Genesys and ALU Enterprise Come Together
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a Beatles fan(atic), so of course I had to use the Come Together line to describe the newly-transformed Genesys and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) Enterprise Group. At the beautiful Rosewood Sand Hill Resort in Menlo Park, CA, a group of analysts got to hear from Genesys/Alcatel-Lucent about the transformation taking place in the organization, and how these groups have come together. (And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank and give kudos to Rob Hilsen, David Radoff, and Joe Heinen for putting on one of the better analyst events). The transformation focuses around go-to-market activities, technology, and scale. Genesys, which has long been a subsidiary of ALU, has been merged with ALU's enterprise organization, which encompasses, among other things, ALU's Unified Communications (UC) products and solutions.
As Paul Segre, CEO of Genesys and president of Alcatel-Lucent's Applications Software Group (ASG) noted, the market vision and model of Genesys and ALU began evolving towards each other in terms of channel, architectural approach, etc., and there has been a convergence of the vision between the two groups. While the Genesys products started out in the contact center and extended to the enterprise, focusing on highly complex business processes, its charter had shifted from contact center/customer service to non-contact center use cases in the enterprise. ALU's Enterprise Group started with business process efficiency and expanded to higher value applications, so as the two groups were moving into each other's space, it made sense to join them together more closely.
There are now two organizations involved in the enterprise business - the sales/marketing group is under Tom Burns (President, ALU Enterprise Division), and the product group is under Paul Segre (originally from the Genesys side). Paul's organization is responsible for the software applications that will support the seamless set of services in the cloud or on premise. I was glad to hear that both Tom and Paul represent the Enterprise Group on the ALU management committee, which means they both "can have a loud voice" on behalf of the enterprise organization.
The vision of the expanded Genesys/ALU Enterprise Group is that enterprise customers should be able to get communications services and consume them in their mode of choice - whether from the premise, the cloud, or a hybrid of both. The ALU Enterprise Group is in a relatively unique position, in that it currently offers a set of products that are both premise- and cloud-based.
In terms of scale, the product organization is now ten times larger than the previous Genesys organization. On the sales and marketing side, Tom's group now has all the sales and marketing for the combined group, greatly expanding the number of sales people. The sales team is moving to a more consultative approach, focused on software and end-to-end solutions. This is where the industry has been heading, so this makes sense. Of course there is a downside to all of this, in that there will be a steep learning curve for many of the sales people and partners, as they now have to learn about new products that are outside of their area of expertise. Selling contact center solutions is obviously quite different from selling general enterprise solutions, and both sides will have a lot to learn.
I was also glad to hear that the Genesys portfolio will remain vendor agnostic and open, and will continue to integrate to any platform. This has been one of the key differentiators of Genesys, and obviously ALU sees the benefit in maintaining this approach. Along those lines, it appears that the company will maintain its focus on the Genesys brand, which is much stronger in North American than the ALU brand. Although the Genesys brand is strong in the contact center, it's not as strong in the general enterprise, so there will still be much work to be done.
In addition to the organizational changes, we heard about new products and product updates. The latest version of Instant Communication Suite provides a consistent, innovative user experience (based on ALU's My Instant Communicator, or MyIC), supporting seamless conversations across all media, devices, and networks, while providing multimedia conferencing and collaboration for both the enterprise and carrier markets, as well as mobile UC capabilities.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of ICS is the application enablement capability, enabling both ALU, partners, and third parties to build applications for ICS, such as Find an Expert, location-based services, contextual routing to financial advisors, and Hospitality and vertical applications.
Of course I was happy to hear Genesys talk about integration with social media and how the company is adding open APIs to the Genesys router to leverage social networking sites like Facebook and twitter. Genesys' Intelligent Workload Distribution (iWD) solution will be the core for routing social media interactions and will get analytics from social media sites and route the interactions from twitter, Facebook, etc. to the right individual (which may be a contact center agent, or in some cases, it could even be the CEO), breaking down the front and back office walls. For example, when a twitter post (or tweet) is identified, it can be turned into a routing request, and the Genesys iWD system will determine which agent skills are needed, and route the tweet to an appropriate agent. This makes it easier to operationalize and manage the use of social media, which is going to become critical in the near future.
Obviously there will be some challenges for the new organization, but on the whole it looks like a step in the right direction. Assuming the company can leverage and expand the Genesys brand, and get the sales teams and channel partners up to speed on the expanded product/solution portfolio, this transformation should be beneficial to both the Genesys side and Alcatel-Lucent side, and most importantly, to enterprise customers.