Sramana Mitra: OK. I guess the discussion is a bit different from what I had expected.
Marty Beard: Yes. Again, LiveOps, we always sell directly to an enterprise. We offer our cloud applications to help them run their customer service organizations, their contact centers. We are a cloud contact center vendor. For those enterprises that are also looking for agents to augment the run their own agent communities, we do that as well. That’s what you had spent a lot of time talking to Maynard about.
SM: At this point, when you’re selling to enterprises, are you also augmenting those systems with your home-based call center agents?
MB: Yes. There are some customers that see LiveOps as offering them two solutions. One is that they want to use our cloud platform to manage their own agent interactions, but they also want to augment their agents on demand. For example, the holiday season’s coming up, and there are retailers who need additional support and will work with LiveOps. There are companies that work both sides of the equation.
SM: What systems are you replacing? I can’t imagine any enterprise not having a pretty sizable customer support solution.
MB: Customer service is absolutely exploding with this interest in cloud applications right now. A lot of the focus in the media on cloud has been on sales and marketing and a lot of things that Salesforce.com has been brilliant at. Customer service has been so long dominated by on-premise solutions that it got stuck, and the world moved on. The world moved to social and mobile channels and the customer got much more demanding in wanting real-time feedback. It’s forced customer service organizations to leapfrog their installed technology capabilities. They can’t keep up with a voice-centric on-premises solution. It doesn’t work anymore in today’s environment.
To answer your question, yes, many of them are replacing on-premises solutions. Cloud solutions are growing three, four, or five times as fast as on-premise contact solutions. As I said, the main reasons for that are the mobile and social drivers. Mobile and social have had a huge impact on customer service. It’s one of the more interesting spaces in technology right now.
SM: Yes, we’ve covered many stories. We even have cloud customer service companies in our portfolio with a social angle. But what is the positioning of your company vis-à-vis others? Are you saying that the on-premise, high-end enterprise solutions have not kept up with the movements in social that have started impacting customer service in a big way, and that is where you’re positioning?
MB: Yes. We sell to large enterprises like Symantec and Fidelity. But we also work with medium sized companies. So the question is, why are these companies looking at cloud versus on-premise?
SM: Are you cloud or on-premise?
MB: We’re pure multi-tenant cloud. Everything I’m talking about is cloud. We don’t do any on-premises. It’s classic SaaS. LiveOps is one of the top three players in the cloud contact center space.
SM: Who are you seeing in deals when you compete for customers like Symantec?
MB: The top three players are LiveOps, In Contact, and Interactive Intelligence. Interactive Intelligence comes at it more from a private cloud or hosted cloud. Those folks are always there. At the lower end you have a company called Five Nines, but they don’t provide full contact center capability. At the high end, you start to get more into the on-premises companies that are trying to reposition themselves as cloud, like Avaya. But for pure cloud companies going anywhere from 100 agents to thousands of agents, you’re going to deal with LiveOps, In Contact, Interactive Intelligence, and then you’re going to deal with on-premises companies that are trying to maintain their position. It is the same reason that customers would think about a cloud, ERP, or CRM solution versus licensing software from Oracle.