Investing in new products without alienating your current customer base can be a complicated process. Interactive Intelligence, a call center solutions provider, is tackling this issue head-on as it promotes its PureCloud platform among customers who have embraced its on-premise solution. Earlier this week, at a press conference during Interactive Intelligence's annual Interactions user conference, attendees peppered CEO Don Brown with questions about the company's plans for its on-premise solution, Customer Interaction Center (CIC).
"What customers like about you [Interactive Intelligence] is that you give them an option, but that seems to be changing," commented a consultant who added that trying to make companies adopt a cloud-based approach is "arrogant." Another attendee asked if the company had a timeline for shutting down support for CIC.
The company plans to continue supporting CIC and appreciates the investments customers have made in it, but "the juice for us is in PureCloud," Brown said. A cloud-based solution like PureCloud, which was introduced in 2014, allows for more capabilities, such as Web co-browsing and combining speech recognition features with WebRTC, he added. It also allows updates to be rolled out faster and can help companies be more resilient to service interruptions.
Dan Rood, senior director of product and content marketing, echoed Brown's sentiment. "We have no intention of killing CIC," Rood said. "But it's already very competitive...so we don't have to invest as much in it."
How many customers use CIC versus PureCloud? Approximately 85 percent of customers use its on-premise product and 15 percent of customers use PureCloud or Interactive Intelligence CaaS, a hybrid version that combines cloud-based features with a single-tenant architecture. But slightly more than 50 percent of new customers from the last quarter are PureCloud users, suggesting rapid growth in the company's new business line.
Prabhakar Rajasekar, senior tech lead at Philips, the Dutch electronics giant, told 1to1 Media that his company is a CaaS customer but he was interested in learning more about the PureCloud offering. At the same time, he was sympathetic to companies that are uncertain about making the transition to the cloud. "There are pros and cons to every technology and [making the switch] can be painful," he said.
The scalability of a cloud, for instance, could come at a price. Companies must determine whether the cost per hour for a cloud server is less than the cost of an in-house server or existing services when it is amortized over the server's lifespan. Also, for some companies it may make more sense to run certain workloads internally rather than putting them on the cloud.
At the same time, the cloud computing market continues to accelerate. The market for cloud computing as a service, which includes PaaS, IaaS, and infrastructure software as a service could reach $21.9 billion in 2016 and hit $44.2 billion by 2020, according to 451 Research's Market Monitor.
Therefore, although some customers will continue to want a premise-based solution, the company has to think ahead, noted Jason Alley, a cloud solutions marketing manager at Interactive Intelligence. "We're about to experience a massive shift in our industry," he said. "Leveraging public cloud infrastructure on top of Amazon [Interactive Intelligence is an AWS customer] is something I would liken to the shift from TDM to VOIP or from hardware-based applications to software-only solutions and we have to be ready."