Market analytics leader Gartner has released its much awaited 2021 Magic Quadrant report for Contact Center as a Service.
With the effect of the pandemic still panning out, demand for CCaaS solutions is only increasing as companies cater to more complex demands from customers globally.
This more global perspective already spurred Gartner to consolidate its separate contact centre reports for Western Europe and North America into one last year, with the practice continuing into the new report.
Editor-in-Chief David Dungay recently spoke to Zeus Kerravala, Founder of ZK Research, about the significance of the latest CCaaS quadrant.
The Definition of Contact Centre as a Service
According to Gartner, CCaaS refers to any SaaS application that helps customer service companies manage customer interactions across channels in a single location.
Gartner identified the one core capability of a CCaaS solution as being the capacity to deliver channel-agnostic customer service journeys, including intelligent self-service. Three optional CCaaS capabilities were also identified:
- Process orchestration to support complex customer engagements
- Resource management and employee engagement
- Customer and operational knowledge and insights
Based in part on their adherence to these pillars, the 2021 Magic Quadrant for CCaaS divides each vendor into one of four segments: Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries, and Niche Players. Here, we run through them all.
The 2021 CCaaS Magic Quadrant Leaders
Leaders in the Magic Quadrant support the four aforementioned pillars of customer service and are capable of serving multinational organisations. Leaders are also more likely to serve customers through channel partners and have strong brand recognition stemming from large install bases or market growth. This year’s leaders are:
- NICE CXone
NICE CXone once again features as a leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant, albeit under a new name having rebranded from Nice inContact. The CXone specialised CCaaS platform is offered directly as well as through channel partners cuh as leading UCaaS provider RingCentral. Gartner said the company’s recent acquisition of knowledge management firm MindTouch further bolstered its strength across the pillars of customer service, with particular strength in AI thanks to NICE CXone’s capacity for self-learning customer interaction models.
Genesys’ Cloud CX CCaaS platform secured its place on the Magic Quadrant. The company is one of the more venerable companies included, having been founded in 1990 – though Genesys Cloud CX was launched in 2015. Gartner said the company was strongly committed to the four pillars of customer service, with strengths in its broad geographic spread and customer journey analytics and orchestration capabilities. Genesys also differentiates itself through pricing, including policies for compensating customers in the event of missed SLA commitments.
Talkdesk took its place as a leader in the 2021 CCaaS Magic Quadrant via its specialised CCaaS platform CX Cloud. Gartner said the company has a strong service proposition for multinationals based in both North America and Europe, with the company strongly committed to all four pillars of customer service. Talkdesk’s solution includes industry and vertical-specific products in areas such as healthcare and life sciences, retail, e-commerce and consumer goods, with the company also having upgraded its AI capabilities with a nontechnical AI training solution.
The 2021 CCaaS Magic Quadrant Challengers
While Challengers have large install bases, Gartner says they don’t necessarily rival Leaders in terms of brand awareness or adoption. Challengers are also more restricted geographically, focusing on market subsets, customer segments and specific verticals. This year’s challengers are:
- Content Guru
Challenger Five9’s place is secured via its Intelligent Cloud Contact Center CCaaS platform, with particular strength in the Americas where it is capable of serving US multinationals. The company continues to expand in Europe and Latin America, however, with growth in sales to the international offices of US-based customers. Having acquired Inference Solutions late last year, Five9 has strong self-service and automation capabilities such as process orchestration and natural language understanding.
Content Guru’s specialised CCaaS platform is known as storm CONTACT, and is offered to customers both directly and via indirect channels. Having been founded in the UK, Content Guru has particular strength in the European region, with Gartner saying that it is suited to organisations with larger and more complex contact centre requirements (although it also offers a dedicated SMB product). The company’s commitment to the four pillars of customer service are being boosted via built-in CRM and service management functionality.
UCaaS leader 8×8 has built a global presence on the back of its offering in that market, with its 8×8 Experience Communications Platform combining CCaaS, UCaaS and CPaaS functionality. Gartner identified the company’s strength in serving SMBs as well as larger enterprises without overly sophisticated contact centre needs. Recently, the company has boosted its customer service strength via partnerships for workforce engagement management, knowledge management and virtual customer assistants.
The Vonage Contact Centre offering comes as part of its programmable communications platform which also integrates UCaaS and CPaaS functionality. Having acquired UK-based CCaaS provider NewVoiceMedia in 2018, the company has particular strength and presence in Europe, serving multinational organisations – although it is also growing in the Americas and APAC. Featuring an integrated user and administration interface, the company has broad support for digital channels and analytics capabilities.
The 2021 CCaaS Magic Quadrant Visionaries
The Gartner Magic Quadrant for CCaaS describes visionaries as companies with strong multi-channel product and service capabilities, differentiating themselves from competitors with innovative functionalities – though they tend to be smaller than both leaders and challengers. This year’s visionaries are:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Formerly a subsidiary of Capgemini, Odigo’s CCaaS platform is offered directly as well as via its former owner. Known as Prosodie until 2019, the company has particular strength in the European region and a focus on automation and natural language capabilities as part of its contact centre platform. Joint innovation with customers is another focus, with Odigo maintaining a number of innovation centres to develop new customer experiences.
Amazon Web Services
Technology and cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) interfaces with the contact centre market via its Amazon Connect CCaaS offering. Utilising AWS’ extensive infrastructure and software expertise, Amazon Connect is offered directly and via channel partners including Salesforce. The product was initially developed for internal use with Amazon’s retail customers, and is particularly popular with companies otherwise using AWS for service delivery. It features an agile, consumption-based pricing model that allows companies to offer support without extensive license commitments.
The 2021 CCaaS Magic Quadrant Niche Players
Finally, Niche Players are those who, although potentially large and growing, focus mostly on specific verticals or solution sets. Products may still be undergoing development, or are delivered in collaboration with partners. This year’s niche players are:
- Evolve IP
Niche Player Evolve IP first launched its CCaaS offering in 2008, with a footprint across North America and Europe. The solution integrates with its native UCaaS offering and is delivered via its OneCloud services platform. Remote working customer service advisors are particularly well served via its deep integration with Microsoft Teams for collaboration – as well as Evolve IP’s own Workspaces offering. According to Gartner, among its other strengths is a close integration with Cisco’s unified communications environment, serving as an alternative to the latter company’s own CCaaS capabilities.
Lifesize’s CxEngage CCaaS offering emerged in 2020 following a merger with Serenova – allowing it to offer both integrated video and contact centres. As a result, the company focuses on integration of video and collaboration channels within its CCaaS offering, targeting verticals where this combination is desirable. Gartner says the company’s other strengths are in a broad network of channel partners and integrations, as well as investment in WEM capabilities.
The WL Contact CCaaS platform secured Worldline’s position on the Magic Quadrant. Offered exclusively via direct sales relationships, the company is particularly strong in Europe owing to having first been launched there in 2002. Its niche offering includes alignment with payment solutions due to Worldline’s extensive ecommerce, payments and digital banking suite. With a history as a business process outsourcing provider, Worldline focuses on teaching customers to manage its contact centre internally, differing from competitors’ focus on professional services.
What Do You Think Of the Results?
This year’s magic quadrant closely follows last year’s, with no new entrants and only one removal in the form of Vocalcom. That stasis may in itself generate some conversation and controversy about who should appear on the list – with heavyweights such as Cisco, RingCentral, Enghouse Interactive and Avaya missing out.
What do you think of this year’s results? Let us know on social media.