Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

New Generation of Recurring Revenue and Billing Inspired from Cloud Computing

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 22, 2014 10:59:07 PM

Much has been written about how cloud computing changes the way businesses source their software and services. For software companies, instead of being installed inside the company, software like business applications run on a computer installed at an external site. If the external site is not shared with any other business, this is called a private cloud; if it is owned and operated by a third party and supports more than one business, it is called a public cloud. In the case of public clouds, users access the applications via the Internet, and increasing they can do this while out of the office, using laptops or mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The main advantages of this model are that companies don’t need to invest in hardware or support staff to install and maintain hardware or software like these applications, the vendor handles system updates and users can work anywhere (including on the move) by logging in through a Web browser or an application designed specifically for mobile technology. Our research confirms that the overall importance is overall important in more than half (57%) of organizations.

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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, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

8x8 Integrates Communications and Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 18, 2014 9:55:32 AM

8x8, Inc. was founded in the 1980’s to provide semiconductor products to the emerging personal computer market; in 2002 it was relaunched to focus on Voice over IP (VoIP) services. By 2008 it had become the second-largest independent VoIP provider in the U.S., and its product, Virtual Office, was widely used by businesses for telecommunications. In 2011 8x8 acquired Contactual and entered the cloud-based call center market. Today the company brands itself as a “communication and collaboration solutions provider in the cloud” and has two main product lines, Virtual Office and Virtual Contact Center.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications

Contact Center Expo 2014 Highlights Cloud Computing and Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on May 15, 2014 9:36:11 AM

I recently presented at the 2014 ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference and have a few insights I want to share. I was impressed by the two main keynote speeches. In the first Bill Rancic, an entrepreneur, author and TV personality, talked about “How to Succeed in Business and Life.” Bill is not in the contact center industry, but he reminded the audience that individuals and companies that succeed in life and business grab opportunities when they come along. He went on to say that consumers (which includes you and me) are changing the ways we conduct our lives and the ways we engage with each other and with businesses. As we all know, use of mobile devices has rocketed, as has use of the Internet and social media, and as a result people are less inclined to talk to each other directly, choosing instead to text, post comments to social media or use the increasing number of mobile applications available; when we do talk, it is now increasingly likely to include video. This change creates opportunity for companies; those that meet expectations about communicating in these ways can grab the attention of customers and generate more business. I couldn’t agree more, having written about these changes myself. Consumers have already made these changes, and companies need to act now to grab the opportunities.

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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, 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

Confirmit Advances Social Analytics for Voice of Customer

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 26, 2014 11:08:14 AM

The last time I reviewed Confirmit it had just acquired CustomerSat and was re-engineering its products to support a broader approach to voice of the customer (VOC), which Ventana Research defines as a complete view of customer interactions, customer sentiments after interactions and the outcomes of those interactions. During my latest briefing, I found out that the new architecture will be available in version 18 of the product, which Confirmit recently announced as generally available. Confirmit also recently announced the acquisition of Integrasco for social and text analytics and says it intends to have those products at least partly integrated into the core product during the second quarter of this year.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications

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

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

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

Barriers to Omnichannel Customer Communications

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 11, 2013 10:52:11 AM

In never ceases to amaze me, the number of new terms and acronyms the contact center market generates. Just as everyone is getting used to the fact that customers interact with companies through multiple communication channels (multichannel for short), someone invents the term omnichannel and we all have to get our heads around what this means. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support on average nearly five communication channels, and although the traditional channels are still the most common, as the chart shows, there are signs that new channels such as chat (used by 37%), social media (29%), text messaging (22%) and video (5%) are on the increase.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Echopass, Enghouse interactive, Five9, LiveOps, Mobile apps, NewVoicemedia, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Interactive Intelligence, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Unified Communications

SoCoCare Enables Social Customer Service

Posted by Richard Snow on May 23, 2013 2:44:26 AM

Much is being written about the impact of social media on customer service, although my research into the agent desktop shows it hasn’t reached the fever pitch that many commentators would have us believe. It is true that the number of consumers using social media and as a consequence the volume of posts are astronomical. But I wonder how many of these posts actually have to do with customer service and how organizations filter out the relevant ones to help them decide on customer service policies and the appropriate action to take.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Unified Communications, Social Media analytics, SoCoCare