and focus on core competencies.