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Summary

At the annual Dreamforce conference, Salesforce announced several enhancements to the Service Cloud platform that suggest the firm is slowly building out a comprehensive framework for customer interaction management. The agent desktop is the critical operational environment in contact centers, the place where applications interact and work gets done. With its new applications, Salesforce aims to solidify its hold on this precious resource.

Owning the contact center is about owning the agent desktop

Salesforce’s new Lightning Console is an agent workspace constructed around modules that can easily be resized and moved around to create a custom view into relevant activity, while retaining a consistent look and feel that minimizes the amount of training it takes for workers to be productive. The designers have taken into account the latest thinking on interface design, including building in macros for common activities.

Importantly, Salesforce has made good on the promise of last year’s Wave announcements by incorporating Analytics for Agents into an app that provides fresh data about individual or group performance to managers and agents. The data feeding these analytics views can come from a multitude of sources, including multichannel interaction logs and chat histories. Essentially any analyzable data stream that runs through Service Cloud can be delivered to a dashboard on the Lightning Console.

Ovum believes that this is stage-setting. For the past several years, Salesforce has taken steps to build Service Cloud into a multifunctional contact center platform that handles all agent work and processes except two key functions: voice call routing and core workforce optimization (WFO). Now, with integrated analytics, Salesforce is edging closer to the point where WFO can be seen as either a third-party add-on to the Service Cloud framework or the next logical step in its “build or buy” calculation.

With many businesses looking at expanding their non-voice service channels (and relegating voice to a last resort), there are few reasons not to consider the CRM system as the command center of the customer interaction space. Salesforce has been open about its focus on both the Internet of Things and field service technology automation. Both have significant ramifications for the way contact centers will operate in the next five to ten years. It is clear that Service Cloud (and indeed the rest of the “clouds” that function more as marketing bundles than different product sets) is being positioned as the cockpit for the next generation’s more varied and sophisticated interaction operating environments.

Appendix

Further reading

Salesforce1: Evaluating Salesforce's New Unified PaaS Platform, IT0022-000396 (July 2015)

“The "Lightning" brand reflects the ongoing, but somewhat confusing, evolution of Salesforce’s Force.com,” IT0022-000474 (August 2015)

“Salesforce platform attempts to disrupt corporate HR,” IT0020-000121 (May 2015)

Author

Keith Dawson, Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement

keith.dawson@ovum.com

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