SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Sheila McGee-Smith | November 18, 2011 |

 
   

Contact Center Market: Game On

Contact Center Market: Game On Aspect, Cisco and inContact make some moves.

Aspect, Cisco and inContact make some moves.

From CPE contact center players introducing cloud strategies to the upstart SaaS-only players trying to usurp them, it's been a busy week for those that cover the contact center (customer collaboration?) market. It began Monday evening with Aspect Software’s first analyst meeting ever; moved on to Cisco's Collaboration Summit event and was capped off with yesterday’s announcements that Verizon will incorporate inContact’s cloud-based offer into its portfolio beginning next month, and that LiveOps has purchased social media-savvy Datasquirt.

Aspect Software Analyst Meeting
For the first time, the company created from the merger of Davox, Cellit, Rockwell, Aspect Telecommunications (and others )--privately held by Golden Gate since 2004--held a meeting to update industry analysts on its solutions and roadmap. For a company that has persistently claimed a space in Gartner's prized leader quadrant, this meeting was a long time coming.

In April 2011, for the first time since going private, Aspect filed financials with the SEC (securities law requires private companies that exceed a certain level of stock distribution to file financial data). With 2010 revenues of $507 million, Aspect is a significant player in the market, with thousands of customers worldwide. But the percent of revenue driven by product sales versus services has drifted down from 36% in 2006 to 23% in both 2009 and 2010.

How to reverse the trend? Move loyal, legacy Aspect TDM ACD customers to the latest platform, Unified IP 7 and sell existing customers more elements of the product portfolio, e.g., workforce optimization. And capitalize, while not over-rotating, on the tight integration of Unified IP with Microsoft Lync and SharePoint. Aspect successfully moved much of its predictive dialer base to Unified IP over the past few years. It now needs to replicate that success with its ACD base.

Cisco Collaboration Summit
At this year's summit, held in gloriously warm and sunny Miami, Cisco's biggest messages were about cloud. Several sessions were dominated by topics such as telepresence in the cloud (the Callway offer), conferencing in the cloud (WebEx) and enterprise communications in the cloud (Hosted Collaboration Service or HCS) as well as the virtualization of infrastructure, applications and desktops that help enable cloud. The 10,000-foot-view message is that the Cisco Collaboration Cloud (with high-value applications like WebEx, Jabber and Quad) will interface with an HCS Partner Cloud (for the voice services.)

From a contact center perspective, the cloud news was that early trials of Unified Contact Center Enterprise integrated into HCS will begin in January 2012, with general availability scheduled with the 9.0 release in "early summer." Contact center business unit General Manager John Hernandez not only reinforced the "Drive to #1" message that has been his mantra for the past 18 months , he pointed to success closing the market share gap between Cisco and number one Avaya.

inContact and LiveOps
inContact's announcement that Verizon will begin distributing its solution as Virtual Contact Center is great news for the cloud-based contact center solution company that earlier this year signed a distribution deal with Siemens Enterprise. While arguably Verizon has several contact center partners, including Genesys and Cisco, the inContact solution is a great fit for Verizon customers looking to upgrade from legacy Verizon offers, e.g., Centrex ACD or Web Center.

The LiveOps acquisition of Datasquirt brings in-house multichannel capabilities, including social media, that earlier had been available only with partner solutions. As one of LiveOps customers, CEO of American Support Matt Zemon, tweeted to me this morning, "To have all of these channels available in a single platform will be a powerful combination."

A busy week indeed.





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.