In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephonyï¿½
magazine, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary
companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies
leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future
of the industry. This month, we interviewed Dr. Donald Brown, founder,
president, and CEO of Interactive Intelligence, Inc.
IT: What is your companyï¿½s mission?
DB: In 1994 I left a software company that was about to go public
-- a company that I had started myself with my own money -- in order to
found Interactive Intelligence. I did so because I truly believed there was
a revolution coming in business communications and I wanted to be a part of
That revolution -- taking shape in the form of an open, software-based
communications platform that has rendered the proprietary PBX dead -- is
what this company is founded on and continues to be the driving force behind
IT: Please characterize your vision for Interactive Intelligence.
DB: My vision for Interactive Intelligence is to remain a leading
global developer of software for IP telephony, contact center automation and
IT: Describe some of the key decisions that you have made as CEO
to navigate your company through the recent turbulence of the financial
DB: Despite pressure over the last couple of years to cut costs
in all areas of operations, Interactive Intelligence has remained committed
to R&D. We spend, on average, nearly one-third of all revenue on R&D, and
will continue to commit significant resources to the development of
IT: What are some of the key technology decisions that you have
implemented to make certain Interactive Intelligence maintains its position
in the market?
DB: First, we chose to base our product on a totally
revolutionary architecture. Unlike our competitors whoï¿½ve bolted on
third-party applications from other vendors in order to provide a ï¿½completeï¿½
solution, we built our core applications as a single product. As a result,
our customers enjoy reduced costs, simplified administration and increased
We are always looking ahead to find new ways of improving our software.
Most recently, we released a first-of-its-kind product that incorporates
SIP, while providing built-in media control. This software finally gives
customers the option of migrating to VoIP without adding more hardware
devices to the network and without investing in additional proprietary
IT: What makes Interactive Intelligenceï¿½s services unique?
DB: Our people. Despite our growth, we remain accessible to
customers and have developed a culture that further enhances that
accessibility. This culture includes an emphasis on creativity,
independence, quality, and trust.
We have been told many times by customers how important it was that they
were able to call me directly with a problem or suggestion, and how
satisfying the result when they actually saw their suggestion get
incorporated into a new software version.
IT: What is the most pressing issue facing the IP telephony
industry today, and what can be done to alleviate problems such as this?
DB: The biggest problem is eliminating the expense of gateway
devices that are required to translate between IP and legacy TDM voice
formats. Once voice traffic is natively IP-based with IP voice connections
coming straight from the telco, IP telephony will truly take off.
To The June 2003 Table Of Contents ]