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ManyWho was launched in May 2013 by two former Salesforce.com executives, Dave Norris and Steve Wood. They branded it the Cloud Workflow Company, It offers an innovative approach that allows organizations to create workflows, automatically convert them into business applications and run the apps on multiple types of devices. The key to its success lies in the second and third steps, which differentiate ManyWho from most other business process optimization vendors; the process maps that users produce are not static representations of how business processes should work but instead become apps that monitor what is happening and enable the next step in completing the process.

The ManyWho platform has drag-and-drop capabilities that enable users to map business processes as flow diagrams. These can include forms (or screens) in which to display or enter data, APIs to support pulling or pushing data to or from applications, and data-dependent logic – rules that alter the flow depending on what data is accessed or entered. The layout of the forms (or screens) is flexible and need only be developed once as the system can change the visualization to match the device it is being displayed on. ManyWho’s tools include collaborative capabilities so groups of people can work on developing maps before they are finalized and turned into a working app. This final step is achieved by clicking on a button; without IT intervention, the system produces a working app from the flow charts. The resulting app runs on the top of existing business apps so it doesn’t have to have its own data store; it pulls and pushes data to those underlying applications.

In essence ManyWho manages cross-functional processes that use data already in existing apps or data entered into a form to determine the next step. The next step can be virtually anything, such as ask the user to enter more data, gather more data from other sources, create an action or answer a customer query; it depends on the type of process being automated. Likewise the user interface changes automatically depending on the device on which it is running, so, for example, the same form can appear in appropriate form on a laptop, a mobile phone or a tablet. The system captures data about every step taken during the processes. This can be aggregated and input to third-party analytic tools to determine the efficiency, effectiveness and business outcomes of the processes; in this way organizations can optimize processes as they move forward.

ManyWho has examples of how customers use its product to automate a range of processes. My interest is in using it to improve customer engagement. Two of my research studies, vr_db_top_five_goals_for_customer_service_agentsnext-generation customer engagement and the agent desktop, have uncovered a number of challenges companies face when trying to improve the customer experience. These are among the most important:

  • Employees in multiple business units handle customer interactions.
  • To resolve interactions employees have to access and enter data in multiple systems.
  • The typical agent desktop includes multiple systems that manage communication channels (such as telephony), business applications, dashboards and notice boards. This complexity contributes to increasing average call-handling time and reducing agent satisfaction which are two of the top five goals for unifying the agent desktop according to the research.
  • Interaction handling process have become more complex because customers use self-service to resolve simple issues. This complexity impacts customer and agent satisfaction as agents have to concentrate more on the process and systems rather than the customer.
  • A key goal for improving the outcomes of interactions is to improve the use of best practices, which requires identifying how the most effective agents handle interactions and using technology to get other agents to follow the same process.

It appears that ManyWho could be used to address all of these issues. For example, it could be used to generate a smart agent desktop app that guides anyone handling interactions through the agreed process, displaying only the data and information the person needs at different steps in the process and changing the process depending on the customer. It also seems possible that a variation of such an app could be made available to customers, either as a smarter web portal or a mobile app, to guide them through resolving their own issues.

Other smart agent desktop applications and self-service systems can be used to achieve the same objectives. However the flexibility and ease of use of ManyWho can help organizations automate more processes, make them specific to defined types of interactions, customers or users, and for back and front-office processes.  ManyWho provides more than its marketing description of “workflow in the cloud”; it offers a new way of developing applications that automate and simplify business processes. I recommend that organizations evaluate how it could help them improve the ways they conduct their businesses.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

When Salesforce.com began in 1999 its stated intent was “to reinvent CRM in the cloud.” In 15 years, the company has achieved much more than that, having a major impact on the way IT systems are delivered: Large numbers of vendors have followed its example to provide cloud-based systems. It added a platform as a cloud – a software development environment in the cloud – to its portfolio, introduced an apps store where many vendors sell their products and services, moved into social and mobile computing, and expanded CRM in the cloud to marketing, sales and service clouds. And it continues to innovate in the fast-changing business software market.

I recently wrote about its move from being an application provider to being a platform provider. The Salesforce1 Platform enables organizations, the company claims, to connect all apps, devices and data, not just its own. The platform provides tools and APIs for integrating applications and running them on multiple devices, including mobile devices. Taking this a step further, Salesforce recently announced the Salesforce Customer Success Platform. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform it brings together the company’s sales, service, marketing, community and analytics applications to help organizations to engage with customers in what it terms “a whole new way.” As well as many existing core capabilities and enhancements to the Service, Sales and Marketing Clouds, this includes three new features: analytics, Salesforce1 Lightning and support for Microsoft Office.

Salesforce has long offered analytics, but part of the Customer Platform is Wave, its next-generation analytics cloud, which provides four key features:

  • The platform can integrate any data from any source.
  • Once it is set up, any user can build queries on any device without support from IT.
  • The results can be visualized on any device, in formats applicable to individual users.
  • The outcomes can be shared across an organization so employees can collaborate on any issues uncovered.

It is designed to be highly scalable to access and process very large volumes of any type of data, giving users a more complete view of all customer-related activities. Though at this time its pricing and availability can only be afforded by the largest of companies with a very expensive price to license the platform and then the tools on top of it. A more detailed analysis was done by our head of research that outlines the opportunity for advancing the need for not just better dashboards but analytics across Salesforce.

The second feature, Salesforce1 Lightning, is a set of tools that allows any type of user to build apps. It has drag-and-drop capabilities and uses components from the app store to make it simpler to build apps that can run on any device including smartphones and tablets. The process builder enables users to design process flows and convert them to apps that are displayed using the new Lightning user interface. The platform supports point-and-click integration with internal Salesforce data stores so that up-to-the minute data can be entered into any app, thus ensuring that decisions and actions are based on the most timely information.

In recognition of the installed base of business computing, vr_NGCE_Research_06_changes_to_improve_engagementMicrosoft Office is now available inside Sales Cloud, Salesforce1 runs on Windows 8.1 mobile devices, and data in SharePoint2010, 2013 and Online can be accessed and use to populate business processes supported by the customer platform. Organizations using Microsoft Office will find it easier to combine these with Salesforce.com applications.

During a recent webinar on The Three Waves of Customer Engagement I spoke about the changes organizations view as being important to improve customer engagement; chief among them are to deploy collaboration systems to improve internal communications, to redesign the customer portal and to deploy internal and customer-facing mobile apps. In terms of systems, my benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement which finds priority for improving customer engagement which are collaboration (19%), customer portal (12%) and mobile applications for internal and customer use. In addition the research shows that the systems most organizations plan to deploy to support these aims are collaboration (which 27% plan to deploy in the next 24 months), mobile customer service apps (25%), multichannel analytics (24%), routing to the most qualified agent (23%) and a smart agent desktop (23%). The Customer Success Platform supports all of these capabilities as it includes a smart agent console as part of Service Cloud. Salesforce.com is one of the most innovative vendors in the customer experience market. If your organization is seeking to increase its success in customer engagement, I recommend evaluating Salesforce’s offerings and those of its partners; between them they support most of the capabilities to look for.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

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