A Chat with Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO and Head of AI at CCaaS Company: Five9

A Chat with Jonathan Rosenburg, CTO and Head of AI at Five9

Five9 is one of the largest cloud contact centre providers, with thousands of customers worldwide and processing billions of calls per year. We are on a mission to elevate both the customer and agent experiences by enabling workforces with technologies such as AI and collaborative intelligence.

What do you think makes this company unique?

First, we deliver AI and automation built into our platform – rather than added on. We do this because we believe that AI and automation are critical to the long-term success of the contact centre and customer engagement.

Second, Five9 is a cloud-native vendor. We never had an on-premises product. This has allowed us to focus exclusively on innovating our cloud offerings without worrying about disrupting a legacy revenue stream. This has also allowed us to gain operational maturity through a decade of experience. As a result, our uptime is best in class. That’s why we bake it into the name of our company.

The third is the Five9 sales engagement and overall services and customer success approach. Contact centre software requires services to make it work. Each contact centre is unique, requiring careful design of voice response systems, AI models, agent routing, and backend integrations. We bring services to every customer we sell, and the results speak for themselves.

The Five9 implementation and post-implementation services teams consistently generate an 85+ NPS, whereas the average for SaaS companies is normally in the mid 40’s. This industry leading high score is due to extensive staff expertise and a rigorous process developed by our professional services and channels teams based on thousands of on-prem to cloud migrations and cloud-first implementations.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

A few years back, we decided to significantly increase R&D spending to deliver four key outcomes. First – to increase our ability to ship software frequently to customers (known as continuous delivery), so that we can deliver to the pace of innovation that this competitive market requires. Second – to deliver a brand new, best-in-class data lake and data warehouse capability.

Data is king in the contact centre, and with the advent of AI, this becoming even more true. Third – to enable a host of new AI applications that would need rapid innovation and data together. Finally, our goal was to scale to even larger enterprises. We have achieved all these goals, furthermore, because of the re-architecture, improved processes and disciplines, and, importantly, disciplined execution, over the last two-plus years, we have made tremendous strides to cement ourselves as a leader, if not the leader, in enterprise-grade CCaaS reliability

Five years ago, cloud technology was not something large enterprises were ready for. This shifted dramatically with the pandemic. That drove agents to work from home and increased demand for cloud-based solutions. Now, even the most conservative of enterprise customers are looking to move to the cloud. This year, one of the largest enterprises chose Five9, and once they are fully onboarded, they will have over 30K agents logging into the Five9 Cloud. We are finally at the point where cloud deployment is not a question anymore.

Additionally, our ongoing investment in AI and Automation over the last few years is being recognized by customers and industry analysts alike, and we were recently named a leader in the 2022 Opus Research “Decision Makers’ Guide to Enterprise Intelligent Assistants.” We were honoured to be the only CCaaS provider featured in the report and to be recognized for our strategic and holistic approach that champions product completeness and flexibility.

We have also made significant investments in international expansion, and our progress in EMEA is particularly noteworthy. Five9 has been rapidly expanding its European staff and recently announced the expansion of our data centres in Frankfurt and Amsterdam to serve Five9 customers in the European Union, opened our new innovation centre in Porto, and established our DACH and Iberian presence.

What can we hope to see from Five9 in the future?

Over the next five years, we will see a dramatic growth in the application of AI technologies in contact centres. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the core AI technology needed for contact centres, and in just the last year or two, there have been game-changing advances in NLP. These advances are improving the reliability of AI, but far more importantly, they are reducing the complexity of training the AI. That training process has been the real bottleneck to widespread adoption.

Five9’s strategy is to leverage these best-in-class technologies and focus on applying them to solve real business problems. We will be using this new technology to change how customers receive service, how agents service customers, and how supervisors manage the floor. AI will change all these roles, for the better.

It is not about eliminating jobs – it’s about changing them. Our vision of collaborative intelligence brings together the best of humans and machines. Think of it as machines bringing speed and scale, while humans bring empathy and judgment. It is a unique perspective we bring to the industry. We are excited about this next phase as we get ready for 2023.