In June, Interactive Intelligence announced PureCloud, its new cloud-based communications, collaboration and customer engagement suite. Many people already associate Interactive as a cloud company because of its early mover success with hosted contact center services. With PureCloud, the company is taking it to the next level.
Interactive was very early with hosted and OpEx, and impressively transformed a significant portion of its business into a recurring model. Yet, the CIC product was initially designed for on-premises. PureCloud is a cloud-first design. It’s an enterprise-grade, distributed architecture, multi-channel, multi-tenant platform.
There’s a lot to say about PureCloud already, and there will be more after its Q4-14 release. For an overview, you can read Blair or Sheila. I think it’s a bold, significant endeavor. They are attempting to transfer decades of expertise and experience into a totally new, ground-up platform. There’s a lot to like about PureCloud, but there’s two points in particular that deserve special recognition: AWS and Hybrid.
Amazon Web Services:
The cloud is one of those slippery terms. Cloud UC tends to be any form of hosted services, typically charged by the user by the month. Cloud computing tends to be a bit more specific regarding advanced data center services such as those available from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Clouds can be private, but it takes a Facebook type firm to pull that off. Putting a bunch of Dell or HP servers in a datacenter, even with VMware, isn’t quite cloud in this context.
Cloud computing has lots of advantages including reliability, availability, and an average cost reduction of 33%/year. Thanks to the trend of cloud computing, the cost of computing and storage are plummeting while cloud computing is booming.
Interactive is building PureCloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon offers tremendous scalability, reliability, and a global footprint. On day one, PureCloud will be running in data centers in the United States, with planned international expansion.
If PureCloud is designed right, Interactive will have a cost advantage initially that will likely grow over time. That is based on Amazon either continuing with its near linear price drops, or at least continue to outperform comparables. Servers and datacenters aren’t dropping prices nearly as quickly as the big cloud providers.
The concern that gets quickly raised after the mention of Amazon is latency. Interactive has solved that with its Edge Servers and a hybrid design.
One of the things I like the most about PureCloud is, despite the name, it is not purely cloud. I suggested to the CMO that the name was misleading, and he going to reflect on this in Utah. The PureCloud architecture utilizes Edge Servers either in the Interactive data center or on the customer’s site.
This Hybrid model is something I’ve been expecting. Most hybrid deployments are two capable solutions (premises equipment and hosted services) in forced, mutual compromise. Neither solution wants or needs the other. Usually these two systems are totally independent (admin and management) as well.
The PureCloud Edge Server performs a number of real-time services, however, it is managed and controlled by the PureCloud application. It is not two separate solutions, but one. Sample Edge Server functions include:
- Internet survivability
- Call Recording
- Local voice processing
PureCloud is a loosely coupled architecture between the plug-and-play Edge Server and the data center. The Edge Server-Amazon communications are asynchronous, thus viable over Internet grade services.
As most of you know, I’ve come to the conclusion that hosted/cloud (and hybrid) is all that will matter. Especially for the Contact Center which is the perfect application for cloud. PureCloud offers much more than contact enter functionality, but those are the apps that will make or break it. Both AWS and the PureCloud Hybrid model will give Interactive Intelligence an advantageous differentiation.