Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Top Priorities for the Next Generation of Workforce Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 30, 2012 11:22:13 AM

Since the early ’80s, when I personally experienced the transition from written time cards to cards for swiping on a time clock at a grocery retailer I worked at, I have been interested in the software and technology of workforce management. That gives me a perspective not many analysts can match when it comes to transitioning to new technology to help organizations manage and engage workforces. Ventana Research recently completed benchmark research on next-generation workforce management, covering technologies for worker and manager environments and operations. While the research found only 10 percent of organizations at the highest level of overall maturity, which we call Innovative, we did find organizations beginning to deploy and use new workforce management technologies. While we did not distinguish in our research between hourly and salaried employees, the majority of organizations were time-clock-based organizations using technology to manage the nuances of scheduling and working with hourly-based workforces.

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Topics: Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Workforce Performance, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management

What Every CEO Needs to Know About Key Supporting Technologies

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 30, 2012 11:00:28 AM

I recently started a series of blog posts on what CEOs (and for that matter, all senior corporate executives) need to know about IT. The first covered the high-level issues. As I noted there, it’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, CEOs must grasp the basics of IT just as they must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. This installment is about four supporting technologies that will be drive considerable change in business computing over the next five years. Each of these subjects is worthy of a chapter-length discussion or even a book; what follows is the “elevator pitch” version.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, SaaS, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Customer, ERP, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud, Cloud Computing, Complex Event Processing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, CEO, PaaS

SAP Launches SAP 360 Customer – New Offering but Old Mission

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 27, 2012 9:52:42 AM

Over the last few weeks SAP has run several events for both customers and the analyst community to herald the launch of SAP 360 Customer in an attempt to regain ground in the CRM market and convince everyone that it has sorted out its cloud, mobile and collaboration strategy. One of the main user events was Sapphire NOW in Madrid earlier this month. From reports that I have seen, it seems that customers at that conference were far from convinced – and if customers are not convinced then prospects are likely to be even less convinced.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, SAP, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, CRM

The Right Software is Crucial for Effective Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2012 9:39:43 AM

I’ve been examining how corporations plan and budget for more than decade. One clear pattern that has emerged is the difficulty that using desktop spreadsheets imposes on the process. Ventana Research recently published findings from our trends in business planning benchmark research, and the research once again confirms this observation. It shows that companies that use dedicated applications are consistently more satisfied (and much less dissatisfied) with the software they use than users of spreadsheets. Twice as many said their third-party planning application performs very well in financial and cash-flow forecasting. While one-third (32%) said their dedicated application performs the complex task of compensation planning very well, just 7 percent of spreadsheet users say so. Dedicated applications also have capabilities that spreadsheets lack; those include easily integrating data from multiple systems, drilling down on demand to understand the underlying causes of variances in reviews and performing extensive what-if planning. All of these enable more accurate planning.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, spreadsheet

Mplsystems Extends Beyond Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 24, 2012 7:56:56 AM

The parent company of mplSystems, Message Pad Ltd., was founded in the U.K. in 1994 and provides the infrastructure to support contact center operations. mplSystems’ main product family is intelligentContact (iContact), which is available either on premises or in the cloud. It is an interesting mix of products that covers call, email, chat, SMS, social media management and routing from a universal queue, a new social media product that routes social media posts to agents and provides the interface through which agents can respond. It offers some WFO capabilities, such as call recording, quality monitoring and workforce management, along with a new tool set that allows companies to build mobile customer service apps and a suite of reporting and analytics tools. Companies can choose to deploy as many of these applications as they require, adding more at a later date based on business demands to build a solution that meets the organization’s business requirements. mplSystems provides services to work with customers on these type of projects.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Micorsoft, Mobile apps, mplsystems, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, 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

Hewlett Packard Charges Fraud at Autonomy– Lessons Learned?

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 24, 2012 7:39:53 AM

Many people enjoy mystery stories or crime thrillers; in the same vein of savoring the whodunnit and howdunnit, I like a good accounting scandal. My fascination with cooking the books started when I was young with the “great salad oil swindle”, which wound up causing losses in excess of $1 billion in today’s money and even threatened a Wall Street collapse. This disaster was averted by the assassination of President Kennedy, which kept markets closed on Monday, November 25, 1963, and gave the parties involved an extra day to resolve the matter. Nowadays I look forward to receiving FIRST, a compendium prepared by IBM’s Risk Analytics group of the previous month’s financial shenanigans. So, the recent Hewlett-Packard-Autonomy imbroglio fascinates me.

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Topics: Fraud, Governance, GRC, audit, Autonomy, IFRS, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Accounting, Hewlett Packard, Meg Whitman, SEC

Informatica Optimizes Data Integration for Big Data and Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 21, 2012 10:48:41 AM

The technology ecosystems are expanding rapidly and the use of big data and cloud computing challenge organizations to process information efficiently and deliver consistent high-quality data. To address these issues, Informatica has introduced two new offerings.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Hadoop, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Management

Tableau Thrives in Providing Visual Discovery for Business Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 20, 2012 12:05:46 PM

Tableau Software is growing fast. Tableau has taken a “land and expand” strategy that drives what they call the democratization of analytics within organizations. Tableau has enjoyed first mover advantage in the area of exploratory analytics called visual discovery, a growing type of business analytics that allows companies to easily visualize data in a descriptive manner, but the company is facing competition as deep-pocket companies such as IBM, SAP and others become more aggressive in the space.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Visualization, Sales Performance, Tableau, Google, discovery analytics, exploratory analytics, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Operational Intelligence, Impala, big query, next generation business intelligence

Quill Brings a Narrative of Insights to Business Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 20, 2012 11:32:34 AM

Business analytics has become the highest ranked technology innovation, according to our benchmark research on business technology innovation, but a lack of trained resources and inefficient technology have hampered the best of organizations when they attempt to roll out analytics. Our benchmark research on business analytics in 2012 found that the majority of analysts in organizations spend more of their time on data-related activities than on analytic tasks, and our 2013 research on business technology innovation finds little improvement. At the same time, organizations are dissatisfied with trying to gain insight from dashboards of charts; see “The Pathetic State of Dashboards”. The worst thing wrong with business analytics today is that we are not able to read them quickly to determine what is relevant and what insights might demand action.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Artificial Intelligence, Narrative Science, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Expert Systems

Zeacom Enters the Growing Enghouse Interactive Contact Center Solution Empire

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 19, 2012 10:55:45 AM

I recently wrote a blog post about how Enghouse Systems is expanding its portfolio of contact center vendors, and another detailing more about what capabilities its products support. I noted that its acquisition trail wasn’t over and that it was in the process of acquiring Zeacom. Although not quite evident from the Zeacom website, that deal is now done and Zeacom is part of Enghouse Interactive. This means that Enghouse Interactive now has three major contact center products, so it was good to catch up with a Zeacom executive to learn more about how Zeacom fits in with Enghouse Interactive’s overall portfolio.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, 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

Social Media Stupidity in the Technology Industry

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 18, 2012 6:24:20 AM

If you follow my writing, you’ve seen blog posts with titles such as Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers and Industry Analyst Art or Fiction: Questionable Technology Predictions, so it should be no surprise I can’t resist an opportunity to talk about a little bit of insanity on the part of technology suppliers and industry analysts about social media.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Twitter, Workforce Performance, CMO, COO, Industry Analyst, Technology Vendors

A Decade of Research at Ventana Research

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 18, 2012 6:16:32 AM

I’m happy to say that Ventana Research celebrated its tenth anniversary at our recent Business Technology Innovation Summit in San Jose at the Tech Museum. This location was fitting, since at the event we introduced and presented our first-ever Technology Innovation Awards and seventh annual Leadership Awards. If you did not get a chance to attend, we have the live webstream available for replay at no cost; thanks to Splunk for sponsoring this to let everyone enjoy the sessions.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Peoplefluent, Planview, Research, Splunk, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, CFO, CMO, COO, Datawatch, Saba, Technology

Building The Collaborative Enterprise to Improve Customer Relationships

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 18, 2012 6:02:58 AM

I have challenged some of the hype about the social enterprise because I feel “social” gives the wrong impression. For most people, social media is predominately about being social. While everyone likes to feel that going to work is partly about being social, when it comes down to it running a business is about winning customers, selling them your products or services, and providing customer service when needed. In today’s competitive markets, none of these is an easy task.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, 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

What Every CEO Needs to Know About IT

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 18, 2012 5:49:25 AM

The business/IT divide is a barrier that prevents most companies from achieving their true performance potential. The divide has remained a constant impediment since the dawn of business computing six decades ago. It’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, that CEO must master the basics of IT just as he must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. Only a handful of business schools give prospective MBAs a good grounding in the practical elements of information technology or preach the necessity of mastering an understanding of IT as they would, say, the efficient market hypothesis.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, competition, executive, strategic, strategy, Operational Performance, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, IT, CEO, FPM

Can Business Trust Microsoft for Mobile Technology?

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 15, 2012 11:40:04 AM

Mobile technology continues to advance weekly, with new software releases and new versions of devices. Though it has been in the headlines frequently in recent weeks, can Microsoft really change the mobile technology dynamics in the business world?

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Topics: Sales Performance, Android, Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, Google, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Windows Phone, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance

What’s Wrong with Today’s Planning and Budgeting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2012 11:12:24 AM

People have been complaining about the budgeting and planning processes in their organizations for decades. If you’re old enough, you may recall President Carter’s failed attempt to use something called zero-based budgeting to impose discipline in federal outlays. (In his first year in office the federal government reported a whopping $54 billion deficit.) Some complaining is almost inevitable, but some reflects the one-way nature of the process. People spend time on creating a budget and don’t feel they get enough back from their time spent.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, spreadsheet

CallMiner Introduces Real-Time Speech Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 15, 2012 11:04:05 AM

I recently wrote how CallMiner had expanded into text analytics and had released its myEureka product, which in my opinion took the presentation of analytics to a new level. My colleagues agreed, and our firm awarded CallMiner the 2012 Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award for Customer Excellence.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Callminer, Business Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Building Your Workforce Into a Strong Tribe

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 15, 2012 10:36:07 AM

TribeHR has brought to market an HR application suite that uses social collaboration to empower workers and managers to perform tasks that might once have been done mostly by HR professionals, or not done at all. The software-as-a-service-based TribeHR application helps businesses with fewer than 500 employees with recruiting, applicant tracking, onboarding, performance and goal setting, and time and vacation management – but with a twist. By using social collaboration as a foundation for its functionality, TribeHR takes advantage of knowledge sharing, the most valuable approach our human capital management benchmark research found for engaging the workforce.

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Topics: Performance Management, Applicant Tracking, Human Capital Management, human resources, Recruiting, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Hiring, HR, TribeHR

Kronos Takes Tablets and Tasks to Workforces

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 14, 2012 9:03:09 AM

Workforce management software vendor Kronos released its financial results at its 15th annual KronosWorks conference (#KronosWorks12) this week. As a private company Kronos had $870 million in revenue for its 2012 fiscal year ending in September, making Kronos one of the largest software and technology companies in the world. Our benchmark research into next-generation workforce management finds the most important technology priorities are collaboration (70%), analytics (68%) and mobility (43%). Kronos addresses these trends with its portfolio of workforce management applications.

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Topics: Mobile Technology, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Tablets, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management

Vocalcom Supports Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 13, 2012 10:51:46 AM

Vocalcom is one of the up-and-coming names in the contact center market. Founded in 1995, it is headquartered in France but has a worldwide presence, with 4,500 customers and more than half a million users of its services. It may not be as well-known as other companies in the same space because many of the customers are in southern Europe, and a high percentage are outsourcers who use its services to provide contact center services based on its platform. It offers what I call multichannel contact center interaction management in the cloud – what some term “communications in the cloud.” A full contact center consists of the systems to manage multiple communication channels, systems to manage agent performance, business application such as CRM, and analytics. Vocalcom’s strength is in the former, along with integration tools that support interfaces with business applications and analytics that focus on interaction performance.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, 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, Vocalcom

Business Planning Benchmark Shows No Improvement in How Companies Plan and Budget

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 13, 2012 10:42:39 AM

Organizations engage in a range of forward-looking activities. Sales organizations have pipelines to forecast sales. Manufacturing organizations set and reset demand plans and near-term production schedules, often in response to longer-term production plans that determine what they will make and where and how they will make it. Logistics people plan inbound and outbound shipments. Marketing departments plan advertising and promotion campaigns. HR departments project staffing requirements and associated salary and benefit costs. A lot of planning goes on in any business, but most of it is done in business silos and little of it is integrated, so companies spend a lot of time on planning but get less out of the effort than they should. We recently completed our integrated business planning benchmark research, which followed similar research we completed in 2008. The research shows that companies have done little to mature their planning processes over the past four years.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, spreadsheet