As I had written earlier, a new sponsor showed up to this year’s Genesys G-Force Chicago and Amsterdam: BearPaw Software. It was noteworthy to me because although BearPaw’s been serving the Genesys ecosystem for years, this was the first time it’d signed on as a sponsor and even threw a kick-butt (from what I’d heard) welcome reception in Chicago. Also, in a previous engagement years ago I had the chance to meet its founder, Duane Abrams. I reached out to him last week for an interview and opportunity to catch up, and was very grateful that he took time out of his busy project schedule for a phone call.
One thing you’ll notice about the company is that it primarily focuses on software. Most companies in the Genesys ecosystem feed off professional service gigs which traditionally provide greater margins (or used to, when the economy was in better shape). These are the systems integration (SI) departments from the top carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) and top consulting firms (IBM, Accenture, etc.), to the next tier shops (Aria Solutions, Touchpoint, etc.), to the third-tiers (Mediu, eLoyalty. etc.), then to some boutique outfits. Oftentimes a Genesys implementation team would consist of resources from these various companies, whereby the contracted company would subcontract work to augment the team, and sometimes even the subcontractor would subcontract some work.
Messy, I know. According to Duane, it is tough for a small company like BearPaw to compete with the top dogs for SI work because most of the time the contract is awarded to the vendor which helped (re)sell the Genesys software. Instead, he decided there was a market for additional software to complement Genesys’ products to “enhance the Genesys core and fill gaps in Genesys.” That is the main differentiator of BearPaw.
The company has developers in Europe and the U.S. to make Duane’s product visions come true, such as its flagship CallFlow Analyzer and ReVision offerings.
CallFlow Analyzer aims to provide analytical insights into a customer’s operations by mapping the paths of calls from cradle to grave. The business can then look at these diagrams to determine which call segment is costing the most money or producing the least caller satisfaction, and make adjustments accordingly. Perhaps tweaking an IVR menu, or modifying the wording of a menu option, or optimizing a database transaction along the way. In essence the tool allows the business to easily baseline and benchmark the impact of contact center programming, and may even be used as a call flow debugging utility. There is also a plan to add a simulation feature to the product which may come out sometime in 2011 in a beta version.
ReVision would be a product that any Genesys consultant could get excited about. Billed as “version control for Genesys,” ReVision will definitely help with all those common configuration tweaks necessary on nearly all Genesys implementations.
And what of the much publicized hosted architecture and the new exciting Genesys 8?
The truth is, Duane hasn’t seen many hosted implementations of Genesys either, in the U.S. or across the pond. In 2009 Genesys touted the partnership with AT&T which provided hosted Genesys services for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), but since that announcement it appears no other major customer has jumped onto that bandwagon. Duane thinks that for most corporations who can afford Genesys they likely already invested in one or more data centers, so selling them a hosted solution along with a more complicated deployment and support plan because of it doesn’t make much economic sense.
Genesys 8, considered to be a very important and major update, has generated a lot of buzz in the Genesys ecosystem. The thing that’s holding customers back, according to Duane, is Genesys’ lack of a clear migration path. Topped with Genesys’ history of “dot oh” troubles, most customers are in a holding pattern in terms of upgrading. Parent company Alcatel-Lucent, posting a significant first quarter loss, may need Genesys to aggressively push for upgrades in order to help with the bottom line. After all, Genesys is a software company and makes most of its money from licensing and upgrades.
So after years of low-profile success, BearPaw Software is ready to step into the spotlight to become the premier Genesys ISV. Its high-profile sponsorship of G-Force was the first step, and according to Duane, he’s also ready to commit more resources in the future, perhaps a deeper involvement with the annual Genesys Developers Summit. And I’m sure that’s welcome news for those in the Genesys ecosystem.