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Cloud Center News
As cited in the Aberdeen Group’s report titled “Optimizing the Customer Experience through Cloud Contact Centers (July 2014)”, 31 percent of contact centers are deployed in the cloud. The key driving forces for contact centers to adapt cloud technology are enhanced financial flexibility complemented with augmented customer experiences.
Cashing in on this trend, EPIC Connections (EPIC) has inked a strategic partnership with Panviva to make Panviva SupportPoint Cloud an option as a business process guidance application in the EPIC managed services technology suite.
Panviva is a content development consultancy that developed SupportPoint. SupportPoint is business process guidance (BPG) solution driven by cloud technology. Some of the key highlights of the solution include scalability, flexibility to meet seasonal peaks and troughs, SSL encryption, permission-based authentication, pay-as-you-go licensing facility, mobile-ready and more.
Apart from being deployed as a cost-effective fully-managed service, the SupportPoint Cloud business process guidance software provides knowledge workers with instant access to the exact information, workflow navigation, applications, and communication – all in one place and accessed through a simple interface.
EPIC Connections (EPIC), which is deploying Panviva SupportPoint, is a provider of contact center consulting and outsourcing services. Its managed services technology suite is a complete contact center in the cloud. The suite offers clients direct access to cloud-based technology tools ideal for all businesses.
As cited in EPIC’s blog, “having contact center systems that are cloud based makes key solutions realistic.” It also increases the likelihood of improving the overall customer experience. Hence, EPIC inked strategic relationship with Panviva.
One of the excerpts from the blog stated that voice contact centers are still a great way to keep in touch with the customers. And, cloud-based contact centers allow organizations to spend more time with the customer and less time dealing with technology. With the right systems in place, managers can be confident customer needs are being properly addressed.
In every business, there is always a level of risk. For the owner or business leader, their level of risk tolerance will often dictate decisions moving forward. It will also contribute to the decisions made on implementing new processes, launching new initiatives and engaging new partners. If the business is in the call center space, there are several considerations when it comes to risk.
For many, those considerations center on the cloud and whether or not it’s wise to make the move. In some cases, decision makers are worried about the risk they perceive exists with moving to the cloud. As data moves to an outside server, the assumption is that control is also handed over to the third party and the company is taking on more risk.
Data breaches are also getting considerable attention in the news, which makes business leaders nervous when they’re talking about inviting outside parties into their environment. Anytime someone outside of the organization is accessing the network, there is a chance the corporate infrastructure could be compromised.
With these considerations top of mind, when is it the right time to consider the cloud? Does it introduce more risk or does it offer a way to shift the risk to the provider? When you’re talking about cost, the latter is definitely true. The opportunity to move to a pay-per-use pricing model instead of investing considerable resources and capital in an in-house system is worth investigating.
This is especially true in a market where the competitive landscape keeps changing. New vendors are entering the market all the time and their pricing structures could be enough to shift customers in a new direction. In other words, the competition may be using the cloud-based approach to call center services and can therefore aggressively compete when it comes to pricing.
At the same time, updates, upgrades and maintenance of the system is so much easier when it’s on the part of the vendor and not managed in-house. If the opportunity to shift this responsibility exists, what’s the obstacle to launch?
Interactive Intelligence is exploring each of these elements and why the cloud offers less risk in an upcoming webinar, How Moving Your Contact Center to the Cloud Eliminates Risk: A New Way of Evaluating Cloud TCO. Scheduled for September 30 at 11:30AM EST, this is one event that will help you explore the real factors that play into the cloud conversation. Don’t miss this opportunity – today.
For anyone who is in the contact center solutions business, you are aware that the most important industry trend globally is the move of customer experience solutions to the cloud. Whether it be by your company to a private, public or hybrid cloud, or the decision is to use an outsourcer, the trend to take advantage of the cloud for next generation customer interactions is transforming customer experiences and is poised to be the dominant way in which such interactions are conducted in the future.
This brings up the question as to just how big an opportunity cloud-based customer experience solutions are likely to get in the next few years. The answer, as explained in the new “Cloud Based Contact Center Market by Solution (IVR, ACD, CTI, APO, Dialers, Analytics & Reporting), & by Application (Chat Quality Monitoring, Real Time Decision Making, Work Force Optimization) – Worldwide Forecasts and Analysis (2014 – 2019)” by MarketsandMarkets, says really big.
In fact, it is not just big but will grow rapidly. The report estimates that the cloud based contact center market will grow from $4.15 billion in 2014 to $10.9 billion in 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.3 percent from 2014 to 2019. It also notes that North America is expected to be the biggest market in terms of revenue contribution, while emerging economies such as Middle East and Africa (MEA), Latin America (LA), and Asia-Pacific (APAC) are expected to experience increased market traction with high CAGRs, in the due course.
As can be seen from the title, the report breaks the market into several sub-segments and contains a detailed analysis and forecasting of revenues. It also identifies the drivers and restraints for this market with the insights on trends, opportunities, and challenges. In addition, there is a look at uptake by vertical markets which include: BFSI, consumer goods and retail, healthcare, government, transportation and logistics, telecommunication and Information Technology (IT), media and entertainment, travel and hospitality, and others.
As noted, the realities of the market are that the cloud is moving to being the preferred place for customer interactions solutions. And, as the report highlights, regardless of functionality sub-segment, all of the capabilities organizations are looking for in an increasingly omni-channel world are or will be moving to the cloud. This is a global phenomenon with a strong tailwind pushing it along, as cloud based contact center solutions gain appreciation for their ability to serve as platforms that can provide the ability to create differentiated sustainable value along with operational efficiencies and effectiveness.
One of the guiding principles of delivering superior customer service is efficiency. An organized, well-trained contact center agent that possesses the proper tools to respond to service issues quickly and thoroughly delivers the best customer experience. However, often those tools are prohibitively expensive and contact centers are seeking cost effective solutions that require little maintenance and management on their end to deliver those efficiencies.
The KnoahSoft Harmony Cloud is now generally available and sophisticated workforce optimization (WFO) capabilities at a low price point. Delivered as a SaaS application, the offering gives contact centers the tools needed to improve productivity and efficiency and is priced as low as $20 per agent per month. The solution provides quality management, speech analytics, call recording, coaching and learning and a host of other features to improve the overall experience for both customers and agents.
KnohSoft manages all hardware and software maintenance and support and contact centers benefit from automatic updates and enhancements via browser. The company is using Microsoft Azure as its cloud infrastructure platform, offering security, reliability and an option to separate data by geography to conform to local laws and regulations.
DMG Consulting predicts the contact center WFO market will grow by nine percent this year, and 10 percent in 2015 and 2016. The growth will be fueled by companies migrating to cloud solutions like KnoahSoft’s, along with back office applications. Other factors impacting growth include the need to improve the customer journey and experience, the prevalence of big data and the need for analytics and storage, multi-channel and omni-channel delivery environments and the growing role of social media in customer care.
“We designed KnoahSoft Harmony Cloud to deliver what every small, medium and enterprise contact center wants — exceptional functionality that doesn’t hurt their pocketbooks and a quick return on investment,” said Ralph Barletta, president and co-founder of KnoahSoft. “Contact center and IT executives alike love this solution because it provides the operational improvements they want in a safe, reliable package they need.”
In the past, the CAPEX and OPEX expenditure of opening a contact center made it almost impossible for small organizations. However, today cloud technology is making it possible to establish a wide range of businesses including contact centers without much capital as long as the broadband infrastructure is available to deliver the service. British Telecom (BT) announced the launch of its cloud-based contact center system in Spain that has the capability of scaling from 50 to more than 1,000 seats.
It is clear that one of the areas where WebRTC will have a huge impact is in accelerating the move of contact centers to the cloud. In fact, one of the facilitators for the move is in the integration of telephony APIs into business processes, and enabling the integration to be easy and cost effective. There is interesting news on this front, with the announcement from BlueLeap, a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) with Specialized status for Oracle Service Cloud, that it has achieved Oracle Validated Integration of the BlueLeap Connector V1.0 with Oracle Service Cloud.
The Amazon Mayday button on select Kindle e-readers made a big splash recently. But if you think that’s interesting, hold on to your hats, because it looks like we’re poised for a plunge into more video-based customer service. This expansion of real-time video communications is likely to be enabled in large part by WebRTC.
For the third consecutive year, Gartner, Inc. the world’s premier information technology research and advisory company, placed West Corporation in the Leaders Quadrant of its August 28, 2014, “Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Multiregional”
West is a premier provider of technology-enabled communication services. It holds extensive experience in designing, deploying and managing UCaaS solutions as well as the ability to provide superior long-term support to its clients. The firm also remains focused on providing its clients with the industry’s best cloud-based communication applications and services.
The company’s ability to execute and its completeness of vision in the UCaaS space helped it earn this recognition from Gartner.
“We believe this recognition from Gartner, for the third year running, is a strong indicator of the value that our clients continue to experience with our powerful applications and services, our expertise in deploying Unified Communications solutions and the outstanding support that we are able to deliver in the rapidly evolving UC market,” said Todd Strubbe, President of West’s Unified Communications business segment.
Officials said that West, empowers its clients to transform the ways they do business, which gives them new competitive advantages. It also offers best-of-breed telephony and conferencing cloud infrastructure.
Furthermore, the company has the expertise in a variety of areas including public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud deployments.
According to Gartner: “Vendors in the Leaders quadrant have been delivering complete UCaaS solutions for more than a year, have clients with more than 1,000 subscribers and have more than 100,000 total endpoints in service. These vendors offer comprehensive and integrated UCaaS solutions that directly, or with well-defined partnerships, address the full range of market needs, including the ability to service large accounts.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle
When we look back at what the biggest trends were in 2014 in the contact center solutions community there can be little doubt that topping the list will be the momentum moving to the cloud has gathered. This has been true globally and it cuts across all organization sizes and industry verticals. In fact, maybe the community should adopt a tagline that is something along the lines of “The Cloud and Contact Centers, Perfect Together!”
Another example of how important the marriage of the cloud and contact center functionality has become is the announcement from Fusion, a cloud communications, cloud connectivity and cloud computing services provider, that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with TFB (Technology for Business Corporation) to integrate TFB’s proprietary contact center and IVR solutions software into Fusion’s cloud services platform.
The partners believe that bringing TFB’s full application suite to the cloud will make the sophisticated solution more accessible to companies of all sizes. The Agreement allows for the future purchase of the software and associated Intellectual Property.
As noted, this is an exclusive agreement. Fusion now has the exclusive right to market TFB’s cloud-based contact center solution and its full suite of cloud communications, cloud connectivity and cloud computing solutions to TFB’s more than 500 enterprises in healthcare, government, energy, finance and hospitality sectors. The opportunity here for Fusion is that most TFB customers are currently using the software on-premise, i.e., they are prime candidates for cloud migration.
As the partners pointed out in making the announcement, the cloud-based contact center segment is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 17.5 percent, reaching nearly $2.0 billion by 2018. Last year, more than 62 percent of organizations reported using some type of cloud-based contact center solution, and approximately half of those that are not using cloud-based solutions are planning to move in that direction in the next 18 months.
“The best way to evaluate technology benefits is to learn directly from the customers that use it,” said Matthew Rosen, Fusion CEO. “We’ve learned from large enterprises served by TFB, including major nationwide retailers, expanding healthcare systems and government agencies, how significant an impact TFB’s contact center solution has made on their organizations. Each enjoys outstanding service and support on advanced applications that were developed especially for their industry’s unique requirements. We’ve taken the best of the best in contact center features and functionality to our cloud to ensure that our customers have the tools they need across all customer touch points, including intelligent routing, monitoring and real time reporting.”
Charles Cuggino, TFB CEO, said, “We’re excited about our exclusive partnership with Fusion to take our solutions to the cloud. We believe that the flexibility and scalability inherent in cloud solutions add tremendous customer value, combining a compelling OpEx financing model with the integration of future-proof communications, customer service and database applications that have been developed for enterprises with sophisticated requirements. The cloud allows us to place our advanced applications securely within the reach of all enterprises, regardless of their size or industry. Even the largest companies with multiple locations and seasonal business cycles can count on our integrated cloud solutions to more cost-effectively open their systems to the integration of support applications such as device-agnostic multi-media communications and enterprise-scale IVR on demand, delivering the services they need when and how they need them.”
It is hard to ignore the numbers from the two research firms in terms of market potential. In fact, it could be argued that contact center solutions this year have emerged as one of the main drivers of cloud adoption. The reason is that the combination of the cloud’s ability to provide ubiquitous connectivity to an increasingly dispersed workforce, be a cost-effective enabler of real-time omnichannel interactions, along with act as the conduit for enterprise-wide information sharing that leveraging big data can be turned into actionable business intelligence, makes this a marriage of opportunity and not convenience.
It will be interesting to see what the research firms have to say when they tally up the year-end results.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi