Chris Botting, Senior Director Product Development, Customer Collaboration, Cisco and Ross Daniels, Director of Marketing, Customer Collaboration, Cisco.
Cisco Directors, Chris Botting and Ross Daniels, stated that Cisco is globally the number two contact centre infrastructure provider with an estimated ACD market share of 18% globally, lagging number one provider Avaya who currently own an estimated share of over 35%. However, Cisco claims to be making inroads into Avaya's dominance. In the IVR market Cisco state they are ranked number one, and research from Gartner places Cisco in the 'Leaders' category within the Contact Centre Infrastructure Magic Quadrant.
Daniels highlighted Cisco's business performance within the ACD market. "Within the ACD business our share gains over the last couple of years have been impressive. We have jumped from number three or four to number two worldwide, and in certain markets, such as the US, we have closed the gap significantly on Avaya where Cisco has a market share of 29%."
Daniels continued, "Our projections have Cisco as number one in North America in the next 1-2 years. Our objective will then to be number one globally in the next 3-4 years."
When asked about Cisco's business focus Daniels confirmed that contact centres is now a key priority for Cisco. Daniels stated, "Cisco went through its own corporate struggles in 2011. Cisco came out of that having identified there had been too many priorities and too many things distracting us. There are now five priorities for the company, and the second of those priorities is Collaboration. There are four pillars under Collaboration, one of which is contact centre-or as we call it Customer Collaboration."
But Daniels admitted that the contact centres still struggle for attention across the broader Cisco business. He added, "For twenty years Cisco have been very successful selling and marketing 'boxes', talking to technical people about hardware solutions. Contact centre is about as opposite to that as you can get. First of all you do need people who can talk technology, but it is a bit more software oriented. Then you have to able to talk the Contact Centre Manager's and the Operations Manager's lingo."
In terms of Australia, Daniels and Botting highlighted that Australia is one market that has been recognised as one with significant opportunity for Cisco. Daniels stated, "We have lots of good things in place in this (Australian) market, a good solid product, good sales teams on the ground and a good set of partners. We have a lot things working on our side from a product, marketing, channel and sales point of view. With a little bit of extra investment we feel we can accelerate growth."
Along with greater support from Cisco's executive team and greater investment in the contact centre business, Daniels and Botting highlighted the role that product innovation has played in driving the positive contact centre business performance for Cisco. Daniels added, "We had a strong focus on innovation in 2010. We launched significant new products to the portfolio in November 2010 including our social solution, SocialMiner, a new agent desktop called Finesse and a new recording infrastructure called MediaSense. These were all big projects, and all wrapped around significant innovation. We hadn't been out to the Australian market with that much concentrated innovation in a long time." Daniels continued, "It was very well received."
Daniels went on to discuss how Cisco's focus has shifted. He stated, "As we have gone through 2011 our focus and message has shifted to innovation balanced with execution. This means focusing on the core products and developing solutions that are aimed at simplification to take advantage of the more 'mass market' opportunities."
Botting added, "There is more of a focus on operational simplification." Botting added, "Cisco Unified Contact Centre Express is a good example. For companies for whom contact centre is not their primary differentiator, Contact Centre Express is a nice turn-key all in one solution."
Botting continued, "What we have found is a section of the market that wants the attributes of our more powerful Cisco Unified Contact Centre Enterprise product but with the simplicity of Contact Centre Express. To target this need we have launched Packaged Contact Centre Enterprise in the last few months."
Botting concluded, "We think we have a really good opportunity, with Packaged Contact Centre Enterprise, in the Australian marketplace and the ability to deliver an easy sales cycle. Feedback from our Partner community has been very positive. We have turned what was traditionally a 12 month sales cycle into a four month cycle."
Cisco has identified the importance of simplification as a key message and has developed products and sales process to match. The contact centre world is becoming more complicated as the plethora of channels expands and customers demand better service. Therefore anything that makes life simpler for the contact centre should be welcome news.
Bankwest has been busy reconfiguring its service to meet the demands of expanding beyond Western Australia.
"Changing customer preferences and how they interact with organisations have become more demanding," Banwest CIO Andy Weir told reporters. "This means the bank has had to tweak how it deals with a 24/7 banking environment where the customer, not the bank, decides when and how they want to make a transaction."
Weir's introduction of quarterly "hack days" has reportedly seen hundreds of Bankwest employees pitching ideas on how to solve common problems or create ways to improve the customer experience. Products of hacks days include Bankwest's mobile banking apps and "smart search", a technology that enhances its electronic ID capabilities. Smart search allows contact centre staff to instantly recognise if an existing customer is calling and address them personally rather than having to start the identification process from the beginning.
The Philippine arm of Accenture has been recognised again as the Best Company of the Year at the recent International Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awards Philippines 2014.
Accenture has now won the award three times after earning the honour in 2007 and 2012. Now in its 8th year, the International ICT Awards is organised by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines in partnership with Information Technology and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP). The Awards aim to distinguish individuals and organisations that have exhibited leadership and excellence in the growing Information and Communications industry in the Philippines. Accenture was also earned the runner-up honors for the Best Employer of the Year Award for 2014.
According to the International ICT Awards, finalists for the Best Company of the Year Award are outstanding companies found to have been "the most inspirational role models for the Information Technology and Business Process Management industry and Philippine business community." "For almost 30 years, Accenture in the Philippines has championed the IT-BPM industry in the Philippines through our wide range of technology services, customer contact and back-office BPO services, and management consulting work for global and local clients," Accenture country manager Lito Tayag said.
Sydney, 9 April 2014 – Zuora, the global leader in subscription commerce and billing, has announced that Telecom New Zealand has chosen its subscription e-commerce platform to support the roll out of its mass consumer Big Pipe broadband service.
Big Pipe, one of Telecom New Zealand's first Telecom Digital Ventures incubator businesses, aims to bring uncapped and no-frills broadband Internet access services to the New Zealand consumer market. Zuora will provide the organisation with robust automated billing and a scalable platform to support growth and flexibility in pricing and packaging, collection and accounting of recurring revenue.
Zuora was chosen for its leading-edge technology with a proven track record in the telecom industry in creating a simple e-commerce experience, automated billing and payments, and integration with existing back end accounting systems. At the same time, Zuora will enable Big Pipe to rapidly scale as its businesses and customer volumes grow. Importantly, the cloud-based service also enables the organisation to manage all billing transactions within New Zealand.
Thomas Salmen, Telecom Digital Ventures' Chief Technology Officer, says, "Uncapped, no-frills broadband is one of the fastest growing segments in New Zealand. And Big Pipe is our anchor business for Zuora. We knew we needed a platform that was agile, that could automate our back-end processes, and be up and running quickly in order to fast track market acceleration for the Big Pipe business. Legacy platforms are simply not agile enough to support fast-growing businesses which require rapid deployment and seamless billing scalability. The solution took just 45 days to deploy and integrates with our internal CRM solution."
For Big Pipe specifically, the consumer sign-up process has been deliberately made as simple as possible. Big Pipe users Zuora's flexible product catalogue packaging and pricing capability to initially offer three different levels of consumer broadband Internet services to its customers all of which offer unlimited data usage.
As soon as a consumer clicks on their preferred plan, the Zuora platform takes over, gathering contact and billing information from the consumer. On completion, customer subscription information is passed to Big Pipe staff for back end processing. The first invoice is automatically generated by Zuora as soon as the customer's service is up and running. This is precisely the level of automation Big Pipe needed in order to capitalise on high consumer expectations for a great broadband service.
In addition, the Zuora subscription business platform allows Big Pipe to measure and review metrics critical to businesses with recurring revenue business models. It also provides insight providing up-to-the minute information on customer growth, revenue, collection, churn and financial reporting.
Greg Cullen, Vice President ANZ Sales, Zuora, said, "Within the telecom sector, the shift to the Subscription Economy is opening up all sorts of growth opportunities for network carriers worldwide. At it's core, Zuora is focused on enabling companies to transform their businesses. In fact, some of the most highly respected telcos in the world are using Zuora to support innovation. Telecom New Zealand is no different and exemplifies the possibilities of today's subscription economy in driving mass business transformation."
Telecom Digital Ventures is a business unit formed in early 2013 to look at new technologies and the new consumer needs and business opportunities that these will create. It is a dedicated growth business unit with a view to provide over-the-top services to consumers. Big Pipe is the first Telecom Digital Ventures business to go live on Zuora, however the organisation is expecting to roll out several new services over the next few years, many of which will be subscription services.
"I'm confident Zuora will continue help us drive business transformation in line with our strategy to continually innovate and as each new business is launched on the Zuora platform" adds Salmen.