SaaS vendors unite! “No one gets sacked for buying…..”
There was a time, not so long ago when contact centres bought all their contact centre management and workforce optimization software from one of the big boys. NICE, Verint, Avaya, CISCO, Genesys, Calabrio to name a few. As a buyer of such software when I worked for global corporate brands such as Orange, Barclays and Vertex, that was the only option available. That, or stick with spreadsheets!!
It was all about lengthy RFP and procurement processes, on-premise hardware, perpetual licences, annual upgrade fees, and, third-party system integration partners.
In the handful of times I was tasked with leading such projects or acting as the business sponsor, it was rarely a pleasant experience. In fact, I do recall one particularly embarrassing meeting where I completely lost my sh*t when the system-integration partner announced that the project was now going to be four months delayed, and would require an additional £50k budget to address some of the unplanned issues.
Luckily, since launching EvaluAgent in 2012, I’ve experienced some dramatic changes in the way contact centres and a new breed of agile customer service organisations are buying and implementing software.
With the plethora of SaaS vendors that have launched over the last ten years or so, there are now more choices that ever before. Buyers are no longer being “forced” to pick the single one-stop-shop platform that does everything. That said, the pressures behind the cliché that “no one gets sacked for buying IBM” remains for some decision makers.
The key benefits of the one-stop-shop platform are seamless integration of all function and features - just one place for users to access, and one place to go for help. However, the downside is that some of those functions and features haven’t been updated or enhanced in many years and so increasingly, you’re buying a solution that is a “jack-of-all-trades” and a master of none.
Before exploring how things are changing, it’s worth mentioning that the benefit of a single place for users to access is not always a reality. Over the last few years, lots of the big-boys have recognised and addressed the “jack-of-all-trades” threat and have been busy acquiring niche solutions that do one or more of the required platform functions really well.
We’re increasingly being courted in this respect, which is very exciting if not somewhat daunting – picture David and Goliath sitting around a negotiating table.
Alongside all the new business and commercial experiences we’re learning during such negotiations, one thing has really surprised me – I guess in the haste of acquisition and consolidation, it would appear that it’s rare for acquired platforms to be fully integrated together.
So, buyers of these rapidly evolving platforms end up having to manage users in multiple systems and still must log into separate components of what is being marketed as a fully integrated contact centre management solution.
At the same time, we’re increasingly being asked by larger (typically BPO) prospects and clients (1,000+) agents, does your platform support single sign on (SSO) and can users of your software be managed (added, removed, edited) via our workforce management or HR system.
All of this got the product team here thinking...
There must be a simple way to do all of this to ensure that our platform could be better integrated at a user-profile level as well as some of the workflow integrations we’ve implemented with all of the main CRM, ticket management, survey, e-learning, call management platforms.
And so, we created our SSO & Integrated User Management product strategy.
There’s a lot of technical solutioning involved, but we feel we now have a solid framework to discuss with prospects, clients, and OEM partners looking to offer EvaluAgent as part of their “big-boy” platform.
Check out the slides below. As with all of this stuff, it’s really not rocket science, but we believe it’s a fundamental requirement for any SaaS vendor with ambitions for growth.
So let’s change the cliché from…. “No one gets sacked for buying IBM” to “No one gets sacked for buying best of breed solutions and seamlessly integrating them together.”
OK, that’s never going to catch on as a phrase, but hopefully you get where I’m coming from.
All the best,