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Genesys contact center cloud gets acquisition boost

Olivier Jouve, executive vice president of Genesys Cloud, and Mike Szilagyi, a senior vice president at Genesys, discuss how customer service will recalibrate after last year.

Contact center monolith Genesys recently acquired two companies: Pointillist, which offers customer journey analytics technology, and Exceed.ai, which automates sales and marketing processes.

Olivier Jouve, executive vice president and general manager of Genesys Cloud CX, and Mike Szilagyi, senior vice president of product management, discuss how these acquisitions fit into the Genesys contact center user's technology stack, as well as how customer service will evolve after the disruptions of 2020.

Why did Genesys acquire Pointillist and Exceed.ai?

Olivier Jouve, GenesysOlivier Jouve

Olivier Jouve: Our vision is around [customer] experience-as-a-service. Everything we do is toward this journey of delivering experience as a service. Pointillist expands our experience orchestration capabilities. We are really big on orchestration, and we want to go beyond the contact center and contact center data by embracing the entire customer journey. Pointillist is helping us to aggregate more data coming from outside of the contact center; it brings data into the customer experience platform.

Exceed.ai brings new conversational AI capabilities. Acquiring the two companies is part of our strategy as we are expanding outside of the traditional contact center space. We can embrace more and more use cases in sales and marketing.

Qualtrics, Salesforce and Adobe also recently expanded customer journey orchestration feature sets. Why do Genesys contact center customers need customer journey orchestration?

Jouve: I think it's a focus because, in order to serve customers, companies now are focusing on the experience. Experience is complex because customers interact with brands from many different perspectives. Think of a bank: accounts, credit cards, loans -- all require different systems interacting with each other. Companies really want to look holistically at the journey that customers have with their company.

We have a lot of data from the customer in terms of interactions, but we also have this moment of truth where we interact with a customer. Not a lot of systems can do that. We talk to the customer through agents, chatbots and voicebots, we have this direct interaction -- so we are kind of the face of the experience. We are orchestrating all these different experiences coming from different point of views -- and different systems -- to deliver insights to the organization.

How would you describe Genesys' acquisition strategy in general, and what kind of companies are the next targets?

Jouve: I could get in trouble for this question, but I think it's really supporting this experience of service. If you look at the acquisition of nGUVU [in March 2020], it was about gamification capabilities. Pointillist and Exceed.ai bring some personalization and analytics. We want every transaction to be personalized so brands can be closer to the customer. It's all about building trust and loyalty for the brand.

Zoom's nearly $15 billion acquisition of Five9 fell through, but how is the contact center technology sector changing as more companies encroach on your territory?

Jouve: The position we have around contact center and unified communication is a "bring your own technology" approach. Zoom is a great partner. Microsoft is a great partner. Salesforce is a great partner.  We enable companies to bring their technology into the contact center. It's building a large ecosystem with very strategic partners. So, we have been doing it with Microsoft, with Google and with AWS.

You bring up Google and AWS. You're their partner and their competitor; it's quite a complicated relationship with Genesys.

Jouve: I come from IBM, so I am [used to it]. We want to bring the best technology to our customers. So, we want to give them options. We have, for instance, our own chatbots and voice bots. But if a customer wants to use Google's or Microsoft's or IBM's, they can. We are in a world where our customers are asking for the best. You might want to use Google on a specific use case, or you might want to combine different bots.

How are sales, marketing and customer service converging right now within the technology stack, and how is Genesys plotting its roadmap to accommodate it?

Mike Szilagyi: When you think about how to deliver the best customer experience, you really have to understand what's happening on the marketing, sales and service fronts. That's what Pointillist does for us. It brings in data from sales platforms, marketing platforms and service platforms to visualize that end-to-end customer journey, make changes and observe the changes in behavior to improve the customer experience, lower your costs, drive more revenue, whatever.

We are thinking about experience management across the full technology stack, where we also happen to have the customer service data natively available with our application. Exceed.ai has a lot of really great AI around sales use cases. We're pulling that data into Pointillist today to look at that experience, but we're also looking at areas where we might be able to drive differentiation in sales and marketing use cases as well as in the contact center.

This Q&A was edited for brevity and clarity.

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.

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