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Three Traits of a Customer Engagement Platform Leader

Consumers’ increasing expectations for proactive, digital-first engagement and a collective recognition by companies to deliver cohesive omnichannel customer journeys have helped to forge the growing customer engagement platform (CEP) market. The converging CEP category aims to offer the ever-changing digital capabilities companies need to meet customers’ expectations.

Omdia therefore defines a CEP as follows: A platform that enables an enterprise to capture and unify customer data from multiple sources and view the customer journeys holistically. A CEP interprets, as well as intelligently and proactively orchestrates, personalized and relevant content, offers, or responses regardless of channel or device. A CEP also allows an enterprise to continuously analyze, learn, and amend how it engages to continually enhance the customer’s experience.

In contrast to traditional CRM and contact center solutions, CEPs can solve the complex challenges of providing individual context along customer journeys and responding at scale. They aim to deliver a holistic enterprise-wide perspective to orchestrate relevant content or guidance and to trigger the most appropriate action at every customer touchpoint, regardless of where the journey starts and ends. They enable enterprises to sense behavioral change and adapt accordingly, maintaining customer relevance and loyalty.

The Omdia Universe: Customer Engagement Platforms, 2022–23 provides a snapshot of the expanding market and identifies the leaders in the category that score high in both capabilities and customer experience (CX) ratings. Vendors within the market leader group include Adobe, Genesys, Nice, Salesforce, and Twilio. These market leaders are characterized by having the best scores in terms of capabilities and CX ratings. We look at the three common traits shared across the leaders in the category.

1. Clearly stated digital strategies

First, Omdia has identified the leaders by analyzing to what extent each has a clearly stated strategy in how they intend to move rapidly to offer comprehensive and integrated CEPs. In doing so, they put CX front and center and made it an integral, measurable component of their corporate strategies.

Establishing a clear digital strategy and communicating it consistently and thoroughly should be standard operating procedure for vendors. Clear communication and transparency are central to high-performing engagements. In the shifting CEP market, this means working with vendors that know the business well and communicate short- and long-term roadmaps and current and planned partnerships.

2. AI mastery

The second attribute – artificial intelligence (AI) mastery – is critical. As with many emerging technologies, AI holds tremendous promise for delivering value. However, the technology industry sometimes refers to AI as a “black box.” Instead, enterprises must develop trust in the technology and start viewing AI as a powerful tool that delivers precise insights into customer behavior and expectations. Embedding AI or machine learning (ML) throughout all the layers will support high levels of automation, decision-making, and personalized response at scale.

The leading CEP vendors are giving serious consideration to their treatment of AI by integrating it throughout their solutions. Furthermore, vendors such as NICE and Genesys have hired hundreds of AI developers as a result. The market will see vendors further embedding AI so that enterprises can harness its real value when AI is removed from siloed instances.

3. Significant acquisitions

Finally, the CEP leaders often demonstrate their commitment to CEP expansion by making significant acquisitions that move them closer to their strategic goals. Very recent examples of this include Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack, an employee messaging platform, and Twilio’s acquisition of Segment, a customer data platform. Such acquisitions bring the obvious benefit of increased market share. However, additional benefits such as acquiring industry-leading talent and faster strategy implementation are key advantages of acquisitions in an increasingly competitive market.

CEPs will enable the digital-first environment

The urgency to meet customers’ new digital-first demands has resulted in the growth of the tools, technologies, and platforms that enhance customer engagement. Advances in cloud and other emerging technologies, a burgeoning digital engagement technology ecosystem, and faster adoption through innovation are all factors that will continue to shape the CEP market and mount interest in enterprise technology investments.

To read the full report, Omdia Universe: Customer Engagement Platforms, 2022–23, go to www.omdia.com.