NICE inContact Update: The Story Behind CXone
NICE introduces unified cloud platform... and maybe a slight strategic shift.
As I talk to customers (and yes, other vendors) about NICE and inContact, questions often center on whether the two companies, post-acquisition, operate independently or as a single entity. NICE shared some information in October 2016, and then again in May at company user/partner/analyst events. And today, with the introduction of its cloud customer experience platform, CXone, it not only provides its latest update but perhaps reveals a slight shift in strategic direction, as well.
First, what is NICE inContact CXone?
The company refers to CXone as a Unified Cloud Platform, delivering cloud omnichannel routing, workforce optimization (WFO), analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) from the Amazon Web Services cloud. The inContact components have been available for several months, and the WFO elements -- from the NICE Evolve suite -- will come this quarter. Analytics and AI components will follow at a later date.
In effect, then, NICE inContact CXone is a new brand identity for the single platform vision the company announced in May and, at the time, described as the coming Summer 2017 (17.2) release. But CXone is more than a software release and a branding exercise, company executives have told me.
The opportunity to sell and win cloud contact center deals of 1,000 or more agent seats is accelerating, Chris Bauserman, inContact VP of product marketing, said in a briefing. This announcement discusses NICE inContact's plans to capitalize on that opportunity, summarized in the accompanying chart.
Two of these elements are worthy of additional comment:
- 200 account executives are now trained to sell NICE inContact CXone, including 130 from NICE who participated in a three-day boot camp in July, Bauserman reported. inContact salespeople also received a modified version of NICE training. "This was not just a cursory introduction to each other's product lines," he said. The joint enterprise go-to-market strategy includes "two-in-a-box" for large enterprise deals. This means instead of either a NICE or an inContact salesperson taking the lead on an opportunity, the two will work together.
- The combination of the NICE and inContact ecosystems creates two newly joined organizations. DEVOne, for the developer community, allows knowledge sharing across customers, partners, and company programmers. The CXexchange marketplace includes more than 65 pre-integrated ISV partners.
What is that subtle shift in direction I alluded to earlier?
When asked about the future of the inContact brand last October, Eran Liron, NICE EVP, marketing and corporate development, said: "We believe inContact is a very strong brand for the market that it is serving. We also think it is a smart brand. Our cloud offering -- a full contact center -- will continue to be inContact." While today's announcement doesn't negate that statement, it does moderate it.
For the 125+ active CPE replacement opportunities NICE said it is wooing, the NICE brand may be stronger than inContact's. In this case, a minor shift just means that everyone is paying attention, re-evaluating, and perfecting.
Editor's note: This article has been updated since original posting.