It is not very often that a technology solution that is poised for general availability can be viewed as likely to raise the competitive stakes in a market. That said, when a company bets big and appears to have already changed the way customers and competitors discuss market evolution, as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s masterpiece play Death of a Salesman says, “Attention must be paid!” Such is the case with Interactive Intelligence PureCloud, which as the name says, is pure cloud since it is multi-tenant and hosted via Amazon Web Services (AWS).
In fact, in the Interactive Intelligence Q2 earnings call, company founder and CEO Dr. Donald Brown said that he anticipates PureCloud subscriptions to surpass the combined quarterly dollar volume of its on-premises and cloud-based single-tenant offerings by the end of 2015.
And while the company’s mix of business over the last several quarters is heavily trending toward cloud-based solutions, the bullishness about PureCloud is representative of both where the market is heading, and how Interactive Intelligence has laid the groundwork to make its investment in PureCloud provide it with market as well as thought leadership.
So why the enthusiasm for going with a pure cloud solution?
I recently had an opportunity to discuss the details of PureCloud with Jason Alley, the Interactive Intelligence Cloud Solutions Marketing Manager, to explore what makes PureCloud different and why the reception for the solution already has such traction. As Alley explained, in many ways the value-proposition is straightforward: “PureCloud is a suite of cloud services for communications, collaboration, and customer engagement that takes full advantage of the distributed nature of the cloud, providing rapid deployment, industry-leading reliability, unlimited scalability, and connecting customers and employees in new, more efficient ways.”
He added: “How we have been able to do this obviously took a lot of time and effort. However, the result is a unique solution that sets us apart from our competitors and should set the pace in the market. In addition, it fills out our portfolio of solutions from on-premises to hosted single-tenant and multi-tenant so our customers have trustworthy choices based on their needs, and our channel partners have expanded opportunities as well. In addition, we can offer these choices at an attractive price point for organizations of any size.”
Alley cited the benefits of PureCloud as falling into four basic areas:
In short, PureCloud is like a Swiss Army knife in terms of its capabilities for covering the entire landscape of improving the customer experience and internal collaboration. Offered via a single platform, it includes the following: multichannel contact center, criteria-based matching, social customer service, voice self-service, workforce optimization, automated outbound dialing, CRM integrations, unified communications, mobility, and a content-rich directory. Plus, it supports public interfaces, has sophisticated internal logic, and provides detailed reports and analytics. It enables the right people with the best tools to be efficient and effective, while assuring those people interact with customers and colleagues in the best way possible.
Source: Interactive Intelligence (click to enlarge)
As Alley explained, on the directory side of things, PureCloud is designed from the ground up to facilitate enterprise collaboration based on a social media design for browsers and mobile devices. This means having the ability to easily search and connect with the right people based on rich employee profiles, know their status and have one-click connections, sync with Active Directory and other HR systems, and be mobile-device friendly. The UC capabilities add conferencing, voice mail, video, and auto-attendant.
One of the interesting things about PureCloud is the way it has approached reinventing the customer experience.
New capabilities have been added that enable inbound interactions to be routed in whole new ways. In traditional linear queuing and routing it is all about lining up customers and agents – first-in/first-out, next available, or simple skills-based routing. As Alley says, “The result is too often an ordinary experience.” PureCloud’s criteria and user-driven matching offer two new ways to connect customers and agents, as follows:
Source: Interactive Intelligence (click to enlarge)
It is all based on rich agent and customer profiles, which as the company says, means enabling customer interactions to go from being “next to best.” Both help companies rise above the ordinary to deliver an exceptional customer experience, which translates into better customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and permission-based opportunities for up-selling. It also reduces first-contact resolution times because experts are reached quickly and empowered with the tools they need to solve customer issues.
On top of all this is that PureCloud gives Interactive Intelligence, as noted above, a very broad portfolio of solutions that now give customers options based on their unique needs, which can include business objectives, financial situation, compliance and corporate governance concerns, skills, and a host of other variables. As Alley says, “PureCloud not only sets the bar high in terms of the functionality delivered and all the advantages of the cloud, but it enables us to deliver solutions to customers however they want. Choice is a major theme.” He concluded by saying, “Our goal is to always make sure we prescribe the right solution based on customer needs, not based on what we have to sell.” In a customer-driven world, that is critical.
While the market will dictate the speed at which customers will adopt new technology, to borrow the Interactive Intelligence line, “from next to best,” the addition of PureCloud is going to be a bellwether for watching the market. And the company has upped the ante for those who also see customer experience and collaboration as having a decidedly cloud-centric future.