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Which Way to CCaaS?


Photo of road sign with arrows in different directions against cloud backdrop
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CCaaS providers offer some great options, with incredible technologies that can lower costs and deliver more features with better customer engagement. That’s why the sector is growing so quickly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Selecting the right CCaaS provider involves a complex series of decisions and evaluations around costs, features, extensibility, and more. This post is provider agnostic; my intention is to examine the more rudimentary question of how enterprises can purchase a CCaaS solution. They have several paths to consider.
Provider Direct: One of the benefits of the cloud is it can eliminate the infamous middleman. Most CCaaS providers sell directly, and some even offer a complete self-service experience: Enter a credit card and don a headset. While this approach can be efficient, it’s important to consider that buying direct likely won’t save you money, and middlemen often add value.
8x8, Edify, Five9, RingCentral, and Vonage are examples of providers that sell direct, and are all expanding into larger accounts. The main limitation with the direct model is gaining access to experts who can assist with the customization and support that can take the implementation to the next level.
Consider going direct when the CCaaS implementation is small (fewer than 50 agents) and/or simple, and internal staff are experienced with contact center features and capabilities.
CCaaS Sales Agents and Resellers: Most providers have a network of channel partners that can help customers with acquisition, implementation, and, in many cases, support. The two basic models are sales agents and resellers.
Most CCaaS providers have a network of sales agents, and some have resellers, too. The agent model is similar to purchasing direct from the provider, and the customer eventually becomes a direct customer. In the reseller model, the partner takes a more active role in designing and supporting the solution. Licensed solutions are typically purchased via resellers. For more explanation on the differences, see my recent post: "Reselling UCaaS: Why This Model Is Growing in Popularity."
Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, and Mitel (and many others) have an extensive network of resellers. Major resellers include: ConvergeOne, Presidio, World Wide Technology, CDW, TTEC, and Verizon. They all have broad portfolios that include CCaaS.
An alternative channel is emerging for CCaaS via application developers. A bespoke business application may have embedded CCaaS capabilities and/or channels provided from platform providers such as Amazon and Twilio.
Consider agent or reseller models when seeking more guidance in selection, implementation, support, or development of a cloud-delivered contact center. This can be a good fit for small-to-midsized contact center implementations of varying complexity. The bespoke solutions are suitable for any size implementation.
Large/Global System Integrators (SIs): As part of the drive to digital transformation and cloud, large SIs have developed practices that cover contact centers. These include Accenture, Deloitte, Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, IBM, Atos, Capgemini, NTT (formerly Dimension Data), HCL, and more. SIs can be very good at infrastructure, cloud migration, and digital transformation projects where the contact center is a component of a larger initiative. Large/global SIs are in a position to facilitate large-scale implementations with their vast pool of subject matter experts, consultants, and technicians.
Large/global SIs tend to work at the top end of the market and are well suited for large (more than 2,000 agents), complex multi-regional implementations and integrations with sophisticated requirements.
Specialized Integrators: A reasonable share of channel sales are going toward specialists that are focused on the design and implementation of contact centers. This sector is expanding with the growth of CCaaS. For example, VoiceFoundry, recently acquired by TTEC, is focused on Amazon Connect. Other players include Servion, Voxai, ATSG, Carousel, and Cameo in the U.S. and Sabio in the U.K. Either organically (Servion) or by acquisitions (Sabio), these specialist providers are expanding their portfolios and developing practices with numerous technologies and services that allow them to streamline migration and customization.
Specialized integrators fill that gap between mid-market and complex enterprise. They can also provide related services. For example, Servion has offshore outsourcing capabilities in addition to more traditional implementation and support services. Cameo has recently followed with similar offshore capabilities. These types of services have only been practical for large contact centers in the past.
The contact center is rapidly emerging as the innovation center of enterprise communications. The rate of innovation and expected changes are spectacular, and CCaaS is the vehicle. I expect to see many new CCaaS entrants.
Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.