With customer service and customer experience gaining the attention they deserve (well, the customer really) and the contact center being in transformation from the organizational and functional viewpoint amid fast changing technologies and customer expectations, the vendor landscape is changing too.
As there is no single solution that can tailor to the individual/specific needs of all organizations and new technologies and providers become more important, both customer service and customer experience management vendors are taking initiatives to broaden their solutions portfolio through acquisitions and partnerships.
Genesys AppFoundry: opening the API for point solutions in various areas
It’s in this context that we should see the launch of Genesys AppFoundry, an online marketplace, launched by customer service and contact center solution provider Genesys, claiming its stake as an omni-channel customer experience vendor.
At its G-Force 2015 event, where customer experience clearly took center stage (and literally the stage in various keynotes), Genesys announced the marketplace, which comes with two partner program models for applications built by its existing partner ecosystem as core integration partners or companies that want to connect their applications as extension partners (both with a different percentage of net revenue to pay to Genesys).
Essentially what Genesys does is opening its API (welcome to the API economy) to broaden its overall solution offering in a competitive, booming and fast changing market with a focus on specialization and personalization for equally evolving customer needs. Think applications such as contact center analytics, case and records management, video, social, mobile, marketing, customer experience management, smart data, natural language recognition and more. It all fits in the transition from cost center to profit center as Genesys called it years ago and now to integrated customer engagement center or, as Nicola Millard puts it, relationships hub.
Several categories: focus on knowledge management and analytics
The application marketplace is divided into 8 categories, which are all important in the customer experience management and customer service equation with some becoming more important than others.
With the introduction of the AppFoundry, Genesys provides customers direct access to a fast-growing catalog of trusted partner solutions built on the Genesys Customer Experience Platform, while offering our partners the ability to create solutions for the unique requirements of our customers.
An example is the first category, Knowledge Management, which is really becoming key. In that category, Genesys now has five apps but you can bet more will follow fast. A second category that is key is Reporting, Monitoring and Analysis with also 5 apps for now, and closely related with knowledge management. The big names are missing as are many newer companies but then again, quite some knowledge management providers move into the direction of CEM and service themselves or with others and, again, these are growth areas. But we’re pretty sure that the first two will boom very soon. One of the first to have a customer interaction data analytics app in the marketplace is Aria Solutions, which added a video to its press release to stress the importance of analytics in a contact center context.
Analyst firms such as Forrester Research and companies such as Genesys partner Dimension Data (interview) have been stressing the importance of knowledge management and customer analytics for quite some time now with a stronger emphasis on the need to urgently focus on them in recent months.
The other categories all have more apps but most of them are more ‘mature’ and even ‘traditional’. On top of Knowledge Management and Reporting, Monitoring & Analysis (probably not a coincidence they are ranked first in the overview menu of AppFoundry, despite having the least apps, as you can see in the screenshot) are: Configuration and Management, CRM Adapters and Desktop Integration, Business Optimization (expect growth here too), Omnichannel Journey Management (also poised for growth), Assisted Service (with 3 sub-categories: inbound engagement center, outbound engagement and digital engagement) and, last but not least Self Service (2 sub-sections). Assisted service and self-service are key too with self-service and mainly digital engagement on the rise.
In case you wonder where marketing (automation) sits: Silverpop and Marketo are among the first to be in there, more specifically in the category ‘CRM Adapters and Desktop Integration’. And of course e-commerce remains a key part too.
Genesys has an ecosystem of over 500 partners and system integrators. More details about AppFoundry (not to be confused with the Belgian company with the same name) in the press release.