GoContact Keynote Panel Discussion: The Challenges and Opportunities of merging UCaaS and CCaaS.

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Outline

GoContact Keynote Panel Discussion: The Challenges and Opportunities of merging UCaaS and CCaaS.

  • João Camarate, CTO Broadvoice and GoContact.
  • Shai Berger, CEO Fonolo
  • Adnan Saleem, CTO Software and Cloud Solutions, Radisys
  • Al Balasco, SVP Communications Solutions, Radisys
  • Thomas Howe, CTO STROLID
  • Alan Quayle, Independent
  • Let’s get this one out of the way first, what do you think of the Genesys investment by Zoom, ServiceNow, Salesforce, etc. $580 Million investment at $21 Billion valuation?
  • What customer need is driving the current UCaaS, CCaaS, CPaaS consolidation?
  • Let’s review what’s going on in the market at the moment, it’s busy! Five9 and Zoom, Fuze and 8X8, broadvoice and GoContact, Serenova and Lifesize, Dialpad and Highfive, Talkdesk building out its UC product, Vonage and NVM etc. Why did some work, others receive a cool reception from the market, while others appear to be just good old product development?
  • The buyers for UCaaS and CCaaS have historically been different. They are solving different problems, employee communications and customer communications. They have a common core technology, the telcom app server. But does merging UCaaS and CCaaS really make sense?
  • Focusing on the technology of merging UCaaS and CCaaS, what are the pros and cons?
  • What market segments, or what regions, or what go-to-markets will deliver the results of this merger?
  • Some of the M&A has been video focused. Video is significant in employee collaboration, however, in customer communication it still appears niche. Is video going to make the leap into mainstream customer communications anytime soon?

Review

We kicked off with a hot topic question, the Genesys investment, announced yesterday of $580M by Zoom, ServiceNow, Salesforce, etc. Shai pointed out that Genesys today is changing. It’s not the old call center company, with an new management team, and the successful integration of Interactive Intelligence. This has resulted in the company’s cloud and subscription bookings, which make up more than 90% of total new bookings, growing more than 100% year-over-year in the first half of fiscal year 2022.

Thomas pointed out that the investment neuters competition. This is similar to how Twilio has invested in Syniverse, a competitor to Sinch. The call center is not going away, it will remain a dominant part of many customer experience use cases. So for Salesforce, Zoom, ServiceNow, it enabled them to have a stake in a core part of the customer experience landscape, without the distraction such a large established business brings.

The size of the investment shows we’re going to see some interesting M&A in the coming months. João pointed out this is a growing trend of investing the a large player, like Sinch, and letting them execute the M&A and integration.

Q. What customer need is driving the current UCaaS, CCaaS, CPaaS consolidation?

João highlighted there remain 2 buyers, business groups that need to manage customer experience (sales, support, etc.), and the DID/VoIP group that needs to manage employee communications. Company size and also the type of company impacts how much or how little these 2 groups interact.

Thomas focused on the core problem that enterprise communications is not built for the reality of today’s communications. Its built for landline voice calls from the kitchen. Not recognizing its a smartphone where voice can be the least preferred mode of communications. And that people have simply not downloaded and use a particular company’s application. So the customer experience is broken, requiring either lots of integration or simply ignoring some modes of communications, e.g. SMS.

Shai raised an important point that the size of a company is the largest determinant. Small and medium sized businesses generally only have UC or PBX, and look to extend that to customer communications. Large enterprise have different groups that make different purchase decisions. Witness the challenge of Zoom and Five9 merging.

Its the mid-market where we’re seeing multiple approaches, and as communications becomes programmable, the diversity of approaches, enables the “communications problem” Thomas highlighted to be fixed. Reinforcing João’s point that on we’re on a journey of exploration. And Adnan’s point on the importance of ‘ease of development’ to build solutions to specific business problems (both no and low-code).

Q. Focusing on the technology of merging UCaaS and CCaaS, what are the pros and cons?

CCaaS has solved the scale / stability problem, how insights can improve experiences, and the integration problem of different services and technology components. This learning can be used to improve UCaaS, where often the solution is a large integrated block of functionality, where more servers are thrown at the problem whenever performance becomes an issue.

Both UC and CC face the security challenge that has plagued our industry this year, as discussed in Sandro Gauci’s session, The worst of enemies – let’s talk about DDoS and RTC. So there’s common ground for both.

Al highlighted that Radisys delivers technology components across UC and CC, and the insights gained from media are important to both UC/CC. Reinforcing the common problem set across UC/CC.

Q. Some of the M&A has been video focused. Video is significant in employee collaboration, however, in customer communication it still appears niche. Is video going to make the leap into mainstream customer communications anytime soon?

Many opinions from the panel 🙂 For many synchronous transactions voice is quick, simple, and just works, especially when agents are working from home. And the additional complexity of video adds too much risk.

However, there are customer communications use cases where video helps, e.g. problem diagnosis with a router, or in sales where the trust built from being virtually face to face helps close a deal. We see this in employee and personal communications where a conversation escalates from an email exchange to perhaps a messaging chat to the need for video. Queue the Slack prompt, you two should get a room 😉

Summary

This was a fun session. In summary:

  • From a technology perspective there is significant benefit CC brings to UC and vice versa. Across architecture, scale, stability, insights, the role of video, and security.
  • The market defines where integrating UC/CC makes sense. For large accounts it will likely remain separate purchases, hence the challenge Five9 and Zoom faced in merging. For small accounts adding CC learning to UC appears the best path. In the mid-market, we’ll see an explosion of approaches. With programmability being the key, so businesses with their technology / implementation / operations partners can craft appropriate communication experiences recognizing the reality of how people communicate today with smartphones.

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