Coming off the first six months of 2011, Interactive Intelligence enjoyed cloud-based revenue growth numbers of 58% while orders increased a whopping 146% during the same period. Moreover, the cloud accounted for 26% of the company’s total new order dollar volume in the first half of 2011. Company CMO Joe Staples said the following to me in a meeting in New York, “We are seeing a huge shift towards the cloud.” He continued, “It is talked about in every single deal we are in.”
As a refresher – the company started selling a hosted solution in 2005 but relaunched its cloud-based communications as a service or CaaS solution in 2009.
And when you have a successful service, you always look for new ways to expand – in order to bring it to a larger audience. This is why the company has launched Quick Spin – a new trial site which is designed to allow companies to kick the tires of the hosted service before they buy. Staples explained that some of the functionality has been removed – typically items which require training to use properly. What you get is full unified communications including conferencing, desktop call control and enterprise IP PBX as well as contact center functions such as ACD, basic IVR, reporting, analytics and on-demand recording. Some things not included are predictive dialing, workforce management and post-call surveys.
Joe tells me you can set up the service in about an hour – and you can have a total of ten users, 3 workgroups and five skills. Moreover you can have 10 keywords or phrases you can use for speech-analytics.
Here is the interesting part of my discussion – Interactive Intelligence is chosen by customers in-part because of their long-experience in the market. The reason this is interesting is the company has been in the contact center space since the mid-nineties which makes their longevity years longer than many newer cloud-based vendors. When the company stormed onto the call center scene in the nineties they differentiated themselves by unifying communications across once-disparate boxes for IVR, ACD and PBX… For the first time, you could have a single unified system handling most everything you needed your contact center to do. But for years, the company was considered a newcomer going up against more established players like Melita, Rockwell Electronic Commerce, Lucent, EIS Davox and Aspect. In the cloud-based contact center space they are now an established incumbent.
Of course there are other reasons the company is winning in the cloud such as their use of virtual machines for each customer as opposed to multi-tenant architecture. Although for most situations, multitenancy works well at isolating user sessions, virtualizing each company’s sessions adds even greater isolation to user data each customer uploads to the Interactive Intelligence cloud. As an added bonus – Interactive allows customers to migrate from the cloud to an on-premise based solution. This feature is obviously a great option for companies who aren’t sure if they are ready to move to the cloud forever.
For companies looking to trial Quick Spin, you will go through a brief qualification phase to make sure you are a real company, not a competitor, etc. Then you are off and running with 2,500 minutes of use or 14 days of service – whichever comes first. Joe tells me companies will likely not use the system in a live environment but rather as a trial system. One of the benefits of note is the supervisor screens and reporting are both of production quality meaning you get a great feel for what it would be like to become a customer.
Of course any new technology takes time to be taken seriously but hearing that all discussions with new customers mention cloud and moreover that 26% of the company’s approximately $200M in annual revenue comes from cloud-based solutions shows that as far as customers are concerned, the move to cloud-based contact centers is very real and not slowing down.