(Bloomberg) -- Call center software provider Genesys Cloud Services Inc. raised $580 million at a $21 billion valuation, the company announced, a sign companies are increasingly looking to move customer service operations to the cloud.  

Salesforce Ventures led the round, which included participation from ServiceNow Ventures and Zoom Video Communications Inc., along with BlackRock Inc. and D1 Capital Partners, Genesys said Monday in a statement. 

“It was a great time to include some really strategic partners in the evolution of the company,” Chief Executive Officer Tony Bates said. “It’s a very strong affirmation of the broader ecosystem.”

Genesys, which is owned by private equity firms Permira and Hellman & Friedman, was said to be considering an initial public offering, Bloomberg reported in October. Bates declined to comment on any future IPO plans.

The call center market has emerged as a fierce battleground in the broader enterprise technology industry. While organizations were already planning to take the traditional on-premises call center systems to the cloud prior to the pandemic, the move to remote work forced many companies to make the pivot more quickly.

Now, companies are trying to go a step further and link call center software with programs like customer relations systems or marketing programs to gain deeper insight into individual users or purchasers and help service agents better address client needs. The burgeoning market may be worth as much as $187 billion by the end 2022, according to Alan Webber, a program vice president at research firm IDC.

“One of the shifts that is really helping the cloud is tying employee experience to customer experience and giving the employees the tools they need to actually support the customer,” Webber said. “That is so much easier in a cloud environment.”

While it’s still very early in that journey for most companies, software vendors are rushing to gain a slice. At a recent investor day, for example, Salesforce.com Inc. listed an “all-digital contact center” product slated for release in late 2022. Meanwhile, ServiceNow Inc. is trying to infuse its work flow management software into customer support operations.

And after Zoom‘s failed $14.7 billion all-stock bid for Genesys rival Five9 Inc., it’s now rushing to figure out how to support an expansion into the market, one predicated on the belief that consumers will increasingly want to engage with companies over video.

This funding and the new strategic partners are an indication of a larger opportunity, Bates said. “This is a huge vision, but we need to work with the best of the best,” he said.

Bookings for Genesys’ cloud software more than doubled in the first half of fiscal year 2022 compared to the prior year, the Daly City, California-based company said. It recently completed acquisitions of Pointillist and Exceed.ai.

(Updates with company location in final paragraph.)

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.