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Five9 Off to the Races in EMEA

Cloud contact center vendor Five9 this week announced a significant move into the European region.

In conjunction with a launch event held at the Grand National horserace in Liverpool, England, Five9 revealed that it has been building its presence in EMEA for more than 18 months. The company has established an EMEA headquarters in London, has deployed its applications in data centers in Amsterdam, and Slough, England, and has a network operations center and development team in Russia.

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But the company wants no surprises in this race for global presence. Ahead of this formal announcement, the company began serving traffic from its new data centers for clients that have EMEA locations, Dan Burkland, EVP, sales and business development for Five9, told me. This has allowed it to "burn in" the data centers and work out any potential issues with a locally staffed team before lifting the starting gate for all.

In mid-2015, Five9 began "selling in stealth mode," Paul Thomas, managing director of Five9's EMEA team, told me about the company's expanded footprint and announcement strategy. "We wanted to have customers and partners, to be able to point to success, not just a press release to say we are open for business."

Thomas joined Five9 nine months ago, having previously served as VP EMEA for Voxeo, and then regional VP for Aspect in Northern Europe after it acquired Voxeo in 2013.

Helping Thomas to spread the news that Five9 will be competing for European cloud contact center business is Sabine Winterkamp, senior director of marketing EMEA. Winterkamp, who joined the company last month, will work from Cologne, Germany, where since 2008 she has been the head of EMEA marketing for Voxeo Germany -- before and after the acquisition by Aspect.

Thomas, Winterkamp, and the sales directors and systems engineers brought on board have already seen success. In our conversation, Thomas described several deals, some with hundreds and others with thousands of agent seats, Five9 has signed in the past 90 days. Five9 also has signed its first EMEA channel partner, and we should expect additional press releases over the next few months giving more specifics, he said.

Certainly plenty of other North America-based cloud contact center companies have established presences in multiple global regions. Interactive Intelligence has operated its CaaS solution globally for several years, for example, and now is deploying its PureCloud platform the same way. And Cisco, with 29 partners delivering Hosted Collaboration Service for Contact Center partners, also supports a global offer.

But several companies that support multitenant cloud solutions continue to have the majority of their revenue driven by in-region customers. That fact is perhaps best reflected in the choice Gartner made to publish two distinct cloud contact center Magic Quadrant reports -- one for North America and another for Europe, with very different lists of market participants in each.

As the cloud contact center market matures, you could fairly assume that it will begin to mirror the global market seen with customer premises equipment -- with a relatively small number of global players. Five9's measured move into Europe -- establishing a beachhead before formally announcing its presence -- reflects its understanding that the goal is to be one of those global winners. Next up, Asia-Pacific?

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