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Ex-Cisco exec Jonathan Rosenberg named CTO of Five9

Jonathan Rosenberg is now CTO and head of AI for the cloud contact center vendor Five9. Rosenberg was previously a top executive in Cisco's collaboration division.

Five9 has landed another former Cisco executive. Jonathan Rosenberg, who was for years a key leader of Cisco's collaboration technology group, has joined the cloud contact center vendor as CTO.

The move reunites Rosenberg with former boss Rowan Trollope, who ran Cisco's applications and IoT division before becoming CEO of Five9 in May.

Rosenberg, a widely respected software engineer who co-authored Session Initiation Protocol, will oversee AI and machine learning technologies for Five9. He had been managing a similar portfolio at Cisco before resigning from his position as CTO of the company's collaboration division this past fall.

The hiring of Rosenberg and Trollope demonstrates Five9's ability to attract top-level talent, which should help bolster its sales and marketing efforts in the crowded cloud contact center market, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research in Mokena, Ill.

"Jonathan [Rosenberg] is one of the most respected visionaries [and] thought leaders in the communications space and has been focused recently on AI and machine learning, so bringing his expertise to Five9 can only improve their ability to deliver innovative solutions to the market," Lazar said.

Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO, Five9Jonathan Rosenberg

Five9 seems like a logical fit for Rosenberg, who presumably had several job opportunities to choose from, said Dave Michels, analyst at TalkingPointz Research in Superior, Colo. For one thing, Rosenberg and Trollope appeared to have had a good working relationship during their time at Cisco.

Also, Rosenberg, who served as the chief technology strategist for Skype at Microsoft, seems drawn to the tremendous innovation AI is bringing to the contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) market.

"Every aspect of customer engagement is in play, including customer requirements, vendor capabilities, channels, architectures, core technologies and the scope of service," Michels said. "The boundaries of CCaaS are changing. The devices, networks and modalities are all expanding."

In a blog post, Rosenberg said the most significant application of AI in the coming years would be the data mining of audio recordings of calls and meetings. Rosenberg decided early in his job search that he wanted to work for a pure-cloud vendor with no legacy on-premises gear.

"I want a role where I can lead not just one company down this path, but where I can lead the industry," Rosenberg said. "About a month into my job search, it became clear to me that contact center was the place where this would start."

The Cisco collaboration group shed several top leaders in 2018 -- most recently, Tom Puorro, who had been managing the vendor's unified communications and collaboration endpoint portfolios. Puorro became executive vice president of Plantronics in December.

Industry observers are eagerly awaiting a planned keynote at the Enterprise Connect conference by the collaboration group's new senior vice president, Amy Chang, in March. Chang, who is new to the unified communications and collaboration industry, has yet to speak publicly about her vision for the division.

Meanwhile, Five9's addition of another former Cisco executive will likely spur speculation that Cisco may try to acquire Five9 or a competing vendor, Lazar said. Cisco still lacks a homegrown CCaaS offering, although the vendor is in the process of folding BroadSoft's CC-One product into its midmarket portfolio.

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