Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide
The contact center infrastructure market has been consolidating, yet some lesser-known offerings may warrant strong consideration. Companies must evaluate vendors' technology and ability to deliver in relevant regions.
Gartner defines contact center infrastructure as the products (equipment, software and services) needed to operate call centers for telephony support and contact centers for multimedia support. This type of infrastructure is used by customer and employee service and support centers, inbound and outbound telemarketing services, help desk services, government-operated support centers, and other types of structured communication operations.
Contact center interactions can be people-assisted or automated self-service, using interactive voice response (IVR) and speech recognition technologies, for example. These channels for interaction use both live agents and messaging technology and include voice, Web, email, instant messaging, Web chat, social media, video and mobile devices.
Contact centers require a wide range of functions, architectures, features and services to be effective. Three major architectural approaches that are common in the market are integrated "best-of-breed" components, all-in-one bundled suites, and service-based solutions. They are offered in the form of time division multiplexing (TDM) circuit-switched solutions, Internet Protocol (IP)-based solutions (including Session Initiation Protocol [SIP]-based solutions) and hybrids of the two.
Contact center infrastructure includes a wide range of related technologies, such as:
- Telephony infrastructure
- Multimedia contact routing and prioritization engines
- IVR and voice portals for self-service applications, including speech-enabled self-service
- Outbound dialing/proactive contact
- Virtual routing applications for multisite and work-at-home scenarios
- Presence tools
- Tools for integration with CRM software
- Data mart and analytics systems
- Computer-telephony integration (CTI)/Web services interfaces
- Email response management
- Web chat
- Collaborative browsing
- Social media
- Live and prerecorded video
- Knowledgebase self-service
- Workforce optimization tools, including contact center workforce management, session recording and e-learning
- Workflow routing and management
- Mobile customer service applications
Increasingly, contact center managers prefer to purchase much, or all, of their contact center infrastructure from a single source in the pursuit of easier and enduring integration. Therefore, leading contact center infrastructure vendors offering complete portfolios of solutions, comprising their own products and those of partners and other strategic suppliers, are being favored. One of the service-based models, that of hosted, multitenant systems (also known as contact center as a service [CCaaS]) is still an emerging alternative and not yet widely deployed in the market, but is gaining attention as cloud approaches increase. There are no CCaaS providers that currently offer a substantial-enough global presence to warrant inclusion in this document. Coverage of the CCaaS space is provided in other Gartner documents, including "Competitive Landscape: Cloud Contact Center as a Service Market, North America, 2011" and "Emerging Technology Analysis: Contact Center as a Service."
Source: Gartner (June 2012)
Solidus eCare Multimedia Contact Center and Solidus eCare Lite are likely candidates when developing a shortlist of contact center infrastructure solutions for existing Aastra MX-One and Aastra 700 telephony platforms (respectively), but also can be considered as bundled suite capabilities that can integrate to third-party communications platforms. The global footprint of the flagship Solidus eCare is expanding, but there is still some inconsistency in different countries such that other platforms may be stronger solutions.
- Solidus eCare scales from as low as six seats with Lite to thousands of seats with Multimedia Contact Center. Bundled with the MX-One and Aastra 700 platforms, Solidus eCare is becoming the common contact routing offering across the company's various enterprise telephony platforms providing improved scalability and consistency of solutions relative to prior offerings from the company.
- Aastra has a large installed base across the globe from which to upsell its contact center solutions. The company's focused sales and marketing efforts have enabled it to positively increase its revenue contribution to the business.
- Virtualization of both the telephony and contact center application platforms enables Aastra to offer a software-oriented contact center proposition at very competitive rates.
- Although the company has centralized development and marketing for its Solidus eCare portfolio, the Aastra businesses it serves are federated on a country or regional level, in some cases with a different product portfolio, making it difficult for large organizations to standardize on contact center solutions.
- Aastra has made strides in advancing the functionality of its Solidus eCare solution, but product development lags that of major competitors, potentially limiting the appeal to organizations that want to differentiate customer service through the use of advanced technology, including areas such as predictive dialer, advanced Workforce Optimization, and voiceXML support.
- Success of Solidus eCare in North America, the largest contact center market, is limited by a lack of market presence and customer awareness. This limits the company's ability to grow its market presence in this market and in some cases limits its ability to secure business from North America-based global companies.
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) has three contact center platforms to address the enterprise market. OmniTouch CC Standard Edition (OTCC SE) is a native application for its Omni PCX Enterprise telephony platform offering voice-only capabilities in environments including those with several hundred or more agents. Following the sale of Genesys to a group of private equity firms in early 2012, ALU also now resells and supports the Genesys G8 Suite for multimedia and more-complex contact center requirements. ALU's Genesys Compact Edition (GCE) targets environments with fewer than 150 agents by combining the Genesys suite with an ALU-developed simplified system management interface and integrations to ALU's collaboration suite. ALU's OTCC SE offering is a likely candidate when developing a shortlist of contact center infrastructure solutions for an organization requiring standard call center functionality, while the Genesys platforms will satisfy larger, more complex requirements.
- ALU has a large installed base of OmniPCX Enterprise across Europe and a competent set of channels that can support requirements for OTCC SE.
- Following many years of working together with Genesys, ALU has the sales and support processes in place, as well as the logistics, to continue to effectively provide the Genesys portfolio and its own OTCC SE and GCE platforms through its channel partners. ALU is currently Genesys' largest channel partner in terms of revenue generated.
- Despite the sale of Genesys, ALU has retained much of its previous talent and leadership in the contact center domain, which should enable a smooth transition to a product strategy focused on the company's OTCC SE and GCE offerings.
- In recent years, ALU's focus for development and sales of contact centers was more on the Genesys portfolio than OTCC. Although significant investment in growing the Genesys business was the right thing to do (while Genesys was part of ALU), limited development on OTCC SE has left ALU with a dated call center platform lacking in multimedia functionality.
- Following the sale of the most profitable part of the enterprise business, ALU is faced with returning the enterprise business to profitability, which could be achieved through reducing the investment in development at a time when the OTCC SE platform needs it the most.
- While ALU's commitment to reselling the Genesys suite of products is commendable for maintaining consistency for customers, a question arises over the profitability of multitier distribution, given that ALU relies on channel partners to sell the majority of its products. Organizations may find it easier and more cost-effective to work directly with Genesys' channels and system integrators.
Altitude uCI is an IP-based multimedia contact center suite that can run either as an adjunct computer-telephony integration (CTI) server to leading enterprise PBX and IP-PBX platforms, or independent of the telephony infrastructure, as an IP contact center platform with Altitude V-Box, an Asterisk-based IP-PBX platform. Altitude is especially strong in supplying contact center technology to the business process outsourcing (BPO) vertical but also has references in most other vertical markets. It has better brand awareness in Iberian and South American markets than in other geographies but is not limited to those. Organizations that wish to build a contact center infrastructure independent of enterprise communications infrastructure can consider Altitude uCI as a contender.
- Despite changes in venture capital ownership, Altitude has retained consistency in its leadership team and product operations. This should be reassuring for customers in a market that is undergoing turmoil.
- BPO is a market in which Altitude has notable strengths from both a product and pricing perspective. There is an opportunity for organizations in other vertical markets to leverage Altitude uCI strengths in rapid application development and flexible licensing terms which have helped the company establish success in the BPO vertical.
- The Altitude uCI suite offers a comprehensive range of applications, including multimedia inbound and outbound contact routing, social media, voice self-service, call recording and workforce optimization, scripting, knowledgebase, cloud platform, and integrated desktop tools. Altitude Studio is the common application development tool for the suite of applications.
- Altitude's focus on growing its strength in the BPO vertical is also a weakness in that it does not have as strong a brand awareness in other verticals, especially with Gartner clients. Consequently, it is not included in as many opportunities as it potentially could be.
- While Altitude has reseller relationships with some Tier 1 integrators, these are also companies with largely stronger relationships with Altitude's competitors. Consequently, Altitude has to spend more effort in sales and marketing than channel relationships would normally demand. This is difficult for smaller companies like Altitude with fewer sales resources.
- There is a danger that Altitude's focus on meeting the needs of the outsourcing market will distract the company from more aggressively meeting the needs of the broader enterprise contact center market.
Aspect's Unified IP offers a unified multimedia contact center application suite for midsize to large implementations, including several best-of-breed applications. Aspect Contact provides a solution targeting small and midsize contact centers closely tied to Microsoft's Lync unified communications offering. Consider Aspect when needing to integrate with multiple PBX/IP telephony environments or when wanting to decouple the timing of your contact center and telephony investment decisions.
- The unified architecture of Aspect's Unified IP products provides common application development, management and reporting tools. They incorporate the company's best-of-breed technology, including call and multimedia routing, an IVR/voice portal, outbound dialing, agent workforce optimization and unified communications. Users can manage multiple sites or workgroups through a unified command-and-control interface, which can also be extended to support the company's "signature" (legacy) contact center platforms.
- The company's Aspect Application Foundation, scheduled for general availability in the second half of 2012, will provide a set of packaged integration tools for developing integrations to Microsoft Lync, SharePoint and Dynamics unified communications and collaboration (UCC) and CRM tools. If well-engineered, these integrations are expected to be of interest to companies looking to leverage their investment in Microsoft applications.
- Aspect's considerable experience in contact center products and markets can be helpful to companies with complex requirements. Aspect also has good global reach for sales and support.
- Aspect traditionally charges premium pricing for ongoing maintenance services, but its service team has received varied reviews from Gartner clients for several years in succession. Aspect customers and prospects must evaluate the impact of this pricing on the solution's total cost of ownership and check references to validate that the service team's skill level is commensurate with the service pricing.
- The company lacks an enterprise PBX/IP-PBX installed base of its own into which to sell its products. As such, and in the light of the lack of "greenfield" opportunities for large contact centers in North America and Western Europe, Aspect must attempt to sell into the PBX installed bases of other vendors, which can be a challenging task. The company's efforts to overcome this challenge by enhancing its ability to integrate with corporate investments in Microsoft solutions are an unproven strategy at present.
- Aspect's financial performance is solid, although the company is not growing its installed base aggressively. In an industry undergoing consolidation, the lack of growth in its installed base may affect Aspect's revenue streams in the long term.
Avaya's heritage Avaya Aura Call Center Elite supports midsize to large telephony-oriented call centers. The Avaya Aura Contact Center (AACC) and Customer Experience Management Suite for Midsize Enterprise both target multimedia contact center environments and can serve to add multimedia capabilities to existing or new Avaya Aura Call Center Elite telephony-centric deployments. Consider Avaya's call and contact center offerings when looking for solutions that include several best-of-breed applications for contact center environments ranging from simple to complex customer service requirements.
- AACC Orchestration Designer provides a single application development environment spanning self-service and assisted service, telephony and multimedia contact flows, as well as agent workflows. Avaya's Workforce Optimization Suite offers a broad set of third-party-developed workforce optimization capabilities, including strong analytics capabilities when combined with the Avaya IQ reporting and analytics toolset.
- Avaya Aura Control Manager offers a very strong set of system management and partitioning capabilities. It enables enterprises to support multiple contact center operations on a single infrastructure instance while providing user groups the ability to control their own routing rules and customer data. In addition, it allows user groups to provide backup assistance to one another for disaster recovery or supporting activity spikes.
- Avaya has a strong vision for leveraging its Agile Communications Enablement (ACE) platform to extend consistent customer service delivery models across a variety of customer interaction domains, including business processes, whether inside or outside the traditional, structured contact center environment, and across a variety of vendors' communications and collaboration solution sets.
- Avaya holds the top market share position in contact center routing in terms of end-user revenue and agent shipments globally, with more than a 35% market share in both categories. This provides the stability associated with strong product and service revenue and a large installed base into which additional products and services can be sold.
- Despite the enhanced capabilities enabled by AACC, many heritage Avaya customers are opting to simply upgrade to the telephony-centric Avaya Aura Call Center Elite offering. This perpetuates a more costly multiplatform development environment and requires Avaya to develop and support a wide variety of integration offerings to support customers' technology adoption plans from a variety of starting points.
- Gartner continues to hear some dissatisfaction among Avaya customers regarding its channel partners' ability to adapt and improve their technical skills to install and support AACC solutions. Potential buyers must also evaluate the stability of the platform and the skills of their Avaya channel partner to deliver reliable solutions in this rapidly evolving technology environment. They should also insert terms into the contract regarding the conditions that trigger a channel partner to escalate an installation or support issue that warrants direct involvement of Avaya corporate resources.
- Avaya has expanded its sales channel coverage with the 2009 acquisition of Nortel, but some heritage Nortel channel partners lack contact center applications expertise. Customers and prospects must check references from the combined Avaya and Nortel channel partner bases to ensure that the partner has a track record for installing and supporting solutions that match their own environment and requirements.
Cisco's contact center offerings include: (1) Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE), targeting large enterprises and those requiring advanced functionality; (2) Packaged Contact Center Enterprise (PCCE), targeting contact centers with fewer than 1,000 agents and wanting a smaller IT footprint than the full CCE solution; and (3) Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX) for small to midsize centers that do not require advanced functionality. A fourth offering, Cisco Unified Intelligent Contact Management Enterprise (Cisco Unified ICM), provides network-level routing and can support multivendor environments. Consider Cisco's contact center offerings if your company is committed to Cisco's Unified Communications Manager or prefers an end-to-end Cisco infrastructure.
- Cisco's Unified Contact Center portfolio supports a broad set of functionalities, including call and third-party-developed multimedia routing, network-level routing, IVR/voice portal, and outbound dialing.
- Cisco's Packaged Contact Center Enterprise, offering call control, call routing, IVR and reporting on a single server, with optional functionality such as multimedia routing and call recording (among others) on additional servers, was introduced in late 2011 and is being met with strong positive acceptance by channel partners, although actual deployments are just beginning to take place.
- Cisco's strong corporate brand recognition and respect among IT decision makers and influencers and its broad global reach, combined with increased marketing efforts from its contact center business unit, have enabled the company to grow its contact center market share, often at the expense of more established competitors.
- Several of Cisco's key channel partners have strong contact center consulting and system integration skills to deliver highly customized and complex contact center solutions. Customers that choose one of Cisco's stronger channel partners can find that Cisco solutions can support highly complex contact center environments.
- Cisco Unified ICM can support integration to third-party telephony environments but is frequently too expensive and underfeatured for most enterprise contact center environments. In new deployments, the offering is typically used as a "steppingstone" to convert the customer to the company's UCCE or UCCX premises-based contact center products.
- Although Cisco's Unified Contact Center Express product supports a tightly bundled application suite scaling up to 400 agents, the company does not offer an all-in-one contact center application suite capable of scaling to large-enterprise sizes.
- Cisco's ability to support system partitioning — to support "internal cloud" deployments enabling multiple contact centers within a large company environment to manage their own operations and data on shared infrastructure — is not as strong as that provided by some of its competitors. In 2012, the company plans to introduce contact center capabilities on its Hosted Communications Server (HCS) to support customers' cloud-based contact center service providers and enterprises that want to support multiple contact center user groups running fully separated operations.
The Enghouse Interactive Contact Center: Enterprise offering (formerly the Syntellect Customer Interaction Management offering) targets midsize to large premises-based contact center environments and has recently added support for virtualized cloud environments. The Enghouse Interactive Contact Center: Cloud offering (formerly its CosmoCom offering) targets service provider environments globally. Consider Enghouse Interactive Contact Center: Enterprise when looking for a premises-based or virtualized multimedia contact center routing solution that can leverage a variety of IP-PBX infrastructure environments. Consider Enghouse Interactive Contact Center: Cloud when looking for a multitenant enterprise offering for "private cloud" environments or when looking for a platform from which to offer cloud-based solutions as a communications service provider (CSP).
Note that at the time of this writing, Enghouse had recently announced the acquisition of Zeacom to address the small and midsize contact center market, although product and service integration plans have not yet been announced.
- Enghouse Interactive Contact Center: Enterprise offering targets midsize to large contact center environments. It is a tightly integrated multimedia contact center application suite that uses CTI to existing PBX investments to leverage existing telephony investments. This offering has its strongest regional presence in North America, with increasing growth in Western Europe.
- Enghouse Interactive Contact Center: Cloud offering comprises a broad suite of highly scalable and fully featured contact center infrastructure applications, including call and multimedia routing, contact recording, and outbound dialing, and is commonly sold into service provider environments. This offering has its strongest regional presence in the EMEA region, particularly among telcos and cable operators, with a growing presence in North America and Asia/Pacific.
- Over time, Enghouse Interactive is expected to increasingly share technologies across its two otherwise very separate technology sets. An early example of this shared-technology approach can be found in the company's newly released Web-based agent interface, intended to provide a consistent agent experience across its premises- and cloud-oriented product lines.
- Enghouse Interactive is a new brand and lacks significant brand recognition. Although the company wishes to use its former Syntellect business to enhance its ability to sell its cloud offerings into North America, and to use its former CosmoCom market presence to enhance its ability to sell its Enterprise offering into other geographies, there is no guarantee that either effort will be successful, and the company risks losing focus on doing either effort well.
- Enghouse Interactive offers multiple separate and distinct contact center infrastructure offerings for distinct markets and must now work through the process of looking for and operationalizing synergies in product development, sales, customer support and marketing. Such efforts often result in near-term missteps in many areas.
- Enghouse Interactive's lack of a consistent product offering set and presence across all geographies makes it difficult for the company to meet the needs of large global enterprises.
Consider Genesys' Customer Interaction Management (CIM) platform and related offerings when looking to support large, complex contact centers, including those that require significant customization to address differentiated customer service needs. Because it is telephony-vendor-agnostic, CIM should also be considered when there is a requirement to integrate with multiple PBX/IP telephony environments or when separating contact center and PBX and IP telephony decisions. Genesys Express supports midsize contact centers needing multimedia functionality with integration capabilities across a variety of vendors' telephony environments.
- The Genesys CIM platform and other components of its contact center portfolio support a broad suite of highly scalable and fully featured contact center infrastructure applications. These include call and multimedia routing, network-level routing, voice response, contact recording and outbound dialing, workforce management and analytics. Customers continue to report that CIM version 8 software provides strong integration across the application suite, using consistent management, administration and reporting systems and tools.
- The company has a strong vision for decoupling contact center applications from telephony infrastructure; for extending contact center capabilities into unified communications environments and enterprise workflow beyond the contact center; and for integrating social-media-based communications into structured contact center activities. In 2011, Genesys sold more solutions based on its SIP Server platform, capable of supporting a "PBX free" environment for contact centers, than those based on its traditional T-Server platform, indicating the company's strengthening performance in selling its emerging technologies. Some of Genesys' investments in its product portfolio, including growth in R&D, target capabilities intended to lower total cost of ownership.
- Genesys can provide strong consulting and system integration services either directly or through its professional services partners. Genesys has a good ability to support global customers.
- Following the sale of the company by ALU to a group of private-equity firms, Genesys has emerged from under the threat of losing its competitive advantage as a PBX-independent solution provider. Under new ownership with a mandate to grow the business, Genesys has shown strong growth in sales of its newer solutions, including WFO, SIP Server and Performance Management (analytics) in 2011, indicating the company's continued strong performance in selling to more technologically aggressive early adopters.
- Genesys' CIM solutions are often more costly and customized to a user's particular environment than those of competitors and are often not as cost-effective, as well as being too complex to deploy and manage for small and midsize contact center deployments.
- Genesys offers its Genesys Express platform targeting midsize enterprises, but the company does not have a good track record for penetrating this market segment. The difficulty is due to several issues, including product price and complexity and a lack of sales focus on the midmarket.
- Following its breakout from former parent company Alcatel-Lucent, Genesys is now owned by a combination of private-equity investors whose holding portfolios are based largely on high-growth companies. Genesys solutions typically targets large and complex contact center environments, but the company is facing increased competition in this target market, and it is unclear whether demand from this market will continue at previously seen rates. To deliver the expected growth, Genesys will likely enter new segments, as well as working to sustain its position in existing segments. If Genesys cannot deliver the growth rates that its new investors target, their commitment to invest in the company and its product development and sales over the long term may wane.
Huawei's eSpace unified communications (UC) multimedia contact center infrastructure portfolio is quite complete with hardware and software solutions offered in all logical layers (automatic call distributor [ACD], endpoint devices and software clients, "green" thin-client agent terminals, middleware, and application integration and security). Huawei can now be considered for its eSpace contact center deployments in China and Asia/Pacific, emerging economies worldwide and increasingly in Western countries following the effective launch of its Enterprise Business Unit with worldwide operations. Its North American market entry is a work in progress.
- Huawei has a very complete suite of enterprise contact center solutions for customers ranging from small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to clusters of 20,000 agents and has supplied some of the world's largest contact center installations. Its third-party partner ecosystem provides complementary contact solutions for specific industry verticals and system integration, particularly in large enterprises, telecommunications, government, finance, electricity, transport and energy. Huawei is aggressively developing large-scale multimedia converged solutions and virtual contact center clouds for BPO and multitenant operations.
- It has made heavy investment in appointing master distributors in 30 territories worldwide. Contact center solutions are being sold through newly appointed distribution channel partners and CSPs worldwide. Huawei's deployment of contact center labs, development centers of excellence, R&D and distribution centers, and logistics is now global. In the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and emerging economies, it typically has greater sales and support coverage than its competitors. While much of Huawei's sales had previously been within its home market, China, most of the company's business is now outside Greater China. New sales are occurring in Western Europe.
- If it maintains its present trajectory, including establishing a strong presence in both North America and Western Europe, expect Huawei to become a Tier 1 global enterprise contact center provider by 2016, especially with large-scale cloud contact-center-as-a-service solutions sold through CSPs.
- Huawei's investment in its global enterprise distribution channels is very new. It has a limited track record outside China to date and could experience growing pains due to its heavy investment and rapid channel expansion agenda. Markets in emerging countries have their own complexities. Western contact center markets are already well-served and consolidating.
- Recognition of the Huawei brand in enterprise networking and contact centers in Western markets is low at present. Recognition of its contact center capabilities is likely to come initially through very large-scale projects where its most capable global-scale system integrators operate. Midmarket success will come through persistent effort in mobilizing its sales channels, certified engineer training and recruiting effective network integrators. Enterprise buyers need to evaluate how their experience of the Huawei channel's preparedness applies to their business.
- Users should not expect Huawei's contact center solution portfolio to appear as an all-in-one suite, but as preconfigured solutions for particular industry verticals. Its initial products are relatively stand-alone and best-suited to integration into a best-of-breed environment. While its products are technically capable of delivering fully integrated contact center infrastructure environments, the channel delivery and support skills of Huawei's channel partners will be an early constraint and determinant of Huawei's ability to deploy contact centers for enterprises.
Interactive Intelligence's Customer Interaction Center (CIC) offering provides an all-in-one suite of contact center applications across a wide range of scalability requirements. Consider CIC when looking for a tightly integrated set of contact center applications, especially for environments that contain multiple PBX and/or IP-PBX vendors, or when wanting to decouple the timing of your contact center and telephony investment decisions.
- Interactive Intelligence's Customer Interaction Center contact center suite uses Web services and provides a common set of application development, management and reporting tools across a range of its applications. Its efficient use of server resources and consistent administrative and management tools across applications makes the system particularly appealing to IT decision makers.
- Interactive Intelligence continues to compete successfully for midsize and large contact center deals and continues to grow at a pace well above the market average. The company is improving its brand recognition in North America and is making steady progress to increase its sales and marketing footprint globally. These efforts include the acquisition of several key channel partners globally to help establish a direct, in-region presence for the company to support direct sales and to assist channel partners where specific skill sets may be lacking.
- Interactive Intelligence is finding success in selling its hosted and hybrid (on-premises and hosted) solutions in enterprises of various sizes. The company is finding its strongest adoption of its hosted offerings in the United States, although it is also offered through additional data centers in Europe, Australia and Japan, with plans to expand into the Latin American market in 2012.
- Despite making investments in its sales channel program to support enterprises outside North America, the company does not match the global coverage provided by some of its larger competitors. Companies should evaluate the ability of Interactive Intelligence and its channel partners to meet their needs in relevant geographies.
- Some of Interactive Intelligence's contact center applications are less feature-rich than competitive best-of-breed offerings.
- Not all of Interactive Intelligence's channel partners are strong in designing, installing and supporting contact center environments. Prospects should check channel partner references for environments that match their scalability and complexity needs, and verify that support resources have been trained and certified on current product releases.
Mitel's Contact Center Solutions (CCS) Enterprise Edition supports a broad suite of contact center infrastructure applications, including call and multimedia routing, voice response, outbound dialing, call recording and workforce management. The Business Edition of its product offers a subset of the features available in the CCS Enterprise Edition, targeting contact centers with 25 or fewer agents. Consider Mitel when looking for contact center solutions associated with Mitel Communications Director telephony and unified communications environments.
- Mitel has recently increased the scalability and resiliency of its CCS Enterprise Edition to better address the midsize- and large-enterprise markets and has charged its channel partners with pursuing small- and midsize-company accounts while Mitel's direct sales organization focuses on large-enterprise and multinational accounts. Mitel reports that it has several customers supporting more than 1,000 concurrent agents.
- Mitel has a strong network of channel partners, particularly for small and midsize enterprises in North America, with adequate coverage in Western Europe and Asia/Pacific. The company has recently increased the contact center training and certification requirements for its channel partners, which should lead to improvements in the overall skill level of its sales channels.
- Mitel offers strong integration with Microsoft communications products and can deliver combined solutions to midsize contact center environments through channel partners certified to deliver both product sets.
- Mitel has limited ability to support large contact center environments and customers with multinational requirements. The company has limited market presence and awareness globally and lacks the financial resources for rapidly increasing awareness of its brand.
- Not all of Mitel's channel partners are skilled in contact center deployments. Prospective customers should check local references.
- Mitel's contact center sales are primarily limited to Mitel telephony environments.
NEC's flagship multimedia contact center offering, Univerge 3C, supports contact centers ranging from SMBs to thousands of agents. Consider Univerge 3C solution when your organization has a significant commitment to NEC telephony (whether you have, or plan, an NEC unified communications deployment or not). The scale and functionality of your contact center needs should be clearly known and deployed within individual countries to avoid the integration limitations of NEC's portfolio and its marketing in multiple countries rather than globally.
- NEC's Univerge 3C unified communications and collaboration architecture announced in March 2012 provides further consolidation of the company's contact center offering for midsize and large contact center environments, which had been served by separate offerings in the past.
- NEC has a large installed base of PBXs and contact centers in several countries, which are amenable to upgrading with additional seats, contact center products and services. It has particular strengths in the hospitality, government and health verticals.
- NEC has built on its previous investments in both appliance-based IP telephony and software-based UCC solutions in its Univerge 3C Contact Center solutions, reflecting the most popular approaches in the Asia/Pacific and North America markets that it addresses.
- NEC's adoption of multimedia customer service functions within its contact center solutions and its integration of popular tools, such as Microsoft Lync and customer-facing IM and Web chat, are slower than its competitors.
- Its contact center portfolio sales are primarily to enterprises with significant existing NEC telephony environments. Gartner sees limited results from NEC's attempts to broaden the appeal of its contact center solutions in order to displace other vendors.
- NEC operates on a particular-country basis (mainly in Asia/Pacific and North America). Its multiple contact routing products for different geographies limit its ability to support multinational companies with a cohesive contact center product set worldwide. Multinational corporations considering contact centers that need a uniform product that can be installed and operated worldwide should evaluate its Univerge 3C contact center solution, which has been developed as a consistent solution for global multinational companies.
SAP's Business Communications Management (BCM) is an IP-based software application platform that supports a multimedia contact center as a single integrated suite. It is natively integrated to a range of SAP's business application software, including SAP CRM, SAP ERP, SAP Business ByDesign and SAP analytics applications. It is also available as a stand-alone platform independent of application software, and available through all SAP offices on a global basis and selected partners offering contact center solutions. SAP BCM is a likely candidate for consideration for any organization using the SAP business application suite. It is also a consideration for organizations looking for a stand-alone platform independent of existing enterprise communications platforms.
- As a part of the SAP group, the contact center software division benefits from the global reach and financial security of a leading business application software supplier.
- SAP's BCM platform is a scalable contact center suite with built-in multitenancy capabilities, which position it well as either an external cloud solution or as an internal, private cloud capability where a single BCM platform supports a number of enterprise operations.
- Integration with SAP's business application suite enables organizations to identify the business value of the communications solution faster than if it were a separate communications platform requiring significant integration effort during initial system implementation.
- As a smaller business unit within the larger SAP business, the BCM unit is challenged to leverage the SAP sales organization where there isn't an opportunity to sell in other SAP applications.
- Organizations that have not deployed SAP for business process may not consider BCM as a viable alternative because it is perceived as being specifically integrated with the SAP application suite.
- Because BCM is a software-only solution, organizations will need to ensure support is maintained for third-party peripherals, such as gateways, session border controllers and, where deployed, handsets. It will be important to find a partner that is prepared to provide a service for all components of the contact center solution.
Siemens Enterprise Communications' (SEN's) OpenScape Contact Center (OSCC) portfolio supports a variety of offerings, including OSCC Enterprise for large and complex environments, OSCC Agile for midsize contact centers, OpenScape Cloud Contact Center for those wanting public cloud solutions, particularly in Western Europe, and OpenScape Office Contact Center for those looking for a combined unified communications and contact center solution for SMBs. Consider OSCC offerings when looking for well-featured contact center applications running in existing or potential Siemens telephony and unified communications environments, including those requiring multisite and multinational deployments.
- SEN's OSCC offering is a well-integrated multimedia contact center application suite. SEN continues to fill out functionality within the suite. SEN has a good vision for extending its OSCC capabilities into unified communications environments.
- SEN appears to be regaining momentum in the contact center space, evidenced by two successive years of increasing system shipments, with particularly strong performance in Germany and in emerging markets such as Latin America and Eastern Europe. The company continues to show evidence of a renewed focus on product development and investment in growing brand awareness.
- Siemens has strongly pursued openness through its development of a service-oriented architecture environment. Siemens also employs an all-software approach in its contact center infrastructure suite, including the underlying OpenScape Voice switching/softswitch environment.
- Despite Siemens' refocusing on its contact center business, the company still struggles to overcome a legacy association with technically strong, but undermarketed, solutions. This continues to result in Siemens sometimes not even being considered for some large contact center opportunities — even within its own installed base of telephony users.
- SEN's OpenScape Cloud Contact Center solution is based on technology from inContact and does not leverage OSCC technology. As a result, customers cannot easily migrate from a cloud-based solution set to a premises-based one, or vice versa, nor can they easily support a hybrid solution with part of the solution based on premises and part operating in the public cloud, yet acting as a single, tightly integrated solution.
- Although SEN has expanded OSCC's functionality and scalability, the offering does not address the needs of very large or highly customized contact center environments. As a result, SEN will resell and support Genesys' CIM and related offerings to address these customer environments, although this is happening with less frequency than in the past.
- The company sells primarily to Siemens PBX/IP-PBX environments.
Vocalcom's Hermes.Net application platform supports a range of products and modules that provide inbound and outbound voice calls, multimedia (including social) and interactive voice response. It is available as a stand-alone suite or as an adjunct server of leading IP-PBX platforms, most notably Avaya Aura Communications Manager. In some countries, Vocalcom's solutions can be supported in a software as a service (SaaS) model either directly by the company or through partners. Most of its business is in the French and Iberian markets and associated outsourcing destinations, where it has strength in, but not limited to, the telemarketing and outsourcing sectors. Its SaaS model will be attractive to organizations looking for utility subscription. Organizations that wish to build a contact center infrastructure independent of enterprise communications infrastructure can consider Vocalcom Hermes.Net as a contender.
- Hermes.Net is a comprehensive inbound and outbound multimedia platform. It is software-oriented and is offered as either a right-to-use license or subscription licensing.
- Vocalcom is an established business with a core competence in providing solutions for the outbound/telemarketing vertical, especially in the French and Iberian markets and their respective offshore locations in North Africa and South America.
- In 2011 Vocalcom received private backing from Apex Partners to help it invest and grow into new markets and continue to develop its product portfolio.
- Hermes.Net in stand-alone mode uses Dialogic PowerMedia Host Media Processing (HMP) at its core for processing contact center sessions. The current supported version is dated, and Vocalcom has had to develop proprietary work-arounds to address HMP's weaknesses in key capabilities, such as virtualization and greater scalability.
- Vocalcom has limited brand awareness outside of its core markets in Southern Europe, South America and Africa and lacks investment in marketing to appeal to new opportunities.
- Vocalcom's focus on satisfying its customers in the outsourcing market distracts the company from more aggressively targeting enterprise contact center environments.
ZTE's Next Generation Contact Center (NGCC) suite supports highly scalable multimedia contact center capabilities. Consider ZTE's Next Generation Contact Center (NGCC) suite for deployments in China and in emerging economies, particularly when needing price-competitive solutions that scale to thousands of agents, such as in CSPs and contact center BPO environments. Enterprises will need to evaluate how ZTE's very large-scale contact center solutions apply to them.
- ZTE's NGCC suite is designed for CSPs to provide many multitenant virtual centers for their enterprise customers, especially for call center service outsourcing. ZTE offers its AnyService@ZXNGCC multimedia unified contact center product based on its new ZXMSQ10 SoftACD switch and system or its ZXNGCC all-IP-based contact center switching solution. Reflecting some of its very large installations in China, it can support 134,400 agents in single module with 8.6 million busy-hour call attempts. ZXNGCC virtual call center technology can support 255 virtual call centers with up to 50 groups in each virtual call center.
- ZTE's new enterprise networking division will significantly change its approach from marketing and selling contact center solutions almost exclusively through CSPs, to effectively leveraging other channel partners for sales and support within two years. This will serve to enhance the company's ability to sell and support complex contact center solutions for enterprises.
- Beyond its present strength in the domestic Chinese market, ZTE is growing its sales of its next-generation contact center offering in emerging markets globally. Although ZTE has a limited number of enterprise customer premises deployments, the company's strength in the contact center market is in selling NGCC as a platform for CSPs, channel partners and network integrators to offer multitenanted hosted or cloud services for enterprises and outsourcers.
- ZTE has limited ability and experience in providing enterprise contact center solutions outside of China and parts of the Middle East, Africa and Latin America where it is established. This limits its appeal to global enterprise customers but is attractive to enterprises needing contact center services in those geographies that are not well-served by Western vendors.
- Recognition of the ZTE brand is low among multinational organizations in the global contact center market, but most customers will be buying CSP-branded solutions. ZTE currently does not focus on providing enterprise contact centers through channels other than through CSPs in the way that its competitors do and is thus not an intuitive prospect for shortlisting. ZTE's new enterprise networking division's market entry into North America and Western Europe is an embryonic work in progress.
- Because ZTE uses a sales model in which it sells NGCC to CSPs, which in turn sell or host NGCC for enterprises, it can be difficult to find CSP partners with a strong understanding of the dynamics and best practices in contact center environments, particularly in emerging economies. ZTE does not provide a bundled contact center suite, so buyers must evaluate ZTE's emerging channel partners' capabilities in virtual contact center deployment, CTI and multimedia Web services. Expect both CSPs and the newly recruited network integrator channel partners to be challenged by the demands of enterprise contact center integration prior to 2015.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor's appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.
In January 2012, Alcatel-Lucent sold its Genesys contact center business to a group of private-equity investors led by Permira. Genesys now operates as an independent competitor in the contact center market. Alcatel-Lucent continues to also sell its own proprietary contact center offerings, as well as reselling Genesys solutions where appropriate for customer demands. As a result, Alcatel-Lucent and Genesys have returned to a state of appearing as separate entities on this quadrant.
Enghouse Interactive has also been added. The company name represents the more tightly coupled offerings of formerly separate Syntellect and Cosmocom offerings owned by Enghouse Systems.
Following Alcatel-Lucent's sale of its Genesys contact center business to a group of private equity firms, the listing of the formerly combined entities, Alcatel-Lucent (Genesys) has been dropped from this Magic Quadrant.
The formerly separately operated Syntellect and Cosmocom have been merged and rebranded as Enghouse Interactive. As a result, the listing Syntellect (Cosmocom) has been dropped from this Magic Quadrant.
To appear in this Magic Quadrant, vendors had to show all the following capabilities:
- Market share among the top performers in at least one geographic region (see "Market Share: Contact Centers, Worldwide, 2011") or, failing that, sufficient differentiation to obtain market presence.
- Sufficient sales and operational presence to support their market objectives.
- Demonstrable solutions in most of the contact center infrastructure portfolio areas defined earlier. At a minimum, offerings must include multimedia contact routing and prioritization, IVR or voice portal capability, and CRM integration tools.
- Evidence of an ability to generate significant interest from leading client segments.
Gartner analysts evaluate contact center infrastructure technology providers based on the breadth, quality and overall breadth and maturity of their applications, customer support capabilities and ability to deliver solutions that enable contact center operations in formal contact centers in companies, outsourcers, and/or service providers. Ultimately, contact center infrastructure technology providers are judged on their ability and success in capitalizing on their vision (see Table 1).
Gartner analysts evaluate contact center infrastructure technology providers based on their ability to convincingly articulate logical statements about current and future market directions, innovations, customer needs and competitive forces, and how well these map to Gartner's overall understanding of the marketplace. Ultimately, contact center infrastructure technology providers are rated on their understanding of how market forces can be exploited to create opportunities for providers and their clients (see Table 2).
Leaders are high-viability vendors with broad portfolios, significant market shares, broad geographic coverage, a clear vision of how contact center needs will evolve and a proven track record of delivering contact center products. They are well-positioned with their current product portfolio and likely to continue delivering leading products. Leaders do not necessarily offer a best-of-breed solution for every customer requirement. However, overall their products are strong and often have some exceptional capabilities. Additionally, these vendors provide solutions that present relatively low risk.
Challengers are vendors with strong market capabilities and good solutions for specific markets. However, overall, their products lack the breadth and depth of those of in the Leaders quadrant. Challengers do not always communicate a clear vision of how the contact center market is evolving and they are often less innovative or advanced than the Leaders. Vendors in this quadrant often excel at selling contact center functionality to their installed base of private branch exchanges (PBXs) or IP telephony.
Visionaries demonstrate a clear understanding of the contact center market and provide key innovations that point to the market's future. However, these vendors typically lack the ability to influence a large portion of the market, have not yet expanded their sales and support capabilities on a regional basis, or do not yet have the funding to execute with the same capabilities as the Leaders.
The vendors in this quadrant offer contact center products that focus on a segment of the market or a subset of its functionality. Customers aligned with the focus of a Niche Player may find its offerings to be a good "fit" for their needs.
Over the past several years, the contact center market has been consolidating. Not only has the number of vendors serving the space declined over time, but the scope of those vendors' solutions has broadened as the vendors seek to secure more of their customers' "wallet share" and as buyers seek to reduce integration costs and the challenges often inherent in managing multivendor environments.
Three vendors — Avaya, Cisco and Genesys (formerly part of Alcatel-Lucent) — in combination now make up more than two-thirds of agent shipments for the global market. However, other vendors continue to grow by employing a variety of strategies. These strategies include, among others:
- Focusing on differentiated technology for various enterprises' needs
- Offering solutions that target the service provider
- Targeting innovation toward niche applications, such as dialer solutions
- Offering cloud-based services to complement their premises-based offerings or to serve as hybrid premise/cloud solutions
- Targeting emerging markets that may offer faster market growth rates and more greenfield opportunities than those in mature markets, such as North America, Western Europe and developed portions of Asia/Pacific
Although some best-of-breed "point solutions" will remain relevant, customers are increasingly moving to adopt broader contact center solutions as tightly integrated suites or more loosely integrated portfolios from "cornerstone" vendors, and all vendors covered by this report offer significant functionality beyond basic phone call routing and prioritization. Furthermore, many enterprises are recognizing the potential synergies between their customer-facing contact center infrastructure and software solutions, with their current or planned investments in internal-facing unified communications architectures and must consider how these investment strategies can coexist and potentially share communication and collaboration components such as enterprise telephony, presence and conferencing applications.
This research captures Gartner's view of the general state of the market and evaluates vendors' capabilities on a global basis. It is not intended as specific advice for any one user company's situation. Companies planning to acquire new or replacement contact center infrastructure should contact Gartner analysts to discuss how this generalized model applies in their specific country, as well as how it applies to their specific business environment and needs.
The dynamics shaping the contact center infrastructure market vary, region by region and often country by country. The contact center infrastructure market is largely a mature market in North America, Western Europe and developed portions of Asia/Pacific, with most sales being expansions of, or replacements of, existing systems. When combined, the North America and Western Europe markets accounted for more than 60% of agent shipments globally in 2011. However, contact center infrastructure is still an emerging technology in many other geographies around the globe, especially those experiencing rapid industrialization and growth of service industries, such as the BRIC countries — with many forecast to grow at double-digit compound annual growth rates through 2016 (see "Forecast: Contact Centers, Worldwide, 2007-2016, 1Q12 Update"). Overall, contact center agent shipments grew 11% in 2011 relative to the prior year. Japan registered the largest percentage year-over-year growth at more than 50%, due in large part to a resurgence in shipments from market leader Avaya. Most other regions also registered double-digit year-over-year growth; however, North America and Western Europe registered year-over-year growth ranging from the middle to high single digits.
The market has traditionally been dominated by the leading vendors in the enterprise telephony market — a market that has also experienced some consolidation in recent years. However, market barriers are not so high as to prevent other vendors from entering. Avaya and Cisco accounted for more than half of all agent shipments globally in 2011. However, Genesys (formerly part of Alcatel-Lucent) is a strong telephony-independent market player, and Huawei has shown strong market share gains over the past two years as a result of the company's substantial investment in launching its enterprise networking business unit. Some smaller players continue to find defendable market niches, either through low price, geographic or vertical market specialization, differentiating technologies, or combinations of these (see "Market Share Contact Centers, Worldwide, 2011" and "Market Share Analysis: Contact Centers, Worldwide, 2011").
Contact center infrastructure solutions have traditionally been hardware-centric, but most vendors' solutions are now shipped as software that the customer can run on properly configured commercial, off-the-shelf servers, although some still require proprietary components. The majority of shipped solutions are based on Internet standards, including TCP/IP in telephony and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which enables the systems to more readily support operationally or geographically separate contact centers on a centrally deployed system and provide for greater scale in the application platform. The use of Internet standards also enables contact center functionality to be embedded into third-party applications, such as CRM or ERP systems. SIP also enables tighter integration of modules within contact center vendors' portfolios of products, although the promise of intervendor interoperability continues to be difficult to achieve..
The market has been consolidating over time, and incumbent vendors are looking to expand their solution portfolios to incorporate additional capabilities that commonly play a role in contact center "ecosystems." These capabilities include IVR, outbound dialers, contact center workforce management, recording, e-learning, Web chat, email response management, live and prerecorded video, desktop collaboration, analytics, workflow, and mobility. This creates challenges to vendors that grow through acquisition or that develop their offering sets as a collection of separate, point solution offerings, in that a portfolio approach (rather than a more tightly integrated suite approach) results in an environment in which customers must manage and administer component systems separately.
In 2012, various broad trends are influencing the planning and deployment of enterprise contact center infrastructure, representing a change from a more conservative market seen in the prior publication of this Magic Quadrant document. Included among these trends are the following:
- Infrastructure consolidation and centralization projects among companies that operate multiple contact centers — These companies increasingly are looking to leverage the location-independent nature of IP-based infrastructure to reduce duplication of infrastructure investments. In response to the interest in consolidation and centralization of infrastructure, most vendor solutions now support VMware or Hyper-V for system virtualization.
- Momentum for multimedia routing, including email response management, Web chat and customer collaboration solutions — These solutions, which have been traditionally purchased from best-of-breed or point solution providers, are now increasingly being evaluated within the portfolio of the traditional ACD vendors.
- Contact center workforce optimization functionality — Once almost solely limited to point solution providers, workforce optimization functionality is now included in many contact center infrastructure suites or portfolios. This functionality encompasses varying combinations of contact recording, agent evaluation, workforce management, coaching and e-learning tools, postcontact survey, and agent performance speech analytics.
- Increasing awareness of social media influences and the potential impact on contact center operations — Many companies are now considering the potential impact of social media-based interaction on customer service activities, although actual adoption of social CRM solutions in contact centers remains primarily limited to companies that take a more aggressive approach to technology adoption.
- Growing interest in adding tighter linkage between customer service operations and both internal- and external-facing mobile applications — Mobile applications are seen as a way to provide customers with easier access to self-service information by supporting a visual interface to option selections and data that previously was available only to those accessing the company using a more traditional computer interface. These solutions can also provide customers with additional information and options based on real-time information regarding contact center operations, such as expected wait times and callback options. Mobility can also be used for internal-facing applications, such as providing real-time and historical performance dashboards and access to staffing and monitoring capabilities while the contact center manager or director is away from his or her desk.
Many companies fitting a mainstream or conservative technology adoption profile have begun to embrace the use of multimedia customer communications, primarily in the form of adding email response management and, in some cases, Web chat functionality to their environments. Meanwhile, those with more aggressive technology adoption profiles have begun to embrace rich presence to incorporate subject matter experts directly into customer service processes. Technologies such as video and desktop collaboration with customers remain niche functionalities in contact center infrastructure, with limited and specialized commercial deployment. Companies — regardless of their particular technology adoption profiles — should review Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Contact Center Infrastructure, 2011" to help develop road maps for the ways that new technologies should be brought into their respective environments to address customer relationship strategies. In some cases, this may involve evaluating the ability of a system to provide a wide breadth of functionality, not all of which may be implemented at the time of the system's initial deployment.
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor that compete in/serve the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets and skills, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.