In tracking Genesys for several years I have seen it grow through a series of product developments and acquisitions – from predominantly selling call routing and computer/telephony integration (CTI) software to providing a suite of products that manage inbound and outbound, assisted and digital channels of customer engagement. Continuing this expansion Genesys recently acquired Interactive Intelligence and Silver Lining. These new assets signal another round of transformation as the company builds support for what I call a customer experience hub – a combination of products to support all aspects of enterprise-wide customer engagement.
The new acquisitions support a three-pronged approach to customer experience management: customer engagement, employee engagement and business optimization. Customer engagement includes products to support the various engagement channels – inbound and outbound, assisted and self-service, and digital. Employee engagement supports workforce optimization through interaction recording, quality management, workforce management and customer feedback, plus an omnichannel desktop system and collaboration software to help employees handling interactions. The company’s omnichannel desktop is a key feature that helps employees access all the other interaction systems while also presenting customer information as they resolve interactions. It also captures the steps employees go through to resolve interactions, helping organizations identify improvements needed in processes and agent coaching. Business optimization includes workload management across the organization (assigning tasks to various business groups and monitoring progress in completing them), a variety of analytics and an underlying platform that enables integration between internal Genesys products, the user organization’s other systems and third-party systems. Together, these capabilities add up to a customer experience hub, with channel management, employee management, analytics and integration that connects all systems, which supports processes that span the customer life cycle and all business groups.
On the surface, the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence who I had assessed in 2016 created potential conflicts, as there are several functional overlaps in the two companies’ product sets. Genesys CEO Paul Segre addressed this issue by announcing that, going forward, the company would support three products, each aimed at a different market segment. PureCloud, the original Interactive Intelligence PureCloud product, is geared toward the smaller contact center and companies with less complex requirements. Unlike the other two products acquired from Interactive Intelligence, this is a cloud-only product. PureConnect, the original company’s CIC and CaaS products, is aimed at midsize contact centers (up to about 750 seats) and is available on-premises or in the cloud. The two options are full-function products that address the needs of organizations that manage multiple types of engagement channels. The final product, PureEngage, is the enterprise edition of the Genesys product, which continues to be designed for very large centers with complex functional needs. Like PureConnect, PureEngage is available both on-premises and in the cloud. There is significant functional overlap among the products, but their technical architectures are different, especially PureCloud’s, which is designed to run only on Amazon Web Services. Potential customers thus need to consider their functional requirements, the supply model they prefer, potential growth issues in terms of numbers of users and locations and, of course, price.
The acquisition of U.K.-based Silver Lining, previously a Genesys partner, is more straightforward. Silver Lining provides what it calls employee optimization products, and these capabilities will become a key part of the integrated Genesys workforce optimization product portfolio. This currently includes multichannel, skills-based routing, quality management, workforce management, knowledge management, enterprise workload management and interaction analytics. The Silver Lining products will add a skills assessor and training manager to this repertoire. The skills assessor uses key performance metrics to build detailed performance profiles – called SkillsDNA – of all employees who carry out customer-related tasks. The system can identify areas of weak performance and suggest focused training and coaching. The data can also be passed to the skills-based routing engine to fine-tune routing. The training manager takes this data and automates the training schedule and related tasks, as well as other offline activities by passing the information to the workforce management and enterprise workload management systems. Together these two products add an important element to the Genesys workforce optimization product portfolio, helping organizations manage all aspects of the people-side of handling interactions.
Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement reveals three major challenges that organizations face in delivering omnichannel customer experiences: difficulty in integrating systems, engagement channels managed as silos and inconsistent responses. I believe that only a fully integrated customer engagement hub can overcome these three issues, and it is becoming increasingly likely that the most effective way for organizations to deploy such a platform will be using cloud-based services. Genesys was already well along the path of developing an integrated hub and had been advancing since my last published analysis in 2016 and well aligned to my view on the customer experience market for 2017. These acquisitions and ongoing product developments will bring the company closer to its goal but acquisitions the size of Interactive Intelligence always involve challenges, but Segre asserted that things were going more smoothly than expected. I expect this progress to continue, and as more organizations strive to provide true omnichannel experiences. I recommend customers and prospects track these advances carefully and evaluate how Genesys will lead the organization to a more advanced provider of applications to manage and operation customer experience.
VP & Research Director, Customer Engagement