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.
The Australian arm of Indian outsourcer Aegis will expand its Victorian operations with 550 new jobs.
"200 new jobs will be created next year, and an additional 350 jobs in 2016," Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said. "This expansion will see Aegis Services Australia, a global outsourcing and technology company, establish Victoria as its Asia-Pacific hub for business processing outsourcing."
Aegis Global CEO Sandip Sen said the venture marked a milestone for the company. "These are exciting times for Aegis Australia. We are investing a significant amount in up-skilling our operations to better deliver the high-end services our customers expect," Sen said. "Melbourne's language capability, high-quality educational institutions and diverse skill base provides Aegis with the confidence to be able to deliver the high-end services our clients expect."
Customer service IT company Avaya has been awarded the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Enterprise Networking Customer Value Enhancement Award.
The customer value enhancement award is given to a company which has enhanced customer value through its networking offerings and recorded revenue growth in its networking product line. Criteria include both the business impact achieved – including growth, customer acquisition, growth potential and operational efficiency – and customer impact, based on price performance value, and the customer experience across the entire process.
"Avaya successfully used fabric defined networking as the linchpin of business transformation in a highly competitive networking market," said Frost & Sullivan's Harsh Upadhyay. "Customers across APAC vouch that Avaya's solution is simple, easily deployable, and interoperable with legacy infrastructure."
Andrew Hume has joined Australian Business Process Outsourcing Provider Probe Group as CEO Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), to take responsibility for the continued growth of Probe's BPO business.
Mr Hume is excited about bringing his knowledge to bear help a great Australian company take on the Global giants.
"I love the 'David & Goliath' story. David beat the giant because he didn't follow the traditional rules of engagement. Experience has taught me that agility, passion and trust always lead to better outcomes," said Mr Hume.
"Australian businesses have complex needs and expect more than bland, 'one size fits all' Solutions," said Mr Hume, who believes there are too many cases where poor partnering decisions have led to mediocre outcomes.
"Probe is different-We have an adaptable model built with local expertise to suit Australian client and cultural requirements"
Probe has more than 35 years' experience in the industry and offers the benefits of both local and offshore infrastructure with centres in Australia and Manila.
"I'm a big believer in the magic that can happen when talented people who enjoy working together and whom share a vision are given the freedom to dream and deliver - amazing things happen," said Mr Hume, who has over 15 years in leadership roles in the BPO sector, including time as a CEO of Aegis, one of the largest global outsourcers and CEO of Salmat's outsourcing business.
Mr Hume said a common theme has emerged from his recent discussions with Australian businesses. "There is demand for fresh thinking and dynamic solutions from partners who can be trusted to deliver and innovate."
With almost 1,000 employees working for over 40 long term, blue chip corporate and government clients, Mr Hume describes Probe as the BPO industry's 'best secret'. "My mission is to amplify Probe's brand. If you are thinking BPO you need to be thinking Probe."