Strategic partnerships are often core to technological innovation. The relationship between Enghouse Interactive and IBM is a case in point.
In this interview with Vince Mifsud, Global President, Enghouse Systems, he shares his perspective on the company and its contact center solution, the advantages of migrating the solution to the IBM Cloud and plans for further collaboration.
Vince Mifsud, Global President of Enghouse Systems, Parent Company of IBM Silver Business Partner: Enghouse Interactive
How would you describe Enghouse Interactive?
Enghouse Interactive is the largest of three main business divisions of our parent company, Enghouse Systems Limited – a publicly traded company. We are a leading global contact center solutions provider that has been serving over 10,000 customers in more than 100 countries worldwide for over 35 years.
Our company enables our customers to deliver winning customer experiences by transforming the contact center from what has traditionally been viewed as a cost center into a powerful growth engine.
What do you do, and how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Enghouse Interactive is an omni-channel contact center independent software vendor (ISV) that provides a full suite of professional services (consulting and delivery) and customer support services to direct customers as well as value-added reseller partners.
Our core values – Reliability and Choice – are our key differentiators in the marketplace. Reliability speaks to our reputation for always honoring our commitments, whether they be to our customers, staff, partners or investors.
Choice speaks to the unparalleled breadth of our portfolio, which enables our customers to choose from a wide array of solutions and consulting practices, whether they be deployed on-premises, in the cloud or on a hybrid platform – whichever is right for our customers. We also provide an extremely broad range of technologies and capabilities that are based on open standards that really simplify advanced integrations that our customers require.
Describe the Enghouse Cloud Contact Center solution. What types of customers does it serve, and what problems does it solve for them?
The customers we serve range from SMB all the way up to large enterprise multi-nationals and span a wide range of industry verticals, including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail, BPO, energy and utilities, not-for-profit, as well as government and the public sector.
Our solutions enable customer engagement; they deliver customer service excellence anytime, via any communication channel – self-service/IVR, voice, web chat, email, social network messaging, video and SMS. These solutions also contain the monitoring, reporting, analytics and administrative tools our customers need to optimally manage their contact center environment.
And of course, we enable agents to work efficiently, safely and productively on site or remotely, anywhere in the world, using a browser-based interface – which has been particularly important during these difficult times.
Customers using the Enghouse Interactive Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution are looking for the security, flexibility, cost certainty and reliability that a cloud-based solution offers. These customers have decided that they do not want to be in the business of managing and upgrading their own contact center infrastructure. Instead, they want to focus their time, people and money on their core businesses.
These customers want a competitive feature package capable of delivering a great customer experience, while also providing complete visibility into the performance, productivity and value offered by their customer-facing business units. They need data from tightly integrated business applications made available to agents on call arrival and don’t want to spend huge development dollars getting there!
As a result, our customers don’t have to worry about the business impact of downtime, the costs of planning and executing upgrades, or concern themselves with compatibility between telephone, workforce optimization, quality monitoring and social media platforms – all are natively integrated in Enghouse Cloud.
What advantages were you hoping to experience by migrating the contact center solution to the cloud?
Enghouse Interactive is able to provide extremely reliable, feature rich and competitive solutions via IBM Cloud. While we also deliver this via private cloud, on-premises and hybrid deployments, our multi-tenant public cloud solution enables our customers to benefit from lower monthly costs, as the infrastructure and commonly sought integrations are now “shared” across all tenants (other Enghouse Cloud customers), but with highly secure separation at the database level.
What led you to choose IBM Cloud? Did you consider other cloud providers?
IBM Cloud was selected on the basis of our having worked with IBM in the past, its global brand recognition and its reputation for helping organizations migrate to the cloud. The virtualization technology available within IBM Cloud, in particular, is well aligned with our deployment processes and our existing operational skills.
Which IBM technologies is Enghouse Interactive using in this solution? What capabilities are those technologies providing, and what challenges are they addressing?
We are currently using the following IBM technologies for our Enghouse Cloud solution:
- IBM Cloud
- IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions
- IBM Cloud platform security
- IBM Cloud storage services: IBM Cloud Block Storage, IBM Cloud File Storage, IBM Cloud Backup and IBM Cloud Object Storage
- Veeam on IBM Cloud
The virtualization technologies included above have significantly simplified both the process and effort to expand server components within the solution without concern for application server specifications. For example, they have reduced the time taken by 80% to just a couple of hours to “stand up” commonly deployed components used for telco connectivity.
The redundancy capability of the IBM components above have performed robustly and increased our customers’ confidence in solution reliability, our credibility and uptime to conduct their business. The IBM Cloud has removed concerns about compute performance capability, which can be challenging when delivering real-time audio and video interaction. Obviously, the absence of any requirement to maintain hardware saves time and money as well.
What was the process like of working with IBM to develop the solution? How would you describe your overall relationship?
We have found IBM to be accommodating in its learning and advisory communications during the build and rollout, and in its technical information transfer. The result is what we describe as an incredibly solid network, security, compute and storage infrastructure, which was why we moved to the cloud to offer CCaaS globally.
What has your customers’ experience been like with the cloud solution?
It’s still early days for our partnership with IBM and for cloud deployments with our customers. Obviously, we anticipate and expect seamless delivery of all customer interactions, together with an excellent customer experience, by engaging with us. Several customers have expanded their agent count. Although it’s not possible to determine if this is a result of the reliability our customers have enjoyed or simply caused by added business requirements, we suspect both have played a role, which is a positive outcome for both Enghouse Interactive and IBM.
How do you plan to work with IBM to expand the solution in the future?
Our expectation as a business partner and ISV partner within the IBM Cloud Financial Services program means we’ll be able to leverage dynamic storage within a global network to expand our CCaaS nodes within IBM Cloud in order to meet the demand within financial services clients requiring a world-class contact center solution.
How do you anticipate your relationship will grow in a mutually beneficial way?
We expect to continue to leverage IBM Cloud, VMware, IBM Bare Metal Servers and IBM Watson to heighten the differentiation of our value proposition. As I said earlier, contact centers are almost universally viewed as cost centers. However, given the huge amount of Voice of the Customer data captured within them, we believe we can leverage IBM Cloud to increase managed services capabilities to develop mainstream digital transformation projects. Leveraging AI, we will be able to analyze content and expose relevant service and product insights, creating significant opportunities for both parties.
For more information, visit Enghouse CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service)