Interactive Intelligence 2016

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There are several reasons I enjoy Interactive Intelligence:ININLogo

  1. They are friendly – a mid-west company from Indiana.
  2. They are not too big – people seem to know each other. There’s no totally separate or unrelated divisions (that I know of).
  3. They not too small. ININ is a major player in the contact center space – recognized globally by analysts and consultants as a mover and shaker.
  4. They are accessible. They communicate and respond – not just the AR folks, but the leadership team too.
  5. They are interesting. They are doing some very interesting and innovative things.

While that may sound glowing, they have their challenges. They are in the process of forcing a new portfolio down their partner and customer’s throats. And while that may make sense in the long run, there’s no shortage of near-term challenges. They are also becoming a bit arrogant.

Like all (UC) companies, competitive and customer changes are obsoleting portfolios and business models faster than ever. Companies that are not making big changes are doomed, but unfortunately big changes equate to big risks. Interactive is attempting to completely transform its business, and it’s making big bets on a cloudy future. While that may seem obvious, it isn’t. We are still in early innings on this cloud stuff. The theory is that the early movers will have long term advantages, but there’s no guarantees. Both customer requirements and the underlying technologies are changing quickly.

There’s also some interesting emerging trends in the contact center space. In the past, this sector has been difficult to crack for new entrants. That’s somewhat changing now – largely due to the cloud.  UCaaS providers such as a 8×8 are gaining momentum in the contact center. There’s been considerable rise in contact center technologies from non-traditional competitors including Twilio, Nice, ShoreTel, 8×8, West, BroadSoft, and more. There’s also the rise of the vertical-optimized contact center, for example Revation targets healthcare. As the competition heats up, the prices (and margins) are (already) falling.

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