Joe Staples is Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing at Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert), the Indianapolis-based provider of unified IP business communications solutions to call centers and enterprises alike. The company is planning to issue its third quarter operating results for the period ended September 30, 2008 on Monday, October 27 at 4 p.m. Eastern time (EDT). I had the chance to catch up with Staples recently and ask him how things were going at the company.
GG: Interactive Intelligence recently held a partner conference. How did that go?
JS: It was our best attended partner conference ever. We had over 200 attendees. Over the three days, we had six different tracks with 93 total sessions on subjects such as VoIP security, OCS integration, enterprise messaging, workforce management, SIP monitoring, contact center reporting, and a lot more. The feedback was very positive.
GG: What did you hope to achieve with the conference, and do you feel you were successful?
JS: The conference theme was “The One Two Punch: Your Partnership, Our Solutions.” What we always try to accomplish at this annual conference is to reinforce the importance of the channel in our business – they add a ton of value; and to brief attendees on our product and service offerings with a sneak peak of what is coming in the next few months.
GG: What were some of the highlights? Was there any news that came out of that gathering?
JS: The major new initiative that we talked about has to do with our work on business process automation. Don Brown, our CEO, demoed the product. We are making great progress with it, and if the reaction from the crowd is any indication, this will be a huge hit. The ROI is so tangible. The example that we demoed was the automation of a car loan application process. The loan application went through each step of the process, utilizing the skills and availability of the involved employees. The credit check was automated. Communication with the applicants was completely automated. But the real value was that the process was much more efficient. Time was trimmed off the process. That time reduction equates to cost savings. That is something a CFO can get his or her arms around.
We also did some fun things. We had a “Day with the Developers” where the attendees could meet with our software developers to talk about anything they chose. The room was filled with white boards and a lot of technical conversations. We had great sponsor participation from our strategic partners such as Polycom, AudioCodes, Aculab, Dialogic, Loquendo (News - Alert), NEI, Adtran, and others. We also held our awards dinner at the brand-new Indianapolis Colts football stadium. We were down on the field with tours of the locker room and behind the scene locations.
GG: The current economic situation is affecting everyone to some degree. Do you view the economic climate as an opportunity? Do you think the recent financial troubles on Wall Street might actually spur purchases of VoIP and related IP Communications technologies?
JS: The current economic situation is a two edged sword. Spending has slowed and that puts more responsibility on us to show hard, strong ROIs. The migration to VoIP is a technology that delivers nice cost reductions over time — so interest in it can actually be increased during an economic slowdown. We’re working hard to really focus our messages on ROI as a way to justify the purchase. As I mentioned before, we think business process automation has a great ROI. We think that is one product that will really resonate well with prospects.
GG: How do Interactive’s products and solutions help businesses save money?
JS: Several ways… the migration from TDM to VoIP; reduced maintenance expenses on legacy systems; consolidation of multiple legacy products to our all-in-one solution; single point of administration; more efficient/cost effective handling of communication across multiple sites; ability to use remote agents… to name a few.
GG: As the year slowly winds its way to a close, would you care to cast a look back at 2008 and give your impressions of some of the high points?
JS: For us, 2008 has been a good year. We’re growing. We’re profitable. We launched new products including Interaction Feedback — our new automated customer feedback module. We also introduced our integration with Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS — providing synchronized presence, a company-wide directory, and contact center and IP telephony functionality to OCS environments. Microsoft has been a good partner for us. We’re working with them on both product, as well as, go-to-market activities.
More and more, we seem to be THE choice for large IP contact centers — an incredible 85 percent of our shipments are SIP-based. Our brand is more recognized than it ever has been, much in part to help from TMC (News - Alert), so thanks for that. And we’ve got a CEO who has no intention of having us slow down. We have aggressive plans for 2009. We think while others batten down the hatches we have an opportunity to gain market share by putting out great IP telephony products that companies find value in.
Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s IP Communications suite of products, including TMCnet.com. To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Greg Galitzine