Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Confirmit Moves to Voice of Customer and Feedback Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 28, 2012 11:20:17 AM

Confirmit is one of the leading vendors of market research services. It has a full range of products that support every step of the market research cycle. Its software lets users create surveys that can be delivered through multiple channels, perform panel management (managing teams of people that contribute to research programs), collect the data from completed surveys, and use a suite of reporting and analysis tools to gain in-depth insights from the data collected. The company has been steadily moving into the enterprise feedback market, using similar products and services that allow companies to focus on customers and employees. These developments have been accelerating, as evidenced by three recent announcements: the release of the company’s latest Horizons 17 software, a new set of services that focuses on the customer, and the acquisition of CustomerSat, an enterprise feedback management software and services provider.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Confirmit

How Effective Is Your Company’s Planning for Long-Term Investing?

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 27, 2012 11:24:51 AM

Effective capital planning and capital investment are vital to a company’s long-term success. The choices a company makes – how much to invest and in which facilities or projects – have a profound effect on its long-term success. For that reason, companies take pains to ensure that these decisions support their long-term strategies and are made as rationally as possible. Because Ventana Research is frequently involved in software acquisition discussions, return on investment is a topic we frequently see raised.

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Topics: Planning, Reporting, return on assets, strategic planning, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, finance, capital budget, capital spending, FPM

Workforce Analytics Does Not Require Big Data – Yet!

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 27, 2012 9:49:15 AM

Exactly what is the relationship between workforce analytics and big data? Most of the use cases for big data seem to revolve around marketing, social media and customer service initiatives where unstructured data sources reveal big value. Our research into big data analytics suggests a prime benefit of big data is in the ability to retain and analyze larger amounts of data and to increase the speed of analysis. However, workforce analytics does not suffer from an overwhelming amount of data, but rather from the inability to apply meaningful analytics to the data organizations already have.

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Topics: Big Data, Human Capital Management, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Enghouse Interactive Contact Center Products Offer a Range of Capabilities

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 27, 2012 9:23:53 AM

Enghouse Systems Ltd. is not one of the best-known brands in the contact center market, but if it keeps acquiring vendors at the rate it has been doing then it might soon be. It was founded in Canada in 1984, and from what I can see it is grown largely by acquisition to revenues of more than $120 million. It has morphed into Enghouse Interactive, which now represents nearly 90 percent of its parent company’s business. A quick look at its website shows that over its lifetime it has acquired six brands that operate in the contact center market: Arc Solutions, Cosmocom, Datapulse, Syntellect, Terex and Trio; and this doesn’t include its latest acquisition, Zeacom. After my first briefing with the company I reported on three of these acquisitions: Cosmocom, Syntellect and Zeacom.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Voice of the Customer, Enghouse interactive, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

VPI Extends into Multi-channel Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 26, 2012 9:37:28 AM

Voice Print International recently announced it has selected Hewlett-Packard’s Autonomy to deliver speech and multi-channel analytics. This news means VPI joins a small group of vendors that can provide a view of customer interactions across multiple communication channels, which is of growing importance to companies. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support an average of four to five channels of interaction with customers. Without a multi-channel view they are in danger of upsetting customers but not knowing what customers have tried before. The core challenge is that many interactions are either in the form of call recordings or text (email messages, forms, letters, chat and web scripts, and social media). Companies that cannot process all of these forms of data are left with an incomplete view.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, VPI, Autonomy (an HP company), Management, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Plumbing the Salesforce Clouds is Your Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 25, 2012 11:26:10 AM

Salesforce is a global software-as-a-service (SaaS) company to be reckoned with. The swarming crowds at its Dreamforce event last week were estimated to exceed 90,000. The company is rapidly growing an ecosystem that includes Sales, Service and Marketing Clouds; Force.com for building applications; and Data.com for storing data in the cloud centrally for use across Salesforce products. It is also focusing on social computing, as I outlined at the beginning of the event. Hundreds of Salesforce partners complement and in some cases compete with the company with a large range of applications and tools available on the Salesforce AppExchange.

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Topics: Master Data Management, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Kapow Software, SnapLogic, Zyme Solutions, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Data Integration, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Informatica, Information Builders, Information Management, Data, data integrity, database.com

Other Side of the Pond Takeaways from Salesforce Dreamforce

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 24, 2012 11:53:51 AM

Saleforce.com puts on a marketing event that no other software vendor can come close to. Any CEO that can get MC Hammer rapping about your company as an introduction to your keynote has to be admired. The actual content got mixed reviews; my colleague Mark Smith saw some shortfalls in how Salesforce.com supports analytics, while Robert Kugel felt the company’s cloud-based software could help midsize companies.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Vendor(s), Workforce Force Optimization

Salesforce Struggles to Deliver on the Dream of Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 21, 2012 12:35:59 PM

I was at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference this week to hear about the latest advancements from the cloud computing software giant. Salesforce has helped revolutionize cloud computing for business, and its social media and collaborative technologies help advance business processes in sales, customer service and improve the interactions between employees, partners and customers. Salesforce has made great advancements in cloud, social and mobile technology, as I have assessed and my colleague did too.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, QlikView, Sales Performance, Social Media, Gooddata, KXEN Informatica, SnapLogic, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, InetSoft, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, BIRST, Cloud9 Analytics, Domo, Information Builder iway, Roambi, Salesforce

Salesforce Dreamforce Keynote: Social is Changing Industry Power Structures

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 21, 2012 11:54:48 AM

With more than 90,000 attendees registered and 100,000 more expected to watch via live stream on Facebook, Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce is the biggest technology event of this year. The conference kicked off yesterday morning with MC Hammer letting the packed house know that it was “Chatter time” and leaving little doubt about the theme of the Marc Benioff’s keynote speech: Social. Citing numbers from McKinsey and IBM, Benioff suggested that social adds $1.3 trillion to the economy and that CEOs see social media as the second most important communication channel of the 21st century, just after the direct sales force. Our own sales benchmark research here at Ventana Research shows similar trends, with 63 percent finding that collaboration is a key trend in sales organizations.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Location Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Social

Salesforce Helps Midsize Company Dreams Come True

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 21, 2012 11:42:53 AM

I cover the meat-and-potatoes aspects of corporate computing. I also pay attention to the special needs of midsize companies (by our definition, those with between 100 and 999 employees), which are unlike those of either small business or large corporations. After attending this year’s Dreamforce conference, Salesforce.com’s annual user meeting held this week in San Francisco, I can appreciate how difficult it is for executives and people who work in back office functions to cut through the technology hoopla to find the utterly practical (but certainly not dull) reasons why the cloud can help them run their businesses better. In fact, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings can give midsize companies a leg up in ways that on-premises alternatives can’t. Here are four big ones that top my list.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, ERP, CRM customer service, SMB, Business Performance, Cloud, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Accounting, Dreamforce, finance, Security, FPM, innovation

Transforming Three Vs of Big Data into Three Ws of Business Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 19, 2012 11:41:33 AM

Thinking about big data and the swirling world of analytics that surrounds it can be overwhelming. Broad-based organizational and technological changes are driving a new industrial constitution built on time-to-value and closed-loop systems of organizational and machine learning.  As I analyze our next-generation business intelligence benchmark research results, I see trends in collaboration and mobile technology that will have a profound impact on business for generations to come. Given these defining times and technologies, how does one go about thinking of big data and the business analytics value chain?

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Topics: Big Data, 3 Vs, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence

Genesys Advances Customer Service to the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 19, 2012 10:44:41 AM

In what will no doubt be one of a host of announcements coming out of Dreamforce, Genesys announced a new set of cloud-based services especially for Salesforce.com customers. Genesys is a well-known brand in the contact center market, but it has undergone significant change of late and is now an independent company in charge of its own destiny. This announcement demonstrates that it intends to become more responsive to market trends – and it probably can’t do better than to team up with Salesforce.com, which will provide huge amounts of marketing clout. Salesforce itself has become a major brand in the contact center space with Service Cloud, as my research into the adoption of cloud-based contact centers shows.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Customer Experience Management, Voice of the Customer, Genesys, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Unified Communications

Are You Dreaming Social? Salesforce Is!

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 18, 2012 10:46:36 AM

The annual Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference (Twitter: #DF12), just underway, may be the largest software conference ever, with attendance, physically and on the Internet, expected to be 90,000. Certainly, as one of the largest software events of 2012, this conference will be heavily covered via social media, while under the roof of the Moscone Center and surrounding hotels Salesforce will be demonstrating the power of using social media concepts in the enterprise and combining those concepts with collaboration software. Salesforce, which has become a cloud computing and software–as-a-service force in the industry, is publicizing its new efforts in marketing and in work applications. Once a conference for marketing and sales professionals, Dreamforce is now a technology and IT event that interests many IT organizations that are examining how renting software on the Internet can help their efforts and support their business priorities more efficiently than purchasing it.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Research, SFDC, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Dreamforce, Salesforce

Customer Feedback Processes Lagging in Companies Today

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 17, 2012 11:17:55 AM

Many people these days talk about voice of the customer (VOC) programs and how they can improve business performance. The foundation of any VOC program is collecting customer feedback, analyzing it and using the insights to improve customer-focused processes, training and the use of technology. Changes usually focus on customer service, but increasingly companies are focusing on the customer experience – how companies engage with customers to resolve issues, provide information, close sales and respond to social media. Our benchmark research into customer feedback management shows that although their use of customer feedback to slowly maturing, companies still need to address a number of fundamental issues.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Oracle Presents a Taleo Future for Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 17, 2012 7:04:11 AM

I attended Taleo World to see how well Oracle is integrating Taleo after acquiring the company in 2012. I assessed the announcement by Oracle earlier this year; it was clear then that Oracle needed to make this acquisition to boost its cloud computing and talent management efforts. In the three-hour keynote session, a business overview and software demonstrations indicated what Oracle has in store for the applications and how it plans to fuse its applications and technology to add value to organizations.

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Topics: Social Media, Human Capital Management, Recruiting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, HireVue, Hiring, HR, JobVite, Talemetry, Taleo

NewVoiceMedia Provides Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 14, 2012 12:33:17 PM

Our recent benchmark research into the adoption of cloud-based systems to support contact center operations shows that around 10 percent of companies have adopted what is commonly termed communications in the cloud – that is, systems in the cloud to manage delivery of telephone calls to the right location, be it an internal extension number within an organization, a branch office number, a contact center extension or someone’s home or cell phone number. Given that telecommunication service providers manage calls in the cloud, it makes sense to intercept calls before they are delivered to a physical location, use rules to decide the correct final destination and route calls directly. NewVoiceMedia, founded in 2000, was one of the first companies to offer such services in the cloud. It first came to my attention at a UK contact center exhibition when within minutes of visiting its stand I was set up as a technical support agent and began receiving calls from its test contact center – very impressive given that with similar on-premises systems setting up such a task could take hours if not days.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, NewVoicemedia, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Splunk Bids to be King of Search and Operational Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 14, 2012 12:21:33 PM

As I listened to the keynote address at, conf2012, the annual Splunk user conference, my initial impression was that the company was spreading itself too thin. The company highlighted four rather formidable areas of organizational focus: Enterprise 5.0, the company’s flagship data platform, which is now in beta; Development, which is support for building applications and integrating Splunk within the broader IT infrastructure; Content, the continued development of core applications and use cases in areas such as systems management and security; and Cloud, based on the recent Splunk Storm product, which targets a new class of customer – namely those developers who use services for everything. Is this broad-based vision a realistic goal, or merely an attempt to appease Wall Street pressure given the company’s relatively recent IPO?

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Topics: Big Data, Splunk, data fabric, IT Performance, Operational Performance, opertational intelligence, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Operational Intelligence

Look Who’s Hot in Data Integration for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 7, 2012 11:52:53 AM

Ventana Research has just released the 2012 Value Index for Data Integration, in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has been researching this software category for almost a decade. Our latest benchmark research in information management found that data integration is a critical component of information management strategies, according to 55 percent of organizations. Our benchmark research on organizations using this software not only uncovers best practices and trends, but it also highlights why IT is using data integration to advance its competencies across people and processes.

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Topics: Master Data Management, Microsoft, Pentaho, Sales Performance, SAP, SAS, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Talend, Attunity, SnapLogic, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Syncsort

Rethinking Budgeting for 2013

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 7, 2012 11:16:57 AM

Budget season is about to open at most companies that operate on a calendar year, so this is probably as good a time as any to rethink the process. Almost all companies will undertake the construction of a budget this year the same way they did it last year, despite widespread complaints that it is a monumental waste of time. One major reason why budgeting never changes is that it isn’t important enough to be worth serious rethinking. Another reason is that too many vested interests are aligned with the status quo, especially because compensation is tied to budgets. Despite this, I think companies can do better, evolving the process from a finance-centric activity to one that serves the needs of broader business interests as well.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, Controller, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Accounting, CFO, Compensation, cash management, FPM, Integrated Business Planning, treasury

Companies Should Consider Adopting Contact Centers in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 5, 2012 12:01:39 PM

Our recent benchmark research on the contact center in the cloud shows companies are under more pressure than ever to upgrade their contact centers. The large majority of companies (73%) think it is very important to improve the way they handle customer interactions, and only a small percentage are fully satisfied with their current applications (19%) or their communications (14%).  Upgrading presents a significant challenge, however, because simple call centers that handle only phone calls have been made obsolete by the need to support multiple channels of communications. Consumer communication preferences have changed, and as a result companies on average now support five channels of communication in their centers, with just over a third (37%) supporting six or more – the most popular being inbound calls (still tops), email, outbound calls, fax and postal mail.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Tagetik Offers a Suite Spot for Financial Performance Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 5, 2012 11:49:54 AM

If you’re considering purchasing a financial performance management (FPM) suite, you shouldn’t overlook a recent entrant in the category, Tagetik (which sort of rhymes with “magnetic”). The company, which was founded in 1986 and is based in Lucca, Italy, began by focusing mainly on Europe, but has extended its efforts in the United States in the past two years. Tagetik 4.0 is an elegant implementation of a financial performance management suite running on Microsoft’s SharePoint infrastructure.

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Topics: Planning, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, close, Consolidation, Controller, process management, report, SharePoint, XBRL, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Dashboards, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Accounting, CFO, Tagetik, FPM, scorecards, spreadsheet