Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Vertical Solutions Integrates Field Service and CRM

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 25, 2013 10:19:09 AM

I hadn’t come across Vertical Solutions until a recent briefing, from which I found that the company offers an interesting combination of field service management and CRM. Vertical Solutions has offices around the world, and its target market is companies with between 50 and 2,500+ users in the manufacturing, outsource contact center services, healthcare and residential services markets. It began with a focus on field service and has expanded to include CRM, or, as I would call it, customer experience management. If you track my blog you know I have reservations about labeling products as CRM or CXM, simply because both terms have come to mean different things to different people.

Vertical Solutions has two main products: VServiceManagement and VContactCenter. VServiceManagementincludes a suite of modules that supports end-to-end service lifecycle management – service guidance, field dispatch and scheduling, time and expenses, inventory, depot repair, contract management, warranty management – all underpinned and enabled by business process management, knowledge management, reporting and analytics, and self-help portals. Several of these capabilities can be accessed on smart mobile devices, thus allowing mobile service staff to access the information they need, manage their work and see key reports and analysis while they are out of the office.

The core of VContactCenter is a desktop that allows users to handle customer interactions. Organizations can configure it to include capabilities to access customer information, register a new case or request for information, track previous requests or show the status of a case someone is calling in about. After analyzing the type and context of the interaction, the software displays information to help users handle the interaction or provides suggestions on the next best action. It is underpinned by the same capabilities as VServiceManagement: business process management, knowledge management, reporting and analytics, and self-help portals. They have also announced and integrated with CallCopy for providing call recording to help meet the needs to review calls and interactions with customers.

Both products run on the Vertical Solutions’ software platform, which includes several tools for integration with other systems and applications (for example, connecting using CTI to PBX or ACD), a development tool so users can customize and configure applications to meet their particular needs, and tools to support integration with multiple types of communication channels, include social media, so that users can handle interactions that arrive through different channels. The same tools allow integration with other back-office applications, such as ERP and a customer database, ensuring these applications use the same data as is used across the enterprise, and that they don’t become another, duplicate source of customer, product or financial data. The platform supports multiple modes of delivery; it can be made available on-premises, or through a public or private cloud, or via a combination, thus allowing organizations to select an option that fits their corporate architecture and standards.

Vertical Solutions provides an unusual mix of products that are normally seen as two separate applications. By bringing them together, it has created an ideal solution for organizations that run a technical help desk and/or a team of service engineers. It has created specific solutions to meet the needs of healthcare and residential service companies, both of which need to combine multichannel customer engagement, case management and field service management. Many of the applications’ capabilities are just as applicable to companies running more general-purpose multichannel contact centers, so I recommend companies assess how Vertical Solutions could help their efforts to improve not just contact center performance but the overall customer experience.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Vertical Solutions

Richard Snow

Written by Richard Snow

Richard leads Ventana Research’s Customer and Contact Center Performance Management research practice, which is dedicated to helping organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing their customers, throughout their lifetime and across all touch points, including the contact center. He conducts research exploring the people, process, information and technology issues behind customer operations management, contact center management, and customer experience management. He also works with senior business operations and IT managers to ensure that companies get the best performance from today’s highly complex application products. Richard has worked in management and consulting leadership positions in the technology industry including with Price Waterhouse, Sema Group and Valors. In his work, he has been involved with all aspects of delivering highly complex IT solutions to a variety of clients in the telecommunications, financial services and public sectors. Richard has specialized in delivering customer care and billing solutions for telecommunications operators, and several multi-channel contact centers for organizations in both the public and private sectors.