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 >>

Sheila McGee-Smith | December 01, 2015 |


LiveOps Splits, Private Equity Buys Contact Center SaaS Business

LiveOps Splits, Private Equity Buys Contact Center SaaS Business The LiveOps Cloud Contact Center business will focus on speeding development of the next-generation platform, CXEngage.

The LiveOps Cloud Contact Center business will focus on speeding development of the next-generation platform, CXEngage.

Change is underway at LiveOps, with its LiveOps Cloud Platform now owned by private equity per a deal announced today with Marlin Equity Partners, a global investment firm with more than $3 billion of capital under management, along with venture capital firm Presidio Partners, an existing LiveOps investor.

The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, reinforces the attractiveness of the cloud contact center business to the financial markets. From Permira's 2012 acquisition of Genesys to three funding rounds for NewVoiceMedia in 2013 and 2014 and Five9's IPO in 2014, the equity markets clearly approve of the strong double-digit growth contact center software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers have been delivering in an otherwise near-flat business communications market.

LiveOps Over the Years
I first wrote about LiveOps six and a half years ago, in a No Jitter post that was more about a then-burgeoning social media tool, Twitter, than it was about the company. It was during a period I call "LiveOps 2.0."


Learn about the latest contact center trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016. View the sessions here.

LiveOps began in 2000 as a business process outsourcer (BPO) with a unique twist. Instead of hiring agents and housing them in contact centers, LiveOps recruited agents to "become their own bosses," working hours that they set themselves from their homes. LiveOps uniquely managed distribution of calls through algorithms that rewarded agents for not only being available when they said they would be but also for their effectiveness, as measured via attributes like customer satisfaction and close rates.

LiveOps initially put its routing and management software to its own use in managing the 20,000 or so agents it employed (LiveOps 1.0). LiveOps 2.0 came in 2008, when the company made the strategic decision to package and resell the capability in a SaaS model, and hired a team seasoned in creating and marketing contact center software -- 25 or so of them from Genesys. This included Wes Hayden, who served as LiveOps president; Paul Lang, who was SVP of products and marketing; and many other sales and marketing staff.

The Genesys team left LiveOps almost as suddenly as it had come. By 2010, nearly all of the Genesys talent had moved on to other contact center and enterprise communications jobs. They landed at companies such as Jacada, Unify, and Virtual Hold Technology, and some eventually found their ways back to Genesys.

I view LiveOps 3.0 as the period when Marty Beard joined the company as CEO... and brought others, including Ann Ruckstuhl as CMO, with him. Perhaps the most notable developments from this period (Beard left LiveOps in June 2014) were the release of a market-leading WebRTC agent desktop and the purchase of start-up UserEvents and its CXEngage platform.

LiveOps, Take 4
With the CXEngage platform, created by UserEvents founder and now LiveOps CTO Jeff Thompson, and today's spinout, the stage is set for yet another rebirth, LiveOps 4.0. Current LiveOps CEO, Vasili Triant, will remain at the helm of the newly acquired SaaS-based company, which will operate as an independent entity focused on the ongoing development and innovation of the cloud contact center platform. Both the SaaS and BPO businesses will continue to use the LiveOps brand name for the time being -- LiveOps Cloud Contact Center and LiveOps Agents on Demand, respectively.

In an interview this week, Triant described how the division of LiveOps into BPO and SaaS companies will mean more investment and focus for each business. For SaaS customers, "nothing changes but speeding up CXEngage." Here he is referring to the next-gen platform LiveOps has been working on for most of 2015, already in the hands of beta customers.

In using the CXEngage branding, Triant implies a strong influence from the acquired UserEvents technology. The continued presence of serial-entrepreneur Thompson reflects the significance of this technology, as well.

The company, it seems, has been prepping for a separation throughout 2015. For example, originally headquartered in Silicon Valley, LiveOps' BPO business is now in Scottsdale, Ariz., and LiveOps Cloud Contact Center re-located to Austin, Texas (the next Silicon Valley?). In addition, 150 employees dedicated to the SaaS business move to the private equity venture. On the short list of things to do is hiring staff professionals (e.g., human resources, finance) for functions performed at a corporate level until now.

If you're interested in hearing more about the new LiveOps and the CXEngage platform, consider attending Enterprise Connect 2016 in Orlando, Fla., the week of March 7. LiveOps CTO Jeff Thompson will be joining executives from Five9, inContact, and 8x8 in this year's "Contact Center in the Cloud session. Register now using the code NJPOST to receive $200 off the current conference price.

Follow Sheila McGee-Smith on Twitter and Google+!
Sheila McGee-Smith on Google+


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

December 13, 2017

The two major vendors in the Unified Communications space, Cisco and Microsoft, are both strongly promoting their cloud UC deployments. If cloud UC is on your enterprises roadmap, but you dont want

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
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 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.