Before we start – Genesys already has an enterprise software solution; they had it for some time. I remember having conversations with them at least in 2003-2004 (that I recall).
It is a good solution also – evolved over the years from being a good ERMS (email response management systems) solution to become a full fledged eService Suite. It even made it as a leader in the latest Magic Quadrant from Gartner.
It works, they have customers and references; recently released a new version that covers Social Media and Social CRM quite well (this one I have not seen beyond the demo, but there are customers working on deploying – so I expect to see it working and get first-hand accounts soon).
Why, you might ask yourself, am I then saying that Genesys needs to get into Enterprise Software?
Before I answer that, let me tell you about the recent Genesys Enterprise Analyst Day I attended.
During this past week (January 19-21, 2011) Alcatel Lucent held their annual Enterprise Analyst Day. I attended, they covered part of my expenses and were very, very kind and nice to all of us. I am thankful for the nice setting, the invitation, and the nice meals and other extras. It was a fantastic event. (disclaimer done).
Most of the time we were there we enjoyed interaction with executives, product managers, and researchers working with concept products. All of the “stuff” (technical term, look it up) that we saw was quite interesting – my focus was not on the Alcatel Lucent products (although I do have an indirect interest since they power Call Centers and Contact Centers) as much as the agent desktop product that Genesys has. As I said, been tracking them for some time.
I saw a lot of good features: social, knowledge management, multi-channel, and adaptive desktop to mention just a few. I saw differentiators like Universal Queue Management, Workload Management, and Workforce Optimization that set it apart. There are opportunities for improvement, in my opinion, since a few of the features are offered in partnership (Lithium for communities, Inquira for knowledge management) that I have said for some time they need to bring internal – but that is just a release strategy, not a deal- breaker.
I saw some incredibly innovative concept products: in speech recognition, integration with Facebook, video, and cross-channel reporting.
I saw the brainchild of Charlie Isaacs, their uber-talented VP of Strategic eService Products (or a title that sounds similar, but it is different – he should be called VP of Innovation quite frankly) who showed me ALUC-it – a tremendous new product that leverages QR codes, rapid application development, mobile networks, QR Codes and much more into a one-of-a-kind application that has a lot of power to change the way we interact with organizations virtually everywhere.
I am very impressed with their innovation, their ability to maintain a product in the market and evolve it over the years, and their commitment to the product.
Alas, I still think that they are not an Enterprise Software company.
The mentality is that the product, which is world-class ready and among the leaders in the market, is still dependent or secondary to Alcatel Lucent’s efforts to sell hardware. They talk about adding features to the product for the purpose of increasing bandwidth demand – which conveniently Alcatel Lucent sells. The case studies we were presented were of companies deploying Voice-over-IP; they were good and had sufficient good data to justify them — but not Enterprise Software.
And yet, the best client presentation I have seen in a long time (presented by Groupama – a French insurance company) was a client-developed iPhone app: the Visual IVR (which, BTW, you must see the video, so well done) that used Genesys products to deliver point-of-need customer service. The best and most innovative solutions on display where for Workforce Innovation, Video Customer Service, Social features, and the ALUC-it product – none of them relying on Alcatel Lucent hardware exclusively — all of them Enterprise Software.
The worse part? This sentiment that they are secondary to a hardware company is reflected in their messaging and their go-to market strategy. Here is a company that instead of claiming their rightful place as a leader and innovator in the Customer Service Enterprise Software world is instead asking for permission (from my perspective) to continue to develop the product.
Not quite right.
My recommendation? they need to get very, very aggressive with their messaging and go-to-market strategy to gain their rightful place in the market. The people buying eService solutions are not the same people that buy switches, IVR, and hardware components – they demand a different message and a different approach. They are looking for a message and a set of features that is unrelated to their hardware. They are asking for someone to solve their problems and pain-points in cross-channel solutions – and Genesys could deliver.
They just need to get into Enterprise Software and leave the Enterprise Hardware market behind.