Zendesk Launches Sunshine CRM Platform

Today at its global user conference Zendesk launched Sunshine, a CRM platform built in the public cloud on Amazon Web Services that allows companies to track various types of customer data and journey data.

“We as businesses are falling behind because we are stuck in this belief that we are the center of the universe and our customers are revolving around us,” Zendesk's CEO, Mikkel Svane, told the audience at the conference, Zendesk Relate, in San Francisco. “If you think about some of the promises of the traditional CRM platforms, they talk about the 360-degree view of the customer, owning the customer record, and the single source of truth. All of these promises are often false—these beliefs may have worked in a different age when customers weren’t changing so quickly as customers are doing today, when customers weren’t as informed as they are today, and weren’t as empowered as they are today. Customers have moved on, and it’s time for our businesses to move on too.”

With this in mind, Sunshine aims to enable businesses to connect and understand all their customer data no matter where that data lives. “As we thought about our journey into becoming much more of a platform company, it was clear that what was important for us and our customers was to offer them something that was open and flexible as opposed to most of what companies are facing in the CRM space right now, which tends to be proprietary and based on last-generation technology,” says Sam Boonin, vice president of product strategy at Zendesk. “That’s why we built Zendesk Sunshine natively on the public cloud.”

The Sunshine platform has two key elements: Custom Objects and Events. According to Boonin, Custom Objects “essentially allows you to extend the core Zendesk data model to be able to model all sorts of relationships inside of Zendesk—[for example if] I want to track somebody who’s a subscriber to my service, or I want to be able to track assets.”

Events captures “all events around users,” according to Boonin. With typical CRM platforms, he says, you’re able to capture information about who the customer is, but with Events, you can capture customers in action—when they are visiting the website, for example, or when they have made a purchase. “We’re not just capturing information about you; we’re also capturing information about your journey, which is something that’s important,” he says.

The company also introduced two additional offerings: Zendesk Sell and Zendesk Explore. Sell, which is the result of its acquisition of Base, is a sales force automation tool that aims to improve productivity, processes, and pipeline visibility for sales teams. It integrates with Sunshine, allowing information to flow seamlessly between support and sales teams on the Sunshine platform.

Explore is a data analytics tool that integrates with all of Zendesk’s products, with an eye on making it easier for businesses to view and analyze data cross all Zendesk support channels. It provides businesses with a single view of the customer across all teams and channels.

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