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Interactive Intelligence Updates its Communications-as-a-Service Offering

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June 03, 2010

Interactive Intelligence Updates its Communications-as-a-Service Offering

By Ed LaBanca

Interactive Intelligence has continued overall growth of its all-in-one IP communications software platform, which serves the following three main markets and their associated applications: enterprise IP telephony, contact center automation, and business process automation (via its Interaction Process Automation or IPA solution).

IPA leverages the company's all-in-one platform to capture, prioritize, route, escalate and track workflow items (ex: bank loan applications, insurance claims, or any people-intense process requiring multiple steps).
Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) has remained profitable with growth of 10.5 percent and 8.2 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The company reported $131.4 million in revenues in 2009 with no outstanding debt. It had $71.4 million in cash and investments as of March 31, 2010. In Q1 2010, revenues were up 19 percent and operating income was up 65 percent.
CaaS Trends
Interactive Intelligence defines communications-as-a-service (CaaS) as the communications system and applications that are hosted and managed by a provider in an off-premise data center, with the applications being provided to customers as a service. Payment is made based on a per-user / per-month charge.
CaaS drivers include the following:
--Many other IT applications are migrating to the cloud (why not communications?)
--Provides a viable option for disaster recovery / business continuity
--Little or no up-front capital equipment expense
--Faster deployment
--Reduced IT staff
--Add-as-you-grow purchasing model
--Quicker access to new features / functionality
Significant customer decision criteria include reliability, security, flexibility, a broad application portfolio, and low total-cost-of- ownership. Interactive Intelligence continues to factor these into its CaaS offering. As a contact center / communications software company, it feels that provider-developed software provides greater depth and breadth of applications, as well more control and influence over these applications compared to CaaS offerings from traditional carriers and hosted value-added resellers.
From 2008 to 2009 alone the company's CaaS revenue grew 59 percent.
CaaS Portfolio
The Interactive Intelligence broad CaaS portfolio includes the following:
--Unified Communications (News - Alert) - enterprise telephony, auto-attendant, presence, conferencing, desktop call control
--Contact Center - ACD, supervisor applications, recording, chat / IM, post-call surveys, predictive dialing, IVR, knowledge management
--Integration and screen-pop
--Reporting and Analytics
This broad set of applications reduces or eliminates the need to use multiple CaaS providers. Interactive Intelligence also enables customers to migrate to a premise-based solution easily and at any time as business needs change.
Virtual Machine Approach
A dedicated virtual machine for each customer provides data isolation and is much less expensive and easier to manage than dedicated hardware. This serves to maximize both security and TCO.
Local Control VoIP Model
Although not the only delivery method, this model is used by most customers and serves to maximize control, security, reliability, and flexibility. Customers are able to keep their current telco lines, keep voice on their network, keep recordings and data on local storage, easily handle remote sites and remote agents, and continue taking calls even if the wide-area-network (WAN) becomes unavailable.
Interactive Intelligence CaaS applications are hosted at SAS (News - Alert) 70 (the Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70), Type II, 24 / 7 data centers.
What's New
The core Interactive Intelligence CaaS offering is available now. The following will be available Q2 / early Q3 2010:
--CaaS Portal: Provides a Web portal for consolidated end-user administration, configuration, and billing. In the future call monitoring and access to recordings will also be available.
--Workforce Management: Full-function application (same as premise-based solution) for forecasting, scheduling and managing complex, sizable contact center staffs. This application also provides both supervisor and agent interfaces.
--Agentless Dialing (outbound IVR): Functionality includes automated outbound messaging (appointment reminders, service updates, etc.); text-to-speech enables database information to be read to listeners; listeners can take action based on prompted IVR menu choices; option for the called party to be transferred to a live person using call routing rules.
Pricing is based on a per-user / per-month charge ranging from $65 to $200 depending on length of agreement and applications used.
For more information about Interactive Intelligence / IPA consulting or other vendor products contact
CollabGen provides consulting services for vendors, dealers and end-user enterprises. Analyst reports are available via

Ed LaBanca, a veteran of the telecommunications industry with more than 30 years of experience in product design and management, writes the Enterprise & Contact Center Communications column for TMCnet. To read more of Ed's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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