There is No “IP Contact Center” Market

April 14, 2009 - 2 Comments

I recently received a report from an analyst with a decision matrix to assist customers in making a vendor selection within the “IP Contact Center” market. I’m scratching my head over why some continue to make the “IP” distinction. Perhaps I’m too sheltered since I haven’t positioned a TDM contact center in the past 10 years. I suppose there are still TDM contact center systems going out the door but are vendors really promoting them? I don’t think so. I should probably apologize for any part I have played in promoting the term IP Contact Center. I admit to naming a product IPCC back in 2000 and conducting hundreds of presentations using the term, but I moved on several years ago and I ask you to join me. The IP label helped us explain the emergence of a transformative new architecture for voice communications….but I also have to admit that the term was a bit of self-serving market segmentation. As a new player entering a large established market, you try to segment out a more manageable market definition. Maybe it helped customers see the transition and maybe it was self-serving but let’s all agree that the IP label has outlived its usefulness since every vendor in the industry is now implementing IP contact center systems. Why does the IP Contact Center market definition persist in 2009? I believe it relates in part to more self-serving vendor motives but this time it’s the incumbents who are the beneficiary and in my (clearly biased) opinion it’s more about obfuscation of the market dynamics then it is about helping customers understand a transition. In the past few years, the incumbent ACD (and CTI) vendors with large installed base numbers and mostly declining overall contact center market share have latched onto the IP Contact Center market as a way to show strong growth. A vendor with a large TDM installed base can position upgrades to IP capable contact center systems as net-new sales into this exciting high growth “IP Contact Center“ market.We’ve seen this before. This is the exact same pattern that occurred in the broader enterprise telephony market, with the transition to “IP Telephony”. There was a surge by some of the incumbent vendors at the height of the transition where it appeared the incumbents were regaining market traction vs. the new IP challengers; however flipping an installed base customer is only a short-term boost. It can create the illusion of growth for a few years but ultimately that strategy runs out of gas and the true market dynamics re-emerge.The transition from TDM to IP is past the tipping point so let’s give up the IP distinction and start looking at the whole customer care market. There’s a lot happening in contact center…we can call it Unified Communications if you’d like :)By Tod Famous, customer contact business development manager, Cisco

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  1. Hi Eric,

    You cannot “share” licenses between UCCX and UCCE (or between STD/ENH/PRE). They are distinct product offers.

    If you (or a customer) have a need to migrate from one to another you should discuss this with your Cisco account team and they should be able to help guide you on that migration.

    Alternatively perhaps we continue the discussion on the Cisco community here:

  2. Hi Tod – Do you happen to know approximately how the share of agent licenses split between UCCX and UCCE? And then by STD, ENH, PRE? Thanks.