Five9 Analyst and Influencers Summit 2023

A Joyful Five9 Event in Porto

19 May 2023

While I expected the buzzwords de jour at the Five9 Analyst and Influencers Summit in Porto, Portugal to be “AI” and “ChatGPT,” the word we heard most often was “joy.” As the site of Five9’s new innovation center and the company’s European engineering headquarters, Porto was the ideal place to host an analyst event and EMEA customer event, CX Summit EMEA.

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Five9 CEO & Chairman Mike Burkland kicked off the analyst and influencer event by discussing how Five9’s goal is to bring joy to customer experiences. The company’s new mission statement is to “Enable enterprises to reimagine their customer experience by providing our Intelligent CX Platform combined with passionate experts to deliver joyful CX and better business outcomes.” Mike explained that joy comes in many forms, impacting not just customers, but employees, partners, shareholders, and others as well. Five9’s people, culture, and passion for delivering customer service differentiates them from competitors. To bring the point home, Mike even showed a video of happy, joyful employees.

Mike noted that engagement experiences should be fluid, effortless, and enjoyable. And it just so happens that the Five9 Intelligent CX Platform provides these experiences while delivering business benefits and tangible ROI.

While the key theme was joy, of course there was lots and lots of discussion about AI, ChatGPT, large language models (LLM), etc. According to Five9, LLM is game changing and AI solutions need to be engine agnostic, embedded, and practical.

In this video interview, Mike discusses Five9’s mission to provide joyful experiences, the company’s view of AI for delivering practical business solutions resulting in real ROI for customers, and its vision going forward.

The Intelligent CX Platform

Five9 has evolved from providing a solution to providing a platform, offering fundamental building blocks with which customers can build any type of solution. The Intelligent CX Platform is open, composable, extensible, and integrated. The platform provides continuous delivery, as opposed to annual releases, providing a significant increase in product delivery velocity.

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AI, LLM, GPT, NLU – and More Acronyms

The Five9 AI and Automation portfolio includes a number of capabilities and offerings, including Intelligent Virtual Agents (Five9 has been a leader in this area since its acquisition of Inference several years ago), Agent Assist, AI Insights, Workflow Automation, Digital Virtual Agents, AI Summaries, Five9 Analytics, Speech Analytics, and more.

As noted, Generative AI was a hot topic, and who better to explain Five9’s approach than CTO Jonathan Rosenberg.

Throughout the event we heard that large language models are like jet engines and Five9 is building an airplane, not an engine. Rosenberg noted that while LLMs and GPT are making it easier for companies to provide some AI capabilities, those companies don’t have the ability to build a world-class airplane like the Five9 Intelligent CX Platform.

While ChatGPT and LLM is relatively new to most of us, Five has been working with this technology for a much longer time. Rosenberg noted that nine months ago, the entire NLP team switched to prompt engineering. Prompt engineers, craft prompts in such a way as to achieve the desired outcome (note to college students: study prompt engineering in order to have a future career).

Rosenberg pointed out several LLM misconceptions:

  1. GPT and chatGPT are just chatbots – false. These are model that can be used for a wide variety of use cases, such as call summarization, transcription, workforce management, and more.
  2. You can just plug ChatGPT into your website as a chatbot for your contact center – false. ChatGPT does not work as an enterprise chatbot out of the box. ChatGPT doesn’t have any knowledge that isn’t on the internet, and it cannot take action, and as most of us have heard by now, there’s a risk that it may make a mistake and be incorrect.

The analysts at the event were treated to several demos of Five9’s AI capabilities, but alas, this part is under NDA.

I spoke with Jonathan about Five9’s AI and LLM products and roadmap.

International Expansion

While AI got all the sizzle, Five9’s Go-To-Market and international expansion also received a lot of attention and discussion. Five9 President Dan Burkland discussed the company’s go-to-market priorities and growth drivers, including:

  • The march up market as the company wins more and more large enterprise deals. More than 50% or revenue now comes from customers accounting for over $1 million in annual recurring revenue
  • International expansion, with 87% bookings growth in Q4 2022
  • Channel leverage, creating more opportunities with the partner community. Dan noted that partnerships continue to fuel the company’s growth
  • Platform and innovation, with an increase in scalability and reliability

Nick Delis, Sr VP, International Sales, has done an amazing job of building up Five9’s international presence, as there are now 1,000 employees outside of US, compared with 2,000 in the U.S. Nick noted, “We're putting in people with localized talent to drive us; there’s a big focus on not just sales but supporting customers locally with local support teams.”

Andy Dignan, Chief Customer Officer, presented with Thomas John, VP Global Partner Sales, emphasizing how sales and services are stronger together when working together.

All of these presentations highlighted Five9’s continued investment in product, go to market, partners, professional services, and AI innovations. The ultimate goal is to bring joy to customers, partners, end users, and others. Thanks to Five9 for an extremely joyful experience in lovely Porto.


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