Communications-in-the-cloud trends were the key focus in a recent Interactive Intelligence and Ventana Research video interview. Key trends identified include the shift from a focus on cost to functionality, as well as new ways vendors are addressing concerns over security.
“The traditional drivers for end-users adopting cloud-based communications solutions come down to costs, resources, and risk,” said Ventana Research vice president and research director, Richard Snow, in the interview.
“But in talking to people more recently, the most commonly cited drivers are flexibility and innovation. The ability to flexibly scale up and down and quickly add new functionality is huge for end-users. Even more important, they say, is innovation: that is, using hosted communications to change the way their company runs its business and communicates with its customers,” Snow added.
He also identified the most important criteria when evaluating a cloud-based solution: functionality. Snow stresses that cost should not be the priority criteria as it is more important to find a supplier with a track record for meeting the company’s unique functionality needs.
Interactive Intelligence chief marketing officer, Joe Staples (News - Alert) noted that while the popularity of cloud-based computing has led to the increasing adoption of hosted communications solutions, customers continue to be somewhat cautious regarding security issues.
Many of the security issues enterprises have include migrating communications applications to the cloud. To mitigate those concerns, vendors are offering new methods, such as hosted models that enable customers to keep voice traffic and recordings inside their network. Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) offers this platform, as well as 24x7 monitored data centers that are SAS (News - Alert) 70-certified and include isolated virtualized servers for each customer.
Staples and Snow both agree that cloud-based communications solutions will see significant traction over the next several years and even beyond. Snow stressed that he compares the adoption of hosted communications to voice over IP, which has today become the de factor standard.
Snow highlighted that the drivers for VoIP adoption were largely the same as they are today for hosted solutions, including reduced costs, fewer resources and increased innovation. He believes that in another seven years, the adoption rate for cloud-based communications will reach the 50 to 60 percent range.
Staples agreed with Snow’s assessment, citing the dramatic increase Interactive Intelligence has seen in its cloud-based communications solution for contact centers. The company saw a more than 70 percent increase in 2010 communications-as-a-service revenue, as compared with 2009.
Staples said, “The demand we’re seeing is indicative of a major shift in the market. To meet this demand we continue to expand our services. Our plans this year include a trial service so companies can ‘try before they buy,’ and the addition of a central network operations center to our six global data centers, which will provide 24x7 CaaS support and services.”
TMCnet recent reported that Interactive Intelligence is providing integration with IBM Lotus Sametime. This solution integrates Customer Interaction Center’s desktop client, presence, and company-wide directory capabilities. The solution enables CIC and Lotus Sametime users access to a single company-wide directory, thus eliminating repeated entries and making administration easier.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard