Talkdesk Appoints Munil Shah as CTO, Aims to Accelerate Its AI Roadmap

Shah leaves UiPath, where he helped fuel its rapid growth in the robotic process automation (RPA) market

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Talkdesk Appoints Munil Shah as CTO, Aims to Accelerate Its AI Roadmap
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Published: April 11, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Talkdesk has hired Munil Shah as its new chief technology officer (CTO).

In accepting the role, Shah leaves UiPath, where he spent over five years in total, with the last 18 months as CTO.

During that five-year stint, UiPath’s revenues grew by more than ten times, and it now outsells Microsoft in the robotic process automation (RPA) space by 10:1.

In addition, UIPath released many pioneering AI solutions – such as an autopilot that turns paper documents into automation apps – and expanded from one engineering center in Romania to 11 across the globe.

Previously, Shah spent 24 years with Microsoft. There, he led product and engineering teams across many well-known products, such as Azure, Bing, and Windows.

Now, he joins the Talkdesk C-suite, where he will report to Tiago Paiva, CEO at Talkdesk.

In welcoming Shah, Paiva said: “Our focus on engineering has never been more important.

Being the AI-powered customer experience leader requires us to get ahead of the innovation curve with first-to-market technologies that will unlock greater efficiency and success for our customers.

“To do that, we need a CTO who understands how to quickly capture growth opportunities through innovation when markets like AI and automation intersect. Munil is that leader, and I am excited about what he will do here.”

Getting ahead of that innovation curve seemed somewhat difficult for Talkdesk last year.

After all, the vendor didn’t formally launch any generative AI (GenAI) features until October 2023, months after its CCaaS rivals, including Five9, Genesys, and NICE.

Since then, Talkdesk has made several exciting GenAI announcements. Its new GenAI suite for on-premise organizations and an industry-specific GenAI virtual assistant are excellent examples.

However, in appointing Shah, the vendor appears to acknowledge it reacted too slowly and missed out on some attention-grabbing headlines.

While doing so, the vendor lost its leader position in the CCaaS Gartner Magic Quadrant – which it had held for four consecutive years.

Nevertheless, Gartner praised Talkdesk’s innovative functionality, attractive pricing, and pre-packaged industry-specific products, with the latter proving a major differentiator.

As such, Shah has excellent foundations to build upon with AI innovation, and he seems eager to get the ball rolling.

“There is a massive shift underway in the software industry with the launch of ChatGPT and GenAI, and the contact center is being impacted tremendously,” said Shah.

“This is a pivotal moment for Talkdesk as the market for conversational AI and virtual agents is expected to grow rapidly.

As Talkdesk CTO, the relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction has to be ingrained in every product we deliver and every capability we enable.

“I am ready and honored to lead the company into this next era of artificial intelligence, automation, and customer experience innovation.”

Under Shah’s leadership, Talkdesk’s engineering team has vowed to accelerate the company’s innovation cycle and build “first-to-market” solutions that enable AI-first customer experiences.

As previously suggested, that seemed to stall after Raoul Felix left the CTO post in September 2022, a position he’d held for almost 11 years.

In the meantime, Talkdesk had no formal CTO, with Jason Fama leading all of Talkdesk engineering.

Yet, he left earlier this month to start up Stealth Venture – a company focused on developing purpose-built AI-driven tools for contact centers in healthcare – leaving a gaping hole.

Now, Shah will bridge this, as he hopes to pull Talkdesk back to the forefront of AI innovation in enterprise communications.

 

 

Artificial IntelligenceAutomationCCaaS

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