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UC briefs: 8x8 unveils new contact center analytics

In UC news this week, 8x8 announces new contact center analytics capabilities, while IDC reveals the top UC and collaboration vendors.

8x8 Inc. unveiled new contact center analytics capabilities with the latest release of its Virtual Contact Center (VCC) service. The VCC Analytics feature offers new capabilities and expands on existing ones.

The new capabilities include virtual queuing, which allows customers to decide if they want to stay on hold or receive a callback when an agent is available, and co-browsing, which allows agents and customers to view the same webpage in real time.

VCC Analytics also expands on capabilities like Web callback, which gives Web customers the option to have an agent call them, and proactive Web chat, which offers customers the ability to chat with an agent and gives the agent key customer information.

"Every business is hyper-focused on understanding and improving their customers' journeys," said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics LLC, based in Amherst, N.H. "8x8's latest release of Virtual Contact Center makes compelling contact center analytics available to a broader set of companies, helping them turn data into powerful insights to quickly assess operational performance and adjust, as needed, and even strategically optimize their business."

IDC reveals top UC and collaboration vendors

Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya Inc. are the leading vendors in the global unified communications and collaboration (UCC) market, according to a report from IDC.

Customers can often face UCC challenges -- such as cost justification, identifying proper use cases, and implementation and support skills -- but vendors offer a range of deployment options that can address these challenges, according to IDC.

"Selecting a UCC vendor solution should be based on several factors, including whether vendors meet the organizational criteria for call control, end-user profiles, communication and collaboration applications, cost savings and benefits, and revenue-generating opportunities," said Rich Costello, senior research analyst for unified communications and enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC.

IDC named Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Huawei Technologies Co., IBM, Interactive Intelligence Inc., Mitel Networks Corp., NEC Display Solutions, ShoreTel Inc., Unify Inc. and Toshiba America Inc. as major players or contenders in the market.

Microsoft and GE partner

Microsoft and General Electric have teamed up to deploy Office 365 throughout the 300,000-employee organization with a goal of improving collaboration and productivity.

A Microsoft blog post discussed how GE needed a platform that could integrate with different applications and infrastructures that ranged from offices in North America to oil rigs in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

"A one-size-fits-all solution is unrealistic for a company of our size, so the interoperability and flexibility of the platform, the ability to integrate with other tools was an extremely important piece," said Larry Biagini, CTO at GE. "Some of our solutions may not come from Microsoft, but the ability to integrate has to come from Microsoft."

Biagini said GE also wanted to take advantage of real-time productivity and collaboration tools like co-editing, Yammer and Skype for Business, to enable greater collaboration and productivity across the entire company. GE also needed a platform that offered cloud capabilities, but also on-premise support to comply with government and industry regulations.

Next Steps

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