Cisco recently released its 11.0 software platform for both Enterprise and Express. They’ve added more features and functionality, reduced some complexities and overall delivered a newer product. But is this release truly revolutionary?

Let’s begin by breaking down the Enterprise features added to the platform. Cisco changed the operating system to Windows Server 2012R2 and SQL to 2014. Revolutionary Score: 8. Why 8? Well this is the first time that Cisco is actually current with both Microsoft products. 2012R2 was always a given, but they could have come into the market with a conservative SQL 2012 as it had been in the market longer when 11.X was being developed. Instead, Cisco decided to loosen up and swing with the current version; in my opinion, that gives them the 8.

Live Data service comes to the entire Enterprise suite with this release. This feature allows for gadgets, wallboards and the like to rapidly obtain statistics on calls in queue, getting agent stats in real time or in under 3 seconds. Revolutionary Score: 5. Now, some may ask why a 5. After all, this is pretty cool feature, in that we had 15-second updates in the past. I am going with the 5 because it really is an “about-time” feature. Competitors have been beating them up in the past and Cisco has now merely caught up. The Revolutionary Score — if you looked at the under-the-hood tech going on with this — would be a 9 or 10.

Context Services now enables the contact center to be truly omni-channel. Revolutionary Score: 10. This is Cisco swinging for the fences and hitting that grand slam, walk-off homerun. For those interested in reading more about this, I have written two blogs specifically on this service, with a third coming soon.

The next two features are loosely related and really add some pizzazz to Cisco’s Contact Center in a manner only they really can do it. What am I referring to? Video support in the Contact Center. Cisco released its Remote Expert Mobile software, and along with that they released video interactive voice response support with 11.0. Revolutionary Score: 10. Cisco is at a unique place as a single vendor in all of this space. They have the video and the infrastructure that makes them revolutionary in this space, as well as the Contact Center and its products. This all becomes possible with Media Sense and its ability to be all things media for their products.

There are many additional enhancements to the products in the suites, but in the interest of keeping this short, let’s move on to Contact Center Express, focusing on two items.

First, embedded email and chat get a face-lift and a new gadget-based user interface. Revolutionary Score: 9. Cisco has done a bang-up job on these features and has really brought in a true multi-channel offering.

The next feature is Finesse Desktop. While not a new feature, enhancements have been made to the client to make it more revolutionary. It is important to note that with this release of UCCX, it is the only supported client. Cisco Agent Desktop is no longer available in this release. Revolutionary Score: 5. If we were in 10.X the score would have been higher, but for now it is where it should be and more features are forthcoming. You get a true CAD replacement if you add in products from 2Ring.

Now, what about the “.Next” in my title? Cisco is going all-in on the Cloud Services such as Context Services. Where they go from there is anyone’s guess. But suffice it to say, now that we have the heavy lifting underway I think we are on track to see some Revolutionary stuff in the future. This release has gotten Cisco’s Contact Center in order and up to snuff from an infrastructure perspective and will free them up for the creative juices to flow.

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