We predict how 2023 may play out for a host of CCaaS market leaders, also including Twilio, Salesforce, Google, and others
2022 proved a disruptive year in CCaaS, with the likes of Microsoft, Salesforce, and Zoom throwing their weighty hats into the ring.
In addition, stalwart on-premise vendors became much more explicit in their efforts to shift customers from on-premise solutions to the cloud.
Such trends had a seismic effect across the industry and changed the go-forward plans for many.
The predictions below take this into account, mulling over what end-users can expect from several prominent CCaaS players in 2023.
Few understand why the Gartner CCaaS Magic Quadrant does not already class AWS as a market leader. After all, the business has almost unlimited resources. Yet, rivals – including Vonage – rank above the vendor on “ability to execute.”
The good news for AWS is that it inched closer to the leader quadrant in 2022 while many competitors fell back.
Moreover, its utilization-based pricing model remains a significant draw for seasonal businesses, and its speed of innovation is impressive, releasing feature enhancements almost weekly. These come in addition to the many exciting capabilities announced at its recent re:Invent show.
At the event, Amazon Connect, alongside its Global Cloud Infrastructure, played a starring role.
These moves suggest that CCaaS is becoming a priority at AWS, which may lead to 2023 finally being the year market analysts recognize the vendor as a leader in the space.
The launch of Twilio Flex came at around the same time as Amazon Connect, with both framed as developer-friendly platforms.
Indeed, they essentially offer a set of building blocks, allowing organizations to create the CCaaS solution that works best for them.
Yet, over the years, AWS stretched its lead in customer acquisition – as per a 2022 Metrigy study.
Why? It is likely because AWS recognized that some customers prefer elements of the offering to come connected. In addition, some wish to have the complete kit pre-built.
Nevertheless, Twilio Flex has primarily remained as a set of building blocks.
Now, demand for such a solution does exist, with Twilio achieving its largest-ever Flex deal last year.
However, Twilio is catering to a much smaller audience. Noticing this trend, it may consider pre-built CCaaS options in 2023. If not, it will likely remain in the CCaaS shadows.
“Of all the communication companies, they [Zoom] have the strongest attachment from the user audience,” states Zeus Kerravala, the Founder & Principal Analyst at ZK Research.
Such intense customer loyalty will likely support Zoom’s enterprise growth in 2023 and fuel its CCaaS momentum as the Zoom Contact Center rolls out across EMEA.
Nevertheless, there are some significant feature gaps within the CCaaS platform, including a lack of digital customer engagement channels. Expect Zoom to fill these in 2023 with internal R&D.
Meanwhile, as it did with Solvvy in 2022, Zoom may make further acquisitions and establish close partnerships to deliver more differentiative features.
Another excellent example of how it did so last year is through its partnership with ServiceNow, which paves the way for Zoom to build an innovative agent experience in 2023.
Despite a strong 2022, Five9’s stock tumbled by 20 percent when CEO Rowan Trollope announced that he would step down in October.
Such a hit is understandable, considering Five9’s growth during Trollope’s tenure. However, former CEO Mike Burkland has returned to the role, which has provided stability, as highlighted in Five9’s impressive results last quarter.
In addition, despite stepping down to receive cancer treatment, he remained an active chairman and worked closely with Trollope during the rearchitecture of its CCaaS solution. He also played a part in the development of its CCaaS strategy.
So, do not expect any significant change in strategy from Five9 in 2023, which sometimes come with a c-suite change. Instead, Five9 will likely continue to land and expand with conversational AI, further its international growth, and aim to differentiate itself through its ability to execute.
The contact center is not something a vendor can do half-heartedly. Many businesses consider it a mission-critical function.
Yet, Google has made a habit of doing this with its ventures into the enterprise. As such, question marks remain over their intent in the space.
With that said, its initial steps have proved promising, partnering with UJET, landing its first customers, and tying the solution with Chrome.
These announcements came quickly towards the end of 2022, underlining its desire to build momentum in the space in 2023.
The launch of the Digital Contact Center Platform was first met with some confusion. How close is it to Teams, Dynamics 365, and Azure? It all seemed quite unclear.
Moreover, the Nuance acquisition became the main star of the announcement. Yet, when that deal was first struck, the narrative was all based on healthcare.
So, lots of pieces came together, but few could really say how. Microsoft later clarified elements of this, yet it appears almost as if it is throwing the solution at the wall and seeing what sticks.
It first took this approach with Teams in 2017, which is now a market-leading UCaaS solution. Nonetheless, Kerravala is unsure how well it will work in CCaaS. He said:
I’m skeptical of Microsoft in this space, as Microsoft is the King of “good enough.” That might work in meetings and stuff, but that won’t work in contact centers.
As such, expect Microsoft to refine its CCaaS proposition in 2023.
Meanwhile, it will support its fellow CCaaS vendors in tying their solutions with Teams. Indeed, Microsoft seems set to release its first accreditations for its Power integration model – with providers, including AudioCodes, reportedly close to certification.
According to its own estimates, Avaya’s revenues will fall until the end of 2024 as it works its way back to growth in 2025.
The news proceeded reports that the vendor may file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Such stories have raised question marks over its future. But Avaya has come back from the brink before, and its install base has remained oddly loyal to a company largely mismanaged over the past few years.
This continued loyalty may offer a thread of hope for the company. As does its hybrid CCaaS option for users who want the cloud’s scalability but wish to separate their data. Few of its longstanding competitors do this, with the exception of Cisco.
Moreover, Avaya plans to maintain its CCaaS investment in 2023, which ramped up towards the backend of 2022 – with the vendor adding 50 new features and enhancements last quarter.
Yet, despite these positives, Avaya will likely brace itself for a thorny start to 2023.
People expected Salesforce to step into the CCaaS space for a while. After all, it’s an obvious adjacent play as almost every contact center vendor integrates with its CRM solutions.
In 2022, that happened. Yet, the move seemed to go slightly under the radar.
Why? Maybe because it lacks the voice architecture and experience in dealing with CCaaS complexity to compete for the largest contracts in the space.
Salesforce must also tread lightly, as it has many longstanding partnerships with prominent contact center vendors, who could decide to support other CRM providers.
Nevertheless, it may provide a good option for small businesses that already use Salesforce.
Also, it’s an interesting sign of what’s to come as CRM and UCaaS vendors converge on CCaaS.
In October, Genesys announced that it will focus all its “innovation, investment, and resources” on Genesys Cloud CX.
As a result, many competitors saw an opportunity to win over its on-premise customers. For instance, UJET sent out an email blast stating:
Begin your Genesys migration on your terms, rather than waiting for another announcement of EOL, further cuts, forced migrations, or product limitations.
Genesys CEO Tony Bates followed up with a blog to reassure legacy customers that the business will continue to support and maintain on-premise solutions.
However, Genesys may have some work to do at the beginning of 2023 to reengage some disillusioned customers. Additionally, the vendor may have to sell the idea that a public cloud migration is what’s best for them.
NICE ended 2022 by releasing two innovations: FluenCX and Enlighten Journey Orchestration.
Both solutions impressed in their ingenuity, with the former analyzing customer conversations to spot the most pressing opportunities for conversational AI and automation.
Moreover, each stemmed from its CXi vision, in which NICE has invested much of its time.
Nevertheless, it’s a little confusing, with some believing that CXi is a product. It’s not that. Instead, it’s a vision for a frictionless experience that goes beyond the contact center.
Unfortunately, this misunderstanding perhaps highlights a need for clearer messaging around its CXone platform in 2023 – which almost always scores highly in analyst reports.
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