Contact center specialist Interactive Intelligence is aiming to take its Communications-as-a-Service solution into smaller contact centers with a new version optimized for contact centers with 50 or fewer agents.
The new CaaS Small Center, like Interactive Intelligence's traditional CaaS solutions, is a cloud-based suite of contact center applications, including multichannel routing and queuing, interactive voice respond, quality management, multichannel recording and real-time speech analytics. CaaS Small Center also supports business users with unified communications functionality, such as IP-PBX, presence management, unified messaging, desktop and conferencing.
Interactive Intelligence hosts all versions of CaaS in its own data centers around the globe.
Interactive Intelligence touts CaaS Small Center as being easy for both users and partners to deploy, with all agent connections hosted online and no customization required. The platform also provides what Interactive Intelligence dubs an "easy upgrade path" to the CaaS editions for larger contact centers if users decide to expand.
The CaaS Small Center solution marks Interactive Intelligence's foray into the smaller-size contact center space, a market in which the Indianapolis-based vendor traditionally has not played. According to Paul Weber, vice president of sales at Interactive Intelligence, the company decided to move into the lower end of the contact center market to compete more aggressively with some of its rivals.
"We have made a focused effort to say, 'Yes, our growth is extremely strong in the high-end market.' That's where we do the majority of our revenue," Weber said. "But because our complete mission is really customer service or contact center automation, we are going to go downmarket to make sure that those competitors don't get a foothold."
Weber also said the new CaaS Small Center will accelerate the sales cycle for Interactive Intelligence partners, given how quickly the solution can be rolled out within a contact center.
"The lower end of the market gives partners a fast sales cycle and the ability to not do three or four deals in a quarter but to do potentially eight or 10 deals a quarter," Weber said.
As with the legacy CaaS editions, partner can tap into recurring revenue streams from selling and supporting CaaS Small Center. Meanwhile, partners also have the ability to build custom contact center or unified communications applications that serve as a complement to the CaaS suite, Weber said. These partner-submitted applications are hosted on Interactive Intelligence's MarketPlace, an online e-commerce site hosting a collection of third-party products also available for solution providers to sell.
Weber said many of the applications being developed by partners are aimed at specific vertical markets, where customers might need unique UC or contact center functionality. But a growing number of these applications -- which are compatible with Android and iOS platforms -- are designed to help contact centers handle the increasing number of customer service requests being sent from social media sites and mobile devices.
"Everybody is talking about social media and customer service, and our partners are 100 percent focused on the customer service space," Weber said. "Partners are pretty excited about being able to show their value by having expertise in what's relatively a new technology on the social side."
Interactive Intelligence's CaaS Small Center is available now in the U.S., with availability in Canada expected for the second half of the year. There is also a free, 14-day trial version of the product as part of Interactive Intelligence's Quick Spin program.
PUBLISHED APRIL 2, 2013