The ever-evolving realm of customer experience (CX) is at an intriguing juncture, with advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and the rise of Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS). The recent Five9 Analyst & Influencer EMEA Summit in Porto, which I was privileged to be invited to, served as a testament to these unfolding narratives, offering a glimpse into Five9’s journey, their approach to CX, and the broader industry dynamics shaped by AI and CPaaS. Will the disruptors be disrupted by AI and CPaaS?

The Porto Setting and Attendees

The picturesque city of Porto, known for its historic beauty and vibrant culture, played host to the summit. The event brought together 18 analysts and influencers to delve into the fascinating world of Contact Centers as a Service (CCaaS) and CX.

Five9’s lineup of speakers included their top executives, who set the tone for the event. Genefa Murphy, CMO of Five9, cleverly kicked off the event, highlighting the significance of the date – May 9 or ‘5/9’, playfully aligning with the company’s name. Mike Burkland, Five9’s Chairman and CEO, was back following a health hiatus, and his passionate commitment to take Five9 to new heights was palpable.

The event was not only about listening to the speakers but also about fostering dialogue. It was a mixed group of analysts and influencers, 14 from the US and 4 from Europe, each bringing a unique perspective to the discussions. The diversity of thought, combined with the thought-provoking content shared by Five9’s leaders, made the summit a hotbed of insights and predictions about the future of CX.

Five9’s Progress and Approach

Five9’s CEO, Mike Burkland, embodied the company’s spirit of resilience and ambition. Under his leadership, the company is seeking to strengthen its position as a leading player in the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) space. This move is reflective of Five9’s aspiration to transition into the number one CX platform, a leap enabled by their holistic vision of enhancing experiences for all stakeholders, including partners and customers, encapsulated in their overall value, “Joy”.

The journey from going public in 2014 with only three major customers to now aiming for a significant $2.4B revenue by 2027 marks Five9’s impressive progress. This trajectory is indicative of Five9’s ability to adapt and grow in a constantly evolving market.

Part of Five9’s growth strategy involves an international expansion, with a focus on the UK and Germany as key European markets. This global outreach is a product of strategic partnerships, such as the one recently announced with BT, understanding local market dynamics, and the seamless collaboration of cross-functional teams.

The Broader AI and CPaaS Perspective

A critical part of Five9’s strategic roadmap is the integration of AI and automation. The company is leading the way in applying Large Language Models (LLMs) to an array of tasks like voice transcription, bots, sentiment analysis, and intent detection. However, Five9 maintains a ‘human in the loop’ approach, emphasizing that AI is an enhancer, not a replacement, for the human workforce.

However, the rise of AI and LLMs raises an interesting question for Five9 and the broader contact center industry. Will the disruptors be disrupted? As AI continues to evolve and improve, it may fundamentally change the concept of contact centers. We might see new competition arising, powered by these advanced technologies. It’s a scenario that places Five9 in an exciting, but potentially challenging, position. The company is confident in its ability to ‘build the airplane,’ but will the ‘engine’ (AI) prove to be too powerful?

This concern was brought to the fore in a discussion with the company’s CTO, Jonathan Rosenberg. While acknowledging the transformative potential of AI, he stressed the importance of the broader system, emphasizing Five9’s experience in building comprehensive CX solutions and understanding customer requirements.

In conclusion, the Five9 Analyst & Influencer EMEA Summit offered a unique insight into the company’s journey and its preparedness to handle the emerging challenges presented by AI. It serves as an interesting case study of how a cloud contact center leader is navigating the uncharted territories of an AI-driven future in the customer experience landscape. I look forward to witnessing how Five9 and the broader industry confront these transformative changes!

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Over the past 30 years Rob (co-)founded various tech companies, including one of the leading Dutch hosted voice providers (before hosted voice became the new normal). Today, he works with telcos/CSPs and some of the world’s leading technology providers on innovation and growth, especially in the rapidly changing world of cloud communications and CPaaS. Rob has this crazy belief that the strengths of corporates and innovators should be combined in new ecosystems to create optimal customer experience, new business models and solutions for some of today’s big problems.


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