#GIACSF12

By

Last week, Genesys, now a part of Permira, hosted its Industry Analyst Conference in San Francisco, CA. This was the first real outreach since the division became independent of Alcatel-Lucent. For more on the separation, see prior posts: ALU’s Silient AuctionJust What the World Needs, More Private Equity

Now, with new owners and a new board – Genesys is poised for a “new conversation” about contact centers. This will begin after a few moments of the “your call is very important to us” riff.  Actually, why wait? Let’s turn to social media for more immediate results.

I generally don’t cover contact centers too closely, but here is what I know. The term “Call Centers” got changed to “Contact Centers” by the vendors to reflect their ability to support more than calls; such as IM, email, video, social integration. Unfortunately, the vast majority of contact centers are still call centers, however, the shift is occurring. Social media offers an interesting twist – rather than just another form of communication – it offers potentially more information about the customer as well as an increase in risk associated with poor a customer experience. There are two major business aspects to social media: promotional efforts (brand awareness, brand monitoring, prospecting), and customer service integration. The practice though, of giving customers with more social influence better service is controversial and potentially flawed.

End users and the vendors are very aware of  social media – stories like United Breaks Guitars – send shivers down the spine’s of customer service managers. The contact center vendors, across the industry, are working to integrate various aspects of social media into their solutions. Why not turn the table and use social media to see what Genesys is planning? Typically, the hosts of such industry briefings encourage attendees to tweet away – with the exception of “NDA” or road map content. That is, they want to spread the word and capture the excitement these events offer. 

I started with the event’s hashtag (#GIACSF12). If you are not familiar with such things, a hashtag is a code people apply to their tweets to self sort their interactions.  However, it is important to note that hashtags are both manual and voluntary. The tweets I reviewed reflect those with the hashtag, there were many more tweets. In fact, two of the tweets included below are retweets where presumably the original tweet did not include the hashtag.

When the event was said and done, there were 759 tweets referencing #GIACSF12, according to Tweetreach, these reached 75,074 people. 302 were regular tweets, 82 replies, and 375 retweets (RTs). Of course, that breakdown is only an estimate as there are no set rules of what defines RTs and replies. The RT is another voluntary designation with variability in how it is performed. 759 total tweets seems pretty good for a two day event with about 30 people. Almost half being RTs. Each RT further propagates the social message by amplifying it – I tell two friends, and they tell two friends and so on and so on. Event organizers typically love RTs – it’s a form of social validation; here here!
GIACSF12 Tweets

I’ve attended several conferences remotely, but never via Twitter only. I thought with all these tweets, it would be easy. I was wrong. As a wise man once said “Being there is best, but for those that can’t following #GIACSF12 on twitter is the next best option :-)” Or perhaps he meant to say the only option. Genesys didn’t stream or publicly post any of the sessions.

Remote streaming isn’t very common in UC – though I will give points to Enterprise Connect for streaming at least the keynotes. IBM posted a handful of sessions from LotusSphere. Avaya and Cisco are generally very good about it at their events. The cloud folks are the best  Salesforce.com Dreamscape, Google Atmosphere, or any of GigaOm’s conferences are very friendly for remote attendees. Last year, I attended about 25 conferences often hearing about how technology and rich collaboration can reduce travel.

Here’s a nice graph of who was tweeting the most. It’s worth noting that about a third of the total tweets came from Genesys employees. (LawrenceMichael, CharlieIsaacs, TomEggemeier, Stefen Captijn, Genesyslab, and LizoBiker).

But Tweets and influence are not the same thing. Tweetreach reports the tweets had 1,669,087 impressions. I believe that’s  follower count times tweets for each tweeter. Here’s a list of the each tweeter’s reach with over 10,000 impressions.

GIACSF12 Impressions

When I look at a list like that, I think – I hope Charlie Isaacs tweets this post. What’s really interesting here is rwang0, SteffWatson, BradBennett, and HyounPark_AG  among the most influential in the event’s Twittersphere were not even at the event. Attendance wasn’t required for all of the speakers either. One was brought in via Skype (yes Skype). But using Twitter to evaluate influence is inherently flawed. Many analysts don’t tweet. Several Gartner analysts were in attendance (four I think), but only SteveJNB tweeted (and he wasn’t there).

 

Follower counts are not the most reliable indicator of influence. Another approach is to figure out who has clout in a social demographic. For that, I used Percollate.com to map Twitter profiles to Klout scores. But as a wise person once said “I try and not be too cynical when I hear executives talk about Klout scores when they are discussing social media #giacsf12.” The bad news for Genesys is that the vast majority of those twitting with a Klout topic in Customer Service are Genesys employees. If you don’t count the employees or anyone with no Klout, only two remain (jEthanFrancis and mohamdafifi). Only imlazar has Klout in VoIP. AlanLepo and Hyounpark_AG have Klout scores in Enterprise 2.0, but that wasn’t a trending topic at GIACSF12.”

Perhaps Klout is not that reliable (say it isn’t true). Clearly, the social/contact center integration story still has some maturing to do.

Below are some selected tweets that I think offered the most information from the event:

alanlepo-The New Conversation is the theme of today’s Genesys Analyst Conference #giacsf12 #customerservice #social #mobile

LawrenceMichael-#Genesyslab cause is to Save the World from Bad Customer service says Eggemeier at #GIACSF12

alanlepo-We have the opportunity to take Genesys from being a great brand to an iconic company – @tomeggemeier #giacsf12

alanlepo-Genesys talking about their customer service competitors : Avaya, Cisco, Aspect, Interactive Intelligence, #GIACSF12

McGeeSmith-@Genesyslab head of sales @TomEggemeier telling analysts that @In_Intelligence has blocked him from following them on twitter #giacsf12

alanlepo-Genesys talking about their CRM competitors : SAP, Salesforce, RightNow, Oracle #GIACSF12

blairplez-#Genesys seeing signif growth in custs removing the PBX & using SIP as infrastructure to reach out deep into the organization. #GIACSF12

dnm54-#GIACSF12 @nicolask3 hinting that growth through acquisition (in addition to organic growth) figures into the future including “Adjacencies”

McGeeSmith-#giacsf12 #saas more significant today than known.  North America #cloud  business grew 40% last year, 10% of the business @Genesyslab #cctr

alanlepo-Genesys CMO @nicolask3 “areas for growth: social, mobile, cloud, pbx-less, virtualization, SaaS, analytics , WFO” #giacsf12

brian_riggs-In 2011 @Genesyslab SaaS business grew ~40% in North America. Cloud #cctr services offered via partners now 10% of its NA business #giacsf12

McGeeSmith-Very succinct @Nicolask3: @GenesysLab suite is built around 5 features: Platform, Channels, Conversation, People and Insights #giacsf12

hyounpark_AG-@nicolask3 growth areas: Social, Mobile, Cloud (#SoMoClo) are core to customer. Virt, SaaS, analytics are TCO/ROI keys #giacsf12

alanlepo-In 2012 Genesys is increasing R&D spend by 13-14% over what they spent in 2011. MYPOV: Good sign for future growth #giacsf12

McGeeSmith-New CFO @Genesyslab opened financial preso by saying company hit a home run in 2011:  $500m+ revenue, double-digit growth #cctr #giacsf12

alanlepo-Genesys added 179 new customers in 2011 including PayPal, Waste Management, State of Florida, Banque du France, Singtel, Eircom #giacsf12

SusanMStearman-@MerijnGRW Our world is changing at revolutionary speed – no more silos! to save the world from bad #custserv #GIACSF12

brian_riggs-About 44% of @Genesyslab’s $500m revenue in 2011 was from software licenses. ~44% from maintenance,

brian_riggs-About 49% of @Genesyslab’s $500m revenue in 2011 was from Americas region, ~34% from EMEA, ~15% from APAC #giacsf12

McGeeSmith-Great, non-tweetable stuff RT @LawrenceMichael: #GIACSF12 Merijn te Booij has opened the roadmap scrapbook for analysts.

SusanMStearman-Good content focused on #custserv superstardom RT @LawrenceMichael: #GIACSF12 Merijn te Booij has opened the roadmap scrapbook for analysts.

GretchHof-@TomEggemeier shared 4 solid reasons @Genesyslab is #custsvc ldr #giacsf12 – my fav is  products do what we say they will

charlieisaacs-Wow, nice touch, @slava_zhakov recorded @McGeeSmith and used for voice prompts for SaaS Contact Center Demo #GIACSF12

alanlepo-Fun use of live polling at #giacsf12 using ClikaPad devices that were handed out to each analyst http://t.co/FYE28PGO

Genesyslab-#1 CX issue for today’s business executives today is integrating mobile / smart phone channel – according to #giacsf12 attending analysts

dnm54-#GIACSF12 Mike McBrien talks global partnerships. New activity with IBM, Siemens and “new,” largest partner with Alcatel-Lucent

brian_riggs-MT @blairplez: #Genesys’s Michael McBrien says Apple Siri shows value of speech rec & will see use of speech rec expand in #cctr. #giacsf12

brian_riggs-Genesys is rekindling biz relationship w/ @SiemensEnt, which soured two years ago when ALU integrated Genesys w/ enterprise group. #giacsf12

McGeeSmith-#giacsf12 @m_mcbrien “We’re doing really well in Hosted.” 25K seats deployed, 75K ports of GVP, 1.5K customers deployed #cctr #saas

brian_riggs-Genesys’s carrier partners have deployed >25k seats of hosted #cctr services based on its hosted #cctr platform, says @m_mcbrien #giacsf12

NancyJami-Skype isn’t the same as in  person, but @dave_t_pilot is always a pleasure to listen to #GIACSF12

arnaudhk-@skingstone: #GIACSF12 Genesys Mobile Strategy will finally help biz create a mobile care app that adds value to the customer. #custserv

Anadkat-Brilliant job by @dave_t_pilot championing the #SOCIALMEDIA and Mobile messages, 8k miles away over Skype #GIACSF12

NancyJami-We are no longer managing calls, but customer interactions. Yes! @dave_t_pilot  #GIACSF12

McGeeSmith-#giacsf12 @Dave_t_pilot In the absence of anything else, @Klout score is as good a barometer as any other to use to evaluate an interaction

McGeeSmith-#UPMC Closing:  @Genesyslsab technology got #cctr managers away from looking at screens to training agents to help clients better #giacsf12

dnm54-#GIACSF12 Demo of insights and rules development by @lizobiker makes it look sooo ez to change rules and do analytics

blairplez-instead of indicating that info on a slide is NDA, #Genesys slides have “no tweet” button. very cute.  #GIACSF12

imlazar-key reason for integrating cust. serv. channels into a single pltfrm – consistent rules/processing rgrdless of channel #genesys #giacsf12

J1mGeorgiou-@jmaxball points to #socialmedia and #mobile change everything. Not just a new channel! #giacsf12

jmaxball-#GIACSF12 Genesys Board chats with the Analysts – as an employee I’m really looking forward to this.

McGeeSmith-Permira says @Genesyslab less leveraged today than private equity owned competitors @Avaya and @AspectUC.  Below 5x EBITDA #giacsf12

Conclusions:

  • One cannot really follow a conference by monitoring tweets alone.
  • That said, it is also important to note there are is a tremendous amount of quality information shared and made readily and freely available.
  • Twitter primarily is an echo chamber – people agree and RT. There is very little debate or “conversation.”
  • That said, these events are bit like a firehouse. There is no way to digest and process and tweet all in real time – in a meaningful way.
  • The wine selection at dinner was very good. Of course Genesys is (formerly?) a French company.
  • Identifying the influential on Twitter is not practical using Twitter tools alone.
  • Twitter, encouraged or not, is not an effective social networking strategy to get the word out. If you want to get the word out, a broader social strategy likely involving posted content is necessary.

When I am at events like these, I usually tweet quite a bit. I always  feel encouraged to do so by the hosts. But I am beginning to question this now. Tweeting is a distraction, and it isn’t clear to me that people outside the event can really benefit from it. Perhaps the Gartner model is right – that it is better to focus and put the information down in a solid written analysis (media or research). Maybe, the best use of such venues is to collect the information, process and digest, then convert to crisp clear analysis that helps others in their decision making rather than contribute to electronic pollution 140 characters at a time. Or,

Perhaps Twitter is an escape from the monotonous droning of how past performance is not indicative of future results and lookie here. That is is healthy distraction in which we share positive news and create community. That the open conversations and reaffirmations with existing relationships is what is truly important. That the audience must come first, and the content will follow.

Hmmm.
Regardless, it seems like it was a highly successful event, and the analysts in attendance were quick to share their appreciation for the informative content and hospitality.

Dave Michels