Over the past 12 months, Microsoft, Google, and Zoom have entered the CCaaS space.
Each contact center proposition is at a different stage of maturity. Although, they all currently lag industry leaders, which include – according to Garter – Genesys, NICE, and Talkdesk.
How long will it take for them to catch up? Potentially not long at all, as they have the capacity to invest significantly in the market – as Microsoft plans to “aggressively” do. They may also go out and acquire a leading vendor and shortcircuit their route to CCaaS success.
But, for now, it is fascinating to assess their current propositions and how they stack up against one another. With the insights of Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst at ZK Research, here is how they compare and contrast.
Microsoft Dynamics for Customer Service 365
Microsoft is generating a lot of buzz in the contact center space. However, not for its dedicated CCaaS platform. Instead, many other CCaaS providers are attempting to integrate with Microsoft Teams so that companies can use their products within the UC platform.
Such offerings are coming to market rapidly as Microsoft adds Teams licenses at a terrific speed and backdoors its way to contact center success.
Discussing this status quo in a recent CX Today article, Kerravala states:
Teams is a really good chat product, it’s an okay meetings product, [but] the telephony is substandard, which is why so many UC partners have the Microsoft “operate and connect” type of offering where you can add telephony features.
However, its native CCaaS solution – Microsoft Dynamics for Customer Service 365 – has not caught fire as many perhaps expected. Why? Likely because the contact center is very important to most companies. It’s the first line of defense in many cases, and many companies consider CX their brand differentiator.
Building on this point, Kerravala says:
I don’t think you can build a half-baked product and throw it at the wall, as they have done with Teams. This is something that they have to be all in or all out.
For that reason, many will wait for Microsoft to come up with more of a full-featured product, which includes fundamental contact center solutions – such as a social channel, WFM tools, and a quality management system.
In the meantime, the likes of Five9, NICE, and RingCentral will continue integrating with Teams to provide a fully-fledged contact center platform to Microsoft users.
Since this article was written, Microsoft released a new CCaaS offering. Discover more here: Microsoft Launches a Digital Contact Center Platform
Google Cloud Contact Center AI Platform
Many analysts predicted that Google would become a dominant player in the UC space. Yet, those projections never came to fruition. With a lack of announcements following the launch of its CCaaS solution in March 2022, Kerravala questions whether history is repeating itself. He says:
For the most part, UCaaS and CCaaS remain somewhat of a hobby almost for the company, and I’m waiting for them to really step up.
Its partnership with UJET is more promising, and if Google acquires the vendor, that will signal a serious intent within the CCaaS market.
Meanwhile, in terms of in-house innovation, Google has enhanced its speech recognition capabilities, which could bolster several tools within its CCaaS platform. Yet, the company did not refer to its contact center solution when making the announcement, perhaps signifying its lack of significant intent within the space.
“Right now, I would put them on the sidelines,” concludes Kerravala.
The Zoom Contact Center
“They’ve just gotten into CCaaS this year, but because of the high brand loyalty they have, I think they’re a fascinating player to watch,” says Karravala when referencing Zoom.
Indeed, people tend to enjoy using Zoom, and the vendor has enjoyed success with its “land and expand strategy”. Underlining this is the recent revelation that the vendor went from no seats on Zoom Phone to over three million in just a couple of years. That is a tremendous uplift.
Yet, enjoying little more than five months within the CCaaS space, its contact center offering is still a little basic. Zoom did recently acquire Solvvy and add conversational AI capabilities to its platform. Although, it must still add more digital channels into the mix.
Kerravala suggests that Zoom will not take long to reach such objectives, as he commends the vendor’s speed of innovation. He adds:
I think what you’ll see from Zoom is they’ll continue to use these small technology accretions to add differentiated features, and then they’ll close the gap with internal R&D for the core capabilities.
Introducing us to the Zoom Contact Center, Heidi Elmore – Head of Product Marketing – shared more details regarding the future of its CCaaS solution in a March 2022 CX Today video interview.
Who Is Leading the Way?
“With Google and Microsoft, it is a little bit of wait and see, whereas Zoom seems to be all in right now,” summarizes Kerravala.
Indeed, in the case of Zoom, CCaaS is seemingly a much more significant priority, most notable in how frequently it announces upgrades to its contact center platform.
Yet, it only takes a major acquisition for Microsoft and Google to level the playing field and become prominent CCaaS players – a possibility well within their means.
In addition, other notable names – including the likes of Amazon and Cisco – will attempt to increase their market share in an increasingly competitive space.
Like Zoom, Amazon is innovating fast, releasing new conversational AI, outbound, and case management capabilities in June this year.
Meanwhile, Cisco was a little quicker to the mark and offers a solution that already competes with the stalwart contact center providers. Its achievement of earning the “Best Contact Centre Platform” award at the CX Awards 2022 underlines this.
So, while Microsoft and Google are waiting in the wings to possibly make a major move into CCaaS, Zoom is not short of competition from other enterprise software giants as it attempts to make ground on industry stalwarts.