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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mike Burkland, CEO of Five9 (Part 1)

Posted on Sunday, Nov 9th 2014

Cloud-based contact centers are an active space. Here’s an opportunity to get up to speed with the developments.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s first introduce yourself to the audience as well as what you do in the company.

Mike Burkland: I’m the CEO of Five9. I joined here as CEO back in January, 2008 – over six years ago. Five9 was founded in 2001. We’re a leading pure cloud software provider to the call center market or, as we refer to it today, the contact center market. Five9 has over 2,000 businesses as clients. They run their contact centers on our cloud solution. They actually process, on an annual basis, about 3 billion customer interactions across the Five9 platform. When I joined, we were about $10 million in revenue. Now, we’re about $100 million. We’re disrupting a massive market by replacing on-premise legacy solutions like Genesys in the contact center infrastructure space. This is an analogous situation to Salesforce replacing Sibyl back in the day.

Five9 is replacing these on-premise legacy solutions. It’s a very large market with about 14.5 million call center agents around the world today. About 95% of them are still in legacy systems. Most of the opportunity is ahead of us. It’s a wide open marketplace where all those legacy providers are going through major financial and strategic transitions. It’s a great time to be disrupting this market with a cloud solution.

I would add one more comment here. We’re tightly integrated and complementary to CRM systems, especially those that are in the cloud like Salesforce or Oracle. We’ve partnered with those vendors as well as other CRM partners to provide an integrated interface for those agents in the contact centers. If you think about yourself as an agent in a contact center, you will be working on a user interface that has shared screen real estate with Five9 solution as well as Salesforce.

Sramana Mitra: Let me ask you to do an ecosystem map for us. I’d like you to do that in a couple of dimensions. One is your direct competitors, then it also looks like there are indirect competitors. This is obviously a very active market. There’re a lot of players. One thing that always helps us is to understand, in a more precise way, what exactly is the positioning of the company.

Mike Burkland: I think it really does help for people to understand what components of the contact center solution we provide. At a high level, the best way to think of what Five9 provides is, we’re the routing engine for customer interactions whether those are inbound phone calls, chats, emails, or social posts. We’re the routing engine that intelligently distributes those calls or other multi-channel interactions between the consumer and the agent in the contact center. That’s just an important thing to understand upfront. From time to time, people can get confused between what CRM providers do and what we do. The CRM providers are the system of records for customer information. We use that information to intelligently route those customer interactions. We do the routing and the CRM system provides more of the system of records.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mike Burkland, CEO of Five9
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