For years, 8×8 has lured customers in with its UCaaS solution, built relationships, and then served up a CCaaS platform to meet their customer communication needs.
A classic land and expand strategy that allows 8×8 to bring UCaaS and CCaaS together. In doing so, it delivers on its XCaaS vision.
That vision has not changed. However, 8×8 has pulled a strategic switcheroo, which will lead with CCaaS, not UCaaS.
8×8 made the announcement last week during an event in New York. There, it also launched additional contact center AI capabilities and a new tagline to underline its change in focus: “Communications for the Customer Obsessed.”
Discussing the new tagline, Walt Weisner, 8×8 Chief Customer Officer, told CX Today:
Companies that are leading in their sectors are the ones that are truly customer obsessed and, as such, they need a communications platform that is not only built with customers in mind but is one platform that allows for every communications experience across the organization.
Here, Weisner reiterates the value of XCaaS. But he also delved deeper into why 8×8 will lead with CCaaS, with the following four reasons seemingly top of mind.
1. The CCaaS Market Is Less Saturated
Many businesses have already installed UCaaS solutions to support their new hybrid work strategies.
Consider the growth of Microsoft Teams. At the start of 2021, it had 145 million monthly active users. In January 2022, this figure jumped to 270 million. This year, it has risen to 280 million.
As these statistics suggest, its growth curve is slowing considerably – a trend that stretches across the UC space.
So, while in years gone by, it made sense to lead with UCaaS, now the pendulum has seemingly swung, and 8×8 sees the ripest opportunity in the much more open CCaaS space.
Indeed, according to 2023 Metrigy research, only 29.5 percent of companies globally have switched to CCaaS. As such, there is lots of business to play for.
2. The CCaaS Market Is Less Mature
Think of Zoom and Slack. How often have they launched a new UCaaS feature, only for Microsoft Teams to release something similar just months later? There is little space for differentiation.
As Weisner confirms:
The opportunities to differentiate based on stand-alone UCaaS are becoming increasingly rare.
Thankfully, modern CCaaS platforms present many more opportunities through AI-based differentiation – whether through conversational AI, insight generation, augmenting agent experiences, or something else.
As a result, 8×8 may open up more opportunities to set itself apart by prioritizing CCaaS.
3. The Switch Enables a More Compelling Argument for XCaaS
Contact center agents are not the only employees that use CCaaS tools anymore. Store workers, account managers, marketing and sales teams, and others use them too.
If 8×8 leads with CCaaS, it can make a compelling argument for XCaaS to help bring these tools to workers outside the service operation.
Weisner brought this back to 8×8’s CCaaS prerogative in stating:
By focusing on CCaaS innovation within the platform, we can continue to extend our leadership position of providing one single platform across the organisation for CCaaS and UCaaS.
Moreover, adding UCaaS to CCaaS brings many tangible benefits for contact center teams. These include the possibility of agent support channels (swarming), knowledge sharing, and increased cross-function collaboration.
4. Analysts Rate 8×8 Highly for CCaaS
8×8 is a “strong performer” in CCaaS – according to Gartner’s most recent market study.
The analyst’s report, which centered on customer feedback, also revealed that 59 percent of 8×8’s contact center customers gave the vendor a five-star review for CCaaS. This is higher than each of the ten other vendors surveyed – bar NICE.
Moreover, other market studies have shone a positive light on 8×8’s contact center proposition. For instance, the 2022 ISG Provider Lens for CCaaS tagged 8×8 as a market leader.
Will Others Follow 8×8’s Lead?
It’s worth noting that UCaaS will remain a priority at 8×8. After all, it enjoys a co-starring role in 8×8’s XCaaS vision and also performs well in analyst reports, like the Magic Quadrant.
Yet, Samuel Wilson, Interim CEO at 8×8, has not shied away from discussing the opportunities 8×8 has missed in CCaaS.
During a recent earnings call, Wilson stated:
The first and most important thing, and we have not done a great job of this yet, is cross-selling our contact center into that UC base.
8×8’s moves since echo his ambition to change this narrative. And, other UCaaS players with cloud contact center solutions may follow in leading with CCaaS.
Cisco is one example. Revenues generated by its collaborations portfolio dropped ten percent last month. Yet, its contact center business experienced growth.
In addition, several other vendors may consider the switch, including Dialpad, Vonage, and Zoom. Indeed, Zoom is already attempting to ramp up its contact center business.
Nevertheless, 8×8 has become the first vendor to make its aim to lead with CCaaS explicit, pushing its contact center innovation to the next level.
Undoubtedly, its competitors will keep a close eye to see how the strategy impacts its earnings. If 8×8 performs well, a large-scale market shift may be on the cards.