Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Alpine Access Supports Home Agents and Cloud Communications as Outsourcing Alternative

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 29, 2011 10:25:34 AM

In the past companies had two basic choices in how to provide call center services: internally or by outsourcing the service, typically to a company based where labor costs are low. Recently some companies have supplemented their in-company resources with home-based agents, and a growing number of providers offer outsourcing services in-country, for example, in North America. From a technology perspective as well, companies had two choices: on-premises or the outsourcer using its own technology. Here also a third option has opened up as technology vendors provide their systems “in the cloud,” housed at the vendor’s premises and accessed by users over the Internet. One of these is Alpine Access, which offers an alternative to third-party outsourcing through home-based agents and cloud-based technology.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, [Vendor references]

Echopass Enables Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 19, 2011 10:06:27 AM

In the past year various vendors have begun to offer some or all of the systems required to build and run a contact center through a cloud-based service. I recently came across another one, Echopass, which has a different operating model than I am used to. Its core services are provided by products from two vendors that as yet don’t provide their products in the cloud: Genesys, which supplies call routing, intelligent front-door and intelligent back-office workflow, and Verint for workforce optimization (WFO). Echopass supplements these with other vendors’ products, such as Voxify’s speech platform, speech engines from IBM and Nuance and Microsoft .Net and SQL services. Along with a number of in-house developments this array enables Echopass to offer what is in effect a best-of-breed suite that is integrated to create a unified offering.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Echopass, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Envision Closes Quality Monitoring Loop

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 17, 2011 8:33:56 AM

Envision is an established provider of workforce optimization (WFO) products and last year was rated a “Hot” vendor in the Ventana Research Value Index for Agent Performance Management (APM). Its suite of products includes recording, quality monitoring, workforce management, coaching, e-learning, performance management and speech analytics. The WFO market is now quite competitive, and along with other vendors, Envision recently announced some product improvements. As well as a number of technical improvements – such as support for more Microsoft products, performance and scalability – the main improvements center on quality monitoring and training of contact center agents. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Envision, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

OpenConnect Enables Process Improvement

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 11, 2011 11:29:10 AM

It has taken me a long time to recognize that companies function through a series of processes, mostly executed by people (employees) and supported by information and systems. I was familiar with process maps that show activities happening in sequence and branches caused by certain conditions, but these were mainly paper exercises; my working assumption was that people “just get on with things.” But looking closely reveals that getting on with things happens in processes. To help make this clear, OpenConnect provides a product designed to create process visibility of activities, variances and metrics, with the goal of improving performance.  

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, OpenConnect

Vitria’s Operational Intelligence Enables Proactive Customer Service

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 8, 2011 9:42:32 AM

Vitria is one of a small group of vendors offering a type of analytics called operational intelligence. The term is not widely known, although Ventana Research has defined and tracked this market for many years and researched. We define operational intelligence (OI) as “a set of event-centered information and analytics processes operating across the network that enable people to take effective actions and make better decisions.” For its part Vitria defines OI as “a new type of real-time, dynamic analytics that delivers visibility into business operations.” Marry the two and you begin to see what differentiates OI from other forms of analytics. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Vitria, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Salesforce.com Customers Demonstrate Tactical Success

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 5, 2011 9:19:48 AM

Salesforce.com (SFDC) brought five customers to a recent U.K. analyst event to talk about how they used different SFDC services to solve what turned out to be down-to-earth business issues. SFDC of course would have us believe that moving to the cloud is the only way to purchase IT systems (in its parlance, services) and that it has all the services to solve any issue concerning CRM, sales management, customer service, contact center, social media or software development. Only individual users can judge how successful these services are in their organizations, but the five chosen customers all seemed happy. I want to share with you some observations I gleaned from listening to them. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

KANA’s SEM Resembles CEM

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 3, 2011 9:46:50 AM

I’m no great fan of three-letter acronyms, so I wondered what KANA Software means by positioning itself as the leader in service experience management (SEM), which is a term I had not heard. I have thought of KANA as a CRM vendor, but through a program of internal development and two acquisitions, it has transformed itself into something quite different. The acquisition of Lagan in 2010 added additional CRM functionality, enterprise case management and a track record of providing solutions to public-sector authorities. In April of this year Kana announced the acquisition of Overtone, which added text analytics capabilities, with a particular focus on analyzing content extracted from social media. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Kana, Lagan, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Overtone