From price hikes to new partner programs, here are some extracts from our most popular news stories over the last seven days.
Salesforce will hike up prices for several of its cloud and marketing tools next month for the first time since 2016.
The impacted solutions include its Service, Sales, and Marketing Cloud platforms, alongside Tableau and Industries.
On average, the total price increase – across these products – is nine percent.
However, Salesforce has so far only revealed the new prices of its Service and Sales Cloud platforms – as shared below:
- Salesforce Professional Edition from US$ 75 to US$ 80 (up $5)
- Salesforce Enterprise Edition from US$ 150 to US$ 165 (up $15)
- Salesforce Unlimited Edition from US$ 300 to $330 (up $30)
While the move will displease customers, it comes at a time when Salesforce – and its competitors – and pumping more money into augmenting their solutions with generative AI (GenAI).
Giving his take on LinkedIn, Daniel Newman, CEO of the Futurum Group, stated:
In #SaaS, continued innovation and development comes at a cost. Salesforce has frozen prices for some time. My take is the #AI investment required to stay competitive will drive price and capabilities for CRM.
Indeed, over the past seven years, Salesforce has invested over $20BN in R&D, driving new features and offerings without raising its prices.
AWS has infused its Contact Center Intelligence (CCI) suite with generative AI (GenAI).
While many will be more familiar with its Amazon Connect CCaaS platform, AWS provides the CCI suite to add AI and machine learning (ML) to third-party contact center platforms.
Amongst others, these third-party solutions include Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, and Talkdesk.
In augmenting these platforms, AWS delivers agent-assist, call analytics, and self-service virtual agent capabilities to end-users.
Now, AWS has laced these solutions with GenAI. The following demo from Dr. Andrew Kane, Principal Solutions Architect at AWS, highlights how.
During the demo, Kane notes the additional benefits GenAI delivers as part of the CCI suite:
- Improved call handling accuracy with faster contact resolution
- Script compliance checks and agent scoring
- Task automation that drives cost reduction
- A greater understanding of complex, natural language queries
- Conversational, accurate responses from trusted sources
- Abstractive call summarization
- Lower agent churn
Continue for further guidance on how it drives these outcomes after an intro into how AWS has embedded GenAI into its CCI suite. (Read on…).
8×8 has unveiled its new partner program that aims to improve customer experiences with AI, insights, and analytics.
The 8×8 Technology Partner Ecosystem, as it is called, optimizes customer experiences and engagement through the democratization of native integrations for any sized business.
As a result, its customers will not need to create custom developments or pay the high overhead costs, which were previously only feasible for large organizations.
Hunter Middleton, Chief Product Officer at 8×8, said: “A one size fits all approach no longer works. Instead, organizations expect their technology solutions and providers to innovate, adapt and evolve to meet their current and future business and customer needs.
We are thrilled to announce the 8×8 Technology Partner Ecosystem, and even more excited to partner with so many industry-leading, innovative CX vendors.
“The program complements our native AI-driven 8×8 XCaaS platform capabilities, giving enterprises the flexibility to build the right solutions to meet and exceed their customer experience goals.”
8×8 XCaaS (eXperience Communications as a Service) is the platform architecture upon which the partner program brings together leading technology solution providers in the industry.
The partner program already consists of over 30 partners, including Avoira, Cognigy, Converse360, Cresta, Engage Hub, LogicDialog, Roboyo, Syndeo, and more. (Read on…).
Gladly has acquired Thankful, a provider of AI-powered customer service solutions.
These include agent-assist, voice of the customer, and loyalty management tools.
Yet, in recent times, Thankful has invested significant time and resources into generative AI and no-code automation to streamline customer communication.
Gladly will now transfer these capabilities to Sidekick, its new AI and automation solution that works on the shoulder of contact center agents.
In doing so, Sidekick will suggest responses to customer queries – which incorporate customer context and stored information – for personalization.
The move is significant for Gladly, as it strives to build upon its helpdesk platform – which places on G2’s Top 50 list for customer service products.
Underlining the value Thankful and Sidekick will add to the broader portfolio, Joseph Ansanelli, CEO of Gladly, said:
By layering Thankful’s AI and automation on top of our people-centered platform, we’re making the customer service ecosystem more personalized for consumers in a more scalable way for brands.
Already, many companies use both brands’ software, with the two tech providers partnering in 2020. These include businesses such as Bombas, Breeze Airways, and Crate & Barrel.
Yet, both vendors will now work in lockstep to automate customer queries with Sidekick while maintaining a degree of personalization. (Read on…).