â€œThe real power of the data lies in the predictive capabilities it provides â€“ and the cloud is the best way to process it in real time. That’s why the cloud is becoming the dominant approach for forward-looking organizations of all sizes. The cloud helps them tap into data â€“ and, along with AI, it helps them analyze customer history and behavior to deliver highly responsive, predictive, fully contextual and efficient service.â€
Cloud-based contact center solutions are built for changeâ â€” they help untangle the complexity of traditional customer engagement approaches and legacy systems, besides providing significant cost advantages from the get-go. Throughout the third quarter of 2020, we saw successful pivots from traditional brick-and-mortar models to virtual contact centers. Companies that made these choices were able to move businesses forward, strengthen their bottom lines, support positive customer experience, and keep the productivity engine running for agents.
Now that businesses are primed for recovery, Olivier JouveOpens a new window , executive vice president and general manager of Genesys Cloud, lays down how companies can close the gap between data and insights by doubling down on customer experience technology built to meet the soaring demands of digitally-savvy users. Jouve, well-known industry leader and also former IBM Watson IoT head has seen AI move from â€˜bleeding edge’ to real-world applications.
In this interview, Jouve explains why cloud has become the logical choice in the lockdown economy â€” not just for simplicity, speed, and scale but also for powering best CX today and long into the future. He draws on his decades of experience to share practical advice on why multi-tenant infrastructure can deliver more benefits to organizations, measuring the ROI on CCaaS deployments, and lends tips on sizing up cloud contact center vendors during evaluation. Along the way, also pick up how Genesys stacks up in terms of pricing against its peers like Avaya, Five9 and the rest.
Key takeaways from this interview:
- Benefits of multi-tenancy architecture over multi-instance for organizations
- Key considerations when evaluating contact center solution providers
- Measuring the ROI on cloud contact center deployments
- Top benefits of cloud-based approach over on-premise model
Here’s the edited transcript of the interview with Olivier Jouve:
1. With you at the helm since 2017, there has been record growth in Genesys Cloud business with major customer wins. Can you share how the contact center market has grown over the past three years?
Genesys Cloud has realized triple digit growth year-over-year since 2017 fueled by migrations and new opportunities. Organizations are accelerating the move from on-premises contact centerOpens a new window systems to the cloud. This includes moves from competitors’ on-premises systems including Avaya, Cisco and others as well as existing Genesys customers that are moving to Genesys Cloud completely or through a hybrid approach, consuming their innovation in the cloud.
That includes AIOpens a new window , digital and WEM. New businesses are using Genesys Cloud to leverage new ways to communicate with customers, in particular digital (WhatsApp, SMS, social media, chatbots, etc.) There are also new use cases addressed by the contact center beyond technical support. This can include use by sales and marketing teams tasked with turning contact centers into profit centers.
We’re also seeing businesses choose Genesys Cloud to leverage AI innovations like Predictive Engagement, which enables them to determine the next best action for each customer or outcome.
2. What were some of the strategic changes you introduced in the core product that led to a spurt in organic growth?
Genesys Cloud was built with a highly scalable architecture that can support even the largest enterprise customers. Today, we manage the largest cloud contact center with more than 25,000 agents. In addition, our top 50 customers have an average of 1500 agents each. We developed a migration plan to enable businesses to seamlessly move off of legacy on-premises or first-generation cloud systems to Genesys Cloud.
We’ve strategically innovated to address new use cases, in particular introducing new AI, Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) and digital capabilities. Besides, we’ve expanded our global infrastructure with connections to 9 AWS regions, helping organizations address data sovereignty issues and providing them with added flexibility, redundancy and scale.
Numerous additional factors triggered more usage and growth:
1. Businesses benefit from Genesys Cloud’s robust out-of-the-box feature set and with its open APIs, companies can customize the platform to meet the industry’s and customers’ unique needs.
2. Easy to deploy, easy to use â€“ any organization can spin up a contact center and have agents trained in a matter of hours. During Covid-19, we deployed hundreds of contact centers all around the world with an average deployment time of 24 hours.
3. New models like â€œusage-based pricingâ€ that address new ways to consume in the cloud.
4. Even greater stability and reliability. Genesys Cloud’s distributed architecture allows us to release rolling updates without taking the entire system down for maintenance. We use load balancing and techniques like â€œred-black deploymentsâ€ to ensure customers are not adversely affected by the update process. Within a matter of minutes, entire fleets of servers providing the functions of a given microservice can be replaced. In addition to making the continuous delivery of service seamless, this provides unparalleled reliability.
Currently, Genesys Cloud’sOpens a new window availability and resiliency are among the best (if not THE best) in the market at 100% across all regions since Feb 2020. Genesys Cloud can deliver multinational, universal queue capabilities with its global footprint and provide unlimited scalability and comprehensive security and compliance. A growing partner ecosystem â€“ with more than 400 Genesys Cloud partners, even more organizations can benefit from the platform.
3. How has Genesys Cloud’s global footprint expanded since you joined in 2017?
Customers from all segments of the market, small and large, simple to complex, from around the globe use Genesys Cloud to connect every customer moment across any channel â€“ voice, text, web chat and social. Last year alone, nearly 500 new customers across the globe selected Genesys Cloud, including Banco Inter, Concord Servicing Corporation, eFinancial, Ethiopian Airlines, Medicard Philippines, Inc., Paycor, SITA and TechStyle. The company also announced it closed more than 1,000 deals with existing customers in 2019, helping them to further modernize the service they deliver through Genesys Cloud.
Genesys Cloud is available worldwide. In fact, it is the only contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution available globally. To help our customers address data sovereignty requirements, Genesys Cloud is connected to a growing list of AWS Regions â€“ up to nine today with recent additions including AWS Canada (Central), AWS Europe (London), and the Asia Pacific (Seoul) region in South Korea.
Genesys Cloud’s extensive data center footprint provides multi-national organizations with dispersed contact centers added flexibility, redundancy and scale. In-country data centers also give organizations further advantages, including reduced data latency and accelerated communication with customers.
In addition, Genesys Cloud recently became availableOpens a new window on AWS Marketplace, a digital catalog with thousands of software listings from independent software vendors. Customers benefit from simplified sourcing and contracting as well as consolidated billing, ultimately resulting in cost savings. The listing also gives organizations the ability to apply their use of Genesys Cloud to their AWS Enterprise Discount Program (EDP) spend commitment.
4. How does Genesys Cloud, dubbed as the most preferred SaaS product, take the heavy-lifting out of hardware and software investments that go with on-premise deployment?
Some of the reasons are outlined below:
Lower costs â€“ Genesys Cloud is a subscription-based offering, with no up-front costs. This often results in significant savings for businesses because they don’t have to pay the up-front fees required with perpetual software licenses. In addition, maintenance and upgrade costs are essentially eliminated with a SaaS offering.
Faster implementation â€“ Genesys Cloud can be deployed in days â€“ sometimes in just 24 hours. This is a fraction of the time (and cost) of a major on-premises implementation.
Great scalability and flexibility â€“ Genesys Cloud can scale up to accommodate anticipated or unexpected interaction surges and back down if the additional capacity is no longer needed.
Feature velocity â€“ A major perk of Genesys Cloud is that organizations can access the latest features and functionality as they’re released â€“ it’s as simple as a browser refresh. Continuous delivery makes updates and upgrades painless and low risk with no downtime. We carefully designed Genesys Cloud to ensure every push prioritizes quality and reliability â€” so our customers can focus on how to best use the new capabilities to create more meaningful connections. In 2019 alone, Genesys Cloud delivered 174 new features.
5. Are there recent use cases where new customers moved to Genesys Cloud for business continuity during the outbreak? Can you share measurable operational, strategic outcomes achieved?
In an effort to help organizations of all sizes manage the increased demand while working to keep employees safe, we offered Genesys Rapid Response throughout April. This enabled any organization to access Genesys Cloud for free so they could provide mission-critical support and enable remote teams fast, with deployment in just 48 hours.
As a result of the offer, Genesys was able to onboard 120+ companies to Genesys Cloud (>23,000 seats) with transaction NPS of 80+.
For example, the City of Helsinki partnered with the local Evangelical Lutheran parishes, and many charities, to contact more than 80,000 elderly residents to ensure their well-being amid the COVID-19 crisis. On the other hand, eFinancial, the second largest direct-to-consumer life insurance brokerage in the nation, deployed Genesys Cloud for its eSales department three weeks earlier than planned due to COVID-19. â€œEmployees from all three of our call centers are working remotely now and we are maintaining production levels,â€ said Paul Bourdeux, vice president of Information Technology for eFinancial. â€œWithout Genesys Cloud this could have been disastrous. The added investment for the solution has already paid off.â€
6. How well does Genesys Cloud integrate with a customer’s solution and does it scale during busy periods?
Genesys Cloud has a smart data layer and public APIs to power new connections between applications, so organizations can integrate critical systems including CRMsOpens a new window , HR programs, workforce management, business intelligence tools, third-party AI and more. Specifically, we have pre-built connectors for most of the CRM systems, including Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Zendesk and more, available through the Genesys AppFoundryOpens a new window , our marketplace dedicated to customer experience solutions.
Genesys Cloud was built from the ground up with our own APIs on AWS. These are the same APIs our partners, developers, and customers use to build integrations and applications and even completely custom solutions using the Genesys Cloud as a platform. In May 2020, 66% of Genesys Cloud customers leveraged the APIs to generate 11 billion API calls each month. Genesys Cloud is an open platform; 54% of API calls come from third-party systems.
In terms of scalability, Genesys Cloud is multi-tenant, using microservices and an event architecture with continuous deployment to ensure elasticity, scalability and efficiency. It gives organizations a flexible environment that instantly scales to meet peak volumes and evolving customer demands with continuous feature and capability updates. Genesys Cloud helps organizations deliver more than 70 billion interactions with their customers each year.
With its immense scalability and reliability, Genesys Cloud enables businesses of all sizes to provide better experiences to their customers and employees. Deployments range in size from 20 to 25,000 seats.
7. How does Genesys Cloud compare in terms of pricing with competitors like Avaya, NICE inContact or Five9?
Genesys Cloud pricing is flexible and transparent and a huge differentiator â€“ businesses know what to expect from the start â€“ no surprises, no nickel-and-diming.
When businesses do an apples-to-apples, line-item by line-item comparison, they find Genesys Cloud pricing is comparable to other CCaaS vendors. Many other vendors will say they’re less expensive, but when businesses compare all the features included with Genesys Cloud â€” and all the additional charges for those same features with competitors â€” we are comparable.
In addition, we recently rolled out usage-based pricing for Genesys Cloud. This gives businesses even more flexibility when choosing Genesys Cloud â€“ they can choose new usage-based pricing that starts at just $0.68 USD per user hour or the existing named and concurrent models.
The usage-based pricing option enables organizations to pay only for time spent using Genesys Cloud. While competitors with similar pricing structures charge additional fees for use of IVRs, data storage and API requests, Genesys Cloud includes this functionality in its flat rate. This makes it one of the most inclusive hourly pricing offers in the industry.
While many organizations are well-served by monthly user pricing, others benefit from the cost savings of time-based subscriptions, such as those with numerous part-time employees or seasonal spikes. Genesys hourly billing also lets customers achieve volume-based discounts through up-front commitments. In addition, customers now have by-the-millisecond visibility into consumption by user and by day, so they know the costs they have incurred.
8. What are the top critical questions IT buyers should ask vendors before deploying the solution?
Here are some of the top questions IT buyers should ask when evaluating contact center solutions.
- Which deployment model is best â€“ cloud? Hybrid?
- How much flexibility do you need?
- What capabilities do you need (core contact center; digital channels; workforce engagement management; AI-based automation; etc.)
- What is the vendor’s customer experience technology expertise and track record? (most customer experience technology vendors specialize in one platform model or only support organizations of a specific size)
- What is the vendor’s level of stability? (Confidence in a vendor’s long-term viability is important to ensure continuous support and maintenance. New or emerging companies might incur additional risk)
- What is the vendor’s customer migration experience?
9. Can you explain why cloud-based solutions vs. on-premise solutions make most sense for IT buyers in the current climate?
We believe cloud-based solutions make the most sense for a number of reasons.
1. Agility â€“ Changing workforce conditions â€” specifically the need to use remote working solutions is top of mind. Cloud-based solutions allow businesses to quickly respond to this disruption by shifting employees to work remotely to limit a disruption in customer support operations.
2. Continuous Innovation â€“ Businesses can access the latest features and functionality as they’re released, just by refreshing the browser. Continuous delivery makes updates and upgrades painless, low-risk events with no downtime.
3. Scalability â€“ Cloud removes any physical location barriers as well as the costs and obligations of managing servers. And it provides the elasticity to scale as high as the organization needs â€” on the fly.
4. Security â€“ as businesses move systems to the cloud, security is a common concern. The reality is that using a trusted cloud provider is likely more secure than managing servers on your own. Maintaining compliance and protecting against threats is expensive and resource intensive for a single entity to manage.
5. Prioritize â€“ When you offload maintenance and other day-to-day tasks to a cloud provider, you free up time for your IT and development teams to advance more strategic initiatives that give your business a competitive advantage.
6. Total cost of ownership (TCO) â€“ TCO is a major consideration for organizations evaluating the pros and cons of a cloud-based contact center versus an on-premises solution. In general, our analysis shows the TCO for our cloud-based solution is less than equivalent premises-based systems. However, this analysis involves many variables and each business should establish their own guidelines for evaluation. Genesys has tools and programs in place to help customers with this process.
10. Is reduced capital the primary reason for cloud-based approach?
Today, customer interactions are taking place at break-neck speed across a variety of channels, including phone, text, chat, messaging apps, social media and email. This results in an enormous amount of data that companies can use to improve their business, contact center employee performance and customer experience.
The real power of the data lies in the predictive capabilities it provides â€“ and the cloud is the best way to process it in real time. That’s why the cloud is becoming the dominant approach for forward-looking organizations of all sizes. The cloud helps them tap into data â€“ and, along with AI, it helps them analyze customer history and behavior to deliver highly responsive, predictive, fully contextual and efficient service. This is the only way for brands to provide the highly personalized experience customers now expect.
In a nutshell, the cloud offers the highest level of business agility and process simplification. A cloud solution easily scales up or down, as needed. It offers the added benefit of a subscription-based service, with a predictable recurring operating expense, rather than a large, up-front capital expenditure.
To take a deeper dive, let’s look at why organizations prefer the cloud over an on-premises contact center system. One big driver is the need to move away from outdated contact center systems that impact more than just service. There are also significant IT-related costs stemming from ever-increasing outages and downtime, as well as diminishing ability to integrate anything new, growing costs for maintenance, and IT’s inability to help move the business forward.
Legacy tools often result in disconnected applications and departments, employee inefficiency, increased training time and effort, and can even lead to decreased job satisfaction and employee churn.
Businesses also have to deal with system instability and outdated infrastructure requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades, as well as custom integration work to connect channels and applications. Not to mention, voice-centric PBX/ACD call center platforms were never intended to support the growing number of channels today’s digital-savvy consumers want to use to connect with businesses.
As IT feels the increased pressure from both customers and business users, they struggle with limitations of their existing tools â€“ all the while, time and money invested in an outdated system continue to rise.
The benefits of a cloud-based architecture over an on-premises one are easy to prove. People might feel trapped by the growing costs and maintenance of scaling their on-premises infrastructure to meet new business demands, so cloud is a good solution for obvious reasons.
Additional benefits can include:
- Reduced total cost of ownership
- Increased or accelerate new solution ROI/time to value
- Simplified infrastructure/solution management
- Less integration issues that affect business operations
- Reduced IT support and development challenges
Improved security and compliance are also important benefits. Genesys follows an Information Security Management System (ISMS) based on ISO standards for change management procedures, secure media destruction, incident management and business continuity plans â€“ all focused on maintaining a secure environment with a maximum level of oversight. Genesys Cloud is compliant with ISA 27001 and 27018, GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield.
In addition, our security and operational controls are based on industry standard practices and are certified to meet HIPAA requirements, PCI-DSS 3.2 Service Provider Level 1, and SSAE18 Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II/ISAE 3402 guidelines.
11. From the end-user perspective, does a multi-tenant infrastructure deliver more benefits vs. multi-instance?
Yes, we believe a multi-tenant infrastructure delivers more benefits to the end user. First, instead of needing to update every instance of software across a large number of servers, vendors are able to update a single codebase and have the changes instantly available to all users. Thus, end-users are always on the latest version and are able to take advantage of those innovations. It’s also inherently easier to provide better testing, support with all customers on the same version.
Next, if architected to take advantage of the cloud multi-tenant infrastructure is more scalable and efficient. End-users can scale on demand taking advantage of load sharing avoiding the need to build out dedicated infrastructure to handle spikes in traffic. These economies of scale can result in significant cost savings which helps keep costs low for end-users. Lastly, multi-tenancy architecture allows vendors to service all businesses from small to large. Since all tenants share the same infrastructure and code base small and medium sized businesses have access to the same innovations as large enterprises.
12. In closing, where do the biggest cost savings in cloud-based contact centers come from?
A recent Total Economic Impactâ„¢Opens a new window study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that businesses using Genesys Cloud can experience a positive ROI, improved productivity, enhanced employee retention and cost avoidance of previous solutions over a three-year period.
Forrester Consulting analysis revealed a composite organization using the Genesys Cloud can realize benefits totaling $5.1 million over three years, resulting in a ROI of 571 percent and a net present value (NPV) of $4.3 million. Some of the quantified benefits contributing to that value include:
1. Improved productivity by $2.6 million: The platform helps to reduce handle times, improve visibility and enhance internal collaboration capabilities, increasing overall productivity by as much as 25 percent.
2. Avoided previous solution and scalability costs of $2.0 million: Hefty upfront investment for hardware and software associated with on-premises solutions (or refactored platform to the cloud) for voice, email and web chat are eliminated with the shift to Genesys Cloud. Cost savings also stem from reduced maintenance, labor and IT support costs. In addition, moving to the Genesys Cloud platform can be more cost-effective than scaling up legacy environments to accommodate business growth, resulting in significant savings.
3. Enhanced employee retention resulting in a benefit of $255,000: Employee satisfaction is bolstered by the platform’s ease of use. After implementation, employee turnover was cut in half.
About Olivier JouveOpens a new window : Olivier Jouve is the executive vice president and general manager of Genesys Cloud. He is responsible for the operations, product strategy and commercial activities of the business unit, which consists of the company’s next-generation public cloud solutions and services, including Genesys CloudÂ®, artificial intelligence, digital and workforce engagement management (WEM).
About GenesysOpens a new window : Genesys pioneered Experience as a ServiceSM so organizations of any size can provide true personalization at scale, interact with empathy, and foster customer trust and loyalty. This is enabled by Genesys CloudTM, an all-in-one solution and the world’s leading public cloud contact center platform, designed for rapid innovation, scalability and flexibility. Visit genesys.comOpens a new window .
About Tech TalkOpens a new window : Tech Talk is a Toolbox Interview Series with notable CTOs and senior executives from around the world. Join us to share your insights and research on where technology and data are heading in the future. This interview series focuses on integrated solutions, research and best practices in the day-to-day work of the tech world.
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