Sawasdee (hello in Thai)!
I left yesterday from Bangkok, Thailand (at least I think it was yesterday…well, it was yesterday somewhere) after attending the Interactive Intelligence APAC partner conference. Aside from the sessions and meetings with partners (which I’ll get to in a second), two things really stick out in my mind. First, that is one looooooong trip. Door-to-door for me it was 30 hours (nearly 22 hours in the air). Second, of all the places I’ve been in the world, I don’t think there is a nicer people than the Thai people. Nice, polite, smiling, just a pleasure to be around. Other cultures could learn a lot from them.
To recap the conference…there were about 80 people in attendance over the two day conference — up nicely from last year. Attendees included partners from Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, Norway (I know, a little out of the way, but the partner was in Thailand on holiday already), Vietnam, Thailand, China, India, Korea, the Philippines, and just about every other part of the APAC region.
The sessions included product presentations on CBPA (communications-based process automation), customer feedback management, predictive dialing, call/screen recording, contact center reporting, and workforce management. We also held business sessions on service and support, marketing, sales strategy, and partner programs.
Overall, the attitude seemed very upbeat. CBPA drew a lot of interest from the partners. Also encouraging was the fact that the partners were actively working enterprise telephony opportunities, in addition to contact center business. Although most business conversations started out with something like, "given the current global economy…," the partners quickly moved into the promising things they had going. CallTime, our partner in Australia, walked away with all but one sales award. Australia/New Zealand is a red-hot market for Interactive Intelligence at the moment.
I recently read a report from T3i Group http://callcenterinfo.tmcnet.com/analysis/articles/51208-study-finds-global-acd-shipments-grow-6-percent.htm that showed contact center agent shipments in APAC grew 50% in the first half of 2008 (compared to 2007). Contrast that with the fact that worldwide agent positions grew a mere 6%, and you’ll see why we’ve got a lot of excitement about APAC.
The Interactive Intelligence EMEA partner conference kicks off early next week. If jet lag doesn’t do me in for good, I’ll fill you in on those highlights as well.