Some Thoughts About the Release of Amazon Connect

Amazon continues looking for creative avenues to expand its AWScloud. Last week, the cloud giant announced the released of Amazon connect, a contact center solution powered by AWS services. Apparently, Amazon Connect is based on the same technology AWS has been using to power customer conversations for over a decade.

At the core of Amazon Connect, we have the notion of “Virtual Contact Centers”, a customer service center that can be provisioned in minutes using the AWS Management Console. Virtual Contact Centers enable traditional capabilities such as ticket management or customer support but it also provider an integrated experience with AWS services such as DynamoDB, Aurora or RedShift. Additionally, Amazon Connect integrates with external services such as Salesforce.

Amazon Connect is entering a super crowded market that already counts with incumbents such as ZenDesk and innovators like FreshDesk as well as a good number of legacy players. While analysts have focused their attention on the implications that the release of Amazon Connect can have for ZenDesk as a publicly traded company, I believe the market implications are broader and can impact different segments of the cloud market. Let’s start by looking at AWS’ direct competitors.

Whats Does Amazon Connect Means for Azure and Google Cloud?

Customer support is one of the key requirements raised by enterprises when adopting cloud platforms. Amazon Connect now provides organizations with a contact center solution that can dynamically scale with their AWS infrastructure. That capability can become a strong differentiator against competitors such as Azure and Google Cloud that don’t posses a similar capability. Considering that AWS , Azure and Google Cloud have been trying to match each other feature by feature, it is not crazy to think that Microsoft or Google could try to acquire a SaaS Contact Center platform.

Is Not Just About Platform Services for AWS

Connect is another example of business and high level productivity services that Amazon has been steadily adding to AWS. Those types of capabilities are making AWS more defensible against Microsoft and Google which count with multi-million SaaS productivity platforms such as Office365 or G-Suite respectively.

What Does this Means for ZenDesk?

Hard to tell. ZenDesk is not an obvious acquisition target for Microsoft or Google as it platform runs on AWS. Similarly, its hard to envision Amazon Connect causing an immediate dent on ZenDesk’s market share outside heavy AWS customers. ZenDesk’s stock has been performing extremely well and I don’t think Connect will have any impact on the short term.

Alexa is Coming to a Contact Center Near You

Amazon already announced that Connect will leverage their latest innovation on natural language processing and artificial intelligence.Wed should soon see services such as Alexa and AWS Lex integrated into Virtual Contact Centers.

What Does Connect Means for FreshDesk and Other Startups?

While the implications for ZenDesk are unclear, the release of Amazon Connect can make customer contact center startups such as FreshDesk or Zoho an immediate acquisition target. Certainly, the release of Amazon Connect is helping to make the space more competitive.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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