Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

inContact and Siemens Enterprise Communications Working the Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 22, 2011 9:26:32 AM

While the contact center business is not the most dynamic market, it is undergoing more changes than I have ever seen. One of the biggest changes is coming about because of cloud computing. This trend was led by salesforce.com, and the impact is now being felt in the contact center market as more vendors start to provide a “contact center in the cloud.” I recently wrote about inContact , one of the first vendors to provide a full contact center in the cloud. Recently inContact announced an important partnership – and it’s not an obvious match. 

While call center software vendors are making dynamic changes, the traditional on-premises communication vendors, such as Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel and the many PBX vendors, have entered or are rushing into the software market’ with many replacing proprietary on-premises systems with software-based packages. And of course some of them have moved to the cloud. The latest announcement from inContact shows that one of the sleeping giants, Siemens, has jumped on the bandwagon by offering communications in the cloud through its Enterprise Communications subsidiary and by teaming with inContact has joined the competition for the contact center in the cloud. 

There are some unusual aspects to the partnership, one being that Siemens Enterprise Communications has taken a large equity stake in inContact. With that it gets a seat on the smaller company’s executive board and an exclusive deal to sell and support the inContact contact center in the cloud outside America; the companies will sell jointly in America.  

What does this mean for customers and potential new clients? It is good news for inContact clients, as the cash injection makes the company financially more stable and gives it funds to invest in products, marketing and support. It is good news for Siemens customers, who now have access to contact center services in the cloud. And it is good for companies looking to enhance or replace their contact center systems, because it provides another option that includes both communications management and contact center core applications. It’s also good from a support perspective, since Siemens Enterprise Communications has a far larger professional services and support staff. 

On a recent briefing call, representatives of both companies assured analysts that there is great synergy between them and they are working hard to thrash out go-to-market strategies, further integration of the products, and how best to support customers in different regions of the world. I am often skeptical about how partnerships between traditional hardware and software companies will work out, but the contact center in the cloud is now a reality and it offers companies an affordable way to innovate in the ways they manage customer interactions and enhance customer service. It is too early to say how this partnership will work out in the long term, but stay tuned; you can keep abreast and understand the value of it for your contact center by collaborating with me. 

 

Regards 

Richard Snow – VP & Research Director

Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, InContact, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Siemens Enterprise Communications

Richard Snow

Written by Richard Snow

Richard leads Ventana Research’s Customer and Contact Center Performance Management research practice, which is dedicated to helping organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing their customers, throughout their lifetime and across all touch points, including the contact center. He conducts research exploring the people, process, information and technology issues behind customer operations management, contact center management, and customer experience management. He also works with senior business operations and IT managers to ensure that companies get the best performance from today’s highly complex application products. Richard has worked in management and consulting leadership positions in the technology industry including with Price Waterhouse, Sema Group and Valors. In his work, he has been involved with all aspects of delivering highly complex IT solutions to a variety of clients in the telecommunications, financial services and public sectors. Richard has specialized in delivering customer care and billing solutions for telecommunications operators, and several multi-channel contact centers for organizations in both the public and private sectors.