- The integration enables collaboration between contact center agents and subject matter experts throughout their organizations.
- The announcement reinforces trends around coopetition, contact centers, and linkage between UCaaS and CCaaS.
8×8 and Genesys announced that 8×8’s ‘Work’ now features integration with Genesys’ ‘Cloud CX.’ 8×8 Work includes enterprise voice, video meetings, and team chat capabilities. Cloud CX is a contact center offer that works across phone, email, chat, text, and social channels. The integration will enable contact center agents to collaborate with subject matter experts across an organization. Agents will access subject matter experts through a company directory, while those experts can indicate their availability to respond to customer inquiries. Agents will access both offers through a single sign-on. Both offers can be downloaded from either vendor’s app store.
The announcement is emblematic of three trends: (1) the rise of coopetition; (2) the emergence of contact centers; and (3) the linkage of UCaaS and CCaaS.
There are many UC&C tools available. Thus, different businesses choose different platforms; even within a business, multiple platforms are often used. Situations therefore regularly arise where, for example, a Zoom user may need to collaborate with a Teams user within or outside their organization. Rather than purchase multiple platforms, users want their platform of choice to function with other platforms.
In an evolving movement in the UC&C space, rivals have acknowledged that to fill this need, going it alone is not prudent, and instead have embraced coopetition. Alliances have generally taken three forms: (1) interoperability agreements involving either software or hardware; (2) partnerships; and (3) acquisitions. There is no shortage of examples. Google and Cisco are providing interoperability between their meeting hardware platforms; RingCentral has established software integrations with Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, and Salesforce in addition to providing co-branded offers via partnerships established with players such as AT&T, Avaya, and Verizon; Salesforce made its most expensive acquisition when it purchased Slack for nearly $28 billion; and 8×8 agreed to acquire Fuze for $150 million.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact centers have fundamentally changed. First, contact centers have expanded from strictly brick-and-mortar facilities to include virtual environments. Second, contact centers have emerged from their voice-centric call center roots to support multiple other channels such as chat, SMS, email, video, and social media. Third, AI has permeated contact centers and provides multiple benefits; for example, AI helps predict when a customer requires service and enables organizations to act proactively, powers self-service capabilities such as bots, and also provides the ability to route a customer to an agent most qualified to help.
The multi-channel support that modern contact centers provide, coupled with customers becoming more accustomed to remote (versus in-person) engagement, has made contact centers central to managing the customer experience. At the same time, vendors have established tight linkage between UCaaS and CCaaS, either their own platforms or as part of partnerships; 8×8 and Genesys are merely the latest example.
Combining UCaaS and CCaaS is an acknowledgement that, ultimately, every employee serves the customer, whether customer-facing or not. Facilitating communication and collaboration between these two universes optimizes the customer experience.