Buying CCaaS: Brand Name vs. White Label
When evaluating prospective service providers, ask: Whose cloud contact center software is that?
Today Enghouse Interactive announced an enhancement to its Contact Center Service Provider (CCSP) solution, a provisioning portal. The portal can be used by service providers to ease the administrative tasks involved with provisioning cloud contact center tenants, and by end user customers to control day-to-day tasks like managing agent names, extensions, skill assignments, queues, routing rules, working hours, and holiday and operational calendars.
One of the key differences between CCSP and other multi-tenant cloud contact center solutions on the market (e.g., Five9, inContact, LiveOps) is that service providers purchase and deploy CCSP in their own data centers. The service provider, which could be a telco, cable company, VAR, or other type of technology reseller, purchases a fully supported product (in this case, CCSP) then creates a contact center as a service (CCaaS) offer.
This type of product is often called a "white label" solution as it allows the service provider to apply its own brand and identity to the CCaaS offer. The service provider often combines the CCaaS with other services, such as toll free carrier services, professionnal services, other applications like Salesforce or Microsot Exchange, or vertical software such as hospitality or healthcare applications.
One of Enghouse Interactive's service provider customers for CCSP is IT provider EarthBend. I asked EarthBend VP and GM Joe Galinanes why it chose to purchase Enghouse's CCSP. The decision brings with it the tasks of deploying, managing, and upgrading CCSP, while the alternative would be to resell another multi-tenant CCaaS solution. Galinanes didn't hesitate in his response: "It's pretty simple -- to control the customer experience. Using a third party, I'm at their will and their mercy."
The fact that EarthBend delivers the CCSP software directly has a big impact on the end customer as well, Galinanes continued. For example, EarthBend will often deploy its staff at a customer's company location. When talking to a prospective customer he might ask, "Do you have your own accountant on staff? No. Do you have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) people on staff? No. Then why do you have IT people on staff?" In addition to providing contact center software maintenance, an EarthBend IT professional can assist a small to mid-sized firm with the other IT support it requires -- without having a full-time asset on site.
I pointed out that since EarthBend has to upgrade its CCSP software periodically by either purchasing a new release from Enghouse or taking advantage of a maintenance agreement, it cannot offer customers the benefits of continuous software upgrades, such as that offered by Interactive Intelligence with PureCloud. "95% of my customers don't care about bleeding edge," answered Galinanes. "They are still trying to do multichannel effectively. They are trying to migrate to cloud. If they want the latest bells and whistles, they can get that somewhere else."
A small to mid-size company considering a move to cloud contact center, a firm with perhaps less than 1,000 employees and less than 100 contact center agents, has a complex set of choices. While a company may not care about having a continuous flow of feature upgrades, it should understand the choice it is making. Cloud brings with it the promise of never having to upgrade your own software, leaving that task to a service provider. Make sure that your provider offers you an easy way to make day-to-day changes yourself via a Web provisioning portal. And understand how that software will be updated over time -- automatically by the software provider or on a scheduled basis by your service provider.
Brand name versus white label? It also makes sense to understand the vendor behind the white label. I know when I buy a Kenmore washing machine from Sears I like knowing it's made by Maytag. So ask the question of your prospective service provider: whose cloud contact center software is that?