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8x8 Adding Contact Center Capabilities at Cloud Speed

Last month I wrote that 8x8 was hard at work adding capabilities that would make its solutions more attractive to enterprise customers. Specifically, 8x8 had made acquisitions to buttress its outbound contact center and quality management offerings. This week the company announced a new version of its Virtual Contact Center (VCC), and one of the key elements of this announcement is the addition of analytics capabilities.

In its 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, Dimension Data reported that respondents to its annual survey voted analytics the number one factor that will change the customer experience industry over the next five years, yet 40% of respondents reported having no analytics capability. In my opinion, one of the factors inhibiting broader adoption of contact center analytics has been cost. Deploying analytics has typically required an add-on solution, often from a third-party provider (e.g., not part of the contact center suite), and a fair amount of consulting and professional services (i.e., time and cost).

8x8 is aiming to change that with its new cloud-delivered analytics capabilities. Four new supervisor dashboards have been designed, labeled as big picture, queue performance, agent performance and agent group performance. A filtering feature allows the supervisor or manager to display information for the top five, 10, or 20 instances of a data element (e.g. longest hold times), in order to focus on what is happening in the contact center that is most impactful. The dashboards also allow supervisors to see how one variable is affecting another, such as when increased call volumes begin triggering abandoned calls.

Two new features of 8x8's analytics are seen in the graphic below. Along the top, the current value of different parameters are shown -- such as the current performance against service-level agreement -- along with a trend line and a color indicating positive or negative performance (blue vs. red). On the lower right, a heat map helps identify the specific queues that are contributing to positive or negative trends. The analytics dashboards are delivered via Web browser, and can be accessed via computer, tablet or smartphone.

In addition to analytics, two additional new features are included in the VCC release: virtual queuing and co-browsing. Co-browsing allows agents and customers to connect in real-time to view the same webpage. Max Ball, 8x8's product marketing lead for contact center says the new release is scheduled to be generally available in September. Pricing information for the new features has not yet been made available.

One of the recurring themes of 2015 has been the delivery of UC and contact center applications in an integrated cloud service. Not just 8x8, but Interactive Intelligence with PureCloud, and RingCentral with its inContact partnership, are betting that this is the year companies begin looking for suppliers that offer both solutions via a multi-tenant cloud deployment model. It will be interesting to see whether these offers are successful in taking market share from contact center-only solution providers like Genesys, LiveOps, Five9 and Aspect.

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