Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

LogiXML Capitalizes on Embedded Business Intelligence

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 27, 2013 8:49:43 AM

LogiXML has been around for more than a decade, but has seen particularly robust growth in the past year. Recent announcements show the company with better than 100-percent year-over-year growth, driven by a 97 percent license renewal rate and new customer growth in SMB, departmental and OEM deployments. The 158-percent growth for the embedded analytics group for the fourth quarter on a year-over-year basis was particularly strong.

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Topics: Sales Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Information Applications, agile, LogiXML

Cornerstone Making Talent Management Simpler to Use

Posted by stephanmillard on Feb 26, 2013 8:27:55 AM

Improving how employees and managers can improve talent management activities through changes in process, technology and better access to information is both a theme of my research agenda this year. It is also what the key technology vendors in this space have been focused on developing products to do.  Cornerstone OnDemand is one of those vendors that has been in the talent management space since 1999, when it launched its original CyberU learning management product, and now offers a broad range of talent management applications. It is growing at a strong rate relative to many of the other companies in the market. Cornerstone’s products now span learning management, learning extended enterprise (learning extended to partners and customers), performance management, compensation management, succession management and recruiting management. Cornerstone has always sold its products in a cloud-deployment-only model, a decision that has served it well. Today Cornerstone enjoys a strong customer base for a standalone talent management company, with a reported 1,237 customers and 10.5 million users across 189 countries.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, HCM, Learning, Performance, Recruiting, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Cornerstone OnDemand, HR

Big Data Analytics Faces a Chasm of Understanding

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 22, 2013 10:00:19 AM

The challenge with discussing big data analytics is in cutting through the ambiguity that surrounds the term. People often focus on the 3 Vs of big data – volume, variety and velocity – which provides a good lens for big data technology, but only gets us part of the way to understanding big data analytics, and provides even less guidance on how to take advantage of big data analytics to unlock business value.

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Topics: Big Data, Microsoft, SAP, SAS, Excel, designed data, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Information Applications, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, SPSS

Transera Uses Big Data for Customer Engagement Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 22, 2013 9:47:00 AM

Transera is an established contact center in the cloud vendor with in-depth interaction routing capabilities. During a recent briefing I learned that it has now supplemented these capabilities by launching a new product that it calls Adaptive Customer Engagement. Although it’s not entirely obvious from the name, the product uses big data analytics to analyze past customer interactions, profile customers, then use these insights to optimize current and future customer-facing activities such as handling a live customer interaction, planning a marketing campaign or focusing agent training and coaching. The objective is to proactively influence these activities so the outcomes are better both from the customer’s and company’s perspectives.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Transera

Big Data is Broken Without Integration

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 21, 2013 2:34:42 PM

Big data involves interplay between different data management approaches and business intelligence and operational systems, which makes it imperative that all sources of business data be integrated efficiently and that organizations be able to easily adapt to new data types and sources. Our recent big data benchmark research confirmed that big data storage technologies continue to follow many approaches, including appliances, Hadoop, and in-memory and specialized DBMSes. With the variety, velocity and volume of big data being part of today’s information architecture, and the potential for big data to be a source to feed other systems, integration should be a top priority.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Quality, Master Data Management, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Integration, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence

Cisco Advances Customer Interactions and Collaboration in Contact Center

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 21, 2013 10:07:53 AM

Cisco is without doubt best known as a supplier of networking systems. Its products have been used by companies large and small to build local and wide area networks. It has played in the contact center space as a provider of network and call management systems that sit between public networks and contact center agents to manage the delivery of interactions to the right extensions and provide agents with softphones so they can manage inbound and outbound calls. These systems were designed to operate in a multi-supplier environment so companies could build contact centers that made use of existing ACD and PBX systems. Cisco’s go-to-market strategy has been primarily indirect, and it has therefore built up a vast ecosystems of partners that sell, deliver and support its systems.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Experience, Logitech, Mobile Apps, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Unified Communications, Upstream Works, Social, Workforce Force Optimization

Use – Don’t Abuse – Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 21, 2013 9:45:41 AM

I’ve been using electronic spreadsheets for more than 30 years. I consider this technology among the 20th century’s top five most important advances in business management. Spreadsheets have revolutionized every aspect of running any organization. A spreadsheet (specifically, VisiCalc) was the original “killer app” that made business people feel the necessity to buy a personal computer.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Big Data Search is Getting Better with LucidWorks

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 20, 2013 11:52:17 PM

LucidWorks addresses the growing volume of information now being stored in the enterprise and in big data with two products aimed at the enterprise with search technology. Though you may not be familiar with LucidWorks (previously known as Lucid Imagination), the company has for many years contributed to Apache Lucene, an open source search project, and commercialized and supported for it for business.

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Topics: Big Data, MapR, Sales Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Customer & Contact Center, Hortonworks, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Search, Strata+Hadoop

Profit Velocity’s New Dimension in Managing Profitability

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 20, 2013 10:16:02 AM

Profit Velocity Solutions’ PV Accelerator is an analytic application designed to enable capital-intensive companies to consistently achieve substantially wider margins and higher return on assets (ROA). Companies in industries such as specialty chemicals, building materials, integrated steel mills and silicon chip fabrication (to name just four) routinely fail to make the right decisions about pricing, production and sales management because they use analytic methods that, from an economic perspective, present a distorted measure of profitability. Profit Velocity’s approach is to use profit contribution per unit of time as the core principle for driving decisions about production, pricing and CRM-related issues, including compensation-, customer- and account management.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, PV Accelerator, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Price Optimization, Profit Velocity, Profitability, Software, S&OP

Why Business Intelligence Software is Failing Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 15, 2013 4:11:24 PM

Business intelligence software is supposed to help businesses access and analyze data and communicate analytics and metrics. I have witnessed improvements to BI software over the years, from mobile and collaboration to interactive discovery and visualization, and our Value Index for Business Intelligence finds a mature set of technology vendors and products. But even as these products mature in capabilities, the majority lack features that would make them easy to use.  Our recent research on next-generation business intelligence found that usability is the most important evaluation criteria for BI technology, outpacing functionality (49%) and even manageability (47%). The pathetic state of dashboards and the stupidity of KPI illustrate some of the obvious ways the software needs to improve for businesses to gain the most value from it. We need smarter business intelligence, and that means not just more advanced sets of capabilities that are designed for the analysts, but software designed for those who need to use BI information.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, Natural Language, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Discovery

The Evolution of Social Learning for Human Capital Management

Posted by stephanmillard on Feb 14, 2013 10:13:37 AM

Learning management software (LMS) has evolved over the past 25-plus years from a classroom scheduling tool that helped streamline instructor-led and classroom training to a rich, integrated enterprise application that delivers and tracks training across an entire organization. These applications are effective at enabling organizations to share knowledge and track the knowledge-sharing process. Typically they use a top-down model involving classic instructor-led training and online courseware. This model works well for uses such as compliance tracking for a wide variety of industries, training related to employee performance gaps, sales training for product knowledge and training external dealer networks on products and services, to name a couple.  In these as well as other areas, classic learning management systems have grown to be a crucial human capital business process, and one that that provides demonstrable business and economic value to many organizations around the globe.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, HCM, LMS, Social Collaboration, Learning Management, Operational Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Information Management, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management

New Generation of Location Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 14, 2013 9:19:10 AM

Business analytics have become mainstream in most organizations. Our latest research in technology innovation found analytics was the top-ranked technology in 39 percent of organizations. To deepen the sophistication of their analytics, businesses can add geographic context and maps to business intelligence applications to create what we call location intelligence. Applications and tools with a geographic and spatial context can help deliver new and deeper insights to business. Information about location or geography can improve the quality of actions, decisions and responses to opportunities, and enable organizations to understand more about their customers. It also can help companies gain critical business insights, make better decisions and optimize performance and processes. It can benefit marketing, customer acquisition and retention efforts; logistics and supply chain management; and financial and operational decisions, especially about where to place retail outlets, business assets and people in various functions.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Geographic Information Systems, GIS, Location Analytics, Spatial Data Quality, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence

Rising Rates Will Catch Companies Flat-Footed

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 13, 2013 10:37:03 AM

One of the important lessons company executives should have learned over the past 15 years is that it’s dangerous not to do contingency planning, a subject that I’ve written about before. By this I mean real, think-outside-the-box contingency planning (not just extrapolating), which is especially important when doing long-range planning. The past decade or so has been punctuated by periods of elevated volatility in financial and product markets, and there’s a good probability it will occur again in predictable yet improbable ways. The dot-com boom and its resulting bust as well as the real estate bubble and collapse were in part liquidity-driven events. Many people recognized the artificiality of the rise in values during both of those boom times. There were naysayers questioning the longevity of the upturns, but as they continued unchecked and proved the skeptics wrong, most investors, analysts and advisors grew complacent and unwilling to consider truly unfavorable scenarios. By not planning for a bust, companies and individuals were not in position to react as swiftly and intelligently as they could have.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, contingency, currency, driver-based, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

LiveOps Improves the Agent Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 13, 2013 10:26:52 AM

My recent research into the contact center in the cloud shows the typical agent’s life is not an easy one. Agents are expected to handle more types of interactions that arrive through more communication channels as found in our research with inbound, email and outbound in use by more than 74 percent of organizations, meet an increasing number of performance metrics, and leave each caller feeling happy with the interaction. And they have to do this with a desktop that my research shows can only be described as “a mess.” It typically has on it multiple business applications (such as CRM, ERP and knowledge management), multiple systems to access communication channels (phone, email, IM, social media), message boards and performance dashboards.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Experience, Social CRM, LiveOps, Operational Performance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Workforce Force Optimization

Pitney Bowes Advances Spectrum for Information Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 12, 2013 8:22:59 AM

Managing data efficiently across the enterprise continues to be a large challenge for both business units and IT. Organizations need data supplied in a consistent format and timely manner to help manage their activities and processes, but some do not look beyond conventional approaches to improvement. Today’s large volumes of data make it more difficult to understand the relationships among data and the role of location-related data. Our 2012 benchmark research on information management found that most organizations need to advance their data initiatives and take steps to integrate them.

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Topics: Master Data Management, Sales Performance, Social Media, MDM, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, DG

Splunk Provides Operational Intelligence in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 9, 2013 9:20:08 AM

Splunk’s innovated ability to access and use machine data for targeted operational insights can help improve IT and enhance business operational efficiency. Its work to capitalize on big data was part of my last analysis, while my colleague Tony Cosentino looked at its focus on search and operational analytics. Splunk also was a recipient of the 2012 Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award for IT Performance for Splunk Enterprise.

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Topics: Big Data, Splunk, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Machine data, Operational Intelligence

Happy Birthday XBRL

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 8, 2013 8:44:51 AM

To mark the fourth anniversary of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) interactive data mandate, Columbia Business School (my alma mater) and its Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis (CEASA) published a review of the current state of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) that notes the manifold issues that plague this promising technology. From its perspective, three key issues hamper greater use of XBRL. The first is the high error rate in the tagging process and the tendency of companies to use too many non-standard tags, both of which substantially reduce the usefulness of the data to practitioners. Second, they believe technologists, not regulators and accountants, should be more involved in developing software that makes it easier to consume XBRL-tagged data. Third, companies should spend more effort improving the quality of their data than on trying to kill the mandate.

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Topics: Office of Finance, extended close, US-GAAP, XBRL, Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, compliance, financial reporting, SEC, digital technology

Subscription Billing Model Can Maximize Customer Value

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 7, 2013 7:13:12 AM

You would think that all organizations would want to maximize the value of every customer relationship, but my research over the last couple of years suggests otherwise. Three particular insights stick in my mind. My research into customer analytics shows that overall customer lifetime value ranked only sixth most important customer-related metric, compared to the highest-ranked, customer service costs, which was selected by 54 percent of respondents versus 31 percent for customer lifetime value. Executives had it second highest-ranked, but as you move down the organization it falls off in importance. This lack of focus is also reflected in my research into customer relationship maturity, where customer value was again ranked only the sixth most important customer-related metric, this time behind the top-ranked metric of overall revenue (62% versus 25%).

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM

IBM to Acquire Star Analytics for Financial Data Integration

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 7, 2013 7:00:05 AM

IBM this week announced its pending acquisition of the Star Analytics product portfolio. Star Analytics is a privately held company that offers products designed to provide easy access to and integration with Oracle Hyperion data sources. While Star Analytics has a good product and solid references, it has lacked critical mass to support more effective sales and marketing efforts. Star Analytics’ strategic value to IBM lies in its ability to unlock data held in Oracle Essbase multidimensional databases, which is the repository for applications such as Hyperion Enterprise, Financial Management and Planning. It supports IBM’s aim to offer comprehensive business analytics capabilities, which means it must be able to facilitate access to all data sources. Longer term, it enables IBM to compete with Oracle for finance department customers with IBM’s own financial performance management applications. Star Analytics gives IBM a means of fostering relationships with existing users of Hyperion applications and a more graceful migration path to using IBM’s financial, analytics and business intelligence software.

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Topics: Reporting, closing, Essbase, Hyperion, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Management, Oracle, Financial Performance Management, Star Analytics, TM1

MicroStrategy Raises the Ante on Mobile, Social and Cloud Innovation

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 7, 2013 6:46:21 AM

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor has a keen sense of where things are headed. He sees mobile and social as the two drivers of a world based largely in software. Last year I covered the announcements at the MicroStrategy events in Amsterdam and the vision Saylor put forth in his keynote speech. MicroStategy World 2013 last month finds the company delving into such diverse areas as identity management, marketing services and integrated point-of-sale applications. The uniting factor is mobile intelligence.

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Topics: MicroStrategy, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Experience, alert, Mobile Intelligence, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence

Intradiem Takes Customer Agent Task Management to Next Level

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 5, 2013 8:52:23 AM

Intradiem is a vendor that not many people have heard about, for the simple reason that it is actually Knowlagent, which recently announced a complete rebranding. The company says the new brand better reflects its product and service capabilities. Knowlagent was all about allowing companies to automatically manage how agents utilize their time in those often very short periods when they are not answering calls or carrying out other fixed tasks, such as taking a training course. The latest release of its product, Intradiem 9.0, enhances those capabilities, so even under the new brand, the company will continue to help companies optimize agent utilization.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Intradiem, Operational Performance, Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM

Turning a Spotlight on Human Capital Analytics

Posted by stephanmillard on Feb 5, 2013 8:40:25 AM

Human capital analytics is an area increasingly under discussion in businesses today as the linkages between employee performance and company success become increasingly clear, as do the roles analytics can play in maximizing that success. This intensified interest in analytics coincides with major changes in the processes of hiring, engaging, retaining and optimizing talent in the enterprise. It also reflects the impact of technology innovations such as cloud computing, the business use of mobile devices, social media and location-based information that offer new options for interacting with human capital and deploying relevant analytics.

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Topics: HCM, Human Capital Management, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Information Management, Workforce Performance, HR

Get to Know Alternatives to Desktop Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 1, 2013 9:53:51 AM

The electronic spreadsheet is among the top five most important advances in business management to come along in the last hundred years. It revolutionized almost all aspects of running an organization. It was the original “killer app” that made it necessary for people to go out and buy a personal computer. Yet our recent benchmark research project Spreadsheet Use in Today’s Enterprise confirmed advice we have been giving for the past decade: Spreadsheets are a fabulous tool but they have limits, and those who fail to respect those limits wind up paying a price. The consequences may be obvious, as JP Morgan found when faulty spreadsheets used by its trading desk cost it dearly. Or it may be more subtle, as with all the time people waste trying to make spreadsheets do things they were never designed to do.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Visualization, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

OnviSource Joins-Up Customer-Related Processes

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 1, 2013 9:07:21 AM

OnviSource is best known for its OnviCenter Product Suite, which includes what is commonly referred to as workforce optimization (recording, quality, monitoring, workforce management, analytics) plus a telephony platform that includes a soft, IP-based PBX, IVR and call routing. It is available on-premises or through the company’s cloud-based option, OnviCloud. Recently OnviSource added a further option, OnviLink, and announced enhancements to OnviTel, its telephony platform.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, OnviSource, Workforce Force Optimization

IBM Provokes Social Collaboration and Smarter Workforce Revolution

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 1, 2013 7:19:36 AM

IBM held its 20th annual IBM Connect conference (previously known as Lotusphere) as part of its IBM Social Business efforts at the end of January. The conference focuses on business and social collaboration technology, which our business technology innovation research found to be the second-ranked priority for business innovation. At the conference IBM made a series of significant announcements, including a new version of its social collaboration suite, IBM Connections, and the ability to use the software on a cloud computing platform.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Kenexa, Learning, Performance, Recruiting, Smarter Analytics, Smarter Workforce, Social Business, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Workforce Performance, Compensation

NewVoiceMedia Expands Globally to Advance Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 1, 2013 6:49:05 AM

NewVoiceMedia recently announced it has raised $20 million of investment funds to aid its expansion overseas, including offices in North America. The company was founded in the UK in 2000 and originally offered telephony and call management in the cloud. It now has a close partnership with Salesforce.com, which has allowed it to expand into a multichannel contact center in the cloud. During the last 12 years it has achieved considerable success, both financially and in acquiring prestigious clients, mostly in the UK. Old instincts die hard, and even though the company’s services and support are accessible anywhere, potential customers still like to see support available in their country. This latest round of funding will allow NewVoiceMedia to make a serious attack on the American market.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Mobile Apps, NewVoicemedia, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM

Vertex Enterprise Advances Tax Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 1, 2013 6:35:02 AM

Taxes – both indirect (sales or value added taxes, for example) and direct (income taxes) – are one the largest expense items on the corporate income statement. In recent years it has become common for large and even midsize companies to automate their indirect tax management process, but direct tax management has remained a bastion of manual processes built on a heap of desktop spreadsheets. In previous blog posts I discussed this issue and the role of the tax data warehouse as a necessary foundation for automating the direct tax process. Addressing an important need, Vertex is currently providing a limited release of its Enterprise offering, a single-platform approach to managing all types of taxes (direct and indirect) across the entire tax life cycle (from analysis through provisioning to audit defense) using a single data source.

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Topics: ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, CFO, Vertex, FPM