As the largest, and most popular cloud contact centre software provider in the world today, Five9 has earned a reputation for exceptional service and innovation. They’ve been delivering new solutions to the cloud contact environment since 2001, and today, they’re bigger and stronger than ever, thanks to the modern drive for digital transformation.
We caught up with Dan Burkland, the president of Five9, to find out more about the company and the success it’s been seeing in recent years.
How Are Things Going for Five9?
Dan began our conversation by telling me that the momentum for the Five9 brand has been exceptional lately, as the company continues to capture new business.
“As organisations continue to go through the process of digital transformation, a natural part of that is moving the contact centre infrastructure into the cloud.”
In the past, most contact centre technology was distributed on-premises with huge initial investments and large technology footprints. Now, for companies that need to become increasingly agile, it’s important to transfer that infrastructure into the cloud, where they can scale, evolve, and flex as necessary.
“There are so many benefits to moving into the cloud, and Five9 has been able to take advantage of this drive towards a more agile business, as we go through the early stages of digital transformation (DX). We can deliver the trust and confidence that customers need as they take the next step in their strategy, ensuring that they access the same security and data protection with a cloud provider that they’d get on-premises. What’s more, our clients can tap into the natural redundancies of our cloud system for reliability and enjoy the scalability of the platform to ensure that they’re always staying current with the latest innovations.”
What are the Triggers Driving Customers to Five9?
Overall, the cloud computing concept is a very compelling strategy. As businesses are forced to become more agile in a world of constantly-evolving technology, the cloud offers the opportunity to scale and adapt at a rapid speed, without the costs associated with replacing legacy hardware and software. I asked Burkland what triggers he believed were driving customers to the Five9 solution.
“There are several drivers for the cloud contact centre. First, it eliminates the expense associated with maintaining your own infrastructure. Trying to update your equipment rapidly in multiple locations than getting that technology to work together is a complex process, the cloud makes evolution easier.”
Dan also drew attention to the fact that the cloud offers more options for product innovation, ensuring that customers can take advantage of new solutions when and as they appear. “The beauty of the cloud is that you get our new innovations the minute they roll out, and they’re accessible to your agents all over the world.”
As Five9 has evolved, the company has introduced a range of great applications, like global voice capabilities that allow them to ensure that international companies have access to “regional points of presence” for better quality conversations. The opportunity to take advantage of these new innovations immediately is very exciting.
How Does Being “Born in the Cloud” Help?
Five9 is very happy with the fact that it was “born in the cloud” because this means that it didn’t have to go through the complications that many legacy providers are struggling with in the age of digital transformation. I asked Dan what being “born in the cloud” means to Five9 from a competitive perspective.
“The transition to the cloud is difficult for legacy providers. They’re used to providing CapEX solutions for an initial cost, but today’s customers want more instant accessible solutions for ‘subscription’ payments instead. The revenue that legacy providers are used to is taking a big hit temporarily, and it leads to a transition that’s very difficult to make.”
Five9 never had to go through the transition from CapEX to OpEX because they started off as a service in the cloud. Additionally, Dan noted that from an innovation perspective, their subscription model means that they can constantly add new features to the platform and make them instantly available for customers.
“The upgrades happen behind the scenes, and there’s no need to take weeks changing hardware and software. We notify customers that an update is coming, and we roll it out in a maintenance window when the client is least likely to see any disruption.”
Do You Feel the Need to Enter the UC Market?
Five9 is a company presenting itself as an alternative to companies like Cisco and Avaya. Dan noted that when they say they’re replacing these companies, they’re not trying to replace the PBX portion. Instead, Five9 is about giving customers a chance to move the contact centre infrastructure to the cloud, and simultaneously maintain their PBX if they want to.
I asked Dan whether he thought that Five9 was missing out on any sales because they focus on contact centres, rather than UC.
“We don’t want to enter the UC world right now because it’s so competitive. However, we have everything our customers need available, and we integrate with other systems too.”
For Burkland, and Five9, getting ahead in the communication space, and appealing to large, enterprise customers is all about making sure you have the right contact centre strategy. “Even for those focusing on both UC and CC, it’s crucial to have the right contact centre offering. That’s why it’s so common to see UC vendors partnering up to ensure they have a CC solution.”
What Are your Thoughts on Avaya Right Now?
Though Avaya has long had the lion’s share of the contact centre market, Five9 believes that that dominance has been gradually decreasing over time. “I think it’s fallen behind from a technology standpoint, and I think that even though Avaya are climbing back into the market, they still have a debt hanging over them that makes it harder for them to innovate as quickly as other brands.”
Dan also noted that the Spoken acquisition might have ticked some boxes for Avaya, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to become a disruptor in the contact centre space. “The main play for Spoken was to ensure that the Avaya system could be more multi-tenanted for customers. It’s a similar play to what EchoPass brought to Genesys, and that feature has since been phased out.”
Though Avaya is obviously doing better this year than they were in 2017, Five9 don’t see the company as much of a competitor. Instead of worrying about alternate companies, the brand is continuing to innovate and focus on new product capabilities.
“It’s a little early to reveal anything right now, but there’s a lot of excitement around how we’re going to leverage machine learning, AI, and bots to help our clients achieve the best customer experiences possible.”