Cloud Solutions Are Rising in the Contact Center

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Genesys’s acquisition of Interactive Intelligence has a similar dynamic—the acquiring company works with many large contact centers around the world. Interactive Intelligence has recently gone through growing pains while building its new PureCloud cloud-based contact center infrastructure from the ground up, but the company previously experienced many years of strong growth and success. Genesys has announced that it plans to use Interactive Intelligence to target the midsize sector of the market and to use the legacy Genesys solutions at the high end.

It remains to be seen how well these acquiring companies execute their mergers, as there is risk for all parties—the acquiring companies, the acquired companies, and the customers of the acquired companies. But one thing is certain: A great deal more M&A activity lies ahead for this sector.

SERVICE PROVIDERS ARE DEVELOPING CLOUD-BASED SOLUTIONS

Service providers around the world, particularly carriers and business process outsourcers (BPOs), are actively building cloud-based contact center infrastructure offerings and services, as it is convenient for many companies to buy such functionality from their carrier and pay for it either per minute or per seat. The challenge, though, is that many carriers are struggling to learn this business. There is a major round of investments happening as carriers and BPOs are actively seeking the right technology and partners to help them succeed in this increasingly competitive market. In some cases, service providers are buying only the underlying technology; in other cases, they are also purchasing many of the services the cloud vendors offer to give them the platform, technology, resources, and expertise needed to succeed. During the past 12 to 18 months, selling (and reselling, as an OEM) to service providers and other third parties has become one of the fastest-growing opportunities in the market.

CLOUD-BASED PBX VENDORS TAKE ON THE CONTACT CENTER

A growing number of companies worldwide want to buy public branch exchange (PBX) and contact center functionality from the same cloud vendor. This is one reason why carriers are striving to enhance and build out their cloud-based contact center infrastructure capabilities. For years, a number of cloud-based PBX vendors offered basic contact center capabilities, and these features were adequate for many of their customers. But given the availability of more advanced contact center features, as well as the growing importance of delivering a customer experience that’s both outstanding and cost-effective, companies with as few as two contact center seats are asking for more advanced capabilities, such as voice and screen capture, skills-based routing, workforce management, speech analytics, and a lot more.

The cloud-based PBX vendors are responding by offering three-tiered services: PBX services remain their primary business, but they also offer rudimentary contact center offerings for companies that just need the basics, and a full-featured contact center offering via an OEM or white-label version of an advanced cloud-based contact center infrastructure solutions on the market. Many of the cloud-based PBX vendors still have to learn how to sell contact center solutions, but they are well positioned to succeed in this market as they already have relationships with decision makers in the IT groups of end-user companies.

THE CLOUD MARKET POTENTIAL IS SKY-HIGH

The cloud delivery model is highly compelling for enterprises. The vendors still have work to do—they need to get better at integrations, professional services, managed services, reporting, and personalizing their offerings—but they have come a long way in a short time. The cloud-based model allows end users to acquire capabilities they may not have been able to afford previously, such as automatic call distributors, dialers, CRM systems, workforce management, analytics, and hiring solutions. The cloud’s shared-resource concept is a game-changer that can benefit companies of all sizes.

This doesn’t mean that all companies on the same cloud-based contact center platform will deliver the same service experience—far from it, as the quality of the service experience depends on the resources and expertise available within each organization. It does mean that companies can dedicate their resources to developing highly differentiated service strategies and then have a platform from which to deliver them.


Donna Fluss is president of DMG Consulting. For more than two decades she has helped emerging and established companies develop and deliver outstanding customer experiences. A recognized visionary author and speaker, Fluss drives strategic transformation and innovation throughout the service industry. She provides strategic and practical counsel for enterprises, solution providers, and the investment community.

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