Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

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, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Force Optimization

Verint Brings New Business Solutions to Optimize Customer Relationships

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 15, 2013 10:34:04 AM

Earlier this year I wrote that Verint Systems, which makes workforce optimization and analytics products for customer engagement, has changed its focus from individual product capabilities to packaged business solutions that include specifically configured versions of its products. The first of those was real-time personalized guidance; it uses several of the company’s Impact 360 workforce optimization products to guide agents in real time as they handle customer interactions. I wrote at the time I was expecting more of these from Verint, and now it has brought out three additional solutions, which I learned about during a recent briefing.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Verint, Workforce Force Optimization

Enkata Optimizes Claims Processing

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 20, 2013 9:44:50 AM

Enkata used to focus its products on improving agent performance in the contact center. It has gradually expanded that focus to include improving the performance of workers in the back office, an effort that has culminated in a suite of products that help companies improve processing of healthcare claims.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Enkata, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Call Center, Contact Center, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, 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, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Interactive Intelligence Reveals Ambitious Plans for Customer Service

Posted by Richard Snow on May 20, 2013 10:10:22 AM

At its recent user conference, Interactions 2013, Interactive Intelligence (Nasdqaq: ININ) showcased its extensive product portfolio and its ambitious plans to improve the products both technically and functionally. I have written more than once about the complexities of building a contact center, which is getting even more complex as companies begin to support more channels of interaction as inbound ones are distributed around the organization including sales (59%), marketing (46%) and CRM team (41%) and distribute to many different contact center sites according to our customer relationship maturity research. To keep up with developments, I divide contact center systems and applications into five groups:

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

NICE Systems Leading Change at Interactions 2013

Posted by Richard Snow on May 1, 2013 11:34:13 AM

I recently attended NICE Systems’ annual user conference, this year called Interactions 2013. In discussions of its different products and latest releases and testimonials from selected clients, I was surprised by how the messages were packaged. NICE has a long history of acquiring companies, and it has let many of them continue to operate as autonomous lines of business. Often there was minimal integration with other NICE products, a variety of user interfaces, no common software administration tools. In my opinion this policy prevented it from taking advantage of having a suite of products focused on handling customer interactions. At the conference, Zeevi Bregman, CEO and President, positioned NICE as supporting three lines of business: interaction management, fraud and compliance, and security. He explained at length how the three are inextricably linked, tying fraud and compliance and security to interaction management and customer service. Fraud and compliance is linked to customer service because market segments such as banking have to ensure that the customer service they provide conforms to legislative requirements, and security is an increasing part of knowing customers and ensuring the safety of their information. Other executives also stressed these themes.

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

Companies Need Smarter Agent Performance Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 17, 2013 9:05:04 AM

I read a lot these days about how companies should pay more attention to contact center agent or customer service representative satisfaction, as it can have an impact on customer experience and meeting key customer-related metrics. This is a far cry from the “good old days” when agents were often locked away in a dark, dismal place and told to answer as many calls as possible. My research into the agent desktop shows that many companies have indeed latched onto these new priorities, and the two top first ranked goals (19%) with respect to agents is to increase agent retention and thus keep the skills they have to handle customer interactions, and to improve agent satisfaction, which in itself helps ensure more agents stick with their roles longer.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Workforce Force Optimization

IBM Launches Customer Experience Lab

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 18, 2013 8:51:28 AM

IBM recently announced its new Customer Experience Lab. During a briefing I learned that the lab is a response to what IBM discovered by interviewing more than a thousand CMOs, who are concerned about the explosion of data companies collect about their customers. This explosion is being driven by changing customer communication preferences and the way customers now interact with organizations, which I recently highlighted in my post about the 2.0 world. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows a similar trend; although traditional channels such as telephone calls and email are still the most popular, channels such as social media, instant messaging, text messaging and video are fast catching up.

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

Welcome to the 2.0 World of Technology Marketing

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 8, 2013 10:01:53 AM

Like me, you have no doubt spotted the propensity for software vendors and consultants to call anything new “2.0”; for example, we have ERP 2.0 and CRM 2.0. Just recently during a joint Aspect and Microsoft presentation, the companies went one step further and introduced the concept of the 2.0 customer meeting the 2.0 company. My first reaction was one of horror, but as I thought about it, it became clear that customers have changed and so companies need to change to keep up – welcome to the 2.0 world.

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

Three Unified Communications Trends in Evidence at UCExpo 2013

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 7, 2013 8:03:13 AM

I recently attended the Unified Communication Expo exhibition and conference in London to find out how much communications has been changing. As I entered the exhibition center the first thing I noticed was the huge variety of vendors on show, everything from major brands in the telecommunications industry (Aspect, AT&T, BT, Cisco, Mitel, Nokia and Siemens Enterprise Communications) to some major brands perhaps not so associated with telecommunications (Dell, Citrix, Google and Microsoft), to several niche players with products such as mobility management, IP-based voice and data networks, audio/web/streaming/video conferencing, email/chat/text messaging and unified communications (presence and collaboration), to suppliers of audio equipment (Dell, Jabra, Logitech, Plantronics and Sennheiser). For me the most disappointing thing was the lack of vendors focused on the contact center, with only Aspect, Enghouse Interactive, Microsoft (in partnership with Aspect), Noble Systems and ShoreTel in evidence.

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