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Very few companies have fully realized the power of using a common platform for employee and customer interactions.

Yes, Metrigy’s research shows that 62.8% of organizations have integrated their UC and contact center platforms—61.9% of those using the same provider. This clearly indicates most IT and CX leaders understand there is value in applying components of each platform with the other group. For example, the contact center team may start using the employee team collaboration tools, while the employees at large may start using the contact center’s call recording capabilities.

And those already integrating their platforms are seeing measurable business value. But the type of integration varies—as does the extent to which companies have integrated the platforms functionally and operationally.

Use Cases for Integrated UC/CC

Indeed, integration is a broad term. In each of these scenarios, companies have integrated UC and contact center, to some extent:

  • Contact center uses the UC platform for voice calls
  • Contact center uses the existing company video platform to interact with customers
  • Agents click to connect to a non-contact-center employee expert to help resolve a customer issue or close a sale
  • Supervisors use team collaboration workspaces to collaborate with, coach, and train their agents, or to discuss a new incentive program
  • A business unit uses IVR to field incoming calls
  • An internal IT department uses a contact center chatbot to field questions and schedule service calls
  • A product development team accesses Voice of the Customer feedback to help prioritize items on the roadmap
  • Employees use a Workforce Management tool to capacity plan scheduling and enable shift trading
  • Contact center utilizes interaction journey analytics to identify trends and areas of opportunity for improvement across the entire organization
  • Inside sales leaders use quality management and speech analytics to coach team members—resulting in higher sales close rates and increased revenue

The list goes on, and one could argue that there always will be new ways employees-at-large, and contact center agents can use tools traditionally reserved for others. What’s more, the definition of “contact center agent” is changing, as more business units (sales, marketing, IT, field service, etc.) have a need for customer interaction applications.

Hybrid Workforce Will Benefit From Integration

The ability to use the same communication platform for all employees becomes even more significant when considering the future of work, where employees will be much more distributed. As of April 2021, Only 6% of companies had decided to fully return their contact center agents to the office. And as of late 2020, only 12.7% of companies planned to return employees overall to the office, according to Metrigy research studies. It won’t be as easy to walk down the hall to talk to an expert to solve a customer problem; collaboration tools will be required to do that.

But how easy is it to make the aforementioned business use cases a reality? Many organizations must force-fit integrations using custom middleware if there is not an established partnership between two company platforms—or even between distinct UC and contact center platforms from the same provider. And even then, the platforms may have different data and security models, individual management and administration tools, and separate user interfaces.

8×8 Experience Communications as a Service (XCaaS)

8×8 recently introduced its XCaaS service, which integrates UC as a Service (UCaaS), Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) under a common platform. What does this mean, in practice?

  • Single, platform-wide SLA (99.99%)
  • Connections to the same global network
  • One data residency policy, security, privacy, and compliance framework
  • A single enterprise directory with shared presence
  • Contextual hand-offs between people and modalities
  • Single provisioning and configuration; and performance management
  • Team collaboration across all employees, including the contact center agents
  • Common integration framework for UC and contact center that supports more than 50 business apps, including Microsoft Teams and Salesforce
  • Embedded communications APIs
  • Real-time company-wide analytics across all communications
  • Recordings, coaching, and speech analytics for all employees
  • Interaction journey analytics
  • AI-enabled experiences

What’s more, the XCaaS service is cloud-based, and our research shows companies are far more likely to integrate UC and contact center when they are using cloud-based services. Only 28.3% of integrated companies are solely on-premises.

In fact, our research shows that companies with the highest success metrics who use a single, cloud-based provider see revenue increase by 99.6%, costs decrease by 14.4%, CX ratings improve by 56.6%, and agent efficiency rise by 37.4%. Nearly all of these figures are measurably higher for those with a cloud architecture vs. on-premises.

As we continue to research the differences between the type of integration, we expect to see even more compelling figures for those using a common platform compared to those stitching together disparate platforms or those using vendor-provided integrations.

Robin Gareiss

Robin Gareiss is CEO and Principal Analyst at Metrigy, where she oversees research product development, conducts primary research, and advises leading enterprises, vendors, and carriers focusing on customer experience and engagement, digital transformation, and contact center.