Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

All Analyst Perspectives

Investment in LMS is an Investment in Organizational Success

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Sep 30, 2022 3:15:00 AM

The learning management system technology market has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Learning management systems, now commonly referred to as learning experience platforms, are an integral resource for any organization concerned about productivity, organizational agility and operational excellence. These technologies enable organizations to demonstrate an investment in people, as the LMS not only facilitates regulatory and legal compliance and other forms of cost and risk avoidance but also improves internal mobility, career growth and the employee experience, leading to improved employee productivity, engagement and retention.

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Astronomer’s Cloud-Based Data Orchestration Brings Efficiency

Posted by Matt Aslett on Sep 29, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I have recently written about the organizational and cultural aspects of being data-driven, and the potential advantages data-driven organizations stand to gain by responding faster to worker and customer demands for more innovative, data-rich applications and personalized experiences. I have also explained that data-driven processes require more agile, continuous data processing, with an increased focus on extract, load and transform processes — as well as change data capture and automation and orchestration — as part of a DataOps approach to data management. Safeguarding the health of data pipelines is fundamental to ensuring data is integrated and processed in the sequence required to generate business intelligence. The significance of these data pipelines to delivering data-driven business strategies has led to the emergence of vendors, such as Astronomer, focused on enabling organizations to orchestrate data engineering pipelines and workflows.

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Workday Rising Shows Advances for the Office of Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 28, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Workday held its first in-person Rising user group meeting since 2019 in Orlando. Three topics are worth commenting on: Workday’s Extend offering, its industry accelerators and its progress with the Workday Adaptive Planning offering.

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Cloud Computing Realities Part 2: Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Architectures

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 27, 2022 3:00:00 AM

In my first perspective on cloud computing realities, I covered some of the cost considerations associated with cloud computing and how the cloud costing model may be different enough from on-premises models that some organizations are taken by surprise. In this perspective. I’d like to focus on realities of hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

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Enhancing Data Catalog with AI

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations are collecting data from multiple data sources and a variety of systems to enrich their analytics and business intelligence (BI). But collecting data is only half of the equation. As the data grows, it becomes challenging to find the right data at the right time. Many organizations can’t take full advantage of their data lakes because they don’t know what data actually exists. Also, there are more regulations and compliance requirements than ever before. It is critical for organizations to understand the kind of data they have, who is handling it, what it is being used for and how it needs to be protected. They also have to avoid putting too many layers and wrappers around the data as it can make the data difficult to access. These challenges create a need for more automated ways to discover, track, research and govern the data.

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Kinaxis Extends Platform into Supply Chain Execution with MPO Acquisition

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 21, 2022 3:30:00 AM

Kinaxis recently announced it has acquired a Netherlands-based company, MPO, a cloud-based software offering that orchestrates multiparty supply chain execution. The combination is designed to enable Kinaxis to extend its concurrent planning platform to handle core elements of supply chain execution. Kinaxis acquired all the shares of MPO for approximately US$45 million, with some of the final consideration dependent on performance. MPO will continue to operate as a standalone business, but will be increasingly integrated into Kinaxis’ operations worldwide.

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The Data Catalog is Indispensable for Good Data Governance

Posted by Matt Aslett on Sep 21, 2022 3:15:00 AM

The data catalog has become an integral component of organizational data strategies over the past decade, serving as a conduit for good data governance and facilitating self-service analytics initiatives. The data catalog has become so important, in fact, that it is easy to forget that just 10 years ago it did not exist in terms of a standalone product category. Metadata-based data management functionality has had a role to play within products for data governance and business intelligence for much longer than that, of course, but the emergence of the data catalog as a product category provided a platform for metadata-based data inventory and discovery that could span an entire organization, serving multiple departments, use cases and initiatives.

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Initiatives using AI Improve Marketing and Sales Effectiveness

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 20, 2022 3:30:00 AM

I have written about vendor efforts to use artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics in their applications targeted at sales and revenue teams to improve focus and prioritize activities, both for pipeline management as well as individual opportunities. Since then, vendors have continued to innovate, and there have been more releases showcasing efforts to aid sales and revenue. And with this continuing innovation, we believe that by 2026, two-thirds of revenue leaders will begin considering a new generation of revenue analytics and data-driven applications designed to improve performance and productivity.

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Agent Performance Management Changes With the Times

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 20, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Today’s contact centers need to revisit core assumptions around measuring agent performance. Changes in business conditions influencing agent engagement raise new questions about whether traditional performance models are sufficient to address the more complex customer needs that have taken center stage in recent years.

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Augmented Intelligence Reduces Dependency on AI/ML Skill Sets

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Business intelligence has evolved. It now includes a spectrum of analytics, one of the most promising of which has been described as augmented intelligence. Some organizations have used the term to describe the practical reality that artificial intelligence with machine learning is not replacing human intelligence, but augmenting it. The term also represents the application of AI/ML to make business intelligence and analytics tools more powerful and easier to use. It’s this latter usage that I prefer and I’d like to explore in this perspective.

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External Data Supports a More Predictive Finance Department

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations do not live in a vacuum and things happening outside their walls have a direct impact on how they perform. So, it is essential for them to incorporate external data in their forecasting, planning and budgeting, especially for predictive analytics and machine learning (ML) to support artificial intelligence (AI). I use the term external data to include any information about the world outside an organization (including economic and market statistics), competitors (such as pricing and locations), and customers. Until recently, it was adequate for organizations to regard external data is a “nice to have” item, but that is no longer the case. External data is necessary for many functions, including useful and accurate competitive intelligence used by sales and marketing groups. It is also essential for the effective applications of AI using ML for business-focused planning and budgeting and predictive analytics.

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Select the Right Technology to Master Global Payroll Complexities

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Sep 14, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Payroll Management is one of the six major focus areas in the Human Capital Management research and advisory practice at Ventana Research. “Continuous payroll” is a hot topic in this area, with much discussion about the always-on nature of this enhanced payroll function and its related demands for supporting technologies. Advancements in payroll technologies and practices have paved the way for off-cycle payroll transactions and pay modes – like earned wage access, for example – to become the new normal. Injecting continuous payroll practices into global organizations operating in multiple countries, each with its own pay-related laws, regulations and customs, requires complex functionality that many payroll systems simply do not have. Managing global payroll requires expertly maximizing human knowledge and intelligent systems to meet both international and regional requirements.

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Why Outbound Is a Smart Channel for Customer Communication

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 13, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Outbound communication is used in a number of different contexts. For potential customers, traditional telemarketing still exists, though it is limited these days due to its minimal effectiveness. Instead, many customer-experience planners have substituted digital outbound over voice for lead generation and nurturing campaigns. Customers find text messages in the channel of their choice to be much less intrusive, and they are considerably less expensive than having contact center agents reach out.

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Confluent Addresses Data Governance for Data in Motion

Posted by Matt Aslett on Sep 9, 2022 3:15:00 AM

I recently wrote about the need for organizations to take a holistic approach to the management and governance of data in motion alongside data at rest. As adoption of streaming data and event processing increases, it is no longer sufficient for streaming data projects to exist in isolation. Data needs to be managed and governed regardless of whether it is processed in batch or as a stream of events. This requirement has resulted in established data management vendors increasing their focus on streaming data and event processing through product development as well as acquisitions. It has also resulted in streaming and event specialists, such as Confluent, adding centralized management and governance capabilities to their existing offerings as they seek to establish or reinforce the strategic importance of streaming data as part of a modern approach to data management.

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Straight-Through Processing Reduces Friction and Builds Trust

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 9, 2022 3:00:00 AM

General Omar Bradley is credited with saying, “Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics.” This is a battlefield commander’s perspective on the often-overlooked importance of mastering the nitty-gritty in achieving military objectives. I think the same is true when it comes to data in business computing because, in my experience, it is often an overlooked or secondary consideration.

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B2B Digital Commerce: The Good, Bad and Needed

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 8, 2022 9:15:00 AM

You would be forgiven for thinking that no one buys anything in person any more given the pages of digital ink spilled over the rise of digital commerce led by the rise and rise of Amazon. However, one quick errand run on a Saturday morning would easily give lie to this, as parking lots are full, not just at grocery stores but for everyday retail as well as big box stores. Likewise, in business-to-business (B2B) commerce, despite the advertised demise, person-to-person sales are still a major part of B2B purchases.

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The Power of People Analytics: Moving Beyond the Dashboard

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Sep 8, 2022 3:00:00 AM

People analytics enable organizations to gain data-driven insights that optimize the impact and value of the workforce. For decades, human capital management (HCM) leaders have been sold tools marketed as analytics that were no more than dashboards filled with nice visualizations of historic data with no context as to what each individual data point meant to their strategic objectives and initiatives. And yet, our recent Analytics and Data Benchmark Research shows that 83% of organizations indicate that dashboards are very important or are currently in use for analytics. A dashboard, while important for a snapshot view of key metrics, is not an analytics tool. Today, advances in technology allow systems to provide actionable insights into potential people risks or opportunities before it’s too late.

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Zoho One Reaching Needs of Larger Organizations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 7, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Zoho presented analysts with a deep look at its strategy and roadmap at its July analyst conference, describing how it intends to meld its many business applications together through integration at the level of the platform. The company, which is privately owned and funded, has generally sought to build its own tools rather than buy or partner. This approach has allowed the firm to create a suite of tightly linked tools that share a common interface.

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Cloud Computing Realities – Part 1

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The migration to cloud is obvious. Organizations are adopting cloud computing for all variety of applications and use cases. Managed cloud services, commonly referred to as software as a service (SaaS), offer many benefits to organizations including significantly reduced labor costs for system administration and maintenance, as many of these costs are shifted to the software vendor. SaaS also provides organizations with faster time to value as they adopt new technologies by eliminating the need to acquire and configure hardware, and it also eliminates the need to install software. In fact, we assert that by 2025, nine in 10 organizations will be using multiple cloud applications in order to minimize the costs of administration and maintenance. Yet, there are some challenges associated with cloud computing I’d like to address in a series of Analyst Perspectives:

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Fluence Technologies Automates for Fast Close-to-Report

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 31, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The lockdowns of 2020 forced accounting departments to adapt to managing their close-to-report cycle without face-to-face contact, prompting many to adopt digital technologies to facilitate the process. It gave further impetus to the digital transformation of the department, which aims to eliminate unnecessary manual tasks such as consolidations and reconciliations using software automation. And, rather than looking at the close as a set of discrete tasks, Controllers and CFOs increasingly are managing the process as a connected stream of responsibilities from pre-close activities to creating and publishing financial, management and external reports. This approach is consistent with what Ventana Research calls continuous accounting.

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Rockset Offers Cloud-Based Real-Time Analytics

Posted by Matt Aslett on Aug 30, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I have written recently about increased demand for data-intensive applications infused with the results of analytic processes, such as personalization and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven recommendations. Almost one-quarter of respondents (22%) to Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research are currently analyzing data in real time, with an additional 10% analyzing data every hour. There are multiple data platform approaches to delivering real-time data processing and analytics and more agile data pipelines. These include the use of streaming and event data processing, as well as the use of hybrid data processing to enable analytics to be performed on application data within operational data platforms. Another approach, favored by a group of emerging vendors such as Rockset, is to develop these data-intensive applications on a specialist, real-time analytic data platform specifically designed to meet the performance and agility requirements of data-intensive applications.

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Palantir Operationalizes Analytics and Data for Actions and Decisions

Posted by David Menninger on Aug 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations are managing and analyzing large datasets every day, identifying patterns and generating insights to inform decisions. This can provide numerous benefits for an organization, such as improved operational efficiency, cost optimization, fraud detection, competitive advantage and enhanced business processes. By bringing the right, actionable data to the right user, organizations can potentially speed up processes and make more effective operational decisions.

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To Attract the Best Talent, Make Accounting Cool

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Especially in the United States, baby boomer retirements and fewer graduates with accounting degrees is posing a growing challenge to finance department executives in attracting and retaining the best accounting talent. The solution, which may not seem obvious, is to make accounting cool, again.

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iCIMS Helps Organizations Recruit and Engage Talent

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Aug 18, 2022 3:30:00 AM

It has been nearly two and a half years since the world was thrust into one of the most dramatic eras of workforce transformation in the modern era. Organizations have been forced to reevaluate everything about the workforce, from the physical spaces in which work is done, to compensation, to non-traditional benefits and work/life enhancement offerings. Even so, many continue to struggle to attract and retain the right talent to support operational needs. As leaders continue to redesign how they look at their talent pools, they have come to rely on their technology stacks more than ever to inform and enable new processes and experiences for candidates and employees, and recruiters and managers, throughout the entire talent life cycle. We at Ventana Research assert that by 2025, two-thirds of organizations will expect full talent life cycle support from their talent platform to bolster and unify the experience for candidates, recruiters, employees and managers.

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Embed Analytics for Greater Reach and More Responsiveness

Posted by David Menninger on Aug 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

When I looked at the state of analytics recently, it was clear that analytics are not as widely deployed within organizations as they should be. Only 23% of participants in our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research reported that more than one-half of their organization’s workforce are using analytics. There are many elements to becoming a data-driven organization, as my colleague Matt Aslett points out, but analytics are a necessary component. Our research shows that organizations recognize the importance of embedded analytics, ranking it the second most important digital technology in their analytics and data efforts behind big data and ahead of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).

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Sourcing and Purchasing Need Digital Transformation

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 17, 2022 3:00:00 AM

“Digital finance transformation” became an even more important topic over the past two years as finance and accounting departments have had to cope with an unrelenting set of new challenges that have had a profound impact on business operations, financial markets and regulatory environments. Digital technologies enable organizations to cope with change and improve performance by increasing efficiency, reducing risk, achieving greater visibility into opportunities, shortening process cycles and completing core processes. Digitizing department operations helps attract and retain the best talent because professionals spend less time on mechanical, repetitive tasks. Unfortunately, our research suggests that transformation is more talked about than done. I assert that by 2025, only one-third of finance departments will have achieved a level of technology competence to be described as digitally transformed while the CFOs of those that do will have greater influence in their organization's management.

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Streaming Data Success Relies on Managing Data in Motion and At Rest

Posted by Matt Aslett on Aug 16, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently noted that as demand for real-time interactive applications becomes more pervasive, the use of streaming data is becoming more mainstream. Streaming data and event processing has been part of the data landscape for many decades, but for much of that time, data streaming was a niche activity. Although adopted in industry segments with high-performance, real-time data processing and analytics requirements such as financial services and telecommunications, data streaming was far less common elsewhere. That has changed significantly in recent years, fueled by the proliferation of open-source and cloud-based streaming data and event technologies that have lowered the cost and technical barriers to developing new applications able to take advantage of data in-motion. This is a trend we expect to continue, to the extent that streaming data and event processing becomes an integral part of mainstream data-processing architectures.

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Qlik Advances Self-Service Analytics and Business Intelligence

Posted by David Menninger on Aug 11, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The analytics and business intelligence market landscape continues to grow as more organizations seek robust tools and capabilities to visualize and better understand data. BI systems are used to perform data analysis, identify market trends and opportunities and streamline business processes. They can collect and combine data from internal and external systems to present a holistic view.

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A Talent Acquisition Platform Leads to Competitive Advantage

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Aug 11, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The applicant tracking system, for all its shortcomings, revolutionized the way people found and applied for jobs when it first hit the market in the mid-1990s. Electronic applications quickly became the norm, resume or application review became more accessible for hiring teams and compliance was much more trackable and achievable, thanks to streamlined application processes. Today, tracking and compliance aren’t enough to power the complex world of recruitment. The Great Resignation has made it abundantly clear that candidates expect the same type of consumerized experience in the hiring process as they do when buying anything at all. To win or keep the best talent, organizations must make the hiring process personalized and enjoyable, and a traditional ATS simply cannot support that mandate.

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Anaplan at a Crossroads

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Anaplan offers a cloud-based business planning platform that incorporates a modeling and calculation engine. The tool makes it relatively easy to add or expand the scope of plans that can be connected and monitored on a single platform. This Integrated Business Planning (IBP) approach enables organizations to use the software for financial planning or budgeting, sales, supply chain, workforce, marketing and IT planning. These are the types of plans in which companies often need to create models that incorporate their specific requirements, business systems and strategy. I expect that by 2025, one-fourth of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) groups will have implemented IBP.

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Ascend.io Automates Data Engineering

Posted by Matt Aslett on Aug 9, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I have recently written about the importance of healthy data pipelines to ensure data is integrated and processed in the sequence required to generate business intelligence, and the need for data pipelines to be agile in the context of real-time data processing requirements. Data engineers, who are responsible for monitoring, managing and maintaining data pipelines, are under increasing pressure to deliver high-performance and flexible data integration and processing pipelines that are capable of handling the rising volume and frequency of data. Automation is a potential solution to this challenge, and several vendors, such as Ascend.io, have emerged in recent years to reduce the manual effort involved in data engineering.

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Preparing Agents for Success in Automated, Distributed Contact Centers

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 4, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The contact center industry is reexamining how organizations engage with contact center agents. One thing that we learned from the forced movement to work-from-home was that organizations have to provide agents with appropriate tools to collaborate and communicate with peers and supervisors as well as workers in the back office who participate in all sorts of customer-facing or customer-adjacent processes. It is also important to provide supervisors with visibility into agent activity. That means extending existing coaching and evaluation methods. Ventana Research believes that by 2025, nearly every organization will have dedicated systems or processes that help supervisors manage remotely.

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Neo4j Expands Data Science Focus with New Managed Service

Posted by Matt Aslett on Aug 3, 2022 3:30:00 AM

I recently explained how emerging application requirements were expanding the range of use cases for NoSQL databases, increasing adoption based on the availability of enhanced functionality. These intelligent applications require a close relationship between operational data platforms and the output of data science and machine learning projects. This ensures that machine learning and predictive analytics initiatives are not only developed and trained based on the relationships inherent in operational applications, but also that the resulting intelligence is incorporated into the operational application in real time to support capabilities such as personalization, recommendations and fraud detection. Graph databases already support operational use cases such as social media, fraud detection, customer experience management and recommendation engines. Graph database vendors such as Neo4j are increasingly focused on the role that graph databases can play in supporting data scientists, enabling them to develop, train and run algorithms and machine learning models on graph data in the graph database, rather than extracting it into a separate environment.

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FP&A Needs a Data Strategy for Meeting Internal ESG Goals

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 3, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Environmental, social and governance issues have grown increasingly pressing over the past few years as investors and government entities urge organizations to measure and disclose ESG metrics. I’ve already covered the broader topic as it relates to external reporting and how financial planning and analysis groups are likely to own this mandate going forward. (It’s mainly been a marketing and public relations effort up to now.) FP&A departments are also likely to be charged with responsibility for internal ESG analysis and reporting, because to achieve environmental and social goals, organizations will need to assign specific objectives to individual business units and their responsible parties. I assert that by 2025 more than one-half of corporations required to comply with ESG reporting will centralize responsibility for preparing related reports and filings with FP&A to achieve accuracy, control and efficiency objectives. To do so, FP&A groups must immediately establish a data management strategy consistent with its targeted ESG analysis and reporting approach.

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Expanding the Analytics Continuum: From Analysis to Action

Posted by David Menninger on Aug 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I often use the term “analytics” to refer to a broad set of capabilities, deliberately broader than business intelligence. In this Perspective, I’d like to share what decision-makers should consider as they evaluate the range of analytics requirements for their organization.

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The Impact of Payroll Technology on the Employee Experience

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Jul 27, 2022 3:30:00 AM

I spent years in the talent acquisition space, and I think that at least several months of that time – cumulatively – was spent just trying to get people to calm down. Talent acquisition is a critically important business process, but if I had a dollar for every time I had to remind someone that there really are no recruiting emergencies, I’d be a wealthy woman.

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DataStax Provides a Platform for Data in Motion and at Rest

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jul 27, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Streaming data has been part of the industry landscape for decades but has largely been focused on niche applications in segments with the highest real-time data processing and analytics performance requirements, such as financial services and telecommunications. As demand for real-time interactive applications becomes more pervasive, streaming data is becoming a more mainstream pursuit, aided by the proliferation of open-source streaming data and event technologies, which have lowered the cost and technical barriers to developing new applications that take advantage of data in motion. Ventana Research’s Streaming Data Dynamic Insights enables an organization to assess its relative maturity in achieving value from streaming data. I assert that by 2024, more than one-half of all organizations’ standard information architectures will include streaming data and event processing, allowing organizations to be more responsive and provide better customer experiences.

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Field Service Heads for Greater Automation and Integration

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 26, 2022 3:30:00 AM

Field service is a segment of customer experience that is dominated by two elements: the complexity of the issues handled, and the high cost of providing on-site services. It is recognized as a critical component of the service experience, especially when managing the condition of high-precision equipment in the medical, manufacturing and utility industries. It is also a high-risk moment in the customer life cycle. Consumers often experience the process as a series of disconnected visits and handoffs that fail to resolve issues the first time.

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Tableau Brings Business Intelligence to Business Users

Posted by David Menninger on Jul 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations are collecting vast amounts of data every day, utilizing business intelligence software and data visualization to gain insights and identify patterns and errors in the data. Making sense of these patterns can enable an organization to gain an edge in the marketplace and plan more strategically.

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Adopt the Fast Follower Paradigm for Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Although the digital transformation of the finance department was a topic of discussion before 2020, it became a front-and-center issue as organizations locked down and in-office interactions became impossible. Finance and accounting departments were immediately confronted with a challenge because of their limited adoption of technology that would support a virtual working environment. As our 2019 Office of Finance Benchmark Research found, they are technological laggards: 45% are at the tactical or lowest level of competence in using technology across multiple processes and functions, while only 12% are at the highest. In my experience, many finance and accounting professionals and those running the department do not necessarily think that such competence is necessary, but this thinking is outdated because, increasingly, technology is the only practical way to address the department’s responsibilities (for example, the new revenue recognition for contracts accounting standards). To gain full advantage of technology, finance and accounting organizations must become “fast followers,” avoiding the bleeding edge but breaking the habit of waiting until the last possible moment before adopting proven advances.

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Data-Driven Agenda for Organizations

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jul 21, 2022 3:00:00 AM

When joining Ventana Research, I noted that the need to be more data-driven has become a mantra among large and small organizations alike. Data-driven organizations stand to gain competitive advantage, responding faster to worker and customer demands for more innovative, data-rich applications and personalized experiences. Being data-driven is clearly something to aspire to. However, it is also a somewhat vague concept without clear definition. We know data-driven organizations when we see them — the likes of Airbnb, DoorDash, ING Bank, Netflix, Spotify, and Uber are often cited as examples — but it is not necessarily clear what separates the data-driven from the rest. Data has been used in decision-making processes for thousands of years, and no business operates without some form of data processing and analytics. As such, although many organizations may aspire to be more data-driven, identifying and defining the steps required to achieve that goal are not necessarily easy. In this Analyst Perspective, I will outline the four key traits that I believe are required for a company to be considered data-driven.

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A Faster Close Fixes Other Accounting Issues

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 21, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Since its inception 20 years ago, Ventana Research has advocated for a shorter accounting close because it can improve the performance of the entire organization, not just finance and accounting. An important benefit of a shorter close is increased staff time for analysis and the preparation of reports and narratives that improve communications with the board and outside investors. Similarly, the department can provide those in operating roles the financial and managerial accounting results to highlight opportunities and issues they must address.

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Salesforce Commerce Cloud Targets the Segment of One

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Jul 20, 2022 3:00:00 AM

There are more digital channels in the commerce space than ever before: the web, mobile apps, text, voice-activated “agents,” video and social channels. Conversational computing and hyper-personalization are transforming customer engagement, and organizations may need to undergo a digital platform renovation to optimize customer and product experiences or risk lagging behind competitors. B2B selling and buying are increasingly using methods similar to B2C digital approaches to mirror the digital commerce experience that has grown substantially within the last few years. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is one of the platforms utilizing this approach.

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Data Governance, Then and Now

Posted by David Menninger on Jul 20, 2022 3:00:00 AM

We’ve recently published our latest Benchmark Research on Data Governance and it’s fair to say, “you’ve come a long way, baby.” Many of you reading this weren’t around when that phrase was introduced in 1968 to promote Virginia Slims cigarettes, but you may have heard the phrase because it went on to become a part of popular culture. We’ve learned a lot about cigarettes since then, and we’ve learned a lot about data governance, too.

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Oracle ME Aims to Drive Employee Engagement, Productivity, Retention

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Jul 19, 2022 3:00:00 AM

In my more than two decades in the world of human resources and human capital management technology, I have never seen a topic become so completely ubiquitous so quickly as has employee experience. This is great news from my perspective. As I addressed in this recent analyst perspective, market factors have forced organizations to acknowledge the tremendous bottom-line value of an engaged workforce, and that engagement is wholly dependent upon an employer's commitment to providing a personalized, well-rounded experience.

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Finance Research Reveals No Progress to a Shorter Close

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 19, 2022 3:00:00 AM

We conducted our recent Smart Close Dynamic Insights Research in part to assess to what extent the substantial disruptions of the pandemic have impacted the accounting close. When office lockdowns began in the first quarter of 2020, many finance departments were challenged by having to do their quarterly close remotely without their normal face-to-face interactions. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission was so concerned that corporations would be unable to meet their filing deadlines that they gave registrants carte blanche to extend their filing if necessary. As it turned out, only a relative handful did, and all but one of those was based in China; but for many, that first calendar close required a heroic effort. Since then, organizations have made concerted efforts to adopt and use technology to enable them to operate resiliently under any conditions. Our research finds that while organizations have to some extent adapted to operating a more remote working environment, progress toward a faster close has been elusive. The research also confirms that organizations that use technology effectively to automate processes are better able to complete their close sooner.

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OneStream’s Sensible ML Tasks AI for Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

OneStream offers a platform designed to serve the needs of accounting and financial planning and analysis organizations. The software handles financial close and consolidation, planning and budgeting, analysis and reporting. For me, the most significant announcement at the company’s recent user conference was the unveiling of its Sensible ML (Machine Learning) offering, which is in limited general release. I’ve commented on the importance of artificial intelligence in business applications, and Sensible ML is a promising and important step in that direction.

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TigerGraph Promotes Graph Database for Data Science with ML Workbench

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jul 14, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently wrote about the growing range of use cases for which NoSQL databases can be considered, given increased breadth and depth of functionality available from providers of the various non-relational data platforms. As I noted, one category of NoSQL databases — graph databases — are inherently suitable for use cases that rely on relationships, such as social media, fraud detection and recommendation engines, since the graph data model represents the entities and values and also the relationships between them. The native representation of relationships can also be significant in surfacing “features” for use in machine learning modeling. There has been a concerted effort in recent years by graph database providers, including TigerGraph, to encourage and facilitate the use of graph databases by data scientists to support the development, testing and deployment of machine learning models.

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Lead to Cash – What does it really mean to you?

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Jul 13, 2022 3:00:00 AM

“Lead to cash” is an often-used term and is a companion to “quote to cash” and “order to cash”. What they all represent is an approach which recognizes that there is a process designed to convert a lead from a qualified interest to an active sale, through quote and contract negotiation, to order or contract, invoice and payment. “Quote to cash” and “order to cash” are subsets of this process, with different starting places, but ultimately end in the same place: with a payment for a delivered product or service.

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A Data Pantry Speeds Development of Machine Learning Models

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 12, 2022 3:00:00 AM

A few years ago – somewhat tongue in cheek – I began using the term “data pantry” to describe a type of data store that’s part of a business application platform, created for a specific set of users and use cases. It’s a data pantry because, unlike a general-purpose data store such as a data warehouse, everything the user needs is readily available and easily accessible, with labels that are immediately recognized and understood.

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Zoho Unifies Data and Analytics

Posted by David Menninger on Jul 7, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations are continuously increasing the use of analytics and business intelligence to turn data into meaningful and actionable insights. Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research shows some of the benefits of using analytics: Improved efficiency in business processes, improved communication and gaining a competitive edge in the market top the list. With a unified BI system, organizations can have a comprehensive view of all organizational data to better manage processes and identify opportunities.

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Ahana Offers Managed-Services Approach to Simplify Presto Adoption

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jun 29, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I previously described the concept of hydroanalytic data platforms, which combine the structured data processing and analytics acceleration capabilities associated with data warehousing with the low-cost and multi-structured data storage advantages of the data lake. One of the key enablers of this approach is interactive SQL query engine functionality, which facilitates the use of existing business intelligence (BI) and data science tools to analyze data in data lakes. Interactive SQL query engines have been in use for several years — many of the capabilities were initially used to accelerate analytics on Hadoop — but have evolved along with data lake initiatives to enable analysis of data in cloud object storage. The open source Presto project is one of the most prominent interactive SQL query engines and has been adopted by some of the largest digital-native organizations. Presto managed-services provider Ahana is on a mission to bring the advantages of Presto to the masses.

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Semantic Models Benefit Analytical Processes

Posted by David Menninger on Jun 28, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I’ve never been a fan of talking about semantic models because most of the workforce probably doesn’t understand what they are, or doesn’t recognize them by name. But the findings in our recent Analytics and Data Benchmark Research have changed my mind. The research shows how important a semantic model can be to the success of data and analytics processes. Organizations that have successfully implemented a semantic model are more than twice as likely to report satisfaction with analytics (77%) compared with a 33% overall satisfaction rate. Therefore, I owe it to all of you to write about them.

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AI Will Create Strategic Advantage for the Office of Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Artificial intelligence using machine learning has passed through the bright, shiny object stage and software vendors are well into the process of making the concept a reality in their offerings. Ventana Research defines AI as the use of technology to process information in much the way humans do, including improving accuracy in recommendations, actions and conclusions as more data is received. I like the alternative term “augmented intelligence” because it emphasizes that these systems enhance – rather than replace – the capabilities of the humans employing them, especially through improved decision-making and eliminating the need to perform repetitive work.

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Dremio Embraces Data Lakehouse with Cloud Launch

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jun 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I previously explained how the data lakehouse is one of two primary approaches being adopted to deliver what I have called a hydroanalytic data platform. Hydroanalytics involves the combination of data warehouse and data lake functionality to enable and accelerate analysis of data in cloud storage services. The term data lakehouse has been rapidly adopted by several vendors in recent years to describe an environment in which data warehousing functionality is integrated into the data lake environment, rather than coexisting alongside. One of the vendors that has embraced the data lakehouse concept and terminology is Dremio, which recently launched the general availability of its Dremio Cloud data lakehouse platform.

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Total Compensation Imperatives for Every Organization

Posted by Quincy Valencia on Jun 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Compensation management is a key talent management process involving all workers and managers within an organization. Determining and providing the appropriate compensation for each person — whether it involves base pay, merit pay, or variable pay and incentives such as bonuses — is critical to being able to attract and retain productive members of the workforce, including full- and part-time employees, contingent workers and contractors. The complexities of compensation often prove to be a core challenge for human resources departments as they strive to keep the organization productive, satisfied and motivated while ensuring equitable and defensible pay practices across the entire workforce.

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Domo Enables Real-Time Collaboration for Analytics

Posted by David Menninger on Jun 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations are constantly trying to streamline and optimize business data to solve complex problems and identify opportunities to increase revenue and accelerate business growth. The data is usually stored in multiple systems with various data governance rules, which makes it complicated to democratize data and analytics within an organization. The most pressing concerns cited by participants in our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research include difficulty integrating with business processes, systems not flexible or adaptable to change and challenges accessing data sources.

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MariaDB Offers One Database for All Workloads

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jun 14, 2022 3:00:00 AM

As I recently described, it is anticipated that the majority of database workloads will continue to be served by specialist data platforms targeting operational and analytic workloads, albeit with growing demand for hybrid data processing use-cases and functionality. Specialist operational and analytic data platforms have historically been the since preferred option, but there have always been general-purpose databases that could be used for both analytic and operational workloads, with tuning and extensions to meet the specific requirements of each.

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Kyvos Accelerates Business Intelligence in the Cloud

Posted by David Menninger on Jun 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations are scaling business intelligence initiatives to gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue as more data is created. Lack of expertise, data governance and slow performance can impact these efforts. Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research finds some of the most pressing complaints about analytics and BI include difficulty integrating with other business processes and flexibility issues. Kyvos is a BI acceleration platform that enables BI and analytics tools to analyze massive amounts of data. It offers support for online analytical processing-based multidimensional analytics, enabling workers to access large datasets with their analytics tools. It operates with major cloud platforms, including Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

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Disentangling and Demystifying Data Mesh and Data Fabric

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jun 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently wrote about the potential benefits of data mesh. As I noted, data mesh is not a product that can be acquired, or even a technical architecture that can be built. It’s an organizational and cultural approach to data ownership, access and governance. While the concept of data mesh is agnostic to the technology used to implement it, technology is clearly an enabler for data mesh. For many organizations, new technological investment and evolution will be required to facilitate adoption of data mesh. Meanwhile, the concept of the data fabric, a technology-driven approach to managing and governing data across distributed environments, is rising in popularity. Although I previously touched on some of the technologies that might be applicable to data mesh, it is worth diving deeper into the data architecture implications of data mesh, and the potential overlap with data fabric.

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Amazon Connect Adds Workforce Optimization Capabilities

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

At Enterprise Connect in March, Amazon announced new functionality in its cloud contact center platform, Amazon Connect. The company is now including a full Workforce Optimization component, which includes built-in forecasting, capacity planning and scheduling capabilities. It's no surprise that Amazon is adding these capabilities, as WFO has become a core component of a complete CCaaS platform.

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Kinaxis Optimizes Agile Supply Chain Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Kinaxis is a sales and operation planning software company headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. Its RapidResponse is an S&OP platform for concurrent planning, designed to integrate an organization’s supply chain planning silos, accelerate planning cycles and optimize supply chain execution to match customer demand.

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SingleStore Positions Hybrid Data Processing for Data Intensity

Posted by Matt Aslett on May 25, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently described the use cases driving interest in hybrid data processing capabilities that enable analysis of data in an operational data platform without impacting operational application performance or requiring data to be extracted to an external analytic data platform. Hybrid data processing functionality is becoming increasingly attractive to aid the development of intelligent applications infused with personalization and artificial intelligence-driven recommendations. These applications can be used to improve customer service; engagement, detect and prevent fraud; and increase operational efficiency. Several database providers now offer hybrid data processing capabilities to support these application requirements. One of the vendors addressing this opportunity is SingleStore.

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Data and Analytics Processes: Can We Get Personal?

Posted by David Menninger on May 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

There is a fundamental flaw in information technology, or at least in the way it is most commonly delivered. Most technology systems are developed under the assumption that all people will use the system primarily in the same way. Sure, there are some options built in — perhaps the same action can be initiated by either clicking on a button, selecting a menu item or invoking a keyboard short-cut. The problem is that when every variation needs to be coded into the system, the prospect of providing personalized software programs to every individual is impractical.

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Accelerate Business Outcomes with Immuta Data Access Governance

Posted by David Menninger on May 19, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The data governance landscape is growing rapidly. Organizations handling vast amounts of data face multiple challenges as more regulations are added to govern sensitive information. Adoption of multi-cloud strategies increases governance concerns with new data sources that are accessed in real time. Our Data Governance Benchmark Research shows that organizations face multiple challenges when deploying data governance. Three-quarters (73%) of organizations report disparate data sources as the biggest challenge, and half of the organizations report creating, modifying, managing and enforcing governance policies as the second biggest challenge.

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Personalization is Key to Employee Experience and Retention

Posted by Quincy Valencia on May 18, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Personalization is everywhere, from clothes that are selected for us and delivered to our homes, to the ads we see, to the movies we stream. It’s no surprise that employees expect that same level of curated experience in the workplace. And yet, evidence abounds to the contrary. The proverbial black hole of recruiting is still the bane of existence of everyone who has applied for a job online and has heard nothing back. Companies still tout “self-directed career advancement” as a positive quality while employees don’t even know what opportunities may be available to them and long for guidance and support. Benefits departments offer subsidized childcare, while offering pet insurance would be more beneficial (and less costly!) for a forgotten portion of the employee population.

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Are Serverless Databases the Best Fit for Your Organization?

Posted by Matt Aslett on May 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The server is a key component of enterprise computing, providing the functional compute resources required to support software applications. Historically, the server was so fundamentally important that it – along with the processor, or processor core – was also a definitional unit by which software was measured, priced and sold. That changed with the advent of cloud-based service delivery and consumption models.

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The Member of the Sales Team that Technology Forgot

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on May 17, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Many – myself included – have written about the growth in technologies designed to aid in business-to-business sales and sales management by serving sales reps, line managers, executives and operations. But one area that has been ill-served is technical presales, or sales engineering. You may ask why this should matter. Aren’t presales engineers all about demonstrations? How could technology – beyond video conferencing – help?

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Using External Data in Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 12, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations need to use external data in planning and budgeting, both data and third-party forecasts. This need also extends to external data in training artificial intelligence systems to assist in planning and for predictive analytics. Companies do not live in a vacuum and things occurring outside physical facilities have a direct impact on how an organization performs. Incorporating external data and third-party forecasts in any systemic fashion is really only practical if you’re using dedicated planning and budgeting software. And increasingly, planning and budgeting software will be incorporating AI capabilities. Watch this brief video presentation by Ventana Research SVP and Research Director Robert Kugel to uncover the benefits of organizations using external data. 

HubSpot Video

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Yugabyte Targets Developers to Accelerate Distributed SQL Database Adoption

Posted by Matt Aslett on May 11, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Over a decade ago, I coined the term NewSQL to describe the new breed of horizontally scalable, relational database products. The term was adopted by a variety of vendors that sought to combine the transactional consistency of the relational database model with elastic, cloud-native scalability. Many of the early NewSQL vendors struggled to gain traction, however, and were either acquired or ceased operations before they could make an impact in the crowded operational data platforms market. Nonetheless, the potential benefits of data platforms that span both on-premises and cloud resources remain. As I recently noted, many of the new operational database vendors have now adopted the term “distributed SQL” to describe their offerings. In addition to new terminology, a key trend that separates distributed SQL vendors from the NewSQL providers that preceded them is a greater focus on developers, laying the foundation for the next generation of applications that will depend on horizontally scalable, relational-database functionality. Yugabyte is a case in point.

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Work-From-Anywhere Has a Communications Impact

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Contact centers are undergoing a radical reshuffling of the workforce, partly because the pandemic shifted agents to remote work. But the trends were in place to reorganize the world of work long before the pandemic. Digital contact channels, which are gaining in popularity, require workers that are better informed and capable of handling more complex and interdependent interactions and processes. That’s changing the nature of training, management and even process design between departments.

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Sage Intacct Moves into Manufacturing to Spur Growth

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 6, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Sage recently announced that it is expanding its Sage Intacct software offering to support discrete manufacturing, with its initial foray into this competitive market centered in France. The move supports the company’s strategy of building out the scope of industries served by its cloud applications to include product-oriented business models and expanding Sage Intacct’s geographic footprint. The company has been extending the functionality it offers customers with human capital management as well as budgeting and planning and extending beyond its sole focus on service organizations to be able to support product-focused businesses. These include wholesale distribution, construction, retail (with the recently completed Bright Pearl acquisition) and now discrete manufacturing, specifically industrial machinery and supplies, electrical equipment and electronic parts.

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Oracle Positions to Address Any and All Data Platform Needs

Posted by Matt Aslett on May 5, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently described how the operational data platforms sector is in a state of flux. There are multiple trends at play, including the increasing need for hybrid and multicloud data platforms, the evolution of NoSQL database functionality and applicable use-cases, and the drivers for hybrid data processing. The past decade has seen significant change in the emergence of new vendors, data models and architectures as well as new deployment and consumption approaches. As organizations adopted strategies to address these new options, a few things remained constant – one being the influence and importance of Oracle. The company’s database business continues to be a core focus of innovation, evolution and differentiation, even as it expanded its portfolio to address cloud applications and infrastructure.

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Why I Joined Ventana Research for HCM

Posted by Quincy Valencia on May 4, 2022 2:45:00 AM

I am excited to announce that I have joined Ventana Research to lead our market coverage of our Human Capital Management expertise, including focus areas of Continuous Payroll, Employee Experience, Learning Management, Talent Management, Total Compensation Management and Workforce Management.

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Technology Trends in Customer Support Software

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 3, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Customer Service and Support (CSS) software is about more than case tracking and trouble tickets. Many organizations view the service call as an opportunity to solidify a positive customer relationship and perhaps enhance the loyalty and value of the customer. That has propelled interest in the emphasis on workflows and automation that now/currently drives CSS, particularly when it comes to managing self-service and field service, and the ability to provide agents with contextually relevant information during interactions.

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Reordered Global Trade Requires Agile Sales and Operations Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 29, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I first wrote about a new era of trade a few years ago to make the point that the period of optimizing supply chains for the lowest cost was over, and that companies needed to redesign them to achieve greater resiliency. That observation proved correct. Now we are hearing about “the end of globalization,” a hyperbolic phrase describing the effects of ongoing changes to the international political order that have been underway for more than a decade. These changes are forcing companies to make sometimes significant adjustments to sourcing and supply chain management. Globalization, which started in 1492, isn’t over, but managing international trade requires the ability to deal with shifts in strategic planning assumptions and agility in dealing with tactical events. Software will play an important role in enabling corporations to meet these ongoing challenges caused by a major reordering of global trade.

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Denodo Advancing Data Virtualization in the Cloud

Posted by David Menninger on Apr 28, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations have been using data virtualization to collect and integrate data from various sources, and in different formats, to create a single source of truth without redundancy or overlap, thus improving and accelerating decision-making giving them a competitive advantage in the market. Our research shows that data virtualization is popular in the big data world. One-quarter (27%) of participants in our Data Lake Dynamic Insights Research reported they were currently using data virtualization, and another two-quarters (46%) planned to include data virtualization in the future. Even more interesting, those who are using data virtualization reported higher rates of satisfaction (79%) with their data lake than those who are not (36%). Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research shows more than one-third of organizations (37%) are using data virtualization in that context. Here, too, those using data virtualization reported higher levels of satisfaction (88%) than those that are not (66%).

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Real-Time Data Processing Requires More Agile Data Pipelines

Posted by Matt Aslett on Apr 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently wrote about the importance of data pipelines and the role they play in transporting data between the stages of data processing and analytics. Healthy data pipelines are necessary to ensure data is integrated and processed in the sequence required to generate business intelligence. The concept of the data pipeline is nothing new of course, but it is becoming increasingly important as organizations adapt data management processes to be more data driven.

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Regional Attitudes to Data Governance and Regulatory Compliance

Posted by Matt Aslett on Apr 20, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Data governance is an issue that impacts all organizations large and small, new and old, in every industry, and every region of the world. Data governance ensures that an organization’s data can be cataloged, trusted and protected, improving business processes to accelerate analytics initiatives and support compliance with regulatory requirements. Not all data governance initiatives will be driven by regulatory compliance; however, the risk of falling foul of privacy (and human rights) laws ensures that regulatory compliance influences data-processing requirements and all data governance projects. Multinational organizations must be cognizant of the wide variety of regional data security and privacy requirements, not least the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR became enforceable in 2018, protects the privacy of personal or professional data, and carries with it the threat of fines of up to 20 million euros ($22 million) or 4% of a company’s global revenue. Europe is not alone in regulating against the use of personally identifiable information (other similar regulations include The California Consumer Privacy Act) but Ventana Research’s Data Governance Benchmark Research illustrates that there are differing attitudes and approaches to data governance on either side of the Atlantic.

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Ujet Simplifies Omnichannel Interactions in the Contact Center

Posted by Keith Dawson on Apr 19, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Although the bulk of contact center seats are still served by on-premises equipment, there appears to be a consensus that the cloud is better suited to delivering a successful, omnichannel customer experience, and that most new contact center deployments will be run on cloud-computing platforms.

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Starburst Accelerates Analysis of Distributed Data

Posted by Matt Aslett on Apr 12, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently described the growing level of interest in data mesh which provides an organizational and cultural approach to data ownership, access and governance that facilitates distributed data processing. As I stated in my Analyst Perspective, data mesh is not a product that can be acquired or even a technical architecture that can be built. Adopting the data mesh approach is dependent on people and process change to overcome traditional reliance on centralized ownership of data and infrastructure and adapt to its principles of domain-oriented ownership, data as a product, self-serve data infrastructure and federated governance. Many organizations will need to make technological changes to facilitate adoption of data mesh, however. Starburst Data is associated with accelerating analysis of data in data lakes but is also one of several vendors aligning their products with data mesh.

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Blockchain Payment Systems Have Significant Potential

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 6, 2022 3:00:00 AM

How payments are effected is an afterthought to many involved in a transaction, but flaws in this process can be a source of pain and frustration for those in the back office, especially in accounting and treasury. To improve the way payments are handled in business-to-business transactions, the once ubiquitous paper checks are giving way to electronic payments. This category includes credit, debit and virtual cards, wire transfers, as well as ACH (Automated Clearing House) transmissions that may be in the form of direct deposits, direct debits and electronic checks. Electronic payments are supplanting checks because they lower processing costs for both parties in a transaction; increase accuracy, auditability and control of the accounting; provide better visibility into payment status; and enable deeper insight into spend or customer metrics. Building on these digital advances, blockchain payment systems (BPS), now at an early stage in development and adoption, have significant potential in the market because they offer similar advantages at an even lower cost. I assert that by 2025, fewer than 20% of organizations will be using blockchain payment systems, but those that do will speed transactions, reduce overhead and cut costs.

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Value Index for Revenue Performance Management Rates Vendors

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Mar 31, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Ventana Research is happy to share insights gleaned from the latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The 2022 Revenue Performance Management (RPM) Value Index is the distillation of a year of market and product research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to vendors supporting the spectrum of revenue performance management. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the Product Experience ﹘ Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability ﹘ and two related to the Customer Experience ﹘ Total Cost of Ownership or Return on Investment and Vendor Validation.

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Don’t Rely on Dashboards for Real-Time Analytics

Posted by David Menninger on Mar 31, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I have written previously that the world of data and analytics will become more and more centered around real-time, streaming data. Data is created constantly and increasingly is being collected simultaneously. Technology advances now enable organizations to process and analyze information as it is being collected to respond in real time to opportunities and threats. Not all use cases require real-time analysis and response, but many do, including multiple use cases that can improve customer experiences. For example, best-in-class e-commerce interactions should provide real-time updates on inventory status to avoid stock-out or back-order situations. Customer service interactions should provide real-time recommendations that minimize the time to resolution. Location-based offers should be targeted at the customer’s current location, not their location several minutes ago. Another domain where real-time analyses are critical is internet of things (IoT) applications. Additionally, use cases like predictive maintenance require timely information to prevent equipment failures that help avoid additional costs and damage.

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Maximize Alignment through Revenue Performance

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Mar 30, 2022 4:00:00 AM

As organizations shift focus to a broader definition of sales that includes all sources of revenue, vendors are also pivoting to include “revenue” as part of promotional messaging. But it’s my view that just changing your message or description does not necessarily deliver the capabilities and product experiences customers need to successfully plan, execute and achieve revenue targets and objectives. The just-completed 2022 Ventana Research Value Index for Revenue Performance Management addressed this shift, focusing on available product capabilities that support customer needs as well as their overall experience.

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Spend Management is More Effective with Software and Cards

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 30, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The term "corporate spend" usually refers to the incidental but still significant outlays organizations make to support operations. Especially in nonmanufacturing industries, purchases of indirect goods and business services – such as computers, office supplies, furniture and services – as well as travel and entertainment can represent a significant percentage of total costs. Technology has evolved to the point where executives – especially the chief financial officer – need to take an overarching approach to corporate spend that utilizes technology to tighten controls, deepen visibility into expenditures, increase productivity and reduce process frictions. Spend management software and corporate spend cards – either physical or virtual – offer a means of achieving spend management objectives. This is part of a broader trend to digitizing outlays: I assert that by 2025, more than two-thirds of organizations will be using spend management software and corporate cards to achieve greater control and increased efficiency.

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The Benefits of Data Mesh Extend to Organizational and Cultural Change

Posted by Matt Aslett on Mar 29, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Data mesh is the latest trend to grip the data and analytics sector. The term has been rapidly adopted by numerous vendors — as well as a growing number of organizations —as a means of embracing distributed data processing. Understanding and adopting data mesh remains a challenge, however. Data mesh is not a product that can be acquired, or even a technical architecture that can be built. It is an organizational and cultural approach to data ownership, access and governance. Adopting data mesh requires cultural and organizational change. Data mesh promises multiple benefits to organizations that embrace this change, but doing so may be far from easy.

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Subscription Management Elevates Experience Through Automation

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Mar 29, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research defines subscription management as the processes and technology needed to manage the subscriber experience from the first digital touch to the continuous modifications of orders for services and billing. Effective subscription management requires a new generation of applications designed to manage the life cycle of subscriptions and provide subscribers with the experiences they expect. The subscription business model has grown in popularity across many industries, and for many organizations it is now part of how they conduct business. Organizations, whether through line extensions, completely new businesses or through mergers and acquisitions, now have a mixed business model combining subscription and usage with one-time sales, often as a bundle of related products and services. The model establishes a regular, predictable income stream and monetizes existing and new assets. In addition, usage-based pricing is preferred by many consumers, both B2B and B2C, because it is more closely aligned to actual consumption patterns. For product companies, selling by subscription enables them to maintain ongoing contact with customers to facilitate future sales. Subscription is also popular with customers as it allows a degree of control from the buyer’s point of view and can be cancelled or modified, typically online, in a frictionless manner.

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OnviSource Brings Intelligence to Contact Center Automation

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Today’s contact center agents find themselves handling increasingly more complex interactions due to changes in consumer demand, advances in self-service and the proliferation of digital contact channels. This added complexity requires continuous agent support for successful customer experience outcomes. Intelligent software can reduce agent workload and improve customer interactions by picking up customer cues.

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Working Across the Aisle in Analytics: Involving IT and LOB

Posted by David Menninger on Mar 23, 2022 3:00:00 AM

For years, maybe decades, we have heard about the struggles between IT and line-of-business functions. In this perspective, we will look at some of the data from our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research about the roles of IT and line-of-business teams in analytics and data processes. We will also look at some of the disconnects between these two groups. And, by looking at how organizations are operating today and the results they are achieving, we can discern some of the best practices for improving the outcomes of analytics and data processes.

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Simplifying Budgeting and Planning is FP&A’s Mission

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently published the results of our Business Planning Value Index Research and I commented on its connection to our emphasis on using software to unify planning processes across an enterprise to improve performance. Since 2007, we have advocated what we call Integrated Business Planning (IBP): a high-participation, collaborative, action-oriented approach to planning and budgeting built on frequent, short planning sprints. Short planning cycles enable companies to achieve greater agility in responding to market or competitive changes.

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Yellowbrick Paves the Way to Distributed Cloud

Posted by Matt Aslett on Mar 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Despite widespread and increasing use of the cloud for data and analytics workloads, it has become clear in recent years that, for most organizations, a proportion of data-processing workloads will remain on-premises in centralized data centers or distributed-edge processing infrastructure. As we recently noted, as compute and storage are distributed across a hybrid and multi-cloud architecture, so, too, is the data it stores and relies upon. This presents challenges for organizations to identify, manage and analyze all the data that is available to them. It also presents opportunities for vendors to help alleviate that challenge. In particular, it provides a gap in the market for data-platform vendors to distinguish themselves from the various cloud providers with cloud-agnostic data platforms that can support data processing across hybrid IT, multi-cloud and edge environments (including Internet of Things devices, as well as servers and local data centers located close to the source of the data). Yellowbrick Data is one vendor that has seized upon that opportunity with its cloud Data Warehouse offering.

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Why Your ERP and CRM Won’t Transform Your Business

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Mar 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Digital Transformation. The Subscription Economy. Omni-Channel Selling. Customer Centric. These are all terms used to label trends and events that are changing the way business is being conducted, a change that has accelerated due to recent events. Regardless of the terminology, there is no doubt that the way vendors and buyers are interacting, whether B2C or B2B, is different today for many organizations than it was even five years ago. But to be fair, no technology on its own can transform your business without changes to the other two key elements: people and processes. In addition, change is unlikely to happen if you are also relying on your existing ERP or CRM systems.

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Why We Need a New Definition for CX Software Platforms

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The technology underpinning customer experience (CX) is a hodgepodge of tools that have been developed for niche use cases and then expanded to fill broader roles. Examples include the old (CRM, help desk software and speech analytics) and the new (customer data platforms and conversational AI). This is because CX is a set of very specialized processes that happen in different parts of the enterprise, managed by people who often do not connect with peers handling related processes. Service-related activities are focused in the contact center, personalization and loyalty in marketing departments, and so forth.

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Looker Simplifies Business Intelligence in the Cloud

Posted by David Menninger on Mar 17, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations face various challenges with analytics and business intelligence processes, including data curation and modeling across disparate sources and data warehouses, maintaining data quality and ensuring security and governance. Traditional processes are slow when transforming large and diverse datasets into something which is easily consumable in BI. And, it can take days or weeks to create reports and dashboards — maybe longer if processes change and new data sources are introduced. Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research shows that the most time-consuming processes are preparing data, reviewing it for quality issues and preparing reports for presentation and distribution.

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Value-Added Tax Transformation Streamlines Compliance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 17, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Value-added tax is a type of levy that is applied at each step of a transaction chain, from basic inputs to the final good or service. The amount assessed is based on the value added by an organization (hence the name) when a transaction occurs. VAT is used throughout the world because, historically, it has been harder to evade compared to income taxes. VAT is a common method of national taxation: Approximately 85% of countries impose it worldwide. A notable exception is the United States, where sales and use taxes are imposed at the state and local level and applied only to the price of the final good or service. As commerce has become global and cross-border sales have increased, traditional methods for calculating, applying and complying with VAT regimes has grown more complex. To achieve higher tax revenue while ensuring better compliance, governments are turning to technology to make collections more effective while making processes more efficient.

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Expanded NoSQL Use Cases Deserve a Second Look

Posted by Matt Aslett on Mar 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently examined how evolving functionality had fueled the adoption of NoSQL databases, recommending that organizations evaluate NoSQL databases when assessing options for data transformation and modernization efforts. This recommendation was based on the breadth and depth of functionality offered by NoSQL database providers today, which has expanded the range of use cases for which NoSQL databases are potentially viable. There remain a significant number of organizations that have not explored NoSQL databases as well as several workloads for which it is assumed NoSQL databases are inherently unsuitable. Given the advances in functionality, organizations would be well-advised to maintain up-to-date knowledge of available products and services and an understanding of the range of use cases for which NoSQL databases are a valid option.

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Explorium Improves Machine Learning Models With External Data

Posted by David Menninger on Mar 9, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Today, organizations understand the importance of good external data that can be integrated with internal data to train machine learning models. Our Machine Learning Dynamic Insights research showed that external data adds a significant value in gaining competitive advantage, improving customer experience and increasing sales. But getting the right external data for a particular requirement is not always easy. Internal data is usually not enough to train different models because of its narrow scope of usage and lack of relevance. Manual data acquisition methods are resource-intensive and can take weeks or months to get the data ready to feed into models.

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Unit4 Expansion Targets Enhancements for People-Centric Organization

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 9, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently attended an analyst conference held by Unit4, an enterprise resource planning vendor focused on midsize organizations in people-centric industries. The conference was intended to communicate the company’s strategy, product updates and roadmap. The meeting took place shortly after announcement of the availability of Unit4 Industry Mesh and the acquisition of Compright, which does compensation planning as well as in the context of the broad technology shifts affecting ERP applications.

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Evolving NoSQL Database Functionality Fuels Adoption

Posted by Matt Aslett on Mar 8, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The various NoSQL databases have become a staple of the data platforms landscape since the term entered the IT industry lexicon in 2009 to describe a new generation of non-relational databases. While NoSQL began as a ragtag collection of loosely affiliated, open-source database projects, several commercial NoSQL database providers are now established as credible alternatives to the various relational database providers, while all the major cloud providers and relational database giants now also have NoSQL database offerings. Almost one-quarter (22%) of respondents to Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research are using NoSQL databases in production today, and adoption is likely to continue to grow. More than one-third (34%) of respondents are planning to adopt NoSQL databases within two years (21%) or are evaluating (14%) their potential use. Adoption has been accelerated by the evolving functionality offered by NoSQL products and services, the growing maturity of specialist NoSQL vendors, and new commercial offerings from cloud providers and established database providers alike. This evolution is exemplified by the changing meaning of the term NoSQL itself. While it was initially associated with a rejection of the relational database hegemony, it has retroactively been reinterpreted to mean “Not Only SQL,” reflecting the potential for these new databases to coexist with and complement established approaches.

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Automate the Close Cycle for Consistently Better Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 3, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Software that automates the full scope of the accounting close, including reconciliations, consolidation and reporting, has grown more capable and affordable over the past five years. By enabling consistent process management that captures best practices, and by automating rote, repetitive activities to boost staff productivity, these applications enable organizations to shorten the close, make the process more efficient and reduce the risk of material errors by strengthening accounting controls. As accounting departments have learned over the past two years, close automation software helps ensure business continuity under any circumstance, especially as remote workforces that are able to perform the close virtually become more commonplace.

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Natural Language Processing Enables Self-service Analytics & BI

Posted by David Menninger on Mar 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Natural language processing (NLP) is a field that combines artificial intelligence (AI), data science and linguistics that enables computers to understand, interpret and manipulate text or spoken words. NLP includes generating narratives based on a set of data values, using text or speech as inputs to access information, and analysing text or speech, for instance, to determine its sentiment. There are various techniques for interpreting human language, ranging from statistical and machine learning (ML) methods to rules-based and algorithmic approaches. In this perspective, we will focus on two aspects of NLP: natural language query (NLQ), which offers the ability to use natural language expressions to discover and understand data, and natural language generation (NLG), which uses AI to produce written or spoken narratives from a dataset. NLQ and NLG enable business personnel to communicate information needs with business intelligence (BI) systems more easily.

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Bigeye Provides Visibility into Data Reliability

Posted by Matt Aslett on Mar 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

As businesses become more data-driven, they are increasingly dependent on the quality of their data and the reliability of their data pipelines. Making decisions based on data does not guarantee success, especially if the business cannot ensure that the data is accurate and trustworthy. While there is potential value in capturing all data — good or bad — making decisions based on low-quality data may do more harm than good.

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Contact Center Cost Control, Part 2: Getting Granular

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

In a previous Analyst Perspective, we discussed some of the big-picture trends that are bringing cost control back as a core driver of contact center operations. In this report we will tackle some of the practical ramifications: how those trends affect decision-making and operations.

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Why Finance and Legal are Important to Revenue and Sales Operations

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Feb 25, 2022 3:00:00 AM

There is much vendor activity and customer interest in making better use of data, to improve the sales process in the face of increased pressure to achieve organization revenue goals. As detailed in my Analyst Perspective: The Art and Science of Sales from the “Inside Out," enhanced buyer research as well as the inclusion of more people in the buying process, have made selling harder, evidenced by a general trend of declining quota attainment. There is no denying that better use of data can help in prioritizing and helping to advance the sales process more effectively. But this is not the whole story. Whereas generating interest and qualifying opportunity is a key part of the sales team’s role, all this progress can be undone with a cumbersome and clunky configure, price and quoting (CPQ) and contract life cycle management (CLM) process. Automated and digitized systems that handle these elements aid greatly toward a winning/successful close process and will set the right tenor for a continuing and sustained customer relationship. And although CPQ is often thought of as part of the finance department, as contracts are with legal, both of these processes should be seen as adjuncts of the sales process, and both sales and revenue leadership and operations teams need to align with finance and legal. My colleague Robert Kugel covers the finance perspective in more detail in his Analyst Perspective: Configure, Price and Quote Software Supports Profitability Management.

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Why Automating Reconciliations Must be a Priority

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 25, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Reconciling accounts at the end of a period is one of those mundane finance department tasks that are ripe for automation. Reconciliation is the process of comparing account data (at the balance or item level) that exists either in two accounting systems or in an accounting system and somewhere else (such as in a spreadsheet or on paper). The purpose of the reconciling process is to identify things that do not match (as they must in double-entry bookkeeping systems) and then assess the nature and causes of the variances. This is followed by making adjustments or corrections to ensure that the information in an organization’s books is accurate. Most of the time, reconciliation is a matter of good housekeeping that identifies errors and omissions in the accounting process, including invalid journal postings and duplicate accounting entries, so they can be corrected. Reconciliation also is an important line of defense against fraud since inconsistencies may be a sign of such activity.

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Improving the State of Analytics in Organizations

Posted by David Menninger on Feb 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Despite all the advances organizations have made with respect to analytics, our most recent research shows the majority of the workforce in the majority of organizations are not using analytics and business intelligence (BI). Less than one-quarter (23%) report that one-half or more of their workforce is using analytics and BI. This is a problem. It means organizations are not enabling their workforce to perform at peak efficiency and effectiveness. It means the workforce in many organizations does not have access to the same information by which they are being measured. It means organizations must find other ways to communicate with, and manage, the workforce.

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Contact Center Cost Control, Part 1: Rethinking Modern Operations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Contact centers have always been very cost-centric and attuned to the kinds of constraints that they have to operate in, but many organizations were diverted from that kind of focus when the pandemic first hit. In 2020, there was a sudden need for new tools and equipment just to keep centers running, and the costs involved in enabling agents to work from home — equipping them and their supervisors with the tools they needed to collaborate and stay in sync — were unavoidable.

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Data Observability is Key to Ensuring Healthy Data Pipelines

Posted by Matt Aslett on Feb 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently described the emergence of hydroanalytic data platforms, outlining how the processes involved in generating energy from a lake or reservoir were analogous to those required to generate intelligence from a data lake. I explained how structured data processing and analytics acceleration capabilities are the equivalent of turbines, generators and transformers in a hydroelectric power station. While these capabilities are more typically associated with data warehousing, they are now being applied to data lake environments as well. Structured data processing and analytics acceleration capabilities are not the only things required to generate insights from data, however, and the hydroelectric power station analogy further illustrates this. For example, generating hydroelectric power also relies on pipelines to ensure that the water is transported from the lake or reservoir at the appropriate volume to drive the turbines. Ensuring that a hydroelectric power station is operating efficiently also requires the collection, monitoring and analysis of telemetry data to confirm that the turbines, generators, transformers and pipelines are functioning correctly. Similarly, generating intelligence from data relies on data pipelines that ensure the data is integrated and processed in the correct sequence to generate the required intelligence, while the need to monitor the pipelines and processes in data-processing and analytics environments has driven the emergence of a new category of software: data observability.

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Progress for AI in Office of Finance Applications

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) using machine learning (ML) will be the single most important trend in business software this decade because it can multiply the investment value of such applications and provide vendors an important source of differentiation to achieve a competitive advantage in what are today very mature software categories. I assert that by 2025, almost all Office of Finance software vendors will have incorporated some AI capabilities to reduce workloads and improve performance. However, software vendors will be challenged to apply innovations in this area quickly while ensuring that the AI capabilities function well enough in the real world to foster rapid adoption while avoiding user frustration. The failures of the Apple Newton and Microsoft’s Clippy office assistant stand out as examples of too-ambitious-too-soon attempts at infusing intelligent automation.

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Good Data Governance Improves Business Processes

Posted by David Menninger on Feb 17, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Many organizations invest in data governance out of concern over misuse of data or potential data breaches. These are important considerations and valid aspects of data governance programs. However, good data governance also has positive impacts on organizations. For example, I have previously written about the valuable connection between the use of data catalogs and satisfaction with an organization’s data lake. Our most recent Analytics and Data Benchmark Research demonstrates some of the beneficial links between data governance and analytics. In this Perspective, I’ll share some of the correlations identified in our research.

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Top Trends in VoC Analytics

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 16, 2022 3:00:00 AM

A formal Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is a necessity for any organization that wants to grow its customer base and differentiate from its competitors. Unfortunately, many organizations have not updated their notion of “formal” in quite a few years.

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Incorta Unifies Data Processing to Accelerate Analytics & BI

Posted by Matt Aslett on Feb 16, 2022 3:00:00 AM

As I stated when joining Ventana Research, the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic and its aftereffects have highlighted more than ever the differences between organizations that can turn data into insights and are agile enough to act upon it and those that are incapable of seeing or responding to the need for change. Data-driven organizations stand to gain competitive advantage, responding faster to worker and customer demands for more innovative, data-rich applications and personalized experiences. One of the key methods that accelerates business decision-making is reducing the lag between data collection and data analysis.

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Xactly Advances Support for Revenue Performance Management

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Feb 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Revenue performance management and the role of revenue operations is moving to the forefront of sales organizations, aligning departments around a single view of the business with shared revenue targets and goals. This facilitates the needs of the sales department as well as customer experience, marketing and renewals. The concept of RevOps does not yet have a widely shared common definition within organizations. Because revenue organizations include workers associated with sales operations, there tends to be a bias that RevOps leans towards sales management with the addition of customer success for retention and marketing.

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The Value Index for Business Planning Classifies and Rates Vendors

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 14, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Business Planning 2022 is the distillation of a year of market and product research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to business planning vendors supporting the spectrum of planning. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment and Vendor Validation.

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Hybrid Data Processing Use Cases

Posted by Matt Aslett on Feb 11, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I recently described how the data platforms landscape will remain divided between analytic and operational workloads for the foreseeable future. Analytic data platforms are designed to store, manage, process and analyze data, enabling organizations to maximize data to operate with greater efficiency, while operational data platforms are designed to store, manage and process data to support worker-, customer- and partner-facing operational applications. At the same time, however, we see increased demand for intelligent applications infused with the results of analytic processes, such as personalization and artificial intelligence-driven recommendations. The need for real-time interactivity means that these applications cannot be served by traditional processes that rely on the batch extraction, transformation and loading of data from operational data platforms into analytic data platforms for analysis. Instead, they rely on analysis of data in the operational data platform itself via hybrid data processing capabilities to accelerate worker decision-making or improve customer experience.

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Business Planning Software Unifies Siloed Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 11, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Having just completed the 2022 Ventana Research Value Index for Business Planning, I want to share some of my observations about the business planning software market and how it has advanced as an important part of our market coverage for almost two decades. Dedicated applications for planning and budgeting have been around since the 1980s and are, therefore, quite mature, with robust features and functionality as well as continual refinements in usability and performance. Outwardly, the specifications for offerings in this category appear very similar, but how the software works is at least as important to buyers’ preferences. Moreover, planning is not a mechanical process, so despite limited differentiation at the surface, an organization can find that one vendor’s offering is a better fit for its individual approach to planning than others.

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AtScale Universal Semantic Layer Democratizes and Scales Analytics

Posted by David Menninger on Feb 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations of all sizes are dealing with exponentially increasing data volume and data sources, which creates challenges such as siloed information, increased technical complexities across various systems and slow reporting of important business metrics. Migrating to the cloud does not solve the problems associated with performing analytics and business intelligence on data stored in disparate systems. Also, the computing power needed to process large volumes of data consists of clusters of servers with hundreds or thousands of nodes that can be difficult to administer. Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research shows that organizations have concerns about current analytics and BI technology. Findings include difficulty integrating data with other business processes, systems that are not flexible enough to scale operations and trouble accessing data from various data sources.

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The Office of Finance Market Agenda for 2022: Effectiveness and Profits

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 9, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 Market Agenda for the Office of Finance, continuing the guidance we have offered since 2003 on the practical use of technology for the finance and accounting department. Our insights and best practices aim to enable organizations to operate with agility and resiliency, improving performance and delivering greater value as a strategic partner.

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The 2022 Market Agenda for Office of Revenue: New Performance Priority

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Feb 8, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 Market Agenda for the Office of Revenue, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations realize optimal value from applying technology to improve business outcomes. Chief sales and revenue officers and their associated operations teams are experts in their respective fields but may not have the guidance needed to employ technology effectively. As we look to 2022, we are focusing on the entire selling and buying life cycle and the applications that simplify and improve interactions throughout the customer experience.

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The Workforce Management Value Index Assesses Technology Vendors

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 7, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Workforce Management 2022 is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to workforce management vendors supporting the spectrum of these requirements. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment and Vendor Validation.

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The 2022 Market Agenda for Marketing: A Digital Experience Revolution

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 4, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 Market Agenda in the expertise area of Marketing, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes.

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Workforce Management Software Brings Automation and Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 3, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Workforce management processes and activities, a major focus of investment and optimization efforts for decades, have undergone a huge transformation in recent years. In our view, this is mostly a function of two significant trends: the explosion of technology innovation associated with the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and embedded analytics in many areas of a business including a range of human capital management processes and operations; and a major reframing of the employer/employee relationship stemming from the now universal emphasis on elevating the worker experience. This was becoming more of a strategic focus across most organizations before the pandemic, but the past two years has made delivering a great employee experience an essential part of operating a business. In the absence of this, employees tend to become disengaged, and many will leave. The same can be true of the customers serviced by those employees.

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The 2022 Market Agenda for Analytics: Enabling Actions and Effective Insights

Posted by David Menninger on Feb 3, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 Market Agenda for Analytics, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from technology investments in order to improve business outcomes.

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2022 Market Agenda: Increasing Supply Chain Agility and Resilience

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 research agenda for Operations and Supply Chain, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations across industries derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes.

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The 2022 Market Agenda for CX: Enabling Resilience in Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its Market Agenda in the expertise area of Customer Experience. For the past several years, many organizations have found it challenging to provide excellent customer experiences in the face of drastic technology changes and the ongoing pandemic. These challenges have highlighted for many decision-makers how strategic CX can be in differentiating from competitors. But it can also be a complex and disjointed effort that requires continuous investment in people, processes and technologies.

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Human Capital Management Market Agenda: Readiness and Resilience

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 Market Agenda for Human Capital Management, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for two decades to help organizations derive maximum potential from workforce- and people-related technology investments and initiatives. In crafting this Market Agenda, we focused on three critical themes top-of-mind for both HCM vendors and buyers: Organizational readiness, workforce resilience utilizing digital technology to increase retention, and advance worker skills for career development.

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Managing Data Effectively in 2022: Ventana Research Market Agenda

Posted by Matt Aslett on Feb 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2022 Market Agenda for Data, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value and improve business outcomes.

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The Digital Technology Market Agenda for 2022: Innovation for Business Resilience

Posted by David Menninger on Jan 31, 2022 3:00:00 AM

I’m proud to share Ventana Research’s 2022 Market Agenda for Digital Technology. Our focus in this agenda is to deliver expertise to help organizations prioritize technology investments that increase workforce effectiveness and organizational agility, ensuring ongoing operations during any type of disruption.

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The 2022 Value Index for Agent Management Classifies and Rates Vendors

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 31, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research is sharing insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Agent Management 2022 is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to customer experience vendors supporting the spectrum of Agent Management. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ TCO/ROI and vendor validation.

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Digital Business Market Agenda for 2022: Resilience and Readiness

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 28, 2022 3:00:00 AM

With the announcement of Ventana Research’s 2022 Market Agenda, our expertise in Digital Business continues to advance the market need for effective investments into technology, and I will outline here the key areas of focus to provide insights to organizations that can increase their organizational resilience and workforce readiness. We are proud to provide expertise on ensuring technological effectiveness through our market research and experience in providing guidance on trends and best practices.

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Ransomware Disaster for UKG & Customers: Business Continuity Required

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 27, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The necessity of business continuity came to a reality with the pandemic in early 2020, with the requirement to avoid the risk of interruption to the fundamentals of an organization. I outlined this challenge in my perspective, “The Business Continuity Imperative: The Workforce Experience and Human Capital Management in 2020 and Beyond.” Ensuring that software in cloud computing environments is continuously available should be a business continuity priority for your organization. In fact, your own chief information, risk and operations officers should ensure your organization has the level of reliability that you expect and pay for from your software as a service provider. And does your provider perform the level of investment and protection that you would expect to protect your organization? Do you ensure the level of preparation in business continuity has been done, and do you have a disaster recovery program you can institute in a moment’s notice? Can you operate your business if critical software is not available for more than a day, week, month or longer? Unfortunately, our assertion is that by 2025, after decades of digital transformation efforts, two-thirds of organizations will not resource business continuity as an investment priority to reduce operational risk in black swan events.

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The Necessity of Revenue Performance Management

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Jan 27, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research was the first market research firm to focus on the emerging area of sales performance management (SPM), which we define as a coordinated set of sales-related activities, processes and systems that enable organization. Over the past decade, SPM has become more science than art. Properly managing a sales organization requires effective planning, which in turn requires key performance and sales indicators built on a foundation of relevant metrics. But this is changing. As more organizations embrace the subscription business model and engage with additional selling channels over and above direct sales, the concept of the primacy of new sales is transforming to a more holistic view of revenue.

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Inkling Advances Digital Learning for Operational Effectiveness

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The necessity of learning is essential for every organization to realize the full potential of the workforce. But many organizations treat learning like training or academic instruction to ensure policy or compliance to a minimum level of work performance, instead of continuing career education and improving skills in the operational workflow. The context for where and how workers work is critical to ensure that on-the-job learning is possible. While traditional learning management systems (LMS) have advanced the authoring and curriculum for formalized training in a digital learning environment, the need to adapt learning to the operational requirements is essential for every organization. This context provides the opportunity for continuous skills development, which is essential to building organizational readiness and workforce resilience critical for everyday operations and business continuity. We assert that by 2024, learning management systems and learning experience platforms with embedded skill and job ontologies that recommend optimal learning paths will guide one-half of organizations to elevate employee engagement, retention and productivity.

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Shifts in Agent Management Software Benefit Agent Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The 2022 Ventana Research Value Index for agent management software is published, offering interesting observations about how the market is advancing to provide more sophistication to agents and the management of them. The market is now characterized by applications integrated into multifunction suites, a significant change accelerated by the pandemic in the short term and vendor consolidation over a longer period. The core applications — workforce management scheduling, call recording and evaluations, and performance management — are largely commoditized. This has opened the door to systems for ensuring agent access to real-time knowledge, peer collaboration and other, more advanced systems.

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Augmented Reality Will Evolutionize Business Computing

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 25, 2022 3:00:00 AM

As with many IT innovations, augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR) and the related topic of spatial computing had been discussed to death long before they became a practical reality. As a user interface, AR is already well understood in terms of its ability to open vast new vistas in entertainment as well as making physical tasks, such as machinery maintenance and warehouse pick-and-pack, far more efficient. In the case of spatial computing, by using glasses to superimpose workflow directions, instructional videos, messages and the like onto the three-dimensional world, individuals can complete tasks faster with little formal training and make fewer errors in the process. So, long before these AR devices, tools and their related UI techniques are adapted to create a new era of immersive business computing, here are some thoughts on this idea.

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2022 Market Agenda: Digital Business Enables Organizational Resilience

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research has announced its market agenda for 2022, continuing the tradition of reliability in our efforts to educate and guide the technology market. Our assessments are backed by our expertise and independence, as we do not share our market agenda or our research – including analyst and market perspectives or our Value Index – with any external party until it is published. We review and refine our market agenda throughout the year to ensure we offer the expertise and insights organizations rely on to better assess and navigate the direction of the technology industry.

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ThoughtSpot Enables Simpler Analytics with AI and NLP

Posted by David Menninger on Jan 21, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations today have huge volumes of data across various cloud and on-premises systems which keep growing by the second. To derive value from this data, organizations must query the data regularly and share insights with relevant teams and departments. Automating this process using natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) enables line-of-business personnel to query the data faster, generate reports themselves without depending on IT, and make quick decisions. Some organizations have started using NLP in self-service analytics to quickly identify patterns and simplify data visualization. Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research finds that about 81% of organizations expect to use natural language search for analytics to make timely and informed decisions.

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AWS Cloud Data Platform Services Expand Workload Placement Options

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jan 19, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Few trends have had a bigger impact on the data platforms landscape than the emergence of cloud computing. The adoption of cloud computing infrastructure as an alternative to on-premises datacenters has resulted in significant workloads being migrated to the cloud, displacing traditional server and storage vendors. Almost one-half (49%) of respondents to Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research currently use cloud computing products for analytics and data, and a further one-quarter plan to do so. In addition to deploying data workloads on cloud infrastructure, many organizations have also adopted cloud data and analytics services offered by the same cloud providers, displacing traditional data platform vendors. Organizations now have greater choice in relation to potential products and providers for data and analytics workloads, but also need to think about integrating services offered by cloud providers with established technology and processes. Having pioneered the concept, Amazon Web Services has arguably benefitted more than most from adoption of cloud computing, and is also in the process of expanding and adjusting its portfolio to alleviate challenges and encourage even greater adoption.

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Reltio Connects MDM in the Cloud for Business

Posted by David Menninger on Jan 11, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Organizations today are working with multiple applications and systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and other systems, where data can easily become fragmented and siloed. And as the organization increases its data sources and adds more systems and custom applications, it becomes challenging to manage the data consistently and keep data definitions up to date. This increases the need to use master data management (MDM) software that can provide a single source of truth to drive accurate analytics and business operations.

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Customer Experience Needs Accountability with Executive Leadership

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The contact center is where much of customer experience management happens, but it is by no means the beginning or end of the CX story. Other departments, notably marketing and revenue, have a stake in what happens during the customer’s lifecycle. Whether it’s developing offers, orchestrating interactions or assessing behavior and intent, handling the complexity of the relationship requires a broad set of participants who are not always in alignment.

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Configure, Price and Quote Software Supports Profitability Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 7, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Pricing is an issue that almost every for-profit company confronts – and usually agonizes over. Chief financial officers must play a part in setting the strategic direction of pricing in their organization. They should not be involved in tactical pricing decisions because they are not close enough to markets and customers, but they should be part of the strategic design of pricing, especially as part of a profitability management effort, which I’ve discussed before.

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MongoDB Accelerates Data Platform Cloud Adoption with Atlas

Posted by Matt Aslett on Jan 5, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The need for data-driven decision-making requires organizations to transform not only the approach to business intelligence and data science but also accelerate the development of new operational applications that support greater business agility, enable cloud- and mobile-based consumption, and deliver more interactive and personalized experiences. To stay competitive, organizations need to prioritize the development of new, data-driven applications. As a result, many have been encouraged to invest in new data platforms designed to support agile development and cloud-based delivery. This is one of the factors driving the growth of MongoDB, and continues to drive the evolution of its document database into what is now described as a cloud-based application data platform.

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Couchbase Modernizing Relational Database Workloads

Posted by Matt Aslett on Dec 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The term NoSQL has been a misnomer ever since it appeared in 2009 to describe a group of emerging databases. It was true that a lack of support for Structured Query Language (SQL) was common to the various databases referred to as NoSQL. However, it was always one of a number of common characteristics, including flexible schema, distributed data processing, open source licensing, and the use of non-relational data models (key value, document, graph) rather than relational tables. As the various NoSQL databases have matured and evolved, many of them have added support for SQL terms and concepts, as well as the ability to support SQL format queries. Couchbase has been at the forefront of this effort, recognizing that to drive greater adoption of NoSQL databases in general (and its distributed document database in particular) it was wise to increase compatibility with the concepts, tools and skills that have dominated the database market for the past 50 years.

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AI for Sales: Technology is Ready but Are You?

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Dec 28, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The internet is a rich source of information and is used by buyers to research new applications and offerings well before ever engaging a vendor and salesperson. Along with massive growth in offerings, this is a major reason why sales teams are facing increasing challenges to successfully sell and attain targets.

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Hydroanalytic Data Platforms Power Data Lakes’ Strategic Value

Posted by Matt Aslett on Dec 23, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Data lakes have enormous potential as a source of business intelligence. However, many early adopters of data lakes have found that simply storing large amounts of data in a data lake environment is not enough to generate business intelligence from that data. Similarly, lakes and reservoirs have enormous potential as sources of energy. However, simply storing large amounts of water in a lake is not enough to generate energy from that water. A hydroelectric power station is required to harness and unleash the power-generating potential of a lake or reservoir, utilizing a combination of turbines, generators and transformers to convert the energy of the flowing water into electricity. A hydroanalytic data platform, the data equivalent of a hydroelectric power station, is required to harness and unleash the intelligence-generating potential of a data lake.

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Tackling ESG Reporting Challenges

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

ESG reporting is a matter that organizations – and especially publicly held corporations – will be confronting over the next several years. Ventana Research asserts that by 2025, one-half of corporations with 1,000 or more employees will have a formal ESG reporting process in place to address legal mandates or shareholder demand. The roots of ESG investing go back many decades but it has gained significant attention recently as demand in the investment world for non-accounting measures to guide ethical investments has grown. Organizations face three distinct challenges in dealing with ESG. In this analyst perspective, Ventana Research SVP and Research Director Robert Kugel discusses the considerations and benefits of organizing your organization’s ESG reporting.

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High-Impact People Data: Many Opportunities Remain

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 15, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Data from human capital management systems has delivered significant value to organizations for decades. The value continuum has included ensuring compliance with workforce-related laws and regulations around the globe; optimizing human resources’ processes (when combined with various other elements such as change management); maintaining a historical record of key employee activities and transactions; tracking cost trendlines such as those related to recruiting, compensation and benefits; feeding payroll systems from time and attendance platforms; and providing visibility into learning and development needs. This, of course, is just a sampling, but truth be told, the capability to maintain and report on this type of information — while broadly beneficial to every organization — doesn’t pass what I refer to as my “ascension test.” In other words, merely doing a better or even great job of tracking and reporting on these and many other types of people data is not likely to allow an organization to ascend the ranks within its industry sector.

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Data Platforms Landscape Divided Between Analytic and Operational

Posted by Matt Aslett on Dec 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

As I noted when joining Ventana Research, the range of options faced by organizations in relation to data processing and analytics can be bewildering. When it comes to data platforms, however, there is one fundamental consideration that comes before all others: Is the workload primarily operational or analytic? Although most database products can be used for operational or analytic workloads, the market has been segmented between products targeting operational workloads, and those targeting analytic workloads for almost as long as there has been a database market.

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Fix Sales and Operations Planning to Improve Financial Efficiency

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 10, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Several years ago, I noted the importance of gaining resilience in managing supply chains. The world had entered a new era of trade following the financial crisis of 2007, as multilateral relationships were steadily fragmenting. For decades, sourcing and supply chain management was focused almost exclusively on achieving the lowest cost, and the world’s trade environment supported this approach. However, I observed that the new era of trade, supply chain planning and execution, would be more complex, and organizations needed to shift focus to emphasize business continuity and sustainability, accommodating change with the least disruption at the lowest cost. Sourcing decisions, logistics and product design would be crafted with an eye to a far-from-perfect and changeable world. Higher costs would be balanced against necessary resilience and sustainability, supported by the ability to make changes rapidly with assurance and limited risk.

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Evolving ERP Systems Redefining Office of Finance Operations

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 3, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Over the past decade, how organizations manage processes and record data related to transactional events captured by an enterprise resource planning system has undergone a significant evolution. Some of the more recent changes have been the result of a steady migration to the cloud, since these systems are typically updated frequently, require less maintenance, have better performance and are more readily available than those operating on-premises.

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Cockroach Labs Brings Developers and Serverless Database Together

Posted by Matt Aslett on Dec 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Breaking into the database market as a new vendor is easier said than done given the dominance of the sector by established database and data management giants, as well as the cloud computing providers. We recently described the emergence of a new breed of distributed SQL database providers with products designed to address hybrid and multi-cloud data processing. These databases are architecturally and functionally differentiated from both the traditional relational incumbents (in terms of global scalability) and the NoSQL providers (in terms of the relational model and transactional consistency). Having differentiated functionality is the bare minimum a new database vendor needs to make itself known in a such a crowded market, however.

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Why Revenue Planning Should be Continuous and Year Round

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Dec 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

With the emergence of multiple selling channels and the rise of the subscription model, the need for a unified approach to revenue planning and execution should be a priority for every organization. As I have written about in my analyst perspective Revenue Management: The Opportunity for Innovation and Optimization, this need to unify the approach and focus on alignment across all revenue supporting teams in furtherance of an organization’s objectives and targets is of key importance to ensure that teams handle different aspects of a customer’s journey and experience. And, as I will further discuss, this alignment between groups is rarely a happy accident but rather the result of forward-looking, continuous planning.

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Automating Workflows for a Better Customer Experience

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 1, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Any organization that relies heavily on a large labor force looks to automation to reduce costs, and contact centers are no exception. They handle interactions at such large scale that almost any effort to automate some part of the process can deliver measurable efficiencies. Two factors have ratcheted up attention on automating customer experience workflows: the dramatic expansion of digital interaction channels, and the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to facilitate workflow deployment.

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TIBCO Broadens Portfolio for Improved Analytics Efficiency

Posted by David Menninger on Nov 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

TIBCO is a large, independent cloud-computing and data analytics software company that offers integration, analytics, business intelligence and events processing software. It enables organizations to analyze streaming data in real time and provides the capability to automate analytics processes. It offers more than 200 connectors, more than 200 enterprise cloud computing and application adapters, and more than 30 non-relational structured query language databases, relational database management systems and data warehouses.

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Blockchains for Medical Identity Management Face Challenges

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The need for a COVID-19 vaccination “passport” has prompted some to suggest using blockchain technology as a means of reliably verifying an individual’s status at an international level. There are precedents: for example, until smallpox was eradicated, all international travelers were obliged to carry an immunization record for that disease on a standard paper form to gain entrance to a country. With the likelihood that COVID-19 will remain endemic for many years, a reliable digital record with universal accessibility would be a boon to everyone, especially to international travelers. Vaccination records are just one part of the broader topic of using blockchain technology for medical identity management.

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The Potential for Hybrid and Multicloud Platforms to Safeguard Data

Posted by Matt Aslett on Nov 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

It has been clear for some time that future enterprise IT architecture will span multiple cloud providers as well as on-premises data centers. As Ventana Research noted in the market perspective on data architectures, the rapid adoption of cloud computing has fragmented where data is accessed or consolidated. We are already seeing that almost one-half (49%) of respondents to Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research are using cloud computing for analytics and data, of which 42% are currently using more than one cloud provider.

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AI/ML Super-Charges the Recruiting Technology Market

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Many of us can recall the excitement generated by the first Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS’s hitting the market in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After all, activities related to sourcing, screening, selecting and offering jobs to candidates was perennially a very manually intensive endeavor that also produced many false positives (unsuccessful hires) as well as false negatives (potentially great hires that were never brought into the recruiting process). The first wave of ATS’s proved to be extremely successful in the market due to the impact of their automation capabilities, with virtually all of the ATS market leaders back then either getting acquired and folded into larger HCM platforms, or continuing their path to amassing very large, typically global, customer bases today.

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Analytic Ops: The Last Mile of Data Ops

Posted by David Menninger on Nov 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Organizations have become more agile and responsive, in part, as a result of being more agile with their information technology. Adopting a DevOps approach to application deployment has allowed organizations to deploy new and revised applications more quickly. DataOps is enabling organizations to be more agile in their data processes. As organizations are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), they are recognizing the need to adopt MLOps. The same desire for agility suggests that organizations need to adopt AnalyticOps.

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Revenue and Commercial Operations: The Difference Matters

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Nov 18, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The emergence of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) has mirrored the adoption of the subscription model and the development of multiple selling and buying channels over and above the traditional direct sales model, referred to as Revenue Management. Supporting the traditional sales team and management was the sales operations team with responsibilities around incentive compensation, territory and quota planning, sales metrics and reporting and sales forecasting as well as sales engagement and enablement tools and applications. Aligned with this functional area under the CRO is another set of roles and functions called revenue operations or RevOps.

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Ceridian Brings Value to HCM for ROI

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 17, 2021 7:05:57 AM

The pandemic has had many profound impacts on organizations and their workforces, particularly the need to manage workers differently. Fewer face-to-face interactions make it difficult to “read” employee sentiments and reactions, even with the assistance of artificial intelligence. Employers are faced with the challenge of managing engagement more closely given unprecedented levels of change in policies and corresponding practices.

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Talend Data Fabric Simplifies Data Life Cycle Management

Posted by David Menninger on Nov 16, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Talend is a data integration and management software company that offers applications for cloud computing, big data integration, application integration, data quality and master data management. The platform enables personnel to work with relational databases, Apache Hadoop, Spark and NoSQL databases for cloud or on-premises jobs. Talend data integration software offers an open and scalable architecture and can be integrated with multiple data warehouses, systems and applications to provide a unified view of all data. Its code generation architecture uses a visual interface to create Java or SQL code.

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Pricefx Optimizes Pricing for Profits

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Nov 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Traditionally, price management and optimization have been contained to certain industries, such as large-scale manufacturing and chemicals. Those industries involve potentially tens of thousands of stock-keeping units (SKUs) covering a wide variety of products and price points. For many organizations, pricing systems are “cost plus” or “follow the leader,” not typically designed to invoke optimization but rather just move pricing along. Price management is often seen as a complex, arduous task that yields small returns for the effort it dictates, and not a strategic lever.

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Vonage Buys Into Conversational Commerce With Jumper.ai

Posted by Keith Dawson on Nov 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When migrating their communications stacks to the cloud, many organizations come face to face with a quandary: do they emphasize the business phone system and gravitate toward a unified communications vendor? Or should they focus on the specific applications needed for running their contact centers and seek out a CCaaS vendor?

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Google Cloud Advances to Multi-Cloud

Posted by Matt Aslett on Nov 11, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Enterprises looking to adopt cloud-based data processing and analytics face a disorienting array of data storage, data processing, data management and analytics offerings. Departmental autonomy, shadow IT, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic choices mean that most enterprises now have the need to manage data across multiple locations, while each of the major cloud providers and data and analytics vendors has a portfolio of offerings that may or may not be available in any given location. As such, the ability to manage and process data across multiple clouds and data centers is a growing concern for large and small enterprises alike. Almost one-half (49%) of respondents to Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research study are using cloud computing for analytics and data, of which 42% are currently using more than one cloud provider.

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What Makes a Metric a KPI?

Posted by David Menninger on Nov 9, 2021 3:00:00 AM

How does your organization define and display its metrics? I believe many organizations are not defining and displaying metrics in a way that benefits them most. If an organization goes through the trouble of measuring and reporting on a metric, the analysis ought to include all the information needed to evaluate that metric effectively. A number, by itself, does not provide any indication of whether the result is good or bad. Too often, the reader is expected to understand the difference, but why leave this evaluation to chance? Why not be more explicit about what results are expected?

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Digitally Transform Purchasing to Improve Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 5, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Digital transformation of the Office of Finance has been a recurring theme for several years, but adoption accelerated when offices were locked down and organizations had to collaborate remotely. It involves shifting manual work, often completed via spreadsheets circulating in emails, to software and systems for improved performance.

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NICE CXi Is a Pivot to the Post-Contact Center World

Posted by Keith Dawson on Nov 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When NICE acquired inContact in 2016, it began a transformation that saw it broaden its product offering and positioned itself to play a larger role in the contact center and customer experience industries. It was a prescient move, creating a firm that could supply end-to-end contact center functionality in the cloud. And it anticipated today’s market dynamic, in which NICE and its competitors are racing to define (and capitalize on) the post-contact center future.

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Using Event Data in Financial Services to Improve Business Processes

Posted by David Menninger on Nov 3, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Our research shows that nearly all financial service organizations (97%) consider it important to accelerate the flow of information and improve responsiveness. Even just a few years ago, capturing and evaluating this information quickly was much more challenging, but with the advent of streaming data technologies that capture and process large volumes of data in real time, financial service organizations can quickly turn events into valuable business outcomes in the form of new products and services or revenue.

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Oracle Cloud HCM: Tackling the Tough Requirements Pays Off

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

In my recently published Analyst Perspective “Selecting an HCM System? Include the Tougher Use Cases in Evaluations,” I highlighted a few HCM systems use cases that have historically been under-supported across the vendor/product landscape. My view on “critical HCM use cases” is the same today as when I led global HR and HR technology initiatives: use cases flow from the business imperatives faced by nearly every organization and their associated workforce-related implications. These HCM business imperatives range from elevating organizational agility—which I define as the ability to rapidly respond to both potential business risks and opportunities with optimal workforce-related actions and decisions—to delivering a superior employee experience or “EX” which directly correlates with a great customer experience and therefore business performance, to continuously focusing on ways of improving employee productivity, as even modest productivity gains can translate into major value creation.

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Digital Communication Platforms Enable Better Work and Customer Experiences

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The age of digital communication platforms is upon us. The need has never been greater for an open and secure platform that satisfies the demand for enterprise-grade business and technology requirements. Overcoming today’s technology challenges is possible with a next-generation cloud-based delivery model that is both extensible and reliable. Organizations considering a digital communication platform can take decisive steps to ensure digital communications for everyone — inside, outside, everywhere, anytime, any location and on any device.

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Why I Joined Ventana Research to Advance Digital Technology

Posted by Matt Aslett on Oct 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

I am very happy to announce that I have joined Ventana Research to help lead the expertise area of Digital Technology, including Analytics and Data, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, Robotic Automation, and Collaborative and Conversational Computing. While the breadth of applications and technology covered by our Digital Technology practice is broad, I will naturally make use of my decades of experience covering data platforms and analytics to help organizations improve the readiness and resilience of business and IT operations.

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AI’s Value to Contact Centers: What Are the Use Cases

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 28, 2021 3:00:00 AM

In part one of this Analyst Perspective on the use of artificial intelligence within contact center applications, we focused on the evolution — and resulting benefits — of tools embedded with AI, including ease-of-use for non-data-scientists.

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Maximize Workforce Value with Technology for Work Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 27, 2021 3:00:00 AM

To maximize the value of the workforce and the work conducted, organizations need to increase the effectiveness of workers assigned to critical, interrelated tasks. Doing so requires a commitment to planning the best use of workers and resources. Failing to do so can limit an organization’s ability to reach essential milestones and complete work related to business processes with customers, partners and across the supply chain.

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Digitize Tax Departments for Increased Strategic Value

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Managing corporate income taxes is a challenge for chief financial officers. Tax codes are often complex, so tax accounting as well as the data required for tax provisions and tax compliance are different enough from statutory accounting to create significant workloads for the tax department. Today, the worldwide trend to higher taxes and growing tax code complexity is increasing the payoff for digitizing an organization’s tax function.

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Databricks Lakehouse Platform Streamlines Big Data Processing

Posted by David Menninger on Oct 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Databricks is a data engineering and analytics cloud platform built on top of Apache Spark that processes and transforms huge volumes of data and offers data exploration capabilities through machine learning models. It can enable data engineers, data scientists, analysts and other workers to process big data and unify analytics through a single interface. The platform supports streaming data, SQL queries, graph processing and machine learning. It also offers a collaborative user interface — workspace — where workers can create data pipelines in multiple languages — including Python, R, Scala, and SQL — and train and prototype machine learning models.

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The Business of Work Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 25, 2021 3:00:00 AM

As the pace of digital innovation has accelerated, many organizations have found it harder to manage the portfolio of work conducted by the workforce to ensure timeliness and mitigate the risk of increased costs and resources. The challenges in managing the work related to project plans are not only to ensure the timeliness in performing and tracking the individual tasks and activities every single moment of the day, but also having the intelligence to adjust and guide all future work. The advent of work management is a systematic approach to prioritizing work and optimizing resources to perform at the desired levels. It requires dedicated applications designed to continuously monitor and streamline activities and processes in ways traditional spreadsheets and project management systems cannot. Ventana Research asserts by 2024, one-third of organizations will deem existing project management and work experiences ineffective to engage or motivate the workforce to be productive.

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The Digital Awakening of Business Process Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The work environment today demands that your organization advances the efficiency to execute business processes for continuous operations to have a positive impact on business performance. The capability to be responsive to any range of minor to disruptive business events is required to support business continuity and level of organizational readiness to meet the needs of digital business. Ventana Research asserts that in 2025, one-quarter of organizations will remain digitally ineffective in achieving the business priorities for customer-, product- and people-related processes. It is essential to eliminate bottlenecks and become an organization that places action and decision-making at is center to optimize the execution of business processes.

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AI’s Value to Contact Centers: Improved Customer and Agent Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When artificial intelligence emerged from the labs and vendors started offering it as a component of their software, many contact-center buyers shied away from it. From their point of view, AI and machine learning tools were new, expensive, relatively untested and had an uncertain use case. This stance was understandable, as contact center professionals are traditionally expected to be risk-averse when deploying technology into their operations. Contact centers are, by design, supposed to be hardened, mission-critical sites of high reliability. There has historically been a bias towards avoiding new technology, deploying only when it has been thoroughly vetted across the industry.

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Vindicia Showcases Bundling and Subscription Intelligence

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Oct 20, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The subscription business model has seen much growth in all aspects of the market in recent years. Now considered the standard for the digital age, the model’s implementation travels parallel to rising technology, leading to the demand for newer functionality and tools. As more and more vendors create their own versions, and as the subscription model is increasingly adopted, technology solutions are also advancing to support a broader range of products and services, as well as industries.

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Use External Data Platform to Improve Analytics

Posted by David Menninger on Oct 19, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Access to external data can provide a competitive advantage. Our research shows that more than three-quarters (77%) of participants consider external data to be an important part of their machine learning (ML) efforts. The most important external data source identified is social media, followed by demographic data from data brokers. Organizations also identified government data, market data, environmental data and location data as important external data sources. External data is not just part of ML analyses though. Our research shows that external data sources are also a routine part of data preparation processes, with 80% of organizations incorporating one or more external data sources. And a similar proportion of participants in our research (84%) include external data in their data lakes.

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Calabrio Brings VoC to Larger CX Potential

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Tools for contact center agent management have changed considerably in the past few years. The suite of software applications has grown from those that perform core functions in scheduling and quality control to include more advanced solutions for agent guidance, integrated desktops, and workflow and automation design. One area of intense investment by vendors has been analytics, specifically for assessing customer satisfaction and hearing the “voice of the customer.”

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Pricing Optimization Software Helps Maximize Revenue

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Oct 13, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Price management and optimization is not a new discipline, but until now, it has been restricted to particular industries — such as discrete manufacturing and chemicals — where there are potentially hundreds if not thousands of stock-keeping units covering many interdependent products.

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Strategic Planning for Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Strategic planning has always been difficult. But it is even more so in this age of rapid digital transformation and the pressure of business continuity, which has introduced disruptive changes. What’s needed, ironically, is a methodical approach to how an organization manages strategic planning to allow for beneficial disruption that is not avoidable, balancing finance and operations, engaging existing expertise and factoring in technology to ensure that new initiatives can be strategically aligned to the goals and aspirations of the organization. In essence, the essential foundation for performance management is planning that can ensure its alignment or optimization in order to reach strategic objectives.

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Data Virtualization Brings Data Together Quickly and Easily

Posted by David Menninger on Oct 7, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The technology industry throws around a lot of similar terms with different meanings as well as entirely different terms with similar meanings. In this post, I don’t want to debate the meanings and origins of different terms; rather, I’d like to highlight a technology weapon that you should have in your data management arsenal. We currently refer to this technology as data virtualization. Other similar terms you may have heard include data fabric, data mesh and [data] federation. I’ll briefly discuss these terms and how I see them being used, but ultimately, I’d like to share with you some research that shows why data virtualization can be valuable, regardless of what you call it.

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Alteryx Tackles Analytics Ops

Posted by David Menninger on Oct 5, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Alteryx is a data analytics software company that offers data preparation and analytics tools to simplify and automate data wrangling, data cleaning and modeling processes, enabling line-of-business personnel to quickly access, manipulate, analyze and output data. The platform features tools to run a variety of analytic functions such as diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive and geospatial analytics in a unified platform, and can connect to various data warehouses, cloud applications, spreadsheets and other sources.

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The Weak Link in Data Governance? Analytics

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Data governance is a hot topic these days. In fact, we are conducting benchmark research on the subject here. With increasing regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), organizations face more external oversight of their data governance practices. The risk of significant fines associated with these and other regulations, coupled with organizations’ internal compliance requirements, has brought more attention to data governance practices. We anticipate through 2023, three-quarters of Chief Data Officers’ primary concerns will be governing the privacy and security of their organization’s data.

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The Transformation of Account-Based Marketing for Revenue Optimization

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 29, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Account-based marketing (ABM) serves as a model for how a complex manual activity can be improved and automated. That does not mean it always goes well. ABM is a practice that many B2B marketers swear by, but it can be very difficult to get a technology-enhanced ABM program up and running.

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Collibra Brings Effective Data Governance to Line-of-Business

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 28, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Collibra is a data governance software company that offers tools for metadata management and data cataloging. The software enables organizations to find data quickly, identify its source and assure its integrity. Line-of-business workers can use it to create, review and update the organization's policies on different data assets. Collibra’s software uses a microservice architecture and open application programming interfaces to connect to various data ecosystems. Its data intelligence cloud platform can automatically classify data from various sources such as online transaction processing databases, master repositories and Excel files without moving the data, so the information assets stay protected.

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The Pandemic Heightens Need for Agent Management

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The primary effect of the pandemic on agent/workforce management beginning in 2020 was a rush to re-site and re-equip contact centers and agents. This was achieved with a surprising speed and smoothness industrywide. But once achieved on a “temporary” or “emergency” basis, it became clear that this shift was going to be semi-permanent. Even if the majority of the agent population moves back into standard centers, there is now a consensus that some portion of the workforce will work from home. As a result, the industry’s vendors have focused their messaging and short-term roadmaps on enhancing workforce engagement, or what we call agent management. These include promoting tools for measurement, management, and supervisory tools like mobile interfaces into workforce systems.

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Sisu Optimizes Analytics with Machine Learning for Actions & Decisions

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 23, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Sisu Data is an analytics platform for structured data that uses machine learning and statistical analysis to automatically monitor changes in data sets and surface explanations. It can prioritize facts based on their impact and provide a detailed, interpretable context to refine and support conclusions. The product features fact boards, annotations and the ability to share facts and analysis across teams. Data teams and analysts start by creating common definitions of key performance indicators, which Sisu then utilizes to automatically test thousands of hypotheses to identify differences between groups.

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BillingPlatform Bolsters the Rise of Subscription Services

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Subscription management and billing services help organizations offer unique benefits and enhance delivery to customers. By making services more personalized, organizations can acquire – and retain – more customers.

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Managing Price Inflation Effectively with Technology

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

A looming challenge for companies in the developed world is price inflation, an issue periodically fretted over – but not experienced at a macroeconomic level in most developed economies – over the past four decades. Price inflation has been a frequent bugaboo that never emerged because of persistent disinflationary forces in the world economy over the past forty years. It remains to be seen to what extent recent price rises are persistent or transitory but “what if?” was the most important phrase organizations used in 2020. What if this time it really is different?

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Uniphore Automates Intelligent Conversations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 16, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Customer support operations increasingly rely on automation and complex workflow processes to reduce costs and improve experiences. Automation also allows organizations to make their service processes richer, incorporating information and staff from back offices, for example, or embedding conversational tools into contact center processes.

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Rapidminer Platform Supports Entire Data Science Lifecycle

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 16, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Rapidminer is a visual enterprise data science platform that includes data extraction, data mining, deep learning, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) and predictive analytics. It can support AI/ML processes with data preparation, model validation, results visualization and model optimization. Rapidminer Studio is its visual workflow designer for the creation of predictive models. It offers more than 1,500 algorithms and functions in their library, along with templates, for common use cases including customer churn, predictive maintenance and fraud detection. It has a drag and drop visual interface and can connect to databases, enterprise data warehouses, data lakes, cloud storage, business applications and social media. The platform also supports push-down processing for data prep and ETL inside databases to minimize data movement and optimize performance.

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Workforce Planning: Seizing the Moment Strategically

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 15, 2021 12:00:00 AM

It’s no secret that many large organizations operate in a somewhat insular and siloed manner. This dynamic applies to corporate functions where value-creation from taking advantage of operational synergies could otherwise be quite significant. Historically, human resources and finance departments, for example, were among the operating areas known to closely collaborate only when absolutely necessary. Actually, the 1992 book, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," comes to mind when I reflect back on how I needed to navigate around a lack of integrated HR/finance data and processes when I was a global HR practitioner, especially since this was often exacerbated by the use of stereotypes like "people/people vs. numbers/people." The combination of these factors clearly created a sense of disconnectedness between the two groups. And having different definitions for commonly used business terms — like headcount and labor costs — as well as different methods for measuring and reporting on these items didn’t make the situation more manageable. But that wasn’t the whole enchilada of operational challenges when linking HR and finance: You also had to account for different processing and reporting cycles and cutoff dates, which often created hours of agonizing reconciliation work for the respective teams.

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Revenue Management Maximizes Partner and Reseller Subscriptions

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 15, 2021 12:00:00 AM

Among the many digital economy trends written about in recent years, one of the most significant has been the adoption of a subscription business model. For organizations with a business model that also includes reselling third-party products and services, this shift to subscription services adds complications and potential challenges.

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Essential Technology for Continuous Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 14, 2021 12:00:00 AM

As a result of the rapidly changing business landscape in 2020 and the need to quickly – and intelligently – change business plans and budgets, many more companies have been deciding to adopt a continuous planning approach to be able to add speed and flexibility. Transforming how organizations plan and budget has become a top-of-mind issue for CFO and even CEOs. Ventana Research has been advocating what we call continuous planning to improve organizational performance. In this multimedia Analyst Perspective, SVP and Research Director Robert Kugel discusses three important technologies necessary for continuous planning – technologies that can substantially enhance the effectiveness of the FP&A organization.

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Confluent Helps Organizations Tackle Streaming Data

Posted by David Menninger on Sep 9, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Confluent Platform is a streaming platform built by the original creators of Apache Kafka. It enables organizations to organize and manage streaming data from various sources. Confluent launched its IPO in June this year and raised $828 million to further expand its business. Confluent Platform was brought to several public cloud vendor marketplaces last year as Confluent Cloud. The offering is currently available in Azure, AWS, and GCP marketplaces. Furthermore, the company strengthened its partnership with Microsoft at the beginning of this year, establishing Confluent Cloud as a fully managed Apache Kafka service directly available on Microsoft Azure. Azure customers can access the extensive library of pre-built connectors, a unified billing model with options to use Azure committed spend on Confluent Cloud, and deeper integrations with Azure services.

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Subscription Automation Enables a Better Subscriber Experience

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 8, 2021 3:00:00 AM

A subscription business model and an exceptional customer experience are equal priorities for many organizations. Much has been written about both: Subscription and usage services are considered the business model for the digital age, and a great customer experience is how organizations acquire and retain customers. I believe that by 2024, the category of subscription management software will emerge with a suite of applications and platform supporting the subscriber experience through the complete customer lifecycle to drive operational effectiveness.

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