Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

October 2010

You are browsing the archive for October 2010.

Interactive Intelligence to Unveil CIC Version 4.0 at Partner Event

Hi I'm reporting live from the 2010 Interactive Intelligence Global Partner Conference in San Antonio, which is about to Kick Off shortly. The company, which makes contact center, business process automation and enterprise unified communications solutions, is expected to announce the next version of its Customer Interaction Center (CIC) platform, the common platform upon which all of its applications are built. I'll be updating this blog post periodically as we move through the event, which is scheduled to begin at 8:15 a.m. CT with a presentation from Chief Marketing Officer Joe Staples, followed by the unveiling of CIC Version 4.0 introduced by company founder and CEO Don Brown. According to the program brochure, the next version of CIC "pushes scalability to a new level -- opening up even larger opportunities; introduces a new .NET Supervisor -- improving administration; adds a new .NET Reporting interface and cradle-to-grave audit trail; reaches the goal of moving all media processing onto the Interaction Media server;" and more. Joe Staples Says this year's conference has more than 400 attendees This year they are doing something different : Streaming live to colleagues, Not everyone could come so they opened this up to select partners. For the "social media moguls, they have made tweaks to the program... They've also created a Twitter feed for the show, where people can post and share comments. This year's show includes six tracks, 84 sessions. He discusses Interactive's recent acquisition of debt collections solutions provider Latitude Software -- there will be a special session dedicated to covering Latatiude's solutions and how they will be integrated with CIC. Other cool sessions include: --The Successful Multichannel Contact Center --Communications-as-a-Service Product Overview --Successfully Selling into the Enterprise with CIC --Introduction to the Web portal All presentations this year are being recorded so that its not just the PPT slides. To "bribe" attendees to submit feedback forms, they offering Apple TV set-top box. Staples admits that during past events "very few forms were turned in." They will do a random drawing of one form to select the winner. Attendees will attend a special awards reception dinner at Knibbe Ranch this evening -- buses will take attendees off-site. A mechanical bull will be featured at this event. The event also features a Technology Fair with 17 different vendors exhibiting. This will also feature opportunity for attendees to win "a number of high tech gadgets." Staples says it takes them about 6 months to put the event together, and they really want attendee feedback, so he encourages everyone to submit comments.

A Review of Interactive Intelligence's CaaS Offering

This is the continuation of my live blog coming from Interactive Intelligence's Partner Conference in San Antonio: Roe Jones, Product Manager for Interactive Intelligence, presents on the company's new Communications as a Service (CaaS) offering. He goes over what CaaS is -- and what it isn't. It isn't traditional "hosted" as per the traditional ASP model, which required client side software, this is a pure web-based model. They've taken their robust CIC platform and totally rewritten it in .NET to make it fully web-based and highly scalable. They're already seeing strong uptake for this new offering -- not just from existing customers but particularly from new ones. Interactive's CaaS revenue increased 59 percent in 2009 and most of this was from new business. The trend continues: They got one CaaS order for more than $1 million and three for more than $250,000 in 1Q 2010. Jones says they're CaaS offering offers a broad set of mature applications The SIP based offering is now being used by more than 3,500 customers. The unique local contral capabilities of this offering allows them to maintain full control of their phone lines senstive data and adminisatrative changes. Also unique about this offering is that each customer runs on a dedicated virtualized server. This allows for superior security, up time and disaster recovery through virtualization. Also unique to the service is the fact that they can quickly and easily transition a customer to an on-premises system -- they just simply take that virtualized server and bring it over to the customer's premises. They use Savvis for colocation.

Contact Center Market Update 2010

This is the continuation of my live blog from Interactive Intelligence's Annual Global Partner Conference, currently underway in San Antonio, Texas. This morning I'm attending a session about the state of the contact center industry, presented by analyst Sheila McGee Smith. The fear that people have is "viral" -- if something goes viral what do I do? She points to a viral video United Smashed My Guitars -- famous country musician's instruments were smashed while he was flying on United Airlines. The point is, this video went viral and is still receiving a ton of hits a year later in 2010. She discusses Cisco Quad, its new social media platform -- they have now brought this into the contact center through a new "customer collaboration platform" It's a contact center version of the enterprise edition. The product, however, won't be available until 2011. She says Cisco has a demo online "but they still don't have a product." "What is being done here is no different than what Buzzeant can do." Genesys' new G8 platform also promises social media integration -- the goal is that they want the "entire stream of communications" can be tracked and known to the agent when a customer calls in -- in other words, knowing what they wrote on Facebook before they even call in. She points out that Genesys, which is owned by Alcatel-Lucent, is no longer a company brand, but rather a product brand. The two companies are now merged -- they now share sales and marketing and the people who sold Genesys technology are now selling ALU technology as well. As far as social monitoring goes, Genesys wants to be able to take any social media stream and get that to the agents using the Genesys platform. "How they are doing that specifically, don't know." Avaya is also getting into social media monitoring. Their solution, however, is "going to be simply called a gateway." "They are not specific - no partner - no Cisco Quad - nothing to really hang your hat on," McGee Smith says. She says there are a lot contact center vendors out there that are getting into the social networking integration that still haven't gone multichannel -- they have no integration with email or web chat -- so how are they going to do it? A lot of companies are saying they're going to do it -- just so they can say they are doing it. Buzzient however provides tight integration with CIC.