Communications-in-the-Cloud Trends: Video Interview with Interactive Intelligence and Ventana Research

Industry experts anticipate cloud-based communications to reach beyond fifty percent adoption rate over next seven years

Interactive Intelligence (Nasdaq: ININ) and Ventana Research discuss communications-in-the-cloud trends in a recent video interview. Key trends include the shift from a focus on cost to functionality, and new ways vendors are addressing security concerns.

“The traditional drivers for end-users adopting cloud-based communications solutions come down to costs, resources, and risk,” said Ventana Research vice president and research director, Richard Snow. “But in talking to people more recently, the most commonly cited drivers are flexibility and innovation. The ability to flexibly scale up and down and quickly add new functionality is huge for end-users. Even more important, they say, is innovation: that is, using hosted communications to change the way their company runs its business and communicates with its customers.”

Snow also identifies the most important criteria when evaluating a cloud-based communications solution. “The three things people tell me end-users should look for in a hosted communications solution are functionality, functionality and functionality,” he said. “More important than cost, end-users must find a supplier that has a track record for meeting their unique functionality needs.”

While the popularity of cloud-based computing has led to the increasing adoption of hosted communications solutions, customers remain somewhat cautious about security issues, according to Interactive Intelligence chief marketing officer, Joe Staples.

“Customers, especially large enterprises, still have security concerns associated with migrating communications applications to the cloud,” he said. “However, vendors are offering new ways for mitigating these concerns. For instance, we offer a hosted model that enables customers to keep their voice traffic and recordings inside their network. In addition, our 24/7-monitored data centers are SAS 70-certified and include isolated virtualized servers for each customer.”

Both Staples and Snow agree that cloud-based communications solutions will see significant traction over the next several years and beyond.

“I liken the adoption of hosted communications to voice over IP, which started in the single digits and today has become the de facto standard,” Snow said. “The drivers for VoIP were largely the same as they are today for hosted solutions: reduced costs, fewer resources, and increased innovation. Because of this, I believe that in another seven years the adoption rate for cloud-based communications will reach the 50 to 60 percent range.”

Staples backs this assertion, citing a dramatic increase in customer adoption of the Interactive Intelligence cloud-based communications solution for contact centers.

“Our 2010 communications-as-a-service revenue was up over 70 percent compared to 2009,” Staples said. “The demand we’re seeing is indicative of a major shift in the market. To meet this demand we continue to expand our services. Our plans this year include a trial service so companies can ‘try before they buy,’ and the addition of a central network operations center to our six global data centers, which will provide 24×7 CaaS support and services.”

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