Less than a month after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Avaya strengthened its alliance with Salesforce.com's Service Cloud, with the goal of giving enterprise-level organizations deeper compatibility between the contact center solutions offered by both vendors.
While Avaya previously offered integrations between its customer engagement software and Salesforce's CRM system through its Breeze Connector, today's development promises to go further in helping firms manage workflows and interactions that move back and forth across solutions.
"With the recent launch of Avaya's digital contact center platform Oceana with Breeze—an extensible, software-based solution—and Oceananalytics—a single, comprehensive view of customers across all sources including Avaya and non-Avaya systems—creating a more blended, deeper integration with Service Cloud is a natural next step," says Laurent Philonenko, CTO and senior vice president of corporate strategy and development at Avaya, in an email. "The power of an analytics engine is a strong differentiator for companies who need to compete for consumer mindshare and loyalty. The level of personal detail that top CRM platforms, such as Service Cloud, capture throughout the course of a customer's relationship with a company is exactly the information analytics engines require in order to create the best experience possible for the customer and the contact center agent."
The expanded partnership will focus specifically on aligning cloud-based technologies to grant businesses smoother access to important knowledge pieces and reveal contextual insights that allow them to quickly cater to customer requests at different contact points. For instance, it aims to support the case of a customer who has perhaps begun an interaction on a mobile self-service application, but requires more assistance from a live agent who has knowledge of his past interactions with the company, including questions that were originally directed at a chatbot.
It's no secret that, increasingly, large companies are making the transition from on-premises applications to ones situated in the cloud. The integrated offerings from Salesforce and Avaya aim to accelerate such transitions without derailing a firm's current strategies, or interfering with any operations they've already got in place. The update promises simplified setups and configurations, easing the processes administrators must undergo to synchronize agent skills and business rules between the two systems. Added Service Cloud APIs grant customers access to Avaya's routing capabilities across channels, including web, chat, and others. Any data that is captured by Avaya's speech analytics can be viewed by agents through Salesforce's Service Cloud Einstein, which may help them stay informed and prepare to take the best next steps to resolve a customer case.
"We have a shared belief that in today’s software-based, cloud-driven, digital world, when two companies integrate their technologies, the customer should never notice or be aware of the integration," Philonenko says. "It should just work: intuitively, seamlessly. That's the strength of this alliance now with our latest releases."
Philonenko says that since Avaya and Salesforce are leading vendors in their fields, “of course we naturally share many of the same customers,” he says. “No one knows contact center as well as Avaya. No one knows the power of CRM in the contact center as well as Salesforce and Avaya. Our companies have consistently been moving forward on very parallel paths, particularly as our customers are progressing in their own digital transformation journeys, including getting smarter about how and when to leverage cloud and incorporate analytics for better customer experiences. This is a relationship that because of the strength and technical expertise of the individual foundations is already ahead of the competition.”
Nancy Jamison, a principal analyst for digital transformation at Frost & Sullivan, agreeed, noting in a statement the collaboration's benefits for agents:
"Bringing together the assets of two leaders so adept at elevating the customer experience will accelerate their customers' ability to digitally transform that experience as well. In addition, this partnership will greatly enhance the agent experience as well, which is critical with the growing Millennial workforce."
Adam Blitzer, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce.com’s Sales and Service Clouds, said in a statement that combined solution can help companies "create customers for life":
"Customers today expect a predictive and connected customer experience, and that's why we're excited to align with Avaya on this initiative. As customer experience becomes the ultimate differentiator, offering a seamless, omnichannel experience will be the key way that companies can create customers for life."
This article has been updated.