Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

ITEXPO West Interview: The Impact of the Cloud and Social Media

September 07, 2011

Joe Staples (News - Alert), Chief Marketing Officer at Interactive Intelligence, takes a few minutes to discuss current market conditions, as well as how the introduction of the cloud and social media have impacted the business environment, and more specifically how Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) is addressing these changes through investment and expansion.

Staples will be leading a roundtable discussion next Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. during ITEXPO West in Austin titled “Growing the ‘Everything-but-the-Hosted-PBX (News - Alert)-Cloud.”

How has your market segment evolved over the past year and what trends have fueled those changes? JS: By far, the two biggest changes we’ve seen is the move to the cloud and the impact of social media on business communications.

What do you see as the next disruptive force in technology and how will it impact your market or business? JS: Clearly, we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of social networks. This will continue to evolve and the impact it has on communications will continue to be dramatic. Vendors as well as customers will need to make the necessary adjustments to succeed in this new socially-connected world.

How has the acceptance and adoption of the cloud model influenced your development cycle and process?JS: Interactive Intelligence has made several adjustments. We’ve spent time and money to open data centers in the U.S., the UK, Germany, Australia, and Japan. We’ve set up an operations team that is dedicated to managing our cloud-based operations. We’ve done additional development work to make our offering more flexible in order to meet the demands of cloud-based customers. The cloud presents some very unique requirements. It isn’t as simple as taking your software and hosting it. A good knowledge of what is important to cloud customers has been really important for us – three of which being security, control, and reliability. We’ve made adjustments to ensure we’re meeting these needs.

How is the continued growth of social media changing service and product development strategies?JS: Social media isn’t “just another channel.” It really is different. Customers aren’t always talking to you. Often times they are talking about you. Social media gives customers a platform to voice their opinions, and companies need the ability to contribute to those conversations in a timely and informed way. That means having a good method for monitoring social channels and managing the results – and doing so as part of an integrated customer interaction strategy. Providing the technology to accomplish this has been our goal relative to social media.

Will Google+ become bigger than Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert)? Why or why not?JS: I have no idea if it will become bigger, but it doesn’t matter. It will become big, and that is what matters. They have done some really cool things with segmenting a user’s various social connections. It certainly has momentum.

As businesses continue their move toward virtual workforces, how are you meeting the need for increased mobility?  What barriers are keeping others from adopting mobile strategies?JS: Every day, people are more mobile and the devices available to them are better. That means that they will demand untethered, always-available access to information and applications. Interactive Intelligence is building the next generation of customer service applications that fully cater to this mobile workforce.

What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO West  in Austin? What do you see as being the biggest trends at the show? JS: For me, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is a great networking opportunity. The meetings we are able to hold there consolidate what would require a ton more travel if done individually.

What issues will you be addressing during your ITEXPO session and why should attendees be sure to attend?JS: I’m going to be leading a roundtable session titled “Growing the ‘Everything-but-the-Hosted-PBX-Cloud’” on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 1:45 p.m. A lot of people tend to think merely of cloud-based IP PBX, but there are so many other communications applications that make sense. One specific topic I will cover is the TCO companies have reported after moving communications to the cloud. The results are pretty amazing.

Interactive Intelligence is a Platinum sponsor of ITEXPO West 2011. To be held Sept. 13-15 in Austin, TX, ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Brad Forsythe, Technical Sales Support at Interactive Intelligence, is speaking during “The Cloud Evolution in Contact Centers, UC in the Cloud: Understanding the Benefits and Challenges and The Contact Center: The Key to Social Media Success.” Tim Wittbrod, Technical Sales Support at Interactive Intelligence, is speaking during “The Role of Unified Communications in Social Work Patterns.” Don’t wait. Register now.


John Lahtinen is Community Development Editor for TMCnet. He has more than 15 years of combined professional and educational experience involving news, education, and marketing. John holds a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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