How Twilio Did (and Didn’t) Disrupt the Contact/Call Center Industry


January 19, 2017

Twilio is a cloud-based platform that allows developers to customize their applications by adding sophisticated communication tools. For example, Uber uses Twilio to facilitate SMS messages between the user and the driver. With Twilio, even small app developers can leverage communication tools in their apps to help them compete with larger, more well-funded organizations.

In the contact/call center, Twilio allows customers to develop and deploy many of their customized communication tools in their contact center platform. Interactive voice response (IVR), web dialer, web chat, omni-channel routing, and more can all be integrated with an existing contact/call center platform with relative ease. If used correctly, Twilio could even be used independently as a stand-alone contact center platform.

When Twilio was just starting to rise in prominence, some of our Mindsight consultants predicted that this would be the next big disruptor in the contact/call center. A couple years later, Twilio has certainly made an impact, but what’s standing in the way? Where’s the big disruption from the much anticipated disruptor?


A Compelling Twilio Contact Center Use Case

Imagine this scenario. With 100 Chromebooks, the Twilio CX contact center platform, and Plantronics headsets, you could have a functional contact/call center today. That is an amazing level of business agility. With such a low bar of entry, it was assumed that Twilio would play exceptionally well in the startup and SMB market. Furthermore, if there are any missing features or capabilities in a company’s contact center platform, Twilio can be used to round out the solution.

Yet, if we look at the contact/call center industry and the acquisitions that have been made in the last year or so, you can see the industry responding to these new imperatives.


The Industry Responds to Twilio


  • May 29, 2015 — Cisco Acquires Tropo

Founded in 2009, Tropo stood as Twilio’s largest competitor. Their products filled a similar niche, and the two solutions were directly at odds with each other. For years, Cisco has had an excellent eye for emerging technologies and successful startups. WebEx and Jabber both began as independent startups before joining Cisco. Cisco seized this opportunity, made an offer, and acquired Tropo.


  • September 1, 2016 — Genesys Acquires Interactive Intelligence

Interactive Intelligence has distinguished itself in the contact/call center industry by offering an entirely cloud-hosted contact center platform, PureCloud Engage. While PureCloud doesn’t offer the level of customization inherent in Twilio, many of the extra tools typically added through Twilio are easily accessible in PureCloud. Because the solution is in the cloud, these advanced features are simply “turned on” in the interface. There’s no time wasted provisioning and deploying hardware in the data center.


  • January 11 and May 18, 2016 — NICE Acquires Nexidia and inContact Software Group

Isreal-based NICE Systems made two acquisitions last year by purchasing Nexidia and inContact Software Group. Both of these acquisitions widened the number of features and options NICE could offer its clients. Before these purchases, NICE was almost exclusively a call recording and workforce optimization software developer. Nexidia was primarily an audio and video analytics company, while inContact offered a complete contact/call center platform with cloud capability.


Take Off Your Tin Foil Hats

There’s no larger conspiracy going on. It’s very clear. Contact/call center software developers can no longer offer “one thing.” The major players in the industry are trying to widen their offerings to become an all-in-one comprehensive solution and adopt some of the best capabilities of Twilio. While it’s likely there are a number of factors influencing this shift, Twilio is certainly playing a role. So, it may not be the major disruptor we all expected, but it looks like its impact is still making waves.

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About Mindsight

Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.

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For Further Reading:

Read the article one of our consultants wrote up after visiting the Twilio Customer Experience event in 2014. Our consultant was clearly impressed by the product and convinced that solutions like Twilio were going to change the game in the contact/call center industry. Learn more in our blog post, “Will Twilio Disrupt Traditional Contact Center Vendors?”

Will Twilio Disrupt Traditional Contact Center Vendors?


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