Monday, April 3, 2017

Why Amazon Connect May Fail

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Amazon has launched its cloud call center offering, Amazon Connect. Since we have been in the cloud call center space for the last 8 years, here are a few of my thoughts on why Amazon Connect will most probably fail in its current avatar.

1. Support: Call center products thrive on support. Call center solutions are real time products. What happens when you get one way audio? What happens if your calls are not going through? What happens when your number is not reachable? What happens when your agents are not able to login? Sure hope you have a number to reach out to. Email support does not cut it. But this goes against the AWS principles as AWS support is mostly through email.

2. Positioning: The current positioning of Connect is confusing to say the least. Its setup is similar to AWS instance setup which is generally done by technical people. Technical people prefer Twilio for their call center. Its feature set is limited and hence enterprises will not prefer it and will go for regular cloud call center solutions like Five9, Avaya, Cloudagent*.
It tries to go in the DIY route, but its drag and drop approach is complicated. Newer players like Aircall and GetKookoo* can help you get started in less than 5 minutes.

3. Mandatory features: Cloud call center solutions should have some mandatory features like CRM integrations(the more the better), live call barge in, call whisper, agent toolbar shortcuts,live reports,screen pop etc. Connect does not have many of these features. So in effect its more of a glorified PBX than a cloud call center in its current avatar.

4. Scaling: The whole premise of going the cloud route is to take care of scaling automatically. And I know I am questioning Amazon scaling :), but hey, they have not mentioned how many calls can an instance handle. Do we need to spin up more instances to handle more calls or will this be automatically taken care of.

I know, the title of this article talks about failure, but lets also look at why Amazon Connect may succeed:

1. Because its Amazon: Well, Amazon is known to have made risky bets and pulled it off. So they may yet pull a rabbit out of the hat.

2. Pricing: They have an aggressive pricing and for businesses with less than 100 calls in a month, its a very good proposition.

3. Amazon Lex: The future may be about bots and automation. Here Amazon's Alexa and Lex may hold the key for the success of Amazon Connect.

But as things stand, my bet is on Amazon Connect not making a big dent in the cloud contact center space.

* denotes products which are built by us at Ozonetel