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BroadSoft diversifies Cisco's cloud contact center portfolio

Cisco's cloud contact center portfolio now includes BroadSoft's CC-One. The vendor will use the multi-tenant platform to target small and midsize businesses.

Cisco will use BroadSoft's cloud contact center platform, CC-One, to target the midsize market as it maneuvers to prevent pure cloud startups, like NICE inContact and Five9, from poaching existing customers that are ready to transition to the cloud.

Cisco has combined CC-One with Spark Care, its digital customer support platform for help desks and small teams, and rebranded the combined offering as Customer Journey Platform.

The BroadSoft product gives Cisco a multi-tenant cloud offering to complement its multi-instance Hosted Collaboration Solution for Contact Center (HCS-CC), typically sold and hosted by channel partners. In February, Cisco completed a $1.9 billion acquisition of BroadSoft, which, with 19 million business lines, is the leading provider of cloud PBX services worldwide.

Cisco has been increasingly successful at selling HCS-CC, but its primary target for that platform has been businesses with more than 500 customer service agents, said Sheila McGee-Smith, principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, based in Amherst, N.H.

For now, Cisco will use Customer Journey Platform to target customers with up to 500 seats, said Vasili Triant, general manager and vice president of Cisco's customer care division. The platform could scale to tens of thousands of users, but Cisco wants to limit its scope, while working through the "teething pains" of integrating the BroadSoft product into its portfolio, Triant said.

Cisco also plans to use BroadSoft's worldwide media centers to make its contact center products more readily scalable, supporting higher call volumes and reaching into more countries as needed, Triant said.

BroadSoft diversifies Cisco's cloud contact center portfolio

For many SMBs, hosting their contact center in a single instance is too expensive, said Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting LLC, based in West Orange, N.J.

BroadSoft's multi-tenant platform, on the other hand, should be more affordable for that market segment. For service providers, it's cheaper to host and manage clouds for multiple companies within the same instance.

Cisco announced it would eventually make all of its contact center offerings available through Collaboration Flex Plans. That program lets companies pay for both on-premises and cloud products through a monthly subscription, making it financially less complicated to transition from the former to the latter.

Cisco is using the Flex Plans to "make it as seamless and painless as possible to get people to go with cloud but also to feel comfortable keeping what they have," said Jon Arnold, principal of Toronto-based research and analysis firm J Arnold & Associates. "With all of these new competitors entering the market, every little thing like that can really help differentiate."

In 2017, Cisco reported a solid year of growth in the contact center market, attributable in part to Avaya's struggles during bankruptcy. The company told analysts that contact center revenues grew 11% last calendar year. But Cisco doesn't necessarily need to win new customers to remain a market leader as more companies move their contact centers to the cloud.

"If all they do is take the 3 million [contact center] seats that they have and convert them over a period of five to seven years, they could show the same 20% to 25% growth that we are seeing in the cloud contact center market from players like NICE inContact and Five9," McGee-Smith said.

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