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RingCentral Contact Center… Powered by inContact

In an October 2014 No Jitter post, Blair Pleasant, founder of UCStrategies, wrote, "I'd like to see RingCentral acquire a hosted contact center vendor to enhance its offerings." In March 2015 --highlighting the growth that cloud UC providers like RingCentral are having versus premises-based vendors -- Zeus Kerravala, founder of ZK Research, wrote, "It's time for cloud providers to interoperate." An announcement today from RingCentral has elements of both.

Instead of acquiring a cloud contact center vendor, RingCentral has teamed with inContact in a partnership that goes far beyond a simple resale agreement to include interoperability of cloud applications.

portable Like other cloud communications companies that started by targeting small office/home office and small and medium-sized businesses, RingCentral has set its sights on moving upmarket. It's succeeding: As reported in December 2014, the number of RingCentral customers with 50-plus subscribers has grown more than 100% year over year, with customers of that size representing about 20% of total bookings. Some customers are significantly larger than that, too -- for example, Baierl Automotive has 550 users in 11 locations, and Dycom Industries has more than 1,500 users in 400 some locations.

As RingCentral's Matt McGinnis, senior director for product marketing, told analysts on a briefing call, these larger customers have been asking RingCentral for a contact center solution. The company's ability to continue winning bigger deals increasingly is contingent on availability of a contact center offering, as typically the larger the firm the more likely it expects as much.

Instead of acquiring a contact center firm, RingCentral brought together "two best-of-breed cloud players." RingCentral and inContact are extending each other's networks, running fiber between data centers and creating one, seamless solution. This means all calls will be on-net -- e.g., transfers from the contact center to business extensions will incur no network charge.

The joint solution is scheduled for May availability; beta testing is not required, RingCentral said. Why not? Because it is already up and running. RingCentral has been an inContact customer for more than four years, expanding its implementation over time to 500 agents. "We knew the product really well before choosing inContact as a partner. We looked around, but didn't see any other solution that was better," McGinnis said.

RingCentral will offer contact center in three bundles:

  • Basic, from $100 per named agent per month -- includes the routing and reporting of inbound voice calls
  • Advanced, from $120 per month -- includes inbound voice, email, chat, and SMS interactions
  • Ultimate, from $180 per month -- includes all advanced channels plus outbound dialing, advanced interactive voice response and campaign management

Note that while inContact offers Discovery, an integrated workforce optimization (WFO) suite based on its 2014 acquisition of Uptivity, WFO is not included in the current packages. Those capabilities will be available a la carte.

InContact is obviously pleased to have added this path to market for its solution, which is already sold by Verizon, BlackBox, and CDW, among others. Talking about the announcement, inContact CMO Mariann McDonagh said, "RingCentral is strong in the mid-market and moving up to small enterprise. We see this partnership as another growth engine for us this year."

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