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Dialpad is on a Multi-Channel CCaaS Journey

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Today, Dialpad announced it acquired Koopid, an AI-driven platform for omnichannel customer experience (CX). This is the third acquisition Dialpad has made in the last two months that demonstrate how serious the company is about contact center as a service (CCaaS): It was almost exactly a month ago that I wrote about Dialpad acquiring Kare Knowledgeware, which posted just three weeks after Dialpad announced a WEM partnership with Playvox. Dialpad wasn’t even on my CCaaS radar at the beginning of the year, but it certainly is now.
 
This acquisition surprised and intrigued me. I’ve been tracking Koopid since founder Dr. Venkatesh Krishnaswamy (“Venky”) founded it in 2016. I met Venky when he was running Avaya Labs, and I’ve run into him (and Koopid) at several events over the years.
 
Dialpad’s new acquisition is quite the catch. Koopid is a conversational AI company that goes beyond chatbots. Koopid embeds what appears to be a native conversational experience into all digital channels as well as mobile apps and websites. Koopid blends automation and live assistance throughout a conversation — even when it spans across channels and even sessions. It’s a fairly sophisticated, cloud-native offer that is already implemented in large enterprise organizations.
 
The acquisition aligns with the industry trend of moving toward digital-first solutions. Last week, NICE announced a digital framework for Customer Experience Interactions (CXi). Contact center staff and the customers they serve both prefer digital channels, but it’s harder than it texts err sounds. There’s a lot of pieces that need to fit together. For example, Genesys launched a new digital-first business unit last December, acquired Bold360 last May to bolster its digital channels, and last week acquired Exceed.ai for improved conservational intelligence.
 
Conversely, Dialpad’s move with Koopid hits three proverbial birds with one stone. Koopid supports all the major digital channels, and complements solutions such as Google CCAI and Kares Knowledgeware. Kare’s strength lies in deep semantic searches against multiple sources of unstructured data, while Koopid does better at complex customer inquiries involving a series of interactions. Koopid will serve as Dialpad’s foundation for omnichannel digital engagements.
 
Additionally, Dialpad only has to integrate Koopid once as TrueCaaS is Dialpad’s single platform for UCaaS and CCaaS.
 
Making conversational AI effective requires a user interface, agent desktop, an analytics engine, operations controls, and a design that addresses security and compliance. Koopid already put all those technologies together, and delivers this as a scalable cloud service. Koopid’s API integration points simplify both the integration with Dialpad as well as customer implementations. Koopid can integrate directly with enterprise infrastructure and applications.
 
The post-merger integration isn’t expected to take long. Both TrueCaaS and Koopid are cloud-native services. Joe Manuele, SVP of Business Development at Dialpad, said the companies have already created a proof of concept via existing APIs. Manuele expects a productized implementation soon.
 
This is an important piece for the Dialpad CCaaS solution. It’s addressing the evolution of omnichannel, or more specifically ‘multichannel contact management.’ It’s an emerging critical capability that contact centers need in order to understand more complex interactions.
 
Multichannel contact management generally applies to blending customer communication channels, but the opportunity is to leverage these interactions to quickly collect, curate, and act. It can enable or more agile contact center that can respond to shifts in customer preferences and expectations.
 
I’ve always found Koopid interesting, but felt it should be an integrated CCaaS component rather than a separate add-on. Aligning with Dialpad is one of those rare situations where both solutions benefit. Dialpad’s CCaaS will have the ability to compute meaningful conversational metrics continuously, and Koopid can leverage Dialpad’s real-time transcription and speech analytic voice Intelligence capability as an additional conversational input.
 
With the Koopid buy, Dialpad can now provide more comprehensive conversational data to understand intents and improve experiences from flow design to advisor desktop. This will all be available, natively within Dialpad CCaaS, rather than an add-on, silo, or afterthought.
 
Dialpad is acquiring Koopid entirely including employees (in US and India) and intellectual property. (Koopid owns two patents with two more pending.) Koopid formally launched in 2019 and has already formed partnerships with several contact center companies. It saw its messaging volumes grow 10 times in 2020, and its recurring revenue triple. Though no specifics were provided, Venky indicated growth has not slowed in 2021.
 
In addition to the technology, it’s a pretty significant acquihire for Dialpad. Both its founder, Venky, and its Head of Product Management, Dave Skiba, are now Dialpad employees. Both of them hold Thomas Edison Patent Awards for UC and CC inventions. Mr. Skiba is a NLP expert with over 100 patents.
 
Koopid has over 40 customers worldwide. Dialpad is currently evaluating options for the future of the Koopid standalone product.
 
I am very positive on this acquisition. First, we are embarking on a new generation of cloud roll-ups. We often talk about how cloud APIs make implementation and integrations faster for customers, but it’s also true for acquirers. The acquisition will allow Dialpad to leapfrog many CCaaS competitors, not just because of its multichannel capabilities, but because of its speed of integration. “The legacy on-premises providers, along with the first generation of cloud platforms, limit their customers’ ability to meet the rapidly changing needs of the modern consumer,” said Dialpad CEO Craig Walker.
 
I am also excited to see Dialpad moving so quickly. In less than a year, Dialpad has turned its ACD solution into a comprehensive CCaaS offer. In addition to its single TrueCaaS stack for UC and CC, it has an integrated WEM suite, self-service capability, and now a rich solution for multichannel contact management.
 
Dialpad is making smart acquisitions. It’s sticking with cloud-native, API-enabled services that don’t have a lot of overlap with existing products. It’s not just the contact center, last year Dialpad acquired Highfive to strengthen its meetings capabilities. It’s not just acquisitions either, earlier this year Dialpad teamed-up with T-Mobile to expand its go-to-market capabilities and wireless bundles.
 
Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.

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