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Interactive Intelligence Goes Even Bigger on Cloud

Interactive Intelligence today announced new services for delivery via its nine-month-old multitenant PureCloud platform: PureCloud Collaborate and PureCloud Communicate. The company provided exclusive demos at Enterprise Connect, with CMO Jeff Platon explaining the intent of these new services is to help businesses eliminate the need to use multiple applications for communications and collaboration purposes.

"Customers increasingly want to consume technology from a cloud partner," Platon said. It enables businesses to avoid dealing with complex hardware and software deployments while accelerating time to market.

In its formal announcement, Interactive Intelligence primarily focused on PureCloud Collaborate, as that service is available for free for everyone today; Communicate availability will follow soon. The capabilities include real-time collaboration tools such as instant messaging, multiperson chat rooms that can be easily organized around a particular business challenge, easily searchable employee profiles, group video conferencing, and even desktop sharing.

Other features include cloud storage for content management, IP-PBX capabilities, and support for both desktop and mobile devices.

This represents the latest step in the 20-year-old company's evolution. Historically, Interactive Intelligence has been thought of as a contact center business. That changed about four years ago when the company decided to go big on cloud, leading to the launch of its PureCloud platform in June of last year. In the words of CEO Don Brown, the enterprise-grade PureCloud platform was designed for unlimited scalability, reliability, security and rapid deployment. In January, the company rolled out its first service for this platform, called Directory.

Brown explained that when the company first made the move to cloud four years ago, cloud business really only made up 5% of its revenue, growing in the few years that followed to now make up more than half of Interactive Intelligence's revenue. Brown said that he sees an "even more revolutionary change coming in communications," and with that, the "future necessitated that Interactive Intelligence swing for the fences."

There are still problems with enterprise communications, Brown said.

"If you look around the Enterprise Connect show floor, you'll see lots of people that are sort of decrying, 'I've got the solution. I'm also capable of solving this problem,'" Platon added. "But the real challenge -- especially to those that are incumbents -- is there are tremendous obstacles to overcome, both technological and with business architecture."

"And really what they're doing is they're making the problem worse," Platon said. "They are adding to the proliferation with another application, another product that's not integrated and certainly not a modern cloud architecture. So there's really too many siloed communications in the world today ... and that's really the essence of what we believe we can address."

With these new services, Interactive Intelligence said it is striving for an integrated experience -- something it said others, too, are trying to provide but falling short. After witnessing the demo, my impression is that it does effectively provide a streamlined experience. For example, an employee could have a problem with a customer and use the services to locate the right person to address the problem, create a room centered specifically around the problem, loop in additional human resources, and tie in related content or documents -- and all quickly and intuitively.

By offering the PureCloud Collaborate service in a freemium model, Interactive Intelligence is hoping to achieve viral adoption. Essentially, its ultimate aim is to kill the PBX as well as email, referring to them as "two inventions that are sort of long in the tooth which most organizations have grown to despise," Brown said.

As Marty Parker, principal consultant at UniComm Consulting, noted, if Interactive Intelligence is successful with this initiative, it will really be the first company to achieve the integrated experience about which we hear so many vendors talking. If Interactive Intelligence is able to solve a production problem, he added, that's where the real value of these new services will come out.

Interactive Intelligence plans a number of PureCloud Collaborate features focused around work management and work prioritization. The company said it thinks these new features will obviate the need for email further, so that's something to be on the lookout for in the future.

[Editor's Note: Hear more from Interactive Intelligence on its PureCloud platform and collaboration tools during our March 25 webinar "Simplify Your Collaboration and Communications Tools to Drive Business Success." Register today!]

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