On Tuesday Amazon Web Services announced the launch of their new contact center product, Connect. While everyone talks about how Amazon is entering, yet, another new market to compete in, one thing that has been glossed over is why they’re entering with this product at all. As it appears, Connect was never supposed to be customer facing.
In a post by Sheila McGee-Smith, Founder of McGee-Smith Analytics, she quotes Amazon’s VP of Worldwide Customer Service, Tom Weiland, as saying, “traditional contact center solutions were unable to meet our demanding requirements.” He went on to explain (my paraphrasing) they had unique requirements internally and getting all the other systems to play nice together introduced a lot of complexity. Frustrated with the limitations of software on the market, they decided to build their own system. Over time, they realized how helpful it had become for them so they opened it up for everyone to use. Enter, Connect.
If you took “Amazon” and “contact center software” out of his story and replaced it with “Rackspace” and “social customer service software”, the story is identical to our own at HelpSocial. You can read about it here. What I find interesting about this is both products came to market addressing a similar problem — enterprises are full of software, much of it being critical to their businesses, but most of it not working well together at all.
In a macro view, you can see a trend of emerging products and companies working to address this with cloud-based, API accessible solutions. The idea being, an enterprise can buy something off the shelf and add in the capabilities they want from their favorite API provider or decide to build their own internal solution using the API providers as a fast shortcut. There is no magic platform that is perfect for every business, so, customize or create what you need. This is becoming an effective way to get the solution you need and a way to become more efficient across departments while reducing licensing costs paid for all-encompassing software suites.
SpiceCSM has pioneered a new category related to this. Twilio recently IPO’d (very successfully) on the API as a service model. Amazon completely changed the hosting industry years ago based on this same idea. Even at HelpSocial, we have been consistently pulled in the direction of offering our Open API as a service for social care.
Business leaders are frustrated with the amount of time and money invested into making all the things work together. The idea of building your own solution internally has been daunting historically, but becoming a very real, cost-effective option with all these new products on the market. Build your own or customize software off the shelf — business transformation is happening right now, as a service.
If you have questions about how this might work for your business, contact us. Better yet, head over to our pricing page and compare how an API driven solution stacks up against traditional social customer service software.