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.
Sydney-based Asia Pacific Digital (APD) has agreed to acquire Singaporean digital agency @ccomplice.
APD, which describes itself as a provider of CRM, strategy, technology and performance marketing and CRM to more than 2,000 clients, says the acquisition will give it an improved on-the-ground presence in Singapore, serving local Singaporean clients and regional multinationals.
Formed in 2010, @ccomplice has worked with some of the biggest brands in Asia: Panasonic, Toyota, Lexus, Suzuki, Singpost, DBS and Standard Chartered. APD already employs digital professionals in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and at its technology hub in Manila.
Indian outsourcer Firstsource Solutions has launched another contact centre in the United States as it makes significant progress in acquiring more clients in North American healthcare sector.
Its new centre in Eugene, Oregon will hire about 250 people, with some analysts expecting the company to increase its staff to 450 in the months to come. Mumbai-based Firstsource added 300 employees to its Colorado Spring, Colorado centre in November.
The Eugene centre is the company's third in the US, with the other site located in Louisville, Kentucky. Firstsource will serve a healthcare client from the new center in Eugene, providing customer care service via web chat.
Phoenix, AZ — March 18, 2015 – Enghouse Interactive (www.enghouseinteractive.com), developer of a comprehensive portfolio of unified communications (UC) and contact centre solutions, today announced it has attained Gold Application Development and Communications competencies, distinguishing itself within the top 1 percent of Microsoft's partner ecosystem and demonstrating a "best-in-class" ability and commitment to meet Microsoft Corp. customers' evolving needs in today's dynamic business environment.
"By achieving a gold competency, partners have demonstrated the highest, most consistent capability and commitment to the latest Microsoft technology," said Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft Corp. "These partners have a deep expertise that puts them in the top 1 percent of our partner ecosystem, and their proficiency will help customers drive innovative solutions on the latest Microsoft technology."
To earn a Microsoft gold competency, partners must successfully complete exams (resulting in Microsoft Certified Professionals) to prove their level of technology expertise, and then designate these certified professionals uniquely to one Microsoft competency, ensuring a certain level of staffing capacity. They also must submit customer references that demonstrate successful projects (along with implementing a yearly customer satisfaction study), meet a revenue commitment (for most gold competencies), and pass technology and/or sales assessments.
"We have enjoyed working with the Microsoft Partner Network for more than twelve years and are honoured to be recognised for our commitment and excellence in supporting Microsoft Lync, as well as for our expertise in contact centre and customer experience solutions," said Enghouse Interactive President of North American Channels, Ernie Wallerstein.
Enghouse Interactive's expansive portfolio of contact centre and customer interaction solutions lead the market with advanced functionality, such as UC queuing, and offer the most powerful UC integrated contact centre offering. Enghouse Interactive Communications Centre (EICC), which is native to the Lync environment, empowers agents with screenpops and the ability to dial from Microsoft Dynamics CRM – right out of the box. Also of note, is that by utilising UCMA and the Trusted Conferencing platform to interoperate with Lync, Enghouse is able to deliver a user experience that is both scalable and reliable.
Earning the Application Development competency helps partners differentiate themselves as a trusted expert to their customers through development and deployment of commercial or custom applications built using core Microsoft technologies like Windows Server, Windows 8 operating systems, Windows Azure platform, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 development system, Microsoft BizTalk Server and emerging cloud-based and web business models. By gaining access to a comprehensive set of benefits through the Application Development competency, partners can acquire new customers and help them be more productive and profitable through deployment of business applications, advanced web portals or rich client user interfaces that run on premises or in the cloud.
Attaining the Microsoft Communications competency demonstrates partner expertise in videoconferencing, voice over Internet protocol and instant messaging. Equipped with exclusive training, the latest software and support on Microsoft Lync solutions, partners help customers reduce cost of travel, real estate and facilities maintenance while gaining operational efficiencies.
The Microsoft Partner Network helps partners strengthen their capabilities to showcase leadership in the marketplace on the latest technology, to better serve customers and to easily connect with one of the most active, diverse networks in the world.