I am really confused about all of the recent posts about Gartner’s CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) Magic Quadrant for 2019. First of all, the service by Gartner is not a free one. To be included, Gartner requires vendors to make a payment. Secondly, all the brands are the “usual suspects” with a major exclusion of Cisco from this years list. There are many other vendors in the market place that have a CCaaS offering and they do not even get a mention. Why? because we choose not to pay Gartner’s exorbitant fees (there is a reason why their share price is over USD$100 a share).
People need to understand the trends that are now occurring in the CCaaS space. The incumbent vendors are having significant challenges around integration to all of the non-voice channels that our now available. Every meeting we attend about CCaaS, I have never walked out of a meeting where a prospect did not ask about non-voice integration. Not once. EVERYONE wants non voice, everyone wants audio (RTP) via WebRTC, WhatsApp, Facebook or Viber. Everyone wants automation.
Gartner, I am sorry, your review of the CCaaS offering is based on traditional usage. How about ‘agile’ methodologies? How about API integrations? How about CRM capabilities? I did not see this as part of your trends analysis for 2019.
The future of CCaaS is going to be split into several streams of businesses (and this is already starting). The traditional is the Service (Customer Service, post sales activity) aspect. This is where a consumer / customer makes contact with the Contact Center for help. The next is Sales (Quotations, opportunity management, contract development) where the opportunities are managed. Then there is Marketing (Customer awareness, lead generation, etc) where all of the lead creation and brand awareness is managed. If any of the vendors in CCaaS are to survive, the industry needs to be agile to the changes to consumers / end user customers demands.
Inclusion of automation is paramount. You just need to look at API vendors like automate.io, zapier.com, nexmo.com, etc to see how things are changing. If you simply visit one of these sites, you can see the power of automation. Then there is the redesign of the initial customer contact. You just need to look at what Yash and the team are doing at Jumper.ai to really understand how the initial interaction can now be fully managed and managed without the need of a human.
CCaaS vendors needs to understand these critical changes to survive. The future of CCaaS will be a hybrid one and driven by agility. Vendors such as Contack (a start-up from 2 amazing guys out of MIT) who are redefining the working from home agent. Here in my beloved ULAP, we are taking a different approach. We are developing our platform based on incident and incident management. Not interaction, no phone call, not email, not FB Messenger, but based on the incidents and root cause analysis (to really drive value around first interaction resolution). 15-20 years ago, Contact Center technologies such as Workforce Optimization, predictive dialer, etc were seen as a dark science with a geek in the corner of the room on a command line interface. As an example, today, platforms have call recording included (some of the vendors charged in excess of USD$500 per seat for call recording in a bygone era).
Over the next 12 months, you will see a continued and dramatic shift from voice to non-voice in how we connect for support. We will see significant improvements around automation and we will see a more customer centric, real-time interaction with the customer customers.
The exclusion of Cisco in this years Gartner’s report is a real sign of the times. Customers are now choosing CCaaS vendors based on capability and based on outcomes. It is no longer about brand recognition. The recent news of the Avaya / Ring Central partnership is another one which demonstrates customers appetite to spend on value and not necessarily brand recognition.
Here at ULAP we are successful because of our engagement with our customer. When we talk to prospects, it is no longer about how many agents do you have or what is your voice volume or how many FB Messengers do you deal with in a day. It is about derived outcomes based on dynamic changing customer needs. We no longer talk about call recording or IVR’s. We talk about how do we automate customer delivery. How do we make our customer customers feel that their concerns have been dealt with and on the first occasion. This seismic shift is what makes our customers hungry.
CCaaS vendors currently look at total number of subscriptions as their key success factor. The CCaaS vendors of the future are being measured on achieved outcomes, savings derived and the efficiency and effectiveness to meet customers changing needs. Does your CCaaS vendor really look out for your welfare or the collections at the end of the month/quarter/year?