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Interactive Intelligence Introduces PureCloud Engage

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Interactive Intelligence today announced the newest service for its multitenant PureCloud platform: PureCloud Engage, tailored toward boosting customer engagement through the scalability and flexibility of the cloud. This release follows on the PureCloud Collaborate and PureCloud Communicate services the company introduced in March at Enterprise Connect Orlando, as I covered for No Jitter at the time.

This announcement comes out of Interactive Intelligence's home base in Indianapolis, where the company's Interactions conference is taking place this week. I got a preview of the Engage service from Interactive Intelligence CEO Don Brown, and then sat down with CMO Jeff Platon to talk about the offering in more depth.

The Engage service is the third element of Interactive Intelligence's PureCloud platform, which runs on Amazon Web Services, selected for its scalability, reliability, and security, Platon said. Currently, Engage provides multichannel routing, recording and quality management; speech-enabled IVR; graphical scripting; reporting; and customer relationship management integrations.

Interactive Intelligence said it plans to roll out new capabilities on a continuous basis, including an advanced behavioral analytics engine that would match customers to ideal agents according to personality profiles and details like geolocation. Another related feature would allow customers to browse the personality profiles, select the agent they feel best suits their needs, and communicate directly with that person through their preferred channel.

Developing Engagement
The Engage announcement comes earlier than Interactive Intelligence had initially expected, with the project team cutting about six weeks off of development time, Platon said. Interestingly, a significant portion of the development team, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., has been with the company for 18 to 20 years -- almost the entirety of Interactive Intelligence's existence, having been founded in 1994.

For the PureCloud Engage project, the dev team was told it could do whatever it wanted as long as it did not use any old code, Platon said. This was to ensure that developers used new languages and modern software design in creating PureCloud Engage. The goal was to use open source, and to make it easy to integrate and highly secure, he said.

"Few, if any, market leaders are willing to build a completely new, secure, multitenant cloud services platform, and a completely new enterprise-grade customer engagement application to deliver great customer experiences," said Keith Dawson, Ovum practice leader for customer engagement, in a prepared statement. "That's what Interactive has done, and its latest customer engagement service extends the rapid deployment, reliability and scalability benefits of its PureCloud platform to give contact centers a wealth of sophisticated multichannel applications."

Apps available via the Interactive Intelligence Marketplace, in addition to packaged integrations such as for Active Directory and Salesforce as well as REST APIs, will take the functionality of Engage even further. The dev team is working on integrations for second-tier applications like Zendesk and ServiceNow. The goal is to publish APIs within the next year so that third parties can do the integrations themselves, Platon told me.

A Contact Center State of Mind
With PureCloud built to be capable of infinite scale, it might seem like the company would target the largest contact centers as customers. But Platon reminded me that half of the contact center market is made up of small, sub-100 seat, businesses. So Interactive Intelligence will focus its PureCloud efforts on small contact centers for now -- although Platon did say that over the course of the next couple of years the company intends to increase the size of operations it targets with its cloud contact center offerings.

As it grows into new markets, Interactive Intelligence will take more of a scientific approach to its marketing initiatives, segmenting the market and getting very targeted within those segments, Platon said. Within each market segment, he added, there is a different buying journey, which means a different selling process. "Size does matter; industry does matter."

PureCloud Engage will be generally available in North America by the end of the month. Interactive Intelligence will offer a one-year contract for this and its other PureCloud services.

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