July 26, 2021
Photo: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Welcome to Protocol | Enterprise, your comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know about the week in cloud and enterprise software. This Monday: the future of the call center, Amazon investigates AWS, and finance chiefs want a break from Excel.
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For a brief moment in time, the marketing hype around chatbots made it seem like the future was at our fingertips.
No longer would we, as consumers, have to suffer through the agony of having to talk to another human. And all those call center agents who were no longer spending the day answering phones would, apparently, be suddenly freed up to do … something else.
There was just one problem: The tech didn't really work.
Despite that setback, there is a huge wave of digitization happening in the industry. And while the capabilities might not yet be at the level advertised by some vendors, most insiders believe the tech will soon catch up.
The market potential right now, like in so many other parts of enterprise tech, is huge. By the end of 2021, contact-center-as-as-service, or CCaaS, will account for just 32.3% of the total cloud center market, according to Gartner.
That market opportunity ahead is why companies like Genesys and Five9 are investing heavily in tools that are critical to that future. It's also why AWS is so interested in the space.
So for now, we'll all have to deal with the inevitable soul-crushing experience that is calling in to most service centers. But rest assured, that's changing.
Outages aren't a matter of if, but when. According to data from ThousandEyes, global disruptions in March 2020 — when we saw remote work roll out at scale — were 63% higher than they were in January 2020.
Amazon digs into discrimination claims at AWS: After 550 employees raised issues with the cloud provider's current system to review complaints of systemic racism or bias, Amazon tapped an independent investigator to look into the allegations.
Schultz was on our recent list of 10 people defining the new database landscape. Read the whole list here.
What was your first foray into the world of databases?
I started at Oracle as an SDR, straight out of college in the mid-'90s. It was the height of the database wars between Oracle, Sybase and Informix. I was a Spanish and Latin American Studies major in college, and I quickly realized I had to learn another new "language" in order to speak fluently about relational databases. The experience taught me that a winning product needs to be coupled with clear, differentiated, persona-specific messaging, as well as rigorous sales enablement and certification, in order to win big in the market.
What excites you the most about the future of the industry?
We are in the very early innings of a tectonic shift in the industry as enterprises accelerate their efforts to win in a digital-first world. To do this, they must leverage data as one of their most important assets, as well as connect all of the applications, systems and data layers as a real-time central nervous system. Organizations are beginning to realize that modernizing their data infrastructure — and setting their data in motion — is key to their next chapter of success.
What's your advice to younger technologists who want to build a career in this field?
Make your aspirations known and surround yourself with people who are supportive of those aspirations. When I was growing my career at Oracle, I felt a strong sense of belonging and support, as well as believed in the meritocracy that drove me to focus on performance. I've also come to believe that there are inherent systemic biases even in meritocratic systems, so self-advocacy and enlisting advocates is important.
What's the biggest hurdle companies are going to face in becoming a data-driven enterprise?
The biggest hurdles are on the people and culture side. For example, does an organization have the skill sets required to take advantage of new capabilities enabled by software? Can you upskill current talent and source new talent to meet this need? Organizationally, how do roles and responsibilities need to evolve given these new capabilities? What should the new operating model look like?
What's one piece of reading that you think should be a requirement for those in the industry?
"Growth Mindset" by Carol Dweck [Editor's note: While not a book title, Dweck writes often about the "growth mindset" concept] and "Grit" by Angela Duckworth.
In hybrid work, the Internet is your new enterprise network. To understand what happened when a notable outage occurs, and what you can learn from it, subscribe to the ThousandEyes Internet Report, a weekly podcast that uncovers what's working, and what's breaking on the Internet—and why.
Thanks for reading — see you Thursday!