Zendesk Extends Scope of Customer Experience Ambitions

    Zendesk this week at its Showcase 2019 conference announced it is extending the reach and scope of its customer experience management services offered via the cloud to include a messaging application it gained by acquiring Smooth, along with integrations with a wide range of third-party applications.

    Luke Behnke, vice president of product and platform for Zendesk, says at the heart of the Zendesk customer experience platform is a tightly integrated set of customer relationship management (CRM) applications, dubbed Sunshine, and a set of complementary customer support applications that are all deployed on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud.

    Those applications are now not only being extended via a messaging application that is already integrated with the Zendesk portfolio, but also via a partner ecosystem made up of a range of third-party offerings that, among other applications, include a cloud-based analytics service from Domo and incident management software from PagerDuty.

    Behenke says Zendesk is differentiating itself by enabling organizations to more easily and more quickly create an omni-channel customer experience at a lower cost by leveraging massive amounts of data that organizations are already starting to store on the AWS cloud.

    “It’s not an 18-month project just to set it up,” says Behnke.

    The data gravity effect enabled by the AWS public cloud also makes it simpler for customers to deploy a range of applications that can all access a common pool of data stored on the same public cloud, adds Behnke. That capability means customer sales and service representatives won’t have to navigate 20 different data sources every time they engage a customer, says Behnke.

    Zendesk is at the forefront of broad industry initiative to enable customers to go well beyond simply recording sales engagement using a CRM application. The goal is to now integrate those CRM applications with a range of complementary customer service and marketing applications that organizations are employing to drive a wide range of digital business transformation initiatives. Zendesk is betting that rather than trying to stitch together a bunch of point products to achieve that goal, more organizations will simply prefer to start anew with a set of integrated applications designed from the ground up to be deployed on a public cloud.

    It’s too early to say how what is shaping up to be a titanic struggle to become the platform through which customer experiences are managed in the age of digital business will play out. But the one thing that is certain is that CRM applications need to be able to do a lot more than simply keep track of where and when a sales lead was generated.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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