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December 02, 2010

Interactive Intelligence Identifies Future for Contact Center and IP Communications

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

What is the future of contact center and IP going into 2011? Shaheen Haque, territory manager of the Middle East and Turkey for Interactive Intelligence, uses his crystal ball and shares his thoughts:

  1. Cloud computing will still dominate discussions globally on the viability, uptake and securability. 2011 should see a shift in customers, at least initially looking at a CaaS (Communications as a Service) model rather than premise-based solutions. CaaS enables low/no upfront costs, reduced IT requirements and shorter implementation times for communications and contact center solution services.
  2. Real-time contact center analytics or intelligence with high resolution graphics and visual impacting charts will drive organizations towards a greater understanding of the operation and with the ability to offer real-time analytics back to their customers both internal and external.
  3. Smart mobile/Blackberry/i-Phone (News - Alert) and iPad application requirements will become prominent with the greater uptake of these devices both socially, as well as in business in order to make decisions faster, differentiate against competition and ultimately grow their revenues. There will also be many new manufacturers coming out with their own version of Apple’s (News - Alert) iPad, which [may] have already sold 60 million units worldwide.“We will see more functionality and features becoming available on these devices to empower the ever-growing mobile workforce,” said Haque.
  4. As data/ information exchange keeps getting pushed up against and beyond the enterprise limits, security requirements within all aspects of communications will reach an all-time high. Both customers and vendors alike will request and promote these essential security features respectively.
  5. Communications vendors will be forced to differentiate and create deeper, more sustainable value to the customers. This will fuel the transformation of project delivery models towards greener and rapid delivery, allowing enabling technologies such as Interactive Intelligence’s (News - Alert) pre-integrated suite of applications to become more attractive as the costs are driven down even further. Vendors will also need to make their product offerings more specialized to enter niche markets and enable competitive differentiation in an [increasingly] commoditized world e.g. vertical/industry specific cloud-based solutions.
  6. Speech will become reality in terms of contact center analysis of interactions. Analysis of the unstructured data in call recordings and attempting to derive insight from this data will happen. “The technology has been around since 2005 but I believe 2011 will be the year supervisors will have access to such technology and data analysis techniques,” predicted Haque. “At Interactive Intelligence, 2011 is the year, we will look to remove the traditional barriers of cost and complexity which has until now shrouded this technology.”
  7. Social networking collaboration/technologies, such Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, instant messaging and the like will continue to grow in popularity and will assist business communities in pooling customer content into a usable and accessible customer awareness repository in order to service and provide a greater customer experiences. Social technologies will most likely become integrated with both, business and communication applications. Haque’s firm is seeing the start of this phenomenon already. Going forward, any organization engaged with providing/servicing a contact center or communications service will need to consider the uptake and impact of social media technologies if they are to stay ahead off the curve. 2011 will see a surge of experimentation by the business communities on how to tame and focus this tremendous power.
  8. Increase in uptake of process automation solutions. Customers will see increased productivity, improvement in business processes and a fundamental upscale in competitive advantage.
  9. Video is not new, but with immense exposure of this technology in the Web, social software applications, unified communications and internet-based kiosk applications, video will look to enter the contact center requested feature list in the mainstream. Over the next few years, Interactive Intelligence will see video will become a common interaction mode between customers and contact center agents. One thing though, the agents will also have to think twice about their appearance, unless they are able to select avatars to stand in for them visually.
  10. The number of market players potentially dwindling in numbers, with the ever increasing trend of takeovers and buyouts within the software and technology space. The smaller niche players may feel it’s their time to merge with the larger vendors to assist them in completing their feature vision and broadening their go-to-market strategies.

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard



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