Christmas is coming early for customers and other stakeholders of unified IP business communications leader, Interactive Intelligence. The announcement that its new e-commerce website Interactive Intelligence MarketPlace will be open for business in December raises the bar in the hotly contested contact center solutions, unified communications and business process optimization markets.
A very apt app store
Customers and resellers of Interactive Intelligence’s flagship CIC (Customer Interaction Center) premises and cloud-based platform will have fast and easy access to internal and third-party developed products – from process automation templates and packaged integrations, to custom reports and dashboards.
Originally envisioned as an app store for the company’s Interaction Process Automation (IPA) suite, the idea quickly expanded into a collection of capabilities targeting multiple capabilities and vertical industries, such as financial services, insurance, outsourcers/teleservices, debt collection and utilities.
Marketplace will open with 36+ products, including not just internally developed applications, but also custom reports and popular Interactive Intelligence tested and approved offerings from third-party developers such as: ACP, Adapt, Code Mitosis, Common Insights, Creative Reflection Software, EDCi, GM Voices, The IEC and QoS.
The app store is expected to rapidly grow to 50 (almost all of which will be available for deployment on premise or delivered from the cloud) covering the broad expanse next generation customer interaction capabilities.
For example, this will include the likes of multi-channel and social media management enhancements, mobility, enhanced workflow and workforce applications and many more.
“Unlike a lot of competitive ‘app stores,’ we designed the Interactive Intelligence MarketPlace so customers and resellers have direct, centralized access to products instead of redirecting them to multiple third-party sites, thus resulting in time-consuming searches,” said Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO, Dr. Donald Brown. “Combined with our channel of more than 350 resellers, our expansive worldwide developer network, and an extensive consultant community, MarketPlace offers a fast and easy way to maximize existing investments in our software.”
Rachel Wentink, senior director of Strategic Initiatives at Interactive Intelligence, outlined for ContactCenterSolutions the value of the company’s unique approach to creating a vibrant ecosystem. Benefits cited included: “Leveraging customers’ CIC investment and Interactive Intelligence’s worldwide expertise, simplifying access to the latest and most current value-added functionality, and the ability to reduce deployment costs.”
She added, “This is a win for our customers, third-party developers, channel partners, and obviously for Interactive Intelligence. Customers get access to great capabilities that enhance current and future performance of their investment in our solutions, and best-in-breed solutions that we have validated for use on our platform. The interest from third-party developers has been gratifying. Plus, our resellers are excited about being able to highlight the utility and agility of our solutions and how easy it is for customers to adapt to changing market challenges and take advantage of exciting new opportunities using a broad portfolio of state-of-the-art capabilities.”
A few things to note about Marketplace include:
Pricing: Will be set by third-party developers or by Interactive Intelligence for internally developed products. In fact, it is anticipated that some capabilities will be offered for free while others will vary based on how licenses are issued and managed according to participant’s business models which could be traditional licensing or some kind of software as a service (SaaS) subscription model.
Support: Third-party developers will support their own products.
Payment: Third-party developers will be paid quarterly and will have Web-based reporting to show products purchased and downloaded, and revenue earned.
Qualification for Posting Products:
Products offered on the MarketPlaceare designed for Interactive Intelligence enterprise and contact center customers of all sizes located worldwide. Resellers will be able to not only access products for their Interactive Intelligence customers, but post their own products for purchase.
I noted at the top my feeling that this raises the bar in this sector. The reason is Interactive Intelligence has wisely recognized that customers want ease of access to solutions that can help them right now. It knows it would be impossible to effectively compete for all the opportunities it would like if it was focused on attempting to be the sole source of value-added enhancement to its platform.
Clearly creating an easy-to-do-business-with and properly incented ecosystem is a dominant business model for “E”verybody – think Google, Apple, Salesforce.com, Amazon, Microsoft. It is the path to being first to market, fast to market and fast in the market. This is absolutely critical in an era where speed and adaptability are paramount for establishing differentiated long-term value for customers and sustainable competitive advantage.
In this instance, Interactive Intelligence customers get powerful new tools that have the company’s seal of approval, and a simple way to purchase and get support for the most current capabilities along with detailed business intelligence.
It used to be that enterprise and service providers had to wait long periods of time between major upgrades of foundational software to get the enhancements they desired. The nice thing about moving to the Marketplace, as Wentink stated is, “Interactive Intelligence gets to focus on innovating our core products and the enhancements we believe are fundamental to their evolution for adding value to our customers’ investment in our solutions, while partners get to provide our customers with unique value-added when they want it and how they want it.”
The fact that Interactive Intelligence has been able to use its core software to work as either a premises-based, cloud-provided or hybrid solution already separates it from competitors in its markets.
Marketplace establishes a virtuous circle for the company that builds on it current versatility by creating an “E”vironment that is attractive to developers because of its extensibility and growing vertical and global footprint, along with the ability to leverage the Interactive Intelligence brand.
As with its innovations in real-time speech analytics and mobile app development and integration in the past twelve months, Dr. Brown, as noted in the company’s recent financial results, is investing heavily in the areas it believes will be the dominant differentiators in the future. Having a robust ecosystem, that is easily interacted with over the Web through a secure and qualified app store, highlights the company’s commitment to investing in adding value to the core in a timely fashion that is customer, developer and reseller friendly. It is a smart place to put a bet.
This is a trend that Interactive Intelligence is once again out in front of and will be one of the big ones to watch in the next year.
Interactive Intelligence is a Platinum-level sponsor of ITEXPO Miami 2013. Taking place Jan. 29-Feb 1 in Miami, Florida, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit Interactive Intelligence in booth #409. For more information on ITEXPO, click here.