Genesys Moves to AI-Powered Journey Optimization

14 Dec 2018

At its analyst conference in the heart of beautiful Napa Valley, Genesys laid out its strategy for what it calls “AI-powered journey optimization.” The company has evolved over the years – starting as a computer telephony integration (CTI) vendor, and gradually becoming a leading cloud contact center player. The company now has its sights set on AI to “power the customer experience revolution.” Note that the customer experience goes beyond customer service (the contact center) to adjacent areas including sales and marketing, which Genesys has been more aggressive in addressing.

According to CEO Paul Segre, the company has an aggressive ambition of being in a class of its own and truly separate from the rest of the market. Genesys has several strengths that Segre laid out:

  • Powering the customer experience (CX) market with a premium brand, based on selling outcomes, not just technology;
  • A proven business model. With revenues of $1.5B, Genesys is one of the largest privately held software companies and the largest cloud contact center company. The company boasts a net retention rate of 110%, as well as “hypergrowth” for its cloud offering at over 100% year-over-year at scale;
  • Poised for growth, with a unique blended-AI strategy to help take advantage of the $3B cloud migration opportunity

Digital Channels, AI, and the Cloud – The Key to Success

The one slide we saw throughout the day told the main story:

Focused on omnichannel journeys and mission-critical business applications, Segre noted that Genesys wants to “be the best at what we do – which includes omnichannel and workforce optimization” for customer service, as well as sales and marketing. The essential elements that Genesys provides are the key to customer experience success are the digital channels (providing omnichannel experiences), AI, and the cloud. Genesys relies on ecosystem partners for unified communications, CRM, and other capabilities.

The cloud is key, as Segre told the analysts, even for premises-based customers, stating, “We’re a cloud business that supports our premises-based customers and helps them migrate to the cloud at the right point in time.”

Genesys has three key cloud offerings:

  • PureEngage – aimed at very large, sophisticated contact centers, and available in the cloud, hybrid, or premises-based. PureEngage Cloud is hosted on AWS and purchased by customers as a service;
  • PureCloud – born in the cloud, aimed at the midmarket (although starting to move upmarket). Based on AWS, PureCloud consists of almost 200 microservices and was designed with an API-first approach;
  • PureConnect – an all-in-one package available in the cloud, hybrid, or premises-based, in a dedicated hosted environment.

The three offerings are all based on a Genesys Common Microservices platform.

One of the biggest changes recently was for PureEngage, which was rearchitected to leverage a microservices architecture, and can be available in cloud, hybrid, or premises-based deployments.

I had a chance to speak with Segre about the key messages from the event, Genesys’ three key cloud offers, Genesys’ AI strategy around blended AI, and Genesys’ push into sales and marketing use cases.

As Segre noted, blended AI is a differentiated position for Genesys. AI is a very fragmented market with lots of small players plus some very large players such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Generally, Genesys’ customers need AI “built for purpose” from several different vendors and want a vendor to orchestrate the various AI systems, which is where blended AI comes in. As Segre noted, “There’s no one AI that will rule the world and Genesys can orchestrate the best of the best AIs.” In addition, AI needs to seamlessly hand off to humans, as live agents will be required to achieve the expected business outcomes, and blending AI with humans is essential.

The analysts also heard from Chief Product Officer Peter Graf, who expanded on the Genesys Cloud, noting the importance of digital, AI, and the cloud (which he calls the Magic Triangle) to deliver business outcomes. He explained that more than two-thirds of new customers are choosing the cloud, and Genesys highlights the importance of going to the cloud when engaging with customers. Which cloud solution (PureEngage, PureCloud, or PureConnect) is the best depends on the customer’s needs. As all three of the cloud options are based on the Genesys Common Microservices architecture, Genesys can speed its rate of innovation by building capabilities such as AI and workforce management once and using them across the three offers. Everything new is being built on the Common platform, eliminating the need to build custom integrations.

A key part of Genesys’ strategy is the focus on microservices, DevOps, and continuous delivery. When discussing Genesys’ approach to DevOps, Graf noted that the company can now push new code to the cloud 20-30 times a day. This allows Genesys to be more flexible and responsive to customer needs.

A key message throughout the event is that the industry is moving from omnichannel journey management to AI-powered journey optimization. Graf stated that AI comes up in every customer conversation. Genesys offers several AI applications and capabilities, including Predictive Engagement, Predictive Routing, forecasting and scheduling, and of course, chatbots.

The role of data takes on even more importance when it comes to AI and the cloud. As Graf noted, “As customers move to the cloud, the amount of data we produce and leverage grows exponentially.” As opposed to CRM vendors, Genesys is a system of engagement, more than just a system of record, and “engagement must be implemented in the moment."

In this video interview, Graf drilled down into the importance of the Magic Triangle, as well as AI-powered journey optimization, and the Genesys Common Microservices platform. 

Tying in the Customer and Employee Journeys

One aspect that caught my attention was the way in which Genesys ties in the customer journey with agent or employee journey, using AI across the various touchpoints for both the customer and agent. Graf noted that for the journey to be AI powered, you need to look at the whole journey, including both the customer and agent journeys. As depicted below, a customer may start in self service with a chatbot, and then get routed to an agent, where the interaction becomes assisted service. The Predictive Routing application can use information about the customer and what occurred in the chat interaction and to route the customer to the right agent. Using AI capabilities, the system prompts the agent during the interaction to ask the right questions to get additional information in order to improve the engagement and lead to the right outcome. Agent performance can be improved with AI-powered Performance DNA, while AI-powered forecasting and scheduling will help to optimize results.


Summing it Up

There were a lot of topics discussed at the event, but here are some of the key points that Genesys intended to get across:

  • Genesys is all about delivering great customer outcomes;
  • The company is focused on providing AI-powered journey optimization and has invested strategically in AI;
  • Silos between customer service, sales, and marketing need to come down;
  • Genesys has a strong conviction that the best way to deliver great outcomes is in the cloud, and the company has invested huge amounts of resources to optimize its products in the cloud. The cloud delivers quickly, lowers the total cost of ownership, and provides agility when there’s uncertainty. While focused on the cloud, Genesys is also totally committed to its premises-based customers and offers cloud-ready products enabling businesses to migrate to the cloud when it’s right for them;
  • The company has invested in professional services and these investments are paying off as Genesys has greatly reduced deployment and migration time, while making it easier for customers to also deploy AI functionality.

The competitive landscape is changing and it will be interesting to see how Genesys competes as new entrants such as Twilio, Amazon, and Salesforce set their sights on Genesys’ territory. Each of these players come from various starting points, and each have important competitive strengths. The battle will no longer be with the traditional players, but with these new disruptive vendors.

Genesys certainly covered a lot of ground at this analyst event, but there were several topics not discussed, which leaves us wanting for more. I guess the “analyst journey” will have to continue…


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