Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Interactive Intelligence Advances Contact Center Software Portfolio

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 20, 2014 9:22:43 PM

Building a contact center is growing in complexity as companies struggle to support customers’ ever-higher expectations. Customers now insist on engaging with companies through the channel of their choice, often from a mobile device, and at a time of their choosing. If they interact with a person, they expect that person to have the social and technical skills to resolve their issues quickly and effectively. If they use any form of self-service, they expect the technology to help rather get in the way of speaking with a person. And of course many disgruntled customers don’t hesitate to publish their views on social media.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Salesforce.com Continues Move to be Platform Provider

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 27, 2014 9:51:16 AM

Salesforce.com began with a simple message: On-premises CRM has come to the end of its useful life, and the way forward is cloud-based CRM. I have written several times that the company has won this argument, and my research into contact center in the cloud confirms this: 63 percent of participating organizations said that adopting systems in the cloud is one of the key ways to improve customer engagement. Furthermore, this vendor’s success pressurized  many other companies to move into the cloud, and not just for CRM. Salesforce.com itself expanded from cloud-based CRM to create clouds for sales, marketing and service.. This transition continued in the middle of last year when it surprised the market by announcing it would add a development platform in the cloud to provide tools for creating mobile apps. To further these aims, it recently announced the first release of Salesforce1 Service Cloud, calling it the “Service Platform for the Internet of Customers.” I had several questions about what this really means going into a recent briefing.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM)

Uptivity Launches Gamification Capabilities for Workforces

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 27, 2014 9:26:32 AM

I am not comfortable with the term “gamification” used in the context of business applications. It sounds as if employees are officially allowed to play games while working and thus take their attention away from the task at hand, which in a contact center is serving customers. So I was skeptical when Uptivity recently wanted to brief me about gamification capabilities it recently announced for its suite of workforce optimization products. I was doubtful that gamification will help companies in their quest to optimize performance from their contact center agents.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Customer Engagement in 2014: Agenda for Delivering Best Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 15, 2014 9:54:16 AM

In 2013 we continued to see change in the contact center, customer service and customer experience markets: Consumers’ communication habits continued to evolve, more business units outside the traditional contact center became involved in handling interactions, software vendors continued to come up with new technologies, and cloud computing, mobility, big data, collaboration, social media and analytics all had a big impact on the ways users access and consume software. Many of these trends surfaced in my benchmark research on next-generation workforce optimization and next-generation customer engagement. Overall my research shows that organizations are slowly maturing in terms of the people, processes, information and technology they use to support customer engagement and related customer-facing activities. However, it also shows that many of the old issues have not gone away and that companies still have work to do to meet customer expectations and achieve their business goals.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Verint Doubles Down on Customer Engagement with Acquisition of KANA

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 10, 2014 8:52:45 AM

Verint recently announced a definitive agreement to acquire KANA Software. Its goal, in the words of the press release, is to “transform the way organizations engage with their customers.” Customer engagement and customer experience management have become the topics of many conversations in my research area, so I wanted to understand the substance behind this move.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Force Optimization

Infor Makes Customer Experience Management Simpler for Marketing

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 27, 2013 8:18:49 AM

I recently wrote that Infor aims to reinvent business applications and its new developments make it a vendor to watch. I was therefore intrigued to have a demonstration of its latest marketing products, Infor Epiphany and Infor Orbis Marketing Resource Management. These are grouped on its website under customer relationship management, and I don’t usually spend much time on this category of products since for my research it is too inwardly focused and doesn’t impact the customer experience a great deal. However this briefing showed that for Infor it is not that simple.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Uncategorized, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM

Alteryx Advances the Process of Customer Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 28, 2013 11:44:42 PM

The market for customer analytics continues to grow as organizations realize the current competencies and technology are not aligned to the priority of providing the best possible customer experience through supporting business processes. At the same time those organizations that have invested and continue to improve in this area are taking advantage of why I call a new generation of customer analytics. As I research into technology to support customer analytics, I had a chance to assess the work done by a business analytics software provider called Alteryx. My colleague Tony Cosentino who is the research director of our business analytics efforts recently wrote an analysis of Alteryx, but I wasn’t familiar with the company until my own briefing about its customer analytics focus. For the technical aspects of the product, you can consult Tony’s analysis, but I want to discuss several key points that came up during my briefing.

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Topics: Social Media, alteryx, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Salesforce.com Is Full of Surprises

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 10, 2013 8:58:11 AM

Anyone who follows salesforce.com is used to surprises, but over the last couple of months the company has come up with some that go beyond the usual. It rebranded the recent user conference in London as a customer company event. This follows from changing its messaging to urge every company to become a customer company not a social company. The event itself was everything we have come to expect, using an array of customer case studies to show how salesforce.com’s products help companies innovate and be successful, and a large partner and product showcase to prove how many products and partners salesforce now has. The real surprises were tucked away in meetings arranged for the many analysts present.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, saleforce.com, Self-service, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Information Applications (IA), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

IBM Improving the Science to Apply Business Analytics for Better Customer Engagement

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 3, 2013 2:53:12 PM

I recently wrote how IBM is making customer analytics smarter. Since then IBM has run events in North America and Europe to demonstrate how it is continuing these efforts and expanding into other areas. Outside of the customer space you can read how my colleagues assess its efforts: Mark Smith discusses HR, Robert Kugel sees its impact on business overall, and Tony Cosentino addresses it in IT. Our research My focus remains the customer and I have learned more about what IBM is doing in social media, identity reconciliation, visualization, mobile apps and big data.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, IBM, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, IBM Watson, Text Analytics

SAS Aligns Marketing and Customer Intelligence

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 16, 2013 10:10:50 PM

I recently attended SAS’s European analyst event, where I went to focus on new developments around customer intelligence, an application of big data that SAS includes in its high-performance analytics and visual analytics. SAS offers an amazing number and range of products that is hard to keep track of, so I was glad to get a sense that now it is focusing more on business solutions built with data visualization and discovery, big data, data management, cloud computing, marketing analytics (which appears to be the new branding for customer intelligence) and enterprise decision management. It appears that the European event followed closely the lines of the U.S. event my colleague Mark Smith attended; he offers an analysis of the company’s wider messages.

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Topics: SAS, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization