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Moving as Fast as We Can: Q&A With inContact CEO Paul Jarman

Moving as Fast as We Can: Q&A With inContact CEO Paul Jarman

For some companies, an economic slowdown opens the door to a wealth of new opportunities -- and inContact is one of the fortunate ones. As credit markets have tightened, companies are finding it more difficult to obtain financing for on-premise infrastructure. That has opened the door wider for SaaS firms.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
04/06/09 4:00 AM PT

Right now, about 2 percent of the contact center infrastructure market uses Software as a Service, said inContact CEO Paul Jarman, citing research by Gartner.

That statistic seems reasonable, given that the contact center infrastructure space has traditionally been dominated by on-premise players, but Jarman hopes to change that.

A SaaS provider of contact center routing and agent improvement solutions, inContact is also a partner with on-demand CRM giant Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

"We see a lot of demand -- unmet demand -- for these two business lines integrated in a SaaS offering," Jarman told CRM Buyer in an exclusive interview.

CRM Buyer: How is inContact weathering the economic downturn?

Paul Jarman: Very well. We are finding that the contraction in the credit markets and the limited availability for financing is in fact driving additional interest to our solution. The recession is helping us more than hurting us.

CRM Buyer: What are some of the cost-cutting measures you've taken?

Jarman: As a company, we have always been careful with our costs. We have not had to make any significant cost realignment as a result. No layoffs or major changes.

CRM Buyer: How can your products help your customers' bottom lines in the near term?

Jarman: The products we supply help improve costs and quality in the contact center. This is very important, because 70 percent of a contact center's budget is payroll, or the workforce. The big question for contact centers is how to limit payroll and still provide good service. Being a SaaS provider means they can pay for services on a month-to-month basis. Also, companies can layer our technology over their existing PBX -- the software just runs on top. Other products we offer improve the quality of services, such as customer surveys, reporting and monitoring.

CRM Buyer: What are some of the bright spots for your company right now?

Jarman: We are growing very rapidly. We have also been making important improvements to our products, such as integration with Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

CRM Buyer: How will your company look a year from now?

Jarman: Well, we will be bigger, since we are growing well now. I think you will see us with more enterprise accounts. Also, we have added several new partners who will help us distribute the products -- which will also contribute to growth. And we will have made more enhancements to our product line.

CRM Buyer: Tell me more about these enhancements.

Jarman: We'll be making enhancements to outbound [service offerings] and [advancements in] multichannel queuing, and in monitoring, reporting and compliance. Agent scorecards are another area.

CRM Buyer: Who is your main competitor? My instinct is to say RightNow Technologies, but that isn't right.

Jarman: I wouldn't say they are. We don't offer CRM -- we don't have a knowledge base or do trouble ticketing, for instance. The companies we go up against are Avaya, Nortel, Genesys -- on-premise players that sell call center routing and agent improvement solutions. That is why we are partnering with SaaS CRM companies, because we believe that the combination of CRM and a routing platform is a good solution for the market. And when customers can get it on a pre-integrated basis, it is even better.

CRM Buyer: Are you planning to offer integration with other CRM companies?

Jarman: Yes, but we are not ready to announce them yet.

CRM Buyer: What is your biggest challenge right now?

Jarman: Moving fast enough to take advantage of the market. It is opening up opportunities faster than we can take advantage of them.


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