New Interactive Intelligence Quick Spin Cloud Contact Center Trial Portal

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Technology Marketing Corporation  |  December 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2011 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions

Coming off the first six months of 2011, Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) enjoyed cloud-based revenue growth numbers of 58 percent while orders increased a whopping 146 percent during the same period. Moreover, the cloud accounted for 26 percent of the company’s total new order dollar volume in the first half of 2011.

Company CMO Joe Staples (News - Alert) said the following to me in an October meeting in New York, “We are seeing a huge shift toward the cloud. It is talked about in every single deal we are in.”

The company started selling a hosted solution in 2005, but re-launched its cloud-based communications as a service, or CaaS, solution in 2009.

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 that 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 that require training to use properly. What you get is full unified communications including conferencing, desktop call control and enterprise IP PBX (News - Alert) 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. It supports a total of ten users, three 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 its 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 its longevity years longer than many newer cloud-based vendors.

When the company stormed onto the call center scene in the nineties it differentiated 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 (News - Alert). In the cloud-based contact center space Interactive Intelligence now is an established incumbent.

Of course there are other reasons the company is winning in the cloud, such as its use of virtual machines for each customer as opposed to a multi-tenant architecture. Although for most situations multitenancy works well at isolating user sessions, virtualizing each company’s sessions adds even greater isolation to the user data that each customer uploads to the Interactive Intelligence cloud. As an added bonus, Interactive allows customers to migrate from the cloud to an on-premises based solution. This feature is obviously a great option for companies that aren’t sure if they are ready to move to the cloud forever.

Companies looking to trial Quick Spin will go through a brief qualification phase to make sure they real companies and not competitors, etc. Then they will be 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, which are both of production quality, meaning you get a great feel for what it would be like to become a customer.

Naturally, any new technology takes time to be taken seriously, but hearing that all discussions with new customers mention cloud and that 26 percent of the company’s approximately $200 million in annual revenue comes from cloud-based solutions show that as far as customers are concerned, the move to cloud-based contact centers is very real and not slowing down.

Rich Tehrani is CEO and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of TMC’s ITEXPO (News - Alert), one of the world’s largest and best-attended communications and technology conferences. Rich has also developed a large and loyal readership for his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi