Innovation Enhances the Cloud-Based Contact Center Infrastructure Market
The past year was excellent for the cloud-based contact center infrastructure (CBCCI) market. DMG had projected that the market would grow by 22% in 2017, and the actual growth rate was 25.4%. The vast majority of the sales were to existing contact centers whose management made the decision to migrate to the cloud. The introduction of contact center platforms from companies such as Amazon and Twilio also contributed to the growth of the market. DMG remains bullish on this IT market, particularly now that we see some of the larger contact centers either moving to the cloud, albeit not all of their seats at once, or considering a move. DMG expects the market to grow at a minimum of 22.5% in 2018, 23% in 2019 and 2020, and 21% in 2021 and 2022.
Adoption Rate for the CBCCI Segment
The adoption rate of the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market as of the end of 2017 (July 2018) was 14.1% (includes hosted and software as a service (SaaS)), up from 11.4% at the end of 2016 (July 2017). Assuming an average cost per seat of $125/month, this is already a $4.1 billion market. ($125/seat/month takes into consideration implementation, professional services and add-ons like WFO.)
Differentiation Drives the Market Forward
CBCCI vendors have begun to differentiate themselves with their innovative routing capabilities that can optimize the outcome of each interaction. Incoming transactions in any channel can be evaluated and directed to the agent or advisor ideally suited to handle the issue. The result is higher sales rates, larger collections and greatly improved customer service. At the same time, productivity is enhanced as inbound agents benefit from guidance and recommendations on handling transactions as they are occurring, without having to spend as much time researching the customer’s background and the context of the inquiry. The solutions also help organizations comply with various governmental regulations for required disclosures and prohibited activities during agents’ conversations with customers.
Artificial Intelligence Enhances Contact Centers
Artificial intelligence (AI) is having a profound effect on the CBCCI market. Customers show a preference for self-service, and AI-enabled intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are playing a vital role in addressing the self-service challenge. IVAs can automatically verify callers and allow customers to ask questions in their own words. IVAs also support seamless migration from one channel to another, and provide agents with information from diverse online sources to optimize and personalize each interaction and make the most of each sales opportunity. Robotic process automation (RPA) is another valuable tool in contact centers, relieving agents of repetitive, non-cognitive tasks, including the time-consuming processes required for compliance with two-factor authentication. This gives agents more time to spend on resolving customers’ issues, enhancing their job satisfaction as well as the customer experience.
Contact Center Infrastructure Platforms are Game Changers
Contact center infrastructure platform vendors are having a positive and disruptive impact on the CBCCI market. The new paradigm of “platform as a service” means that customized solutions can be created and deployed quickly; application programming interfaces (APIs) are being used to build out functional capabilities rapidly and easily.
The advantages of hosted/SaaS applications in the cloud are no longer the sole value proposition for buying a CBCCI solution. The CBCCI solutions are compelling because the vendors are delivering outstanding and differentiated capabilities, either natively, by acquisition, or through integrations with best-of-breed providers. During 2019, AI, machine learning, natural language understanding and processing (NLU/NLP) are going to be incorporated into more contact center systems, presenting companies with an opportunity to vastly improve their performance and insights into customer needs. Robotic process automation (RPA) and IVAs are going to be used to enhance the customer and agent experience. The next few years are going to be exciting as market innovation enables companies to start delivering the personalized service their customers expect.
DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.