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The CP List: 20 Top CCaaS Providers You Should Know

The contact center as a service market is shifting. Customers’ demands are changing and newer companies are giving established CCaaS providers a run for their money.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many organizations to move from centralized contact center operations to distributed, cloud-based ones. This has accelerated widespread demand for CCaaS.

George Aldea is a partner sales engineer at AppSmart. He said 2019 saw about 10% of contact centers deployed in the cloud.

AppSmart's George Aldea

AppSmart’s George Aldea

“By 2022, industry experts expect that to grow to 50%,” he said. “Customers preferr to get involved with speech interfaces and chatbots. The SMB market is driving deployments of CCaaS across industry lines.”

The CCaaS market is demanding a simple-to-deploy-and-use offering with easy-to-learn agent/management training that is affordable, Aldea said.

“We are seeing Vonage, RingCentral, Five9, 8×8 and Nice InContact all dedicating large amounts of their development resources to meet the demand,” he said.

Customers Demand More

Brandon Knight is Telarus’ vice president of business development for contact center. He said the definition of cutting-edge, successful CCaaS providers is evolving.

Telarus' Brandon Knight

Telarus’ Brandon Knight

“And it is because customer expectations are changing/evolving as well,” he said. “Customers are demanding a better experience. Their expectation is the agent answering the phone has access to all the tools necessary to resolve their issue quickly.”

In the past, “cutting edge” for CCaaS market providers meant you could blend outbound with inbound calls and maybe route emails to agents, Knight said.

“Those are table stakes now,” he said. “Cutting edge involves a complete omnichannel customer-handling experience along with self-service via mobile applications and AI to predict and respond to customer needs.”

Keith Dawson is principal analyst of customer experience and commerce for 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence. He said mobile devices have been the biggest driver in terms of changing customer expectations.

451 Research's Keith Dawson

451 Research’s Keith Dawson

“It opens the door to a variety of different kinds of contact,” he said. “It’s not always by voice. It could be through app or text, or through a variety of different communications modes. And that in turn has changed the calculus for the contact center system buyer who now needs to focus as much on alternatives to the voice channel as on the voice channel itself.”

In 2005, all you had to do was provide a voice call connection and maybe an interactive voice response (IVR) on your front end with a certain number of agents and a switch to turn them on, Dawson said.

“Now these providers, because they’re taking on more of the environment within the center, have to provide things like workforce optimization and a lot more analytics, and a lot of things that,” he said.

Pandemic Impact

The pandemic has changed the mix of what people are looking for in the short and mid-term, Dawson said.

“The short term is kind of triage and trying to make sure that your operations can continue to run smoothly,” he said. “I think a lot of it will depend on how long this goes and where we are later in this year’s budgeting cycle and into early 2021 before we really have a sense of what the midterm buying situation looks like.”

Based on feedback from analysts and experts, and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 noteworthy CCaaS market providers. They’re making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success.

The list offers a mix of well-known providers and lesser-known companies that are making big strides in CCaaS. It also includes companies that are making a splash in the market while not offering a complete CCaaS solution.

8x8 CCaaS

8x8

Aldea, Dawson and Knight cited 8x8 as a top CCaaS provider. In June, 8x8 launched its new Open Communications Platform, a complete portfolio of work-from-anywhere enterprise communications. It combines voice, team chat, meetings and contact center products and services. AI-driven routing and predictive analytics fuel it.

Aspect CCaaS

Aspect

Dawson cited Aspect as a legacy contact center provider that initially was on-premises and then made the jump to cloud.

“The market as a whole is growing because you still have 60% of contact centers that have yet to transfer to cloud,” he said. “So the total addressable market is still pretty big and there’s room enough for a lot of people. Every year I hear of a couple more in this space.”

Avaya CCaaS

Avaya

Dawson cited Avaya as a legacy contact center provider that made the jump to the cloud. Frost & Sullivan has recognized Avaya with the 2020 North American Growth Innovation Leadership Frost Radar Award. The Avaya OneCloud CCaaS portfolio provides customer and workforce engagement products and services supplemented by capabilities such as AI-infused bots, predictive routing, real-time sentiment analysis and agent guidance. These capabilities connect all touch points, including voice, video, chat, messaging, social and screen.
CallView in UK

CallVU

Dawson said CallVU is noteworthy in CCaaS. In April, CallVU announced a program to allow contact centers using the Nice InContact CXone cloud platform to offer a more hands-on, interactive call experience for free for the first month. The goal is to help offset the impact of brick-and-mortar stores closing by bridging the gap between face-to-face, in-store visits and calls into the contact center.
Clearview AI

ClearView

Knight said ClearView is among companies having success that are not full CCaaS companies. ClearView’s offering analyzes call data and optimizes agent performance.

“Because of the evolving nature of customer demands, companies focused on AI, productivity and analytics are really changing the game,” he said.

DialPad CCaaS

Dialpad

Dialpad is among established companies with new approaches, Knight said. With Dialpad Contact Center, agents, managers and supervisors have a single platform to engage and resolve customer inquiries from anywhere in the world. The app-based tool includes smart routing, computer technology integrations (CTIs) and click to call. And AI recommendations help users get the answers they need.
Evolve IP CCaaS

Evolve IP

Aldea and Knight cited Evolve IP as a noteworthy provider. In June, Evolve IP announced the general availability of Work Anywhere Office. It allows agents and managers to work anywhere using the company's contact center software.

“An effective CCaaS solution offers omnichannel services and excellent customer service to enable and manage these service offerings,” Aldea said. “Businesses need to be able to integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) tools, incorporate chat, bots, AI, etc.”

Five9 CCaaS

Five9

Aldea, Dawson and Knight cited Five9 as a top provider. Dawson said he’d put Five9 in the “young and hungry” category even though they've been around for awhile.

“I think they are perceived to be a more viable alternative than maybe they would have five or eight years ago,” he said. 

An effective CCaaS solution offers the most flexibility out of the box, Knight said. A successful provider “presents a multichannel or omnichannel experience in one pane of glass to the agent to ensure efficiency, but also has the ability to do easy API integrations with best-in-breed add-on/ancillary technology,” he said.

Genesys CCaaS

Genesys

Dawson and Knight said Genesys is a noteworthy provider. Last month, Genesys expanded its Microsoft partnership with a new, native integration. Microsoft Teams and Genesys Cloud, a public cloud contact center platform, are fully integrated. Contact center agents can collaborate with any employee using Teams so they can resolve customer issues faster and deliver better service.
Mitel CCaaS

Mitel

Dawson cited Mitel as a legacy contact center provider that has made the jump to CCaaS. More than 25,000 organizations use Mitel contact center products and services for their customer engagements.

“Pricing for the SMB CCaaS seat has held in check, but more features and ease-of-use software have been added to the platforms,” Aldea said of the industry. “Plus, customer support is very important in this growth market and that separates providers.”

Nice InContact CCaaS

Nice InContact

Aldea, Dawson and Knight all cited Nice InContact as a top provider. DMG Consulting named Nice InContact a market share leader in contact center workforce optimization (WFO) for 2019. The company demonstrated a 37% share in contact center WFO, reflecting nearly 8% year-over-year growth.
Observe.ai NLP

Observe.ai

Observe.ai is among companies that everyone should be watching, Knight said. It uses natural language processing (NLP) to analyze conversations between human agents and customers. It then transcribes each call and carries out analysis to determine customer satisfaction while drawing correlations between the words and actions of the support agent and the customer’s happiness level.
RingCentral CCaaS

RingCentral

Aldea cited RingCentral as a leading provider. RingCentral Contact Center is a more recent product for the company. It includes call handling, omnichannel routing, customer relationship management (CRM) integrations and analytics for agent performance management.

An effective CCaaS offering has to have voice call routing and some component of automated self-service, Dawson said.

"It used to be that was primarily IVR, and today, a lot of components could be chatbots and intelligent assistants. If you want to go more advanced, you start talking about AI and ML applied to either self-service, or using AI to give agents next-best-action insight, or to do some of the data capture and after-call work," he said. "All of those things are advanced technologies that you didn't see in contact center tools circa 2010-2013."

Serenova CCaaS

Serenova

Knight cited Serenova as a major CCaaS player. In March, Serenova merged with Lifesize, creating a contact center communications and workplace collaboration company serving more than 10,000 customers globally. (Editor's Note: Knight worked at Serenova for 10 months before joining Telarus this year.)

Sharpen CCaaS

Sharpen Technologies

Dawson cited Sharpen Technologies as a top provider, and Knight said it’s a newcomer that’s making some noise in CCaaS. The company reported more growth in the first half of 2020, with a whopping 236% increase in new bookings compared to the first half of 2019. Recent customer wins came from the midmarket and enterprise, and across multiple verticals, including retail, telecom, outsourcers and financial services.
SmartAction CCaaS

SmartAction

Knight said SmartAction is a company everyone should watch. It provides AI-powered virtual agents for customer service, with conversational AI experiences over voice, chat and text. In response to the pandemic, SmartAction is offering its Rapid Response Virtual Agent. It intercepts callers with a channel-switching experience to answer commonly asked questions and screen callers to create an escalation path.

TalkDesk CCaaS

Talkdesk

Aldea, Dawson and Knight cited Talkdesk among the top contenders. Last month, Talkdesk got $143 million in new Series C funding, raising its total valuation to more than $3 billion. The company plans to use the money to increase its focus on research and development, and expand its reach into the Fortune 500.
Twilio CCaaS

Twilio

Dawson said Twilio is among a more modern group of companies that are cloud-native. Twilio is powering the communications for New York City’s contact tracing initiative. Through the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), the city plans to deploy a cloud-based contact center on Twilio Flex and use Twilio text and voice as key parts of the city’s COVID-19 tracing program.
Ujet CCaaS

UJET

UJET is among startups “bursting on the scene with full-featured, all-in-one solutions,” Knight said.

“Having the benefit of watching the established guys grow, learn and adapt allowed the newcomers to come out of the gate running,” he said. “Most of whom are taking advantage of microservice advancements in comparison to legacy/premises-based technology or even the first-generation cluster cloud platforms.”

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Vonage

Dawson and Knight cited Vonage. Knight said it’s among established players that are taking new approaches. In fall 2018, Vonage acquired CCaaS provider NewVoiceMedia. The acquisition combined Vonage’s UCaaS and CPaaS offerings with NewVoiceMedia’s pure-play cloud contact center services.

Vonage’s acquisition of NewVoiceMedia made them an instant contact center player outside of reselling Nice InContact,” Knight said.

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