In an age where customer expectations are constantly evolving, it pays to invest in a customer experience platform that empowers organisations to meet these shifting demands and ensures that their agents can deliver exceptional service around the clock.
As a fully-integrated, open cloud contact centre platform that combines market-leading omnichannel routing with highly advanced workforce optimisation, analytics, automation and AI, NICE inContact CXone™ seems to offer the perfect solution.
To find out more, we met up with NICE VP of Portfolio Sales, Aviad Abiri and asked him to tell us how NICE InContact CXone came into being, what changes has it made to the customer service industry and what vision NICE has for its platform in the future.
After having worked at NICE for 20 years, Aviad Abiri has seen the company grow from a call recording vendor for contact centres into a market-leading enterprise software provider that enables organisations to improve their customer experience and efficiencies, whilst strengthening workforce engagement and driving greater value into every customer interaction through a set of powerful analytics.
With a portfolio that comprises of over 16 different solutions ranging from omnichannel capture to omnichannel routing, workforce optimisation, powerful analytics, automation, AI and cloud solutions, NICE have many cards in their deck, so to speak, and NICE InContact CXone offers each and every one of them within a single cloud platform.
What’s particularly interesting about this platform is that, unlike many other companies in the market that will simply take their existing on-premises solutions and throw them into the cloud, NICE have spent the last 2-3 years prior to the announcement of the NICE InContact CXone™ release rewriting their solutions in a new cloud-native form.
This decision came after NICE recognised that many organisations in the marketplace were having a hard time responding to the changing landscape of customer expectations, and whenever new channels came up that they needed to incorporate into their customer service framework, they were struggling to implement them in a fast, non-complicated way.
In response to this problem, Abiri states:
“We decided to write our stack from scratch and build a true native cloud solution that allows organisations to add components really quickly, pay for what they use, have full elasticity and to be able to have a single unified platform that has shared services like single point of administration, single area of reporting and the same UI.”
Given that NICE have invested so much time into making CXone a cloud-native platform, we wanted to know where they stood on hybrid deployment and how much support they offer to those partners still utilising on-premises applications.
In response, Abiri informed us that NICE are fully aware that their partners won’t all be moving to the cloud over night and every separate organisation will want to take its own journey at a pace that is most comfortable to them. With this in mind, although all the CXone applications are pure cloud applications designed specifically for that type of deployment, the CXone platform offers an open framework environment with many open APIs purposely built into it so that partners can work in a hybrid mode.
“Our existing solutions that we have today are fully integrated into this environment, so if a customer already has an on-premises NICE application, they can definitely still get CXone and know for certain that their existing investments will be fully integrated with it.”
What’s interesting about this is that, though NICE undoubtedly has an end-state vision of NICE InContact CXone as an all-in-one single cloud platform, they understand that their partners aren’t quite there yet and, by including open APIs and supporting on-premises solutions, they have given them much more flexibility to migrate at their own pace.
After establishing the deployment options of NICE InContact CXone, we then wanted to know what type of customers are best suited to the platform.
Though Abiri tells us that NICE would traditionally sell to upper market, enterprise contact centres averaging at 500+ for the EU and 1000+ for the US, a shift in trends over the last 18 months has drastically changed this viewpoint and opened up new opportunities for NICE to branch out into other markets.
“We’re now looking at a total addressable market that includes anything from the low end with a few seats, right through to the large 10,000 seat companies – and we believe that the buyers in the market are changing from lower part to the mid/high-end and if they’re not buying it yet in the high end, they’re looking for alternatives and making plans on how to do it within the next 2-3 years on average.”
As digital transformation drifts across the board, it’s clear that companies big and small will all get there eventually but as Abiri informs us, what many of them like is a clear vision of what that end state will look like and how they will go about getting there.
To this, he adds, NICE have gone to great lengths to put together a maturity model – “ignition, addition, transition” – which gives their partners the freedom to add only the components they need then transform any existing on-premises applications into cloud-native, multi-tenant applications whenever they feel ready to.
Going forward in 2018, it is understood that NICE will be concentrating on adding more functionality and components to their existing customer base and, though they will be adding more solutions to their native cloud infrastructure, they will remain committed to supporting partners using on-premises solutions and partners using cloud solutions equally.
Overall, their vision for the future is to look at the next generation of the contact centre and cater for those new customer expectations that will continue to evolve as time goes by.
“After the call centre came the contact centre, and we believe the next evolutionary step is something called the “experience centre” – a virtual entity that creates a personalised omnichannel experience for the consumer across all the touchpoints with a lot of predication and automation built into it.”
Considering this, NICE is likely to spend 2018 focussing heavily on bringing all of its applications together to improve business practices and help customer service organisations find their place in that experience centre world of tomorrow.