Avaya Partners with Spoken for CCaaS for BPOs

Avaya last week announced a new contact center as a service (CCaaS) offering targeted at business process outsourcers (BPOs), delivered in conjunction with Spoken Communications. The announcement is one of many that came out of Avaya Engage, the company's partner/user/influencer event held in Las Vegas.

When I heard the news, I had a number of questions about the partnership and offering. So I sought out some answers during my time at the three-day event, and here's what I've found out.

Who is Spoken Communications?

I'll admit to having only vague awareness of Spoken Communications prior to last week. In December 2014, Avaya and Spoken announced their initial partnership, to cross-sell a solution described at the time as an "Avaya hybrid cloud Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution for enterprise contact centers."

From a joint briefing with Spoken CEO Mo Afshar and CMO Jon Gettinger, and Tej Kohli, VP/GM Cloud Services, Avaya, I learned that in the intervening years, Spoken has emerged as "Avaya's premier CCaaS partner," with 40,000 agents now running in the cloud. The company's product is called Spoken ConversationCenter.

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Which Avaya contact center solution is this BPO offer based on?

The offer that has been in the market for the past two years is based on Avaya Elite (voice), Elite Multichannel (an add-on based on technology from the purchase of Agile Software assets), CMS (reporting), and Experience Portal (multi-channel self-service platform). These are seen marked 1 in the architecture slide above (numbered annotation added). These elements have been "abstracted" (Spoken's term) and are offered on a multi-tenant, scalable platform built by Spoken (marked 2).

With this announcement, Avaya and Spoken have aligned their roadmaps toward including Oceana, Breeze, and Equinox into ConversationCenter in the future (marked 3). Spoken also has additional features that it uses to fill out the offer, such as analytics, recording and CRM integration (marked 4).

Can the Avaya-Spoken BPO Offer be compared to Genesys and EchoPass?

EchoPass, until its purchase by Genesys in 2013, was a Genesys cloud partner that bought Genesys solutions and installed them in a datacenter, wrapped them with their own multi-tenancy elements and additional services, and offered a hosted/cloud solution to customers. When I asked Spoken's Afshar if the two scenarios were similar, he replied that Salesforce and Oracle were a better analogy. "Salesforce was the first SaaS offer built on Oracle."

I'm still not sure that the EchoPass analogy doesn't hold but I understand the distinction Afshar made. Prior to Salesforce, to get Oracle CRM a company needed to be running Oracle ERP -- an expensive, time-consuming process. At $35 a month per seat, Salesforce had you up on CRM the first day without any ERP running. The analogy I make here is that a customer doesn't have to buy and install an entire Avaya Aura infrastructure in order to get CCaaS.

Is this offer only for BPOs?

There are specific BPO features in the Avaya/Spoken offer, including per-interaction security, sub-tenancy levels for clients, detailed metering and billing reports. That said, the clearest answer to this question is offered in a blog written by Afshar on the Spoken website. The blog states that the joint offer will be "for large contact centers, especially Contact Center Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs)" -- so not exclusively to BPOs. As Spoken's CMO Jon Gettinger said during our briefing, "We are going to go elephant hunting."

Afshar's blog goes on to say that, "Spoken will also be offering this same technology outside the BPO world as Spoken ConversationCenter with Avaya." This offer, then, is not just for BPOs. Avaya will focus on any very large customer (think tens of thousands of agents). Alone, Spoken will continue to offer CCaaS built on Avaya technology broadly to the enterprise market.

Learn more about contact center/customer experience trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Contact Center track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.

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