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Web 2.0 Stars Are Aligning: Q&A With Genesys CEO Paul Segre

By Erika Morphy
Feb 10, 2009 4:00 AM PT

Genesys has always been a distinct entity within the Alcatel-Lucent line of divisions, products and services. On Jan. 1, though, it was folded into a larger group called the "Applications Software Group." Genesys' mission of offering contact center products and services geared toward enterprises and telecommunication firms will still be part of Alcatel-Lucent's mix. Indeed, Genesys will continue to largely operate it as it did before.

Web 2.0 Stars Are Aligning: Q&A With Genesys CEO Paul Segre

The difference -- and the point of the new group -- will be an added emphasis on Web 2.0 functionality, according to its president, Paul Segre, who will also continue to lead Genesys as its chief executive.

CRM Buyer: Why this move, why right now?

Paul Segre: Within the carrier space there has been a huge amount of innovation around the Web 2.0 players. Most of their products, however, do not fully leverage the power of what is in the carrier network -- such as security or quality. Also, increasingly there is a choice of obtaining services either on-premise or over a network, such as voice mail for example.

What this new group is about is exposing to these companies the capabilities in the network that are underutilized. Helping them with their products is also key, because to properly leverage the network, that means having products that are architected right.

As to the timing, we believe that the stars are aligning perfectly for this type of service right now. The ecosystem -- among partners, developers, service providers and customers -- already exists to support these offerings. What we are proposing is to leverage Web 2.0 as a complete ecosystem. We are also focused on analytics -- helping companies manage the transformation of their business. I guess you could say the larger theme is the enablement of the Web 2.0 environment for our clients while also providing for long-tail innovation.

CRM Buyer: So, a typical example might be to help -- just to pull one name out of the air -- Verizon Fios maximize and develop new on-demand television services to sell more and gain a larger customer base.

Segre: That is one stream the group will be following. That is where Genesys will be coming into play -- a focus on customer service. What this merger allows us to do is accelerate some of the initiatives we have had under way. Some of these "accelerations" will be in tech synergies. But I would add that one of the bigger accelerations will be in the managed service channel, which even before this group was put together was a significant offering for us.

CRM Buyer: Can you give me other examples of the types of services you will roll out or are rolling out under the group?

Segre: We might help a company understand what services or products their online customers appear to be most interested in -- such as rate plans on a mortgage site, for instance. We might help a company extend the front office or back office by not just routing phone calls and emails, but also business process management work items to the appropriate location. Routing an insurance claim or travel ticket, for instance -- which is a big growth area for us by the way -- extends the basic contact center concept to the back office.

CRM Buyer: Obviously, the growth of the on-demand model is a key development to this group.

Segre: Yes, certainly -- but among our clients as well. We believe that model can provide some unique opportunities that are hard or impossible to deliver with an on-premise solution. This merger will provide our clients with a much richer set of products and capabilities from a hosted environment.

We also believe that SaaS' ease of use makes it an excellent channel for the SMB (small and mid-sized business) market, which has been underserved in the contact center space especially.

CRM Buyer: So SMBs in the contact center -- what are you bringing to them that the market hasn't delivered thus far?

Segre: Delivery of customer service and contact center software from the carrier network. One of best ways for SMBs to do this is with collaboration with a telco.

In fact, we believe more and more the fastest-growing delivery model that contact centers will want to deploy applications or services through is hosted or managed services. That trend has been facilitated by the transformation to the IP (Internet protocol) environment over the last few years.

CRM Buyer: Clearly, this is a big telco play. What percentage of your clients are telcos now?

Segre:It is hard to say, since this group has just formed. From a revenue perspective, it is 30 percent for Genesys.

CRM Buyer: What percentage do you expect it to be within a year?

Segre: That I couldn't say. We just formed the group in January.


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