Webex Battles to Get the Enterprise CCaaS Attention It Deserves

Can Cisco turn rapid-fire innovation into enterprise attention in 2024?

Webex Battles to Get the Enterprise CCaaS Attention It Deserves
Contact CentreNews Analysis

Published: February 1, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Webex has a CCaaS platform that often receives glowing reviews in analyst reports – like the recent Aragon Research Globe Intelligent Contact Center 2024.

Those reviews have translated into steadily rising CCaaS revenues.

Yet, that growth is not surging as many would expect, considering Cisco’s large contact center infrastructure (CCI) base.

Of course, Cisco hasn’t taken the steps of its conventional market competitors to nudge these on-premise customers towards Webex.

Nevertheless, its CCaaS market share should be higher than it is – especially in the enterprise. So, what’s missing?

A Slow, Meandering Start

Some may blame a slow start on Cisco’s underwhelming enterprise CCaaS business, as it initially focused on private cloud services via HCS or BroadSoft.

Meanwhile, NICE, Five9, Talkdesk, and various others came along, banging the public cloud drum, and – in doing so – snuck up behind Cisco, seizing market share.

Since then, Cisco has built out the Webex Contact Center. However, by the time it had laid all the bricks in the public cloud wall, the CCaaS space had suddenly become crowded.

Traditional CRM, UCaaS, and other enterprise tech stalwarts decided to throw their hat into the ring. That includes everyone from Microsoft to Google, Zoom to – most recently – Verint.

The obvious step to get ahead of these new rivals is flipping its on-prem base. Yet, the new Cisco – which emphasizes the importance of preserving long-term relationships – doesn’t want to pressure customers. It remains mindful that switching loyalties is much easier in the new SaaS world.

However, even if Cisco wanted to flip those legacy customers, it’d likely be trickier for them than its conventional CCI rivals, like Genesys.

After all, the Webex feature set is completely different from what’s on-premise, which can confuse customers who expect a less disruptive cloud migration.

Getting Fresh Eyes on Webex: A Tricky Task

The early meanders meant the Webex Contact Center never gained significant momentum in the enterprise – with many still viewing it as principally a collaboration platform.

Those perceptions spread doubts in the minds of enterprise contact center leaders. They’ll ask: can Webex really handle the complexity of my service operation?

Webex recently released different CCaaS packages to counteract these doubts, underlining its widescale product innovation and enterprise support.

Yet, Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research, wants Webex to go further.

“If they’re going to step above the noise, above everyone else, I think this is where customer case studies – and sharing stories – becomes important,” he told SiliconANGLE.

While they got a good base of customers, I’d like to see those become actualized in a public-facing way… That will help determine whether they become a market leader or remain this niche vendor.

Webex’s AI Differentiators Get Lost In the Noise

Alongside sharing customer success stories, Webex could double down on AI.

After all, AI is the next big transition for contact centers after the cloud. But, trying to prove its AI is better than its many market rivals is incredibly tricky.

Consider an area in which Webex already offers superior AI: background noise removal. Here, its tools are optimized to a single person’s voice, distinguishing between an agent and others talking around them for next-level noise blocking.

That’s an excellent use of AI. But, because its competitors market noise reduction, this capability gets overlooked, no matter if it’s better than most alternatives.

Then, there’s its innovative Real-Time Media Models (RMMs). These extract data from audio and visual cues, combining that with an LLM to drive enhanced sentiment analysis.

In doing so, contact centers can alert agents going through the motions to show empathy or – in the long run – allow brands to build more empathetic virtual agents.

However, it has the opposite problem to its background removal tooling here. Indeed, it’s the only vendor talking about RMMs, so marketing this as a “must-have” is a challenge in itself.

These examples showcase some of the excellent AI innovation Webex is delivering. Now, it must turn them into something more actionable, which customers can easily see the value in.

Its last innovation spree showed promise of this, especially the AI burnout detection tool. That exemplifies how Webex can take its conversation analytics capabilities and package them into smaller bites that leaders immediately understand the benefits of.

Unified CCaaS & UCaaS Talk Falls on Deaf Ears

Much of Webex’s USP is CCaaS, UCaaS, and CPaaS on one platform. Still, it plays to that and successfully wins SMB and midmarket business.

In doing so, it can innovate in new ways and differentiate. For instance, it has a single AI assistant that runs across all Webex products, from CCaaS to UCaaS, Vidcast to Slido – unlocking new capabilities within each.

Yet, that one communications vendor concept is less compelling in the enterprise.

Consider Microsoft. It has little success in the enterprise contact center space but has the most widely adopted UCaaS platform.

Meanwhile, other vendors that embrace this one platform concept – like 8×8 – tend to do well in environments with a single buyer and smaller IT teams. However, go up the enterprise food chain, and it’s the likes of AWS, Five9, and NICE that win most contracts.

Of course, a particular efficiency comes with a single CCaaS-UCaaS platform, including the capability to send customer cases outside of the formal contact center. But is it an enterprise CCaaS contract clincher? Seemingly not.

That’s especially true, given how many enterprises still use a mixture of Teams, Zoom, Webex, and others for internal communications. If they can’t bring UCaaS down to one consolidated platform, combining UCaaS and CCaaS into a single solution may seem like quite the stretch.

What to Look Out for at Cisco Live

Next week, Cisco Live 2024 rolls into Europe, and the event will likely bring several new features and updates for the Webex Contact Center.

Expect talk of a unified platform and AI to steal the show.

Yet, hopefully, Webex will get more prescriptive with AI, share new customer success stories, and hone in further on the enterprise.

Webex may put contact center security front and center to achieve the latter. There lies a potential differentiator, given Cisco’s broader capabilities.

Already, Webex is starting to lean on these. For instance, digital channels now leverage anti-malware capabilities to scan all attachments – going in and out of the contact center – for malware signatures and viruses.

Such capabilities can ensure the safety and stability of the enterprise contact center – and by placing the spotlight on such tools, Cisco can do more to communicate in their language.

If Webex does so, its CCaaS platform may start to garner the attention it deserves.




Brands mentioned in this article.


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