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ShoreTel beefs up cloud-based contact center with Corvisa

ShoreTel announced plans to acquire Corvisa, solidifying its cloud-based contact center offering in a market expected to top $10 billion in 2018.

By acquiring Corvisa, ShoreTel is expected to offer a more competitive cloud-based contact center  in a fast-growing market driven by businesses looking to cut communication infrastructure costs.   

Last month, ShoreTel -- known for its VoIP and UC products -- announced plans to acquire Corvisa, a provider of cloud-based contact centers, business phone system software and SIP trunking services. The deal is expected to cost ShoreTel $8.5 million in cash.

"This is an area that is up and coming -- the contact center as a service," said Rich Costello, analyst for IDC.

The cloud contact center is gaining momentum for the same reasons the cloud has become popular for running business software, Costello said. In both cases, the cloud cuts costs by taking the place of expensive on-premises hardware.

Global revenue from contact center infrastructure and software is expected to grow from $7.4 billion in 2013 to $10.3 billion in 2018, according to market researcher IDC. Cloud-based technology is a major contributor to the growth.

An online contact center helps businesses adapt to fluctuations in the amount of customer service provided throughout the year, Costello said. For example, a retailer may add customer reps to the subscription service during the holiday shopping season, and then reduce the headcount when the season is over.

ShoreTel has a cloud-based contact center, but it is only available to customers who have a subscription to the vendor's PBX service, said Elka Popova, analyst for Frost & Sullivan. Through the Corvisa acquisition, customers will no longer need to buy the PBX service.

"The Corvisa cloud contact center offering is more feature-rich than ShoreTel's [current] offering," Popova said. "It's both a new product offering -- the standalone cloud contact center -- and an enhanced capability for the cloud PBX customers."

In addition to the cloud contact center technology, ShoreTel customers will be able to leverage Corvisa's APIs to integrate third-party applications into the ShoreTel ecosystem. Also, ShoreTel's channel partners can generate new revenue through Corvisa's SIP trunking portfolio.

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