Sam Tayan, Head of MENA at Zoom, has declared that despite the company enjoying exponential growth it will not rest on its laurels, and is continuing to innovative aggressively to maintain its position as the global leader in video collaboration during a fascinating conversation with CNME Editor Mark Forker.
In March 2020, the world as we knew it was brought to an abrupt and shuddering halt as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe.
Technology enabled many enterprises and industries to adapt to the seismic changes they encountered in a bid to maintain business continuity and keep the lights on.
A key pillar and component in the fightback against the pandemic, and to many the central foundation of what was labelled the ‘new normal’ was the Zoom Video Communications platform.
Zoom has now become one of the most distinguishable brands in the world over the last 18 months, and as a result has enjoyed phenomenal growth.
CNME spoke to IT veteran Sam Tayan, who has been tasked with the responsibility of overseeing its operations in the Middle East. However, as Tayan points out Zoom were already on an upward trajectory long before COVID-19 accelerated it into a different stratosphere.
In addition to this, he highlighted how its customer-centricity has also given the company an advantage in what has become a saturated and competitive space.
“Obviously over the last number of years we have enjoyed significant growth, but it is also important to highlight that we had enjoyed very substantial growth prior to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. At Zoom, we like to keep in touch with the market and our customers. We conducted a very comprehensive survey last year to find out which platforms in the UAE were the most popular with end-users. We discovered that 70% of respondents had an extremely strong preference for Zoom ahead of other video collaboration tools that are available on the market, and that gives us huge confidence that we are delivering the experiences our users want,” said Tayan.
It is understandable that a company that has enjoyed the success that Zoom has could become complacent, but Tayan insisted that innovation is very much at the core of what the company does and was adamant that it will not rest on its laurels in its pursuit of perfection and excellence.
“We are in the technology business, so innovation is a constant. In the past few years, I think it’s safe to say that we have certainly not sat on our laurels. We have launched a whole series of new enhancements, innovations and products, whether that be from a security perspective with our end-to-end encryption, or through the introduction of waiting rooms, we are constantly looking at ways to better improve our product offering,” said Tayan.
The charismatic Managing Director at Zoom also pointed out how at their recent Zoomtopia event they brought forward elements of virtual reality and video engagement platforms, which reinforces the fact that they are certainly not resting on our laurels.
Tayan also stressed how its ability to take feedback on what their customers want and to specifically tailor their product offering to suit their needs is another key differentiator between them and its market rivals.
“We need to make sure that we maintain the lead that we have in the market, and to do that we really need to listen to our customers to see what they appreciate, and what they would like to see and then it’s up to us to try to incorporate that into our product portfolio. We have also spent a lot of time on improving the functionality, security, ease of use and performance and we believe that we have really pushed ahead in all departments,” said Tayan.
Zoom has also chosen oktopi, a next-generation AI-powered and cohort-based teaching management platform, as their first EdTech partner in the region to take the live online classroom experience worldwide.
Tayan believes its relationship with oktopi will empower teachers all over the world to have a greater impact with its students through the greater flexibility and autonomy provided by the new online teaching experience. He used tutoring as an example of how teachers can now do more.
“I think a good illustration of how we have helped to empower educators is through tutoring. Traditionally, tutoring was a very clunky business, and over the last number of years private tutoring has become a very popular growing trend, as it has become in many ways more accessible. However, typically it involved a tutor having to travel to the home of the student, that required you to provide an adequate space for them to perform their lessons, and it meant that the teacher was spending a lot time commuting back-and-forth. However, this can all now be done slickly over Zoom-based platforms such as Oktopi and it really solves a problem that was real for parents. A teacher can now also potentially teach a dozen children in the one evening and can also have multiple kids in the one tutoring class. It solves a real problem in a very elegant way and is a good example of an excellent integration of Zoom,” said Tayan.
In terms of what he believes ultimately differentiates Zoom from other video communication collaboration providers globally, Tayan said he believed it was the quality that they provide that distinguishes the company from its rivals, citing that in the experience economy users wants seamless experiences and that is what Zoom provides for its end-users.
“I think the key differentiator for us is the quality. This is something that becomes very evident to customers from the moment they start a call. They notice the quality of the audio and video and quite simply we deliver a top-class experience. We know that if users have 2-3 bad experiences with applications, then they it is very likely that they will not use it again. However, if they are having a consistently good experience then it goes without saying that they will be very satisfied and they are going to keep using it all the time, and this is a major reason why we have been able to achieve so much success globally,” concluded Tayan.