Calabrio, a fast-growing Minneapolis software company, has made over its main product so that it can store data in a network "cloud" instead of using on-site systems.
The announcement on Monday capped three years of time and millions of dollars in development effort toward the software, which helps companies and institutions keep track of customer interactions, Chief Executive Tom Goodmanson said at a conference Calabrio hosted that drew nearly 400 people.
He said customers had been demanding the change but added that many would not make it quickly. The company's new product, called Calabrio One, can be configured so that some data can be pushed to cloud-based storage while some is still kept by customers on systems they own, known as "on premise."
"There will be a day when everybody is comfortable with the cloud," Goodmanson said. "But there's a reason we're saying cloud, on-premise or a hybrid, it all works for us."
Cloud-based systems are being used by many companies to reduce their spending on computer hardware and data-management staffs. Providers of networked data systems take on the task of maintaining and upgrading them.
Calabrio started as a maker of software that companies and government agencies used in corporate call centers to organize and keep track of interactions with customers. The new Calabrio One platform keeps track of interactions with customers through many more paths, including websites, chats, e-mail and social media.
The product includes tools that record, store and analyze customer interactions on any of the paths. Some companies and agencies store the calls and electronic messages that take place between employees and customers. With a cloud-based system, the storage of that data can occur on servers in the cloud via the internet.
Calabrio partnered with Amazon.com Inc.'s web services data storage unit, which has operations around the world, and, as a result, allows the new Calabrio product to be used by U.S. firms with international offices. "We can get into new markets very quickly," said Brian Humenansky, head of product development at Calabrio.
Calabrio worked with 22 customers on tests of the product before Monday's rollout. In one case, the company demonstrated it could shift a customer's call center system to a cloud-based system in just a day.
Even so, several attendees at the Calabrio conference said there are constraints to putting customer information and data on cloud-based systems. Jim Lavery, chief of contact centers and credit services at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, based in Phoenix, said the firm would likely retain at least a portion of its customer interaction data in on-premise systems for security reasons.
In August, the New York investment firm KKR announced it was buying Calabrio with plans to use the firm as a base on which to add other workforce optimization and related software firms.