Navigating the Cloud-Based Contact Center Infrastructure Market

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The cloud-based contact center infrastructure market took off in 2014, despite what the market activity numbers indicate. First-time buyers are looking to cloud-based vendors. So are companies that want to replace an existing automatic call distributor (ACD) or outbound dialing solution, with the exception of those that have a large installed base of on-premises solutions that need to interoperate. But even these companies are making it clear that they will buy once the technology evolves to meet their needs.

The Competitive Landscape Is Out of Control

DMG Consulting estimates that there are 150 vendors worldwide in the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market, far more than is healthy or that can be supported by the volume of sales. Vendors are coming from many related IT and contact center sectors, hoping to win customers by being different. A few of the competitors offer a truly differentiated solution, and some are investing in marketing to make their purported advantages known.

Small and midsized prospects, many of which do not even consider themselves contact centers, are seeking functionality to help improve the performance of their sales organizations. Few of the network service providers are doing an adequate job of delivering cloud-based contact center functionality, but that isn't stopping them from selling these services.

Large contact center prospects are under siege from dozens of cloud-based vendors that want their business. Many of these vendors make it sound as if their solutions are as full-featured as the leading on-premises–based systems that are being replaced. While a few cloud-based vendors have built highly sophisticated and broad offerings (and many others are making substantial investments), there is a reason leading on-premises–based offerings are still considered more feature-rich, even if some vendors have lost touch with the realities of today's market.

End users have more choices than ever, and many prospects are confused. Cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors are investing in Google advertising to win business, and because many of the offerings sound so similar, inexperienced companies are falling prey to the messaging of good salespeople. Part of the value proposition for cloud-based contact center solutions is that end users can easily change vendors if they are not satisfied, so many prospects view the risk as small and are willing to take a chance on an unknown, unproven vendor, provided the price is right.

Despite the large number of competitors, DMG Consulting does not believe that any leaders have yet emerged, although there are approximately 10 vendors vying for and claiming leadership. As the addressable market (and revenue) cannot support the current proliferation of vendors, the market will consolidate during the next few years. Some vendors will be purchased, and others will end up closing their doors. However, the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market is here to stay; what is not known is which vendors will emerge as leaders.

Ease Is a Requirement

There are many financial, operational, and business reasons companies are migrating to cloud-based contact center infrastructure solutions, but ease is number three on the list, after total cost of ownership and return on investment. For many end users, it's about ease of implementation, ease of support, ease of integration, ease of scaling up and down, ease of adding additional functionality (such as workforce management or recording that adheres to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), or ease of customization. End 

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