In what will no doubt be one of a host of announcements coming out of Dreamforce, Genesys announced a new set of cloud-based services especially for Salesforce.com customers. Genesys is a well-known brand in the contact center market, but it has undergone significant change of late and is now an independent company in charge of its own destiny. This announcement demonstrates that it intends to become more responsive to market trends – and it probably can’t do better than to team up with Salesforce.com, which will provide huge amounts of marketing clout. Salesforce itself has become a major brand in the contact center space with Service Cloud, as my research into the adoption of cloud-based contact centers shows.
Genesys faces some interesting challenges. The first is differentiating between hosted and cloud applications, since the research shows that many end users are unclear on the distinction. As Genesys already has a hosted solution, how will the cloud offering be different? One part of the answer is that the hosted solution is about proving its platform to its partners so they can provide hosted services to their customers. This has already been a success, but from an end-user perspective, it is not clear how the service provided by the partners differs from the new cloud-based services direct from Genesys. Part of the answer lies in the target markets. Genesys’ track record has been largely with very large enterprise clients who have the need and money to build on-premises, bespoke solutions using its products. The hosted solution has been targeted at the SMB market and companies that want an easy–to-use, easy-to-install, no-bells-and-whistles service. The new service is aimed at those companies in the middle; the top-end SMB/large companies that don’t have the time and money to go bespoke but are equally happy with an easy-to-use, easy-to-install, no-bells-and-whistles service. See the similarities? The marketing will have to be spot-on to help the uninformed choose the right solution, and the tricky positioning raises the danger of upsetting some hosted partners.
Another issue is differentiation from other Salesforce.com cloud-based contact center partners. In the short term, Genesys hopes this will come through its already well-established global branding and technology. It is one of the first partners to use Salesforce.com’ Open CTI technology, which allows it to embed its call control panel inside a Service Cloud window so agents can manage inbound and outbound calls without leaving the Service Cloud environment, meaning users are unaware which application they are using. It also means users need install no software on the desktop, reducing overhead. The same is true for service administrators, who can also stay inside Service Cloud to administer system setup, and can set up Genesys users by using the Salesforce user database to populate its agent database. There is also an interface that allows users to integrate Genesys data with Service Cloud data and present reports in the same style.
As with most technology, I suspect these differentiators will not last long, but Genesys has always been known as a pioneer of CTI and call routing software, and over the years it has gained considerable insight into how companies route calls. In what I believe to be a smart move, it has packaged some of these common paths into what it calls routing templates, which will help inexperienced companies adopt best practices and take advantage of all this accumulated experience.
Our research shows that the adoption of cloud-based contact centers is likely to increase considerably over the next two years as more companies overcome the emotional hurdle of moving to the cloud. Genesys is not alone in offering such services, nor indeed as a partner of Salesforce.com. It will therefore face challenges, but based on my 15 years in the systems integration world building centers largely based on Genesys on-premises products, I expect it to take a considerable slice of this new market. Companies should have Genesys on their watch lists as they work to improve their performance handling customer interactions.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director