Robust Growth Expected for Cloud Contact Centers

2017 was the breakthrough year for the cloud-based contact center infrastructure (CBCCI) market, according to new research from DMG Consulting.

Momentum, which has been building for years, has created a large and lucrative ecosystem of partnerships among many categories of vendors, the firm reported in its "2017-2018 Cloud-Based Contact Center Infrastructure Market Report." It identified more than 150 CBCCI competitors worldwide and hundreds of system integrators, technology partners, value-added resellers, distributors, and others supporting them. It identified 8x8, BroadSoft (which is being acquired by Cisco Systems), Content Guru, eLoyalty, Enghouse Interactive, Five9, Genesys, NewVoiceMedia, NICE inContact, Serenova, Sharpen, and Twilio as the 12 leading and contending vendors.

Additionally, DMG estimates that the revenue size of the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market was at least $2.8 billion (excluding carrier revenue) at the end of 2016. This represents only 11.4 percent of the total contact center seats, so the revenue potential of this market is in the tens of billions of dollars, according to the research. DMG also predicts that the number of seats will grow by 22 percent this year, 22.5 percent in 2018, 23 percent in both 2019 and 2020, and 21 percent in 2021.

Part of the reason for the anticipated growth is the fact that the CBCCI vendors have invested millions of dollars in the past 20 years to build their solutions and supporting networks, and these solutions are now generally much more technologically current than their premises-based counterparts.

Additionally, CBCCI vendors are working hard to address security concerns and stay current with rapidly evolving security and regulatory requirements, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the worldwide Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the United Kingdom's Data Protection Act, the BDSG Federal Data Protection Act in Germany, the upcoming European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and many more.

The next step for the CBCCI vendors is the introduction of artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language understanding, and analytics into their solutions, the firm expects.

"The cloud has become the dominant sales model for contact center infrastructure solutions, [including automatic call distributors (ACDs), dialers, interactive voice response (IVR) systems], and more," said Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, in a statement. "The vendors in this exciting and adaptable market have what it takes to succeed, and this IT sector is going to look even better in 10 years."

And DMG is not the only firm predicting strong growth for cloud contact center technology.

"2018 is going to be the year that cloud-based contact centers become the rule more than the exception," says Tiago Paiva, CEO of Talkdesk. "Cloud technology has caught up to on-premises technology regarding security and call quality. It's only a matter of time before the ease of management and low set-up cost persuade the last old-fashioned holdouts to switch. With all the advantages of cloud-based technology platforms and the exciting future that comes with integrations, the sooner you make the switch, the better."