• May 8, 2007
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Interactive Intelligence Calls on Hosted Services

Interactive Intelligence has taken its contact center and enterprise software that it has traditionally delivered as installed products and made them available through the SaaS model. The Interactive Intelligence SaaS, which supports SIP-based VoIP, traditional TDM, and hybrid switching, is based on a segregated server model, providing customers with the option of seamlessly migrating from SaaS to on-premise, according to the company. The Interactive Intelligence SaaS is available now in North America via Interactive Intelligence's VAR channel. Interactive Intelligence says it uses dedicated servers for each customer deployment that are colocated at a Homeland Security-designated and SAS-70-certified data center to ensure services are delivered securely and meet quality levels. "We're not introducing any kind of two-part or third-party vendor," says Joseph Staples, senior vice president of marketing. "We have contact center expertise [and] quality standards. We assign a dedicated project manager and project engineer throughout the implementation phase." The SaaS offerings, according to Staples, can be customized. The Interactive Intelligence SaaS for the contact center comprises several apps like ACD, IVR, outbound and predictive dialing, quality monitoring and multimedia recording, workforce management, knowledge and email response management, and Web self-service. The company's SaaS contact center functionality caters mainly to outsourced and teleservices firms, SMBs, and large organizations that have departmentally-focused initiatives, according to the company. SaaS contact center pricing is based on an initial setup fee, which starts at $1,500, and monthly per agent/supervisor fees between $75 and $150, with or in place of port fees, according to the company. Pricing includes support and upgrades; however, per-minute usage rates may also apply. Interactive Intelligence for the enterprise features icNotify, the company's on-demand automated outbound telephone notifications service, which provides various types of notifications such as appointment reminders, marketing and promotional messages, and emergency instructions. It's important to note, however, that icNotify isn't new. It was announced in February 2006 and made generally available throughout the U.S. and Canada in Q1 of 2006. The company says that pricing for icNotify, which includes support and upgrades, is based on an initial setup fee and monthly per-minute rates. Setup fees are between $500 and $2,500, while usage fees are between 8 and 20 cents per minute. While its SaaS enterprise go-to-market offering is currently primarily focused on notifications, Interactive Intelligence intends to bulk up its SaaS enterprise functionality over the next nine months by adding additional functionality such as multiparty audio conferencing, disaster recovery, auto-attendant, enhanced unified messaging, and real-time call control. Its SaaS for the enterprise is aimed at member, constituent, and service-based organizations like property management associations, healthcare organizations, financial institutions, and higher education institutions, according to the company. Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, contends that the hosted contact center market will be a niche, but an attractive and profitable one. "Interactive Intelligence [is] unlike some vendors that put all of their eggs in the hosted basket...who perhaps overrotated on hosted and in a market that hasn't particularly taken off yet. The potential is there to capture 10 to 15 percent of the market over a period of [about] five years, which would essentially get us back to where we were in the days of Centrex ACD." Interactive Intelligence, McGee-Smith says, has a "pretty complete offer," along with a single reporting tool. "They're joining the [hosted contact center] market at a good point. They're not too early, they're not too late." Related articles: Interactive Intelligence's New Puzzle Piece
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