Cloudy Forecast in Indianapolis
Jun 09, 2014
Last week I attended Interactions14, Interactive Intelligence’s partner, customer and analyst summit in Indianapolis. It didn’t disappoint. There were lots of good sessions, catching up, and Interactive Intelligence news.
The big news was the introduction of PureCloud, a new cloud offering much of which came with the acquisition of OrgSpan, a company founded by a former Interactive Intelligence developer, and majority owned by Interactive Intelligence CEO, Don Brown. As Michael Brandenburg pointed out in his blog on PureCloud, “Interactive Intelligence’s new PureCloud offering could very well be the epitome of hybrid UC cloud solutions today. Under PureCloud, platform responsibility is divided among Amazon Web Services (AWS) for scalability, Interactive Intelligence’s data centers for reliability and some on-premises hardware and software.”
Under PureCloud, businesses have the same deployment flexibility that ININ provides with CaaS, but employs a multi-service branch gateway device called Interactive Edge, which offers a little more punch. Interactive Edge handles PureCloud’s call control, media processing and endpoint registration, and therefore delivers something key to survivability in the contact center. While the Edge devices can be located in ININ’s data centers, if a customer chooses to host their own cloud and have the devices on-premise, if a connection is lost between AWS and the contact center, calls coming into the center are kept alive. The edge device continues to take and record calls, provide IVR, and ACD. When the cable goes back in, everything gets synced back up with Amazon and nothing is lost.
Prior to the acquisition, OrgSpan had developed some unique applications for the contact center including Social Customer Service and PureCloud Directory. PureCloud Directory, designed with the look and feel of social media, is a corporate directory that automatically synchronizes with Microsoft Exchange, and includes a lot of information about the agent including skill set, where they are in an organization, where they are located, interests or specialties, and other pertinent information. Social Customer Service lets customers pick their own agents by “shopping” for an agent from information stored in the directory, such as skill set, location or other features. While probably not a huge draw, this does allow companies to offer concierge type service to specific customers.
As one of the earliest of the premise-based contact center vendor to move into the cloud, the CaaS product has been a huge success for Interactive. Since its announcement, cloud in the contact center has really taken off with dozens of new vendors entering the market as well as legacy vendors developing cloud offerings themselves, either home grown or through acquisition. The PureCloud offering, with its tight integration with UC, IP PBX functionality, and unique new customer contact applications, will attract even more customers looking to avoid integration hassles and cost. It will also allow Interactive Intelligence to compete more effectively because of the integrated UC functionality, keeping it ahead of the game in the cloud.
Nancy Jamison is a Principal Analyst within Customer Contact within the Digital Transformation group at Frost & Sullivan. She covers all aspects of customer contact including cloud and premise-based systems and applications in the core areas of inbound/outbound routing, IVR, Workforce Optimization, and recording and analytics, with a particular focus on peripheral and emerging areas that impact the Customer Experience. These include speech technologies, omni-channel customer care, Big Data, digital marketing, Back Office Workforce Optimization, and Support Interaction Optimization.