Cloud-Based Contact Centers: Bringing Clarity to a Crowded Market
Connect First is a privately held provider of integrated cloud-based contact center software solutions and carrier/network services. Connect First’s Contact Center Infrastructure (CCI) is a multichannel, cloud-based platform that supports inbound, outbound, and blended voice, email, and chat. Its sweet spot is contact center environments with 50 to 250 seats.
Content Guru is a United Kingdom–based network services technology provider. Its solution, storm Contact, is a multichannel cloud-based contact center solution that supports voice, email, chat, SMS, and social media, and it also natively provides basic CRM functionality. Storm Contact is geared for environments with 50 to 250 seats.
Enghouse Interactive is the communications software and services division of Enghouse Systems, a public company that is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: ESL). The company sells Contact Center Service Provider (CCSP), a multitenant, multichannel (voice, email, text, SMS, Web chat, and video) cloud-based contact center infrastructure platform that is sold to carriers, outsourcers, and service providers. It comes with Tracker, a proprietary case management tool for basic CRM.
Five9, a public company (NASDAQ: FIVN), is a provider of cloud-based contact center infrastructure solutions and carrier/network services. Virtual Contact Center (VCC) is a multichannel contact center solution that supports voice, email, chat, and social media. Five9's target market is contact centers with 5 to 700 agents.
InContact, a public company (NASDAQ: SAAS), is a provider of cloud-based contact center infrastructure solutions and carrier services. The company's Cloud Contact Center Platform is a multichannel solution that supports voice, email, chat, fax, SMS, social media, and work items. InContact's target market is contact centers with 50 to 750 seats.
Intelecom, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, is a provider of cloud-based contact center solutions and communication services. Intelecom Connect is its cloud-based contact center infrastructure solution; it supports voice, email, chat, SMS, and fax, and it also provides basic CRM-like capabilities. Intelecom's sweet spot is contact centers with 25 to 500 seats.
Interactive Intelligence, a public company (NASDAQ: ININ), has two single-tenant cloud contact center infrastructure offerings: CaaS (for 50 to 500 seats) and CaaS Small Center (for 10 to 50 agents). The solutions provide support for voice, email, chat, text, SMS, and video. In June 2015, Interactive Intelligence released PureCloud Engage, a multitenant offering that is hosted on Amazon Web Services.
LiveOps recently separated its cloud-based contact center infrastructure business from its business process outsourcing (BPO) unit, which sells agent services. LiveOps Engage, the company's cloud-based contact center infrastructure solution, supports voice, email, text, SMS, Web chat, and social media. The company targets contact centers with 150 to 400 seats.
NewVoiceMedia is a privately held cloud-based contact center software suite provider headquartered in the U.K. The company sells ContactWorld, a solution that supports voice, email, chat, and social media via its integration with Salesforce.com. NewVoiceMedia maintains an important relationship with Salesforce.com, one that generates the majority of its opportunities. The ContactWorld solution is geared for contact centers with 20 to 500 agents.
All of these vendors claim to support relatively large contact center implementations, and each one has a couple of customers at the high end of its respective sweet spot. But many of these vendors are primarily selling to smaller environments, and so the bulk of their experience is in working with these smaller contact centers.
The vendors listed above have been carefully vetted by DMG and provide all of the claimed features, yet there remain substantial differences in how these features and capabilities are provided. Prospective buyers are strongly encouraged to compare the offerings; involve department personnel (contact center managers, supervisors, and agents), as well as the IT and security departments, in the selection process; and speak to references about the tools, implementation process, and ongoing support. And for a detailed review of the cloud-based contact center market, please see DMG’s 580-page "2015–2016 Cloud-Based Contact Center Infrastructure Market Report."
Donna Fluss (firstname.lastname@example.org) is founder and principal of DMG Consulting, a provider of contact center and analytics research, marketing analysis, and consulting.