A look at Enghouse Interactive’s Products page shows it is not the easiest of companies to understand. Listed are six products – companies actually – that make up the parent: Arc Solutions, CosmoCom, Datapulse, Synellect, TelRex and Trio. As yet this list doesn’t include the latest acquisition, Zeacom. All the businesses in some way connect to multichannel communications and the contact center, with products that range, respectively, from communication management systems for Cisco, a cloud-based contact center, unified communications applications that improve collaboration between employees within an organization, a premises-based multichannel contact center, IP call recording and workforce management, and telephony systems, with Zeacom adding a cloud-based unified communications system based on Microsoft Lync.
Since Enghouse Systems Ltd. was formed in 1984 as a software and service company, the company has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy but has largely left the companies it acquires to operate as independent businesses. This strategy serves Enghouse Interactive’s objective to provide systems that support organizations as they come to grips with customer interactions that arrive through an increasing number of communication channels. My research into cloud-based contact centers shows that this is no easy task; companies today support around five interaction channels, and the number is rising with the introduction of chat, text-based messages and social media. The research also shows that many companies see cloud-based systems as the answer, so it is no surprise that Enghouse Interactive makes several of these systems available in the cloud.
The primary example is CosmoCom. CosmoCall Universe is an all-in-one, multimedia, multichannel (telephone, video, email, text, IM and collaboration) contact center suite, which includes ACD, IVR, video-based IVR and interaction recording. It also supports intelligent interaction routing, as all interaction types, regardless of media, are placed in a single queue and routed based on the same rules. Single-queue interaction routing is supported by CosmoDesigner, which is an easy-to-use graphical tool that allows users to build interaction flows by dragging and dropping icons into a flow diagram, which is then converted to routing rules. The product includes an agent desktop, web-based administration, performance dashboards and a full set of reports. It is all IP-based, built to be highly scalable, and supports multitenancy architecture. These last three capabilities make it ideal for CosmoCom’s primary market, which is telecom service providers and large outsourcing companies that run the software as the basis for on-demand contact center services. For example, British Telecom’s Next Generation Contact Center (NGCC) is a network-hosted contact center that allows BT to offer its customers contact center services that are fully under the control of the customer because the platform is multitenant – each customer can administer the service as if it were their own.
Enghouse’s Syntellect CIM product includes capabilities similar to those of CosmoCom but aimed at the on-premises market. It offers unified multichannel interaction management (inbound and outbound voice, email, fax, SMS, social media and chat), intelligent routing, an agent desktop, recording and a comprehensive set of reports, plus post-call surveys and a complete searchable customer interaction history called iVault. Intelligent routing is achieved by converting all interactions to tasks, which are then managed from a single queue based on one set of rules. Rules can include agent profiles, so that interactions can be routed on more than agent skills; for example, they could be routed to the agent with the best success rate at handling a particular type of interaction. They also include predefined escalation rules so that tasks can be raised in priority. The architecture is highly scalable, distributed and designed to be fault-tolerant, with built-in redundancy at multiple levels. Although aimed at on-premises installations, the platform can be offered as a cloud-based, but not fully multitenant, system.
The Zeacom acquisition adds another multichannel contact center platform to the portfolio. The Zeacom platform includes a workflow engine and capabilities to support business process automation – two major differentiators that support companies’ efforts to redefine their multichannel interaction handling processes. It is based on the Microsoft Lync platform, and so offers unified communications and collaboration capabilities.
In CosmoCom, Syntellect and Zeacom, Enghouse Interactive has made three acquisitions with very similar top-line capabilities but several lower-level variations. The question this raises is where this is all heading. More acquisitions to buy more market share? Not so, I was told. The long-term objective is to rationalize the portfolio to create a full-featured cloud-based interaction management platform that maximizes the relationships with Cisco and Microsoft. The company therefore continues to invest in product development across all three platforms, along with more technology-based partnerships and an ecosystem of partners to provide sales and services around the globe.
Enghouse Interactive is company to watch, with some interesting products that, if successful, will match up to the way our research suggests the interaction management market is moving.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director