December 14, 2022 – Duration 00:30:31

S3 Ep. 9 Supercharging your CX with the right apps

You’ve invested time and resources into selecting a customer experience (CX) platform that will empower you to deliver exceptional experiences for customers and employees. But no platform can fulfill every business requirement, unique use case or industry-specific process. To truly differentiate your CX and maximize the value or your tech, you’ll need to round out your capabilities with the right apps. Sam Rector, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Genesys, explains the strategic value of pairing a flexible CX platform with a robust marketplace of curated apps. This powerful combination offers turnkey innovation. Plus, you’ll hear expert guidance for evaluating an app marketplace.


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Sam Rector

Sam Rector

Senior Product Marketing Manager at Genesys

A filmmaker at heart, Sam has always been passionate about technology and storytelling. For the past eight years, he’s happily combined these two passions in Product Marketing, helping organizations around the world to transform their ERP systems, development processes, and now, customer experiences. At Genesys, Sam works closely with product teams to bring stories around the Genesys Cloud platform to life.

TTi20 S3E9 Conversation Highlights

Here are conversation highlights from this episode, edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.

Welcome, Sam. Tell us about what you do at Genesys.

Sam Rector (02:46): 

My name is Sam Rector. I’m a product marketing manager here at Genesys, mainly working on our core platform capabilities, including our app marketplace.  

If an organization is using a platform that has a full suite of apps, why more apps?

Sam Rector (03:28): 

Marketplaces and the ISV partner apps on them are a way for a company to fill the white space within a platform. What it really comes down to is three things. First, with a single platform, no matter how extensive the capabilities are, you can’t possibly provide technology for every business requirement, every unique use case, every vertical-specific process right out of the box — or right out of the cloud. This is something we continue to find with our own marketplace partners here at Genesys: Their people are experts in those unique use cases, those niche vertical-specific processes.

And because they have such a specific area of expertise, they become invaluable partners as we work together to improve a company’s customer and employee experiences. Also, it’s a huge factor in your ability to become a composable business. With today’s ever-changing market conditions and shifting expectations from customers and employees, CIOs and business leaders and analysts are recognizing the strategic value of pairing a flexible platform with a global marketplace because it gives turnkey innovation. Enterprise marketplaces help you operate at the increasing speed of change that we in the CX world finds ourselves in.

How do you evaluate the best vendors to consider in a marketplace?

Sam Rector (06:41): 

Before we get into how you should evaluate a marketplace, I would say to those listening that the marketplace of a potential software vendor or platform should be a sizable chunk of your evaluation or RFI process of that original platform buy.

At Genesys, we believe that an app marketplace should constitute about 25% of the platform puzzle. So, if there’s one takeaway from this talk, it’s to devote a larger portion of your evaluation process of a CX platform to that platform’s marketplace. Back to your original question: How should you evaluate an app marketplace?

First, I’d consider what ecosystem vendor solutions are already available in the marketplace and map those to what’s currently in your architecture. It takes a free-flowing architecture that passes data, intent and intelligence across the organization to execute on whatever your business is trying to achieve, especially great customer experiences. Eliminating technology and data silos is probably step number one to becoming a composable business because it helps bridge that communication divide between teams and will hopefully lead to more co-creation.

Second, it’s important to recognize how quickly, or not so quickly, the marketplace is growing. How easy it is to trial and install new apps. I’d suggest in your RFI to ask questions like, “How many new marketplace vendors have you onboarded in the last year?” Consistent marketplace growth shows that the platform and ecosystem partners fully appreciate the value and its power. And this ensures that even in the face of increasing change and uncertainty, there will always be turnkey innovation to install that will fit your needs. As far as free trials go, they’re essential.

And finally, the last question to look into is, what other value does the marketplace offer development pros? When a business can utilize a marketplace full of turnkey innovation to seize opportunities and fend off threats, its development resources can remain focused on building what’s truly unique and what can continue to sustain differentiation for that business.

At Genesys, we’ve invested heavily in what we call blueprints and templates, which are available free in our marketplace and are, essentially, everything-included toolkits and ready-to-import configurations that provide step-by-step instructions in the code needed for developers to craft custom integrations, bots and things like that. The last point I’ll make on this is that it’s important for developers to join that evaluation and buying decision. They are often forgotten or brought in at the very end.

But developers hold the key to business differentiation. They’re the ones capable of creating what can’t easily be bought in the market. So, get them involved early when you’re evaluating a platform and a marketplace so they can understand what’s already there, what they don’t need to build from scratch, and therefore what type of customization work they’ll be able to focus on later on — and add that differentiation value.

When you’re researching apps, who should take the lead? A developer who’s saying, “Hey, we have this white space,” or someone from the business side who’s saying, “Hey, we need to accomplish this goal,” or both?

Sam Rector (12:20): 

It depends on a lot of factors. One is the culture of the business. Is it IT-led or business-led? Is the problem they’re trying to solve a technical problem around reliability or compliance or is it a business problem around driving revenue-related KPIs? But, more and more, those problems are fusing and becoming interrelated. So, no matter who ultimately takes the lead, I’d urge different teams across the business, IT and development to stop strategizing and buying and making these decisions and building in silos and instead adopt a continuous co-creation mindset.  

What apps are most commonly being picked up on the marketplace and why?

Sam Rector (15:25): 

It totally depends on a company’s preferences, any current threat or opportunity, the current market conditions, the hot technology. And yes, there will always be certain staples, like, business intelligence and analytics tools. But that’s the beauty of a marketplace. They help you stay agile and continue to operate at this increasing speed of change.

One of my favorite examples of this was during the onset of COVID. Within about a week of shutdown, one of the ISV vendors had built a mobile app using a low-code technology that companies could use to track the health of their employees, contact trace and provide covid-specific updates. It shot up to number one basically overnight in that marketplace and was used by hundreds, if not thousands of companies all over the world.

This not only shows how businesses can take advantage of a marketplace to fend off threats, but also how ISV partners can be timely with the apps and services they’re making available on the marketplace and catch different technology and market trends.

Generally, what we’re seeing right now in the AppFoundry, as far as popular marketplace apps go, is that number one is video — the ability to add secure video interactions between agents and customers is trending right now, especially in certain industries and use cases. It’s all about delivering those industry- and use case–specific apps.

Telehealth, for example, is a big industry using video-interaction technology. And I would say number two is CRM connectors. Companies want to integrate their CRM and CX systems more tightly for a more unified agent experience, while taking advantage of the unique capabilities of each platform, has become very popular.

Talk more about once you’ve narrowed down your list of apps to a few options, what are some of the key things to look for?

Sam Rector (18:42): 

The main thing you should be looking for in an app, other than whether it satisfies your business use case, is how tightly it can be integrated into whatever platform you’re using, as well as your ecosystem and your architecture in general.

Can you pass all the meaningful data, intent and learnings between your platform and the app you’re purchasing. Also ask: Does this app come ready to configure out of the box or am I going to need to devote development resources to get it into production? Does it have open APIs or other integration methods, so when I want to innovate further, I can do so in a meaningful way.

There are things to look out for so integration just for the sake of integration. Many IT teams we talked to, given these chaotic times, frantically extend their existing CX suites with various point solutions and hard-coded custom stop-gap type things, without any sincere thought into the growing technical debt they’ll cause.

To build a composable, agile business, you must be deliberate with how you connect these different app systems and data in your architecture.

Why is composability such a hot topic right now?

Sam Rector (21:06): 

Let’s first define composability because we really haven’t done that yet. The Genesys view of composability, which we call composable CX, is customer and employee experiences architected for swift, sustainable differentiation in a way that delivers maximum resiliency and agility. And that’s achieved through the real-time assembly, combination and orchestration of individual customer service and employee experience capabilities across the building blocks I mentioned earlier: product, marketplace, ecosystem and development.

A simple way to think about it is as Lego bricks for your business that are easily added, removed, changed and exchanged to create — and then evolve as time goes on — these unique, resilient experiences. It’s a hot topic because it helps organizations make their architecture as agile as possible. As we know agility is no longer optional. Preferences change on a day-to-day basis and businesses, and especially their technology systems, need to keep up to survive.

Quite frankly, one of the reasons it’s become such a hot topic is because Gartner is talking about it. We talk to a lot of IT leaders and almost all of them are describing moving to a composable strategy. Whether they can put a name on it or not, that’s what they’re describing to us. If you’re on the business side and you’re looking to partner with IT to achieve your goals and your KPIs and meet revenue, it’s an important concept to become familiar with, so everyone’s on the same page and can move forward together.

Business executives are looking to stay agile to keep up with customer demands, with employee expectations. When you have composability, thus agility, that’s a great business benefit.

Sam Rector (24:06): 

Absolutely. And a marketplace is such a key part of that. It’s turnkey technology. In our marketplace, for example, there are 200 apps that you can free trial and then plug into your business and turn on to meet these changing market demands and customer expectations. It’s such an essential part of becoming a composable business — having a composable CX architecture that remains agile both on the business and the IT side. 

We covered a lot of ground today, but anything that we missed that you want to point out?

Sam Rector (25:06): 

I’ll make a shameless plug for the Genesys App Foundry marketplace. It’s an always-growing, curated marketplace of CX solutions that comprises over 450 readymade apps integrations and other kind of specific services to Genesys Cloud. It also includes about 175 premium apps that you can install in one click.