AWS has tight grip on the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market, but it wants more. It also wants a piece of enterprise software, and to that end, the cloud giant announced a new call center software this week called Amazon Connect, delivered as a cloud service.
This comes on the heels of an announcement last month when the company announced Chime, a unified communication product.
It's significant for so many reasons, but the company that generates new products by the score every year has clearly decided to take on SaaS. Let's not forget that AWS is competing on a larger cloud level with some of the biggest names in the business such as Microsoft, Google, and IBM, which unlike AWS were born as other kinds of companies, and then transformed to the cloud service businesses.
Each of these competitors has differing degrees of an enterprise SaaS business with Microsoft leading the way with Office 365, Google with G Suite, and IBM with a whole slew of software and services to offer. AWS hasn't to this point really had that range of offerings, but Chime and Connect are a big step toward changing that.
Then of course there is Salesforce, the SaaS company on a $10 billion run rate, which is also an AWS customer with some of its massive cloud business running on AWS equipment. Not only that, despite the fact that Salesforce has its own customer service software, very similar to what AWS has set up today, it didn't stop the two companies from announcing a partnership with AWS using Salesforce Einstein artificial intelligence algorithms to improve its offering (which competes with Salesforce).
The company really sees Connect as a data play as much as anything and indicated customers could use Amazon S3 storage to record and store calls to the call center, Amazon Kinesis to stream contact center metrics data to Amazon S3. Then use Amazon Redshift as a data warehouse solution, and Amazon QuickSight for data visualization and analytics. While they're at it, they could use AWS Directory Service to allow agents to log into Amazon Connect with their corporate credentials. You can see where this is going.
There is also a slew of other partnerships with CRM and other cloud customer service companies besides Salesforce including SugarCRM and Freshdesk to name a couple.
AWS clearly wants to move into software and has cast a wide net when it comes to partners, but just because AWS wants to do it, doesn't necessarily mean it's going to get far with its ambitions. Enterprise software like help desk, CRM, ERP, and content management have well established vendors and it's going to be a huge challenge for AWS to move into this territory — not unlike what its competitors face in chasing it in the cloud infrastructure market.
It's easy to see why AWS wants to expand in this direction, but it's not clear they'll get far trying.
Photo: Thaddeus Quintin on Flickr. Used under CC by SA 2.0 licence.