Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
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Sheila McGee-Smith | August 19, 2015 |


Sharing Enghouse's Cloud Contact Center Story

Sharing Enghouse's Cloud Contact Center Story With a score of contact center-related acquisitions and three solution sets to offer, Enghouse is working to get the word out on its offerings in this space.

With a score of contact center-related acquisitions and three solution sets to offer, Enghouse is working to get the word out on its offerings in this space.

Enghouse Systems, a publicly held Canadian company reporting annual revenue of $220 million in 2014, says it aims to build "a large, diverse enterprise software company through strategic acquisitions and managed growth." The contact center has been a chief area of focus for the global company, which has approximately 1,350 employees, 1,000 partners, and 10,000 customers worldwide.

Enghouse is organized around three business segments:

  • The Interactive Group, of which contact center is part, serves the customer interaction market
  • The Networks Group provides software solutions for the design and management of complex network infrastructures in the telecommunications, utility, and oil and gas sectors
  • The Transportation Group enhances transportation operations with software solutions that maximize efficiencies and improve customer communications

In the past five years, Enghouse has placed strong emphasis on the contact center market, acquiring 10 or so companies in that space. While several of the acquired companies had recognizable brands (Apropos, Syntellect, Cosmocom, Zeacom) Enghouse has not to date invested in creating a corporate-level brand or communicating a portfolio-level product strategy. Last week, however, the company took steps to create a dialogue with the market by hosting its first industry analyst meeting.

At a high level, Enghouse executives explained that they believe that no single contact center solution meets the needs of all end-user companies. So Enghouse offers three solutions targeted at different segments:

  • Enghouse Interactive Communications Center (EICC), based on the Zeacom technology acquired in 2012 (I've previously written about EICC on No Jitter, often in the context of its role as a key Lync/Skype for Business contact center solution)
  • Contact Center Enterprise (CCE), based on technology from the Syntellect (2002) and Apropos (2005) acquisitions
  • Contact Center Service Provider (CCSP), based on Cosmocom technology (2011)

Of the updates Enghouse shared last week, I was most intrigued by those regarding the cloud solution, CCSP.

From the outset, Cosmocom designed its solution as a multitenant cloud contact center application, intended for service provider deployment. But core selling propositions had included rapid tenant activation -- one of the reasons that it was, and is still occasionally, sold into ultra-large enterprise environments.

What has Enghouse changed about the application? It added multichannel capabilities to the primarily voice solution. In 2014, it fleshed out the application with email and Web chat routing, as well as a callback capability. And this year it added Web calling -- including video -- plus an HTML5- based Web agent user interface.

Enghouse reports having 60 CCSP deployments, some supporting thousands of individual tenants. Some service providers use the platform to support many small contact centers, said Christoph Mosing, who as president of Enghouse Interactive is responsible for CCSP. For example, Orange Business Systems' Flexible Contact Center is based on Enghouse's CCSP. Another Tier 1 European service provider is using the platform to replace large premises implementations, and five local governments have deployed CCSP to support multiple contact center operations, the company said.

Enghouse's CCSP stands out as one of only a few carrier-grade multitenant solutions available for service providers to purchase, deploy, and operate from their own data centers. Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution for Contact Center (offered by 23+ service providers) is primarily deployed one instance at a time. Genesys, since its purchase by a private-equity firm, has moved toward deploying its applications from its own data centers as opposed to enabling service providers. Similarly, Interactive Intelligence, inContact, Five9, and LiveOps all deliver their solutions from their own data centers.

While some may contend that rationalizing the portfolio to a single offering would lead to more efficient use of R&D dollars, Enghouse CTO Alex Black argued passionately for his decision to keep all acquired platforms alive. I heard in his arguments several used by Interactive Intelligence CEO Don Brown as well. While there is no doubt that cloud contact center is delivering much growth, alternative deployment models will continue to exist well into the future.

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