Talkdesk: Partner Ecosystem Essential to Enterprise Aspirations

Call center software provider Talkdesk held its second-annual customer and partner conference, Opentalk, in San Francisco at the end of April around the theme "customer heroes." This year's event, providing two days of customer service success stories and tips and tricks, drew more than 1,000 attendees -- considerably more than the roughly 150 who turned out for last year's event, Talkdesk reported.

 

Last year the big news of the event was an integration with Salesforce -- a must for any contact center provider these days -- and its CallBar application, which allows contact center agents to keep all websites and apps together in one place. This year Talkdesk took a big step forward with its partner ecosystem, announcing what it calls "the first enterprise app store," Talkdesk AppConnect.

AppConnect is a suite of applications from, to start, 16 hand-picked partners, all with a shared vision of making it easy for enterprises to try out new functionality in their call centers. Interestingly, Talkdesk set a couple of requirements for its partners: They must offer a free trial via AppConnect, and they must provide one-click installation for their applications.

I spent a couple of days at Opentalk, getting to know Talkdesk and its partners. In a joint briefing, Tiago Paiva, founder and CEO of Talkdesk, and Gadi Shamia, the company's COO, shared a bit of insight on the partner ecosystem and what it means for the company moving forward.

 

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Tiago Paiva (left) and Gadi Shamia (right)

 

From SMB to Enterprise
Talkdesk is a fairly new company, having been founded in 2012. When it opened shop, Talkdesk primarily targeted SMBs that required only a handful of contact center seats. Over time, Talkdesk expanded its offerings to be able to support larger enterprises, and call centers with thousands of seats, is its core now, Paiva said.

 

 

That move from SMB to enterprise was a big shift, Paiva said. "It took us time to build the software that could accomplish all this, but we got it ... [I]n the last few years, we've been growing like crazy in the mid-market and lower enterprise space."

This was a strategic choice, Paiva said, noting that the company had two options: either continue with the SMBs and landing the smaller but steady deals, or go after the enterprise. "We wouldn't be able to build the company that we wanted to build by just focusing on small customers," Paiva said.

"Enterprise is like the final frontier," he added. "When you look at the enterprise, they have everything in the cloud. They've got ERP on NetSuite, they have IT on ServiceNow, they have CRM on Salesforce -- but then you look at their call center parts, and they are still using the same thing they used 20 years ago. So it's kind of like a challenge ... to go into these companies, build a product for them, innovate, and be able to replace the Genesyses and Avayas of the world."

Helping its larger call center customers grapple with the variety of tools in use led Talkdesk to create the AppConnect app store, Shamia said. The first goal with AppConnect is to simplify application integrations for its customers, as well as for partners, Paiva added. "The more we extend the platform, the more valuable we become to bigger companies. And that's the goal. We get into these bigger companies, they need three or four or five different functionalities that we didn't have before, but now we do. So AppConnect is one of the key plays to get more into the enterprise and get more users out on Talkdesk."