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8x8 Buys Sameroom, Introduces Communications Cloud

March 08, 2017
By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

8x8 (News - Alert) Inc. has purchased team collaboration outfit Sameroom and integrated it into a new offering called Communications Cloud, the company announced today. Communications Cloud brings together contact center capabilities, integrations, open APIs, real-time analytics, team collaboration, and unified communications into a single platform.

Sameroom has a team collaboration tool of its own. But 8x8 was primarily interested in Sameroom’s ability to connect other team collaboration solutions in the marketplace such as Slack and Skype (News - Alert), explained Neha Mirchandani, 8x8’s head of corporate marketing.

“Right now, there are all these solutions in the market,” said Andrei Soroker, Sameroom’s cofounder and CEO, told me in an interview last week, “not one actually interoperates with another one.”

But Sameroom allows for interoperability through the integrations it built, he said, adding it was a difficult task and will not be easily duplicated by competitors. It was a challenge in part because some team collaboration solutions don't have APIs at all, he said. Others (like HipChat) have APIs, he added, but Sameroom had to work with them to change them to allow for interoperability.

Sameroom today supports interoperability with more than two dozen chat service/team collaboration solutions. Enabling people on different team collaboration tools is important, he added, because it allows more people to interact more easily, eliminates the need for people to have multiple team collaboration accounts and passwords, and helps with compliance.

More than 200 companies are paying customers of Sameroom, for which 8x8 declined to disclose the term of its acquisition. Founded in 2012, Sameroom raised $4 million as a startup.

As for the Communications Cloud that 8x8 introduced today, it includes dozens of new integrations as well as APIs. It also features Script8, a dynamic communications flow and routing engine with reusable widgets. 8x8 had already offered integrations with Salesforce, NetSuite (News - Alert), and Zendesk, but the Communications Cloud is an open platform that delivers even more integrations and potential for interoperability.

Ramana Gottipati, vice president of product management at 8x8, said the company is investing a lot in APIs. The use cases it’s looking at include IVR, two-factor authentication, store finder services, complex IVR schedules, change AA greeting services, emergency message broadcasts, emergency dialing with caller ID override, and anonymous caller hotline.

Mirchandani added that 8x8’s Communications Cloud also is noteworthy because it includes both UCaaS and cloud-based contact center capabilities that are owned by a single company.

As for the real-time analytics capabilities of Communications Cloud, Gottipati explained that can enable a lot of things in terms of tracking events and getting actionable insights from them. For example, this feature could allow a business to recognize when call center customers say something like “I want to cancel” so that business can immediately respond in an effort to keep those customers on board. 8x8’s real-time analytics could also allow an organization to recognize when a major customer is calling so the vice president of sales can take the call.

8x8 announces the Sameroom deal and the introduction of the Communications Cloud at a time of great change in the contact center and unified communication marketplace.

• The popularity of Slack and other team collaboration solutions has caused UC and UCaaS solutions suppliers to scurry to respond with their own offerings in this area.

• Several contact center companies have recently been acquired. (For example, Genesys bought Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert), and NICE bought inContact.)

• Business communications leader Avaya (News - Alert) recently filed for Chapter 11, and just yesterday it announced Extreme Networks would be buying its networking business.

And Reuters and have recently been reporting that 8x8 is exploring a potential sale and is working with Morgan Stanley to identify potential buyers. 8x8 declined to comment on that in my interview with it last week.

Edited by Alicia Young

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