Ventana Research Releases Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites
Independent analysis of software rates technology providers on products that address key elements of contact centers and platforms across seven product and customer experience evaluation categories.
Today Ventana Research released its 2023 Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites, a quantified, research-based report evaluating technology providers and products. The Buyers Guide assesses 22 vendors' products using our Ventana Research methodology, called the value index, evaluating software in seven key categories that are weighted to reflect buyers’ needs based on our expertise and research. The Buyers Guide evaluates how well vendors’ offerings will address organizations' requirements for contact center suite software.
In this modern, digital age of customer experience, the journey of engagement across every channel and device must be orchestrated effectively. Organizations, no matter the industry, have inbound and outbound interactions and rely on contact centers to fulfill operational and revenue objectives. The utilization of cloud computing has enabled a new generation of applications and technology that supports this imperative through products that are easier to onboard and utilize than those purchased and installed in the past.
Contact centers have increasingly transitioned their essential digital and telephonic infrastructures from on-premises technology to cloud-based platforms. This shift has been underway for more than a decade with the assumption among technology suppliers and buyers that the cloud is the deployment method to manage the software and the interactions between agents and customers. However, contact centers in a post-pandemic world need to adopt a hybrid approach that engages an organization’s technology where it operates and in whatever way agents and customers interact with it. As the industry moves away from the binary “cloud vs. on-premises” approach into a more realistic, situation-based model, organizations are exploring hybrid deployments that mix cloud and on-premises applications based on each organization’s comfort level.
Ventana Research’s assessment of the contact center market has found an expanding portfolio of methods to meet the broader need for customer engagement and experiences across channels and interactions and with applications and devices. This demand has introduced investments and communications platforms in the cloud known as Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) that provide more flexibility in configuration and customization than traditional contact center offerings. Simultaneously, this technology has advanced the need for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) which supports a broader range of what is referred to as digital communications including collaboration and video. It is now possible for contact centers to adapt and support a more streamlined set of interactions for the best possible experiences across customer journeys. Technology vendors in the contact center suite market are either directly offering CPaaS and/or UCaaS support through their own technology that is OEM and embedded, or through a third-party partner.
The Ventana Research Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites encompasses contact center and agent management applications and the underlying platforms and technology to support them. We examined the offerings of 22 vendors: some cloud-only, some on-premises, and some hybrid; some provide full offerings, and others are platforms meant for building or plugging in third-party applications. Specific product evaluation criteria for capabilities included voice and digital interaction routing, interaction-handling analytics, workforce and quality management, agent performance management, agent desktop support, remote workforce support, automation and self-service, and data and integrations.
As part of the contact center suites research, Ventana Research prepared two additional Buyers Guide reports that separate contact center platforms and agent management capabilities.
“Contact centers are vital to building strong customer relationships and generating loyalty,” says Keith Dawson, VP and Research Director of Customer Experience at Ventana Research. “The speed at which technology and the market landscape are changing makes it essential for buyers to have detailed, quantitative information about the tools that are available.”
The contact center suites research evaluates the following vendors that offer products that address key elements of contact center suites as we define them: 8x8, Alvaria, AWS (Amazon Web Services), Avaya, Cisco, Content Guru, Dialpad, Emplifi, Enghouse Interactive, Five9, Genesys, LiveVox, Microsoft, NICE, RingCentral, Salesforce, Talkdesk, Twilio, Verint, Vonage and Zoom. Two additional vendors, Playvox and Calabrio, were evaluated in the Guide for Agent Management, available separately.
We urge organizations to be thorough in evaluating vendors that support Contact Center Suites and offer this Buyers Guide as both the result of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. The guide can be used to assess existing suppliers and provide evaluation criteria for new projects; applying it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP (request for proposal).
The research finds NICE first on the list with Genesys in second place and Verint in third. Companies that place in the top three of a category earn the designation of Leader. Genesys has done so in all seven of the seven categories; NICE in six, Verint in three, Talkdesk in two, and Content Guru, Five9, and LiveVox in one.
The research places vendors into one of four overall categories: Assurance, Exemplary, Merit, or Innovative. This representation classifies vendors’ weighted performance overall in Product Experience and Customer Experience. The vendors awarded Exemplary are Avaya, Content Guru, Genesys, LiveVox, NICE, Salesforce, Talkdesk, and Verint. The vendors awarded Innovative are Cisco, Five9, and RingCentral. The vendors awarded Assurance are Alvaria and Emplifi. The vendors awarded Merit are 8x8, AWS, Dialpad, Enghouse Interactive, Microsoft, Twilio, Vonage, and Zoom.
The Ventana Research Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites is the distillation of over a year of market and product research efforts. It is an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings will address organizations' requirements for contact center and agent management software. The index is structured to support a request for information (RFI) that could be used in the RFP process by incorporating all criteria needed to evaluate, select, utilize, and maintain relationships with technology vendors. An effective product and customer experience with a technology vendor can ensure the best long-term relationship and value achieved from a resource and financial investment.
Ventana Research has designed the Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites to provide a balanced perspective of vendors and products that are rooted in an understanding of how products should be assessed, evaluated, and selected, and how the products are utilized across roles, must be adapted, and managed to meet the business requirements. This approach reduces cost and time and minimizes the risk of making an unwise decision for the organization. Using the Buyers Guide will enable your organization to achieve the levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to support contact center suites.
"The relevant impact of contact centers to provide effective customer experiences requires having technology that is well suited to meet organization's needs, said Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer at Ventana Research, “This Buyers Guide is the most complete market assessment of the contact center and agent management market that can help any organization assess their existing providers and determine which alternative ones might be best fit the product and customer experience you deserve from a technology vendor.”
The Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites is neither sponsored nor influenced by technology vendors and is conducted solely in pursuit of Ventana Research's mission to provide value to business and IT (Information Technology) through the Consulting, Advisory, Research, and Education (CARE) portfolio of services. Ventana Research's goal is to help guide organizations to optimal efficiency in their use of technology investments for business and IT. To learn more and to read the Buyers Guide for Contact Center Suites, please click here.
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