Organizations succeed through continuous planning to achieve high levels of performance. For most organizations planning is not an easy process to conduct. Planning software is typically designed for only a few people in the process, such as analysts, or organizations might use spreadsheets, which are not designed for business planning across an organization. Most technologies only allow you to examine the past and not plan for the future. For decades organizations have tried to focus planning on driving better results through higher participation, but they have usually failed, as technology has not advanced enough to support this business need.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Business Planning, CFO, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Customer & Contact Center, finance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Mobile Technology, Operational Performance, Operations, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Tidemark, Workday, Workforce Performance, Big Data
ParAccel is a well-funded big data startup, with $64 million invested in the firm so far. Only a few companies can top this level of startup funding, and most of them are service-based rather than product-based companies. Amazon has a 20 percent stake in the company and is making a big bet on the company’s technology to run its Redshift data warehouse in the cloud initiative. Microstrategy also uses ParAccel for it's cloud offering, but holds no equity in the company.
Cloud computing has given business a new way to improve the effectiveness of business processes and ultimately the outcomes of their efforts. In the last five years, business across marketing, customer service, sales, human resources, finance and other areas have embraced the practice of renting access to the applications and technology they need when they need them. Organizations’ use of operational expense budgets helps them get what they need and avoid IT politics or standards that impeded their agility.
Topics: Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Applications, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Mobile Technology, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance
I began my involvement with contact centers – actually they were called call centers in those days -more than 20 years ago. I quickly learned that almost everyone involved in running a contact center is obsessed with metrics: queue times, average call handling times, agent utilization, average length of after-call work – the list seemed to be endless. Since joining Ventana Research I have carried out numerous benchmark studies into customer and contact center performance, and found things haven’t changed a great deal. The number of metrics has increased and old favorites are still high up on the list.
Topics: Business Analytics, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
This is annual report season, the time of year that a majority of European and North American corporations issue glossy paper documents aimed at investors, customers, suppliers, existing and prospective employees as well as the public at large. (Some countries have different conventions; in Japan, for instance, most companies are on a March fiscal year.) In reviewing some of the annual reports that are available on the Web, I was struck by the absence of advanced reporting technology used on investor web pages and in online annual reports of vendors of advanced reporting technology. (One notable exception is Microsoft, which uses Silverlight on its investor web pages.) Adobe Acrobat (introduced 20 years ago) is the presentation method of choice for the annual report. It would be great if publicly traded vendors that sell tools that automate the process of assembling investor documents (such as Exact Software, IBM, Infor, SAP and Trintech) would demonstrate their value beyond simple compliance. These companies’ tools support and automate the processes that are part of what some call “the last mile of finance,” referring to their use in the final steps of a stream of activities that starts with closing the books and performing statutory financial consolidations and ends with publishing and filing financial documents to satisfy regulatory or contractual obligations. (I prefer to use the term “close-to-disclose cycle” because it’s a more accurate description.) These vendors should go the extra mile and redesign their investor sites to show how XBRL-tagged financial documents can be used to communicate more effectively with shareholders.
Topics: Analytics, Business Performance, CFO, compliance, extended close, Financial Performance, financial reporting, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), SEC, US-GAAP, XBRL, Office of Finance, digital technology
Ultimate Software held its annual global customer conference and analyst day recently in Las Vegas, where more than 1,300 attendees got to hear about the company’s plans for 2013. Ultimate, founded in 1990, is a human capital management (HCM) vendor that provides human resources management systems (HRMS), payroll management, talent management and workforce management products to organizations primarily in the United States and Canadian markets – though it is announcing an international expansion. The majority of Ultimate’s customer base is in the HRMS and payroll management space – areas in which Ultimate offers strong products – and it has many customers who have been using these products for many years, both on premises and in the cloud, including Adobe Systems, Major League Baseball, The New York Yankees Baseball Team, Pep Boys and Texas Roadhouse.
This year’s Inspire, Alteryx’s annual user conference, featured new developments around the company’s analytics platform. Alteryx CEO Dean Stoecker kicked off the event by talking about the promise of big data, the dissemination of analytics throughout the organization, and the data artisan as the “new boss.” Alteryx coined the term “data artisan” to represent the persona at the center of the company’s development and marketing efforts. My colleague Mark Smith wrote about the rise of the data artisan in his analysis of last year’s event.
Topics: Absolute Data, alteryx, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, data artisan, Data Integration, Information Applications, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Tableau
Using information from applications and services across both the enterprise and Internet just got simpler with Kapow Software and the announced release of Kapow Enterprise 9.2. I examined the technology at the Kapow WoW user conference, and spoke with a broad range of companies that use Kapow.
Topics: Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Optimization, Kapow, Kapplets, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance
One of the most important IT trends over the past decade has been the proliferation of ever wider and deeper sets of information sources that businesses use to collect, track and analyze data. While structured numerical data remains the most common category, organizations are also learning to exploit semistructured data (text, for example) as well as more complex data types such as voice and image files. They use these analytics increasingly in every aspect of their business – to assess financial performance, process quality, operational status, risk and even governance and compliance. Properly applied, business analytics can deliver significant value by deepening insight, supporting better decision-making and providing alerts when situations require attention from managers or executives.
Topics: Analytics, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CFO, close, closing, Cloud Computing, costing, Customer, Finance Analytics, Financial Performance, FPM, Operational Performance, Planning, Predictive Analytics, PRO, Profitability, Risk, Office of Finance, Human Capital Management
IBM recently announced its new Customer Experience Lab. During a briefing I learned that the lab is a response to what IBM discovered by interviewing more than a thousand CMOs, who are concerned about the explosion of data companies collect about their customers. This explosion is being driven by changing customer communication preferences and the way customers now interact with organizations, which I recently highlighted in my post about the 2.0 world. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows a similar trend; although traditional channels such as telephone calls and email are still the most popular, channels such as social media, instant messaging, text messaging and video are fast catching up.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, IBM, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Force Optimization, Customer Experience, Analytics
For almost two decades, Vitria has been harvesting data across networks and systems and using events to drive operational intelligence using the science of complex event processing (CEP). The company won the 2012 Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award in the category of Operational Intelligence for KPI Builder, and in past years its customer TXU Energy won our Leadership Award. Last year my colleague Richard Snow assessed how Vitria uses big data from sources inside and outside the enterprise to enable timely action across the organization. Vitria can parse big data in motion across the network through its correlation, workflow and analytic architecture and compare it with historical data to provide insights for those responsible for taking action.
Topics: Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Complex Event Processing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, IT Performance, Location Intelligence, Mobile Technology, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Social Media, Vitria
I’m wondering whether the rapid rise in earnings restatements by “accelerated filers” (companies that file their financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that have a public float greater than $75 million) over the past three years is a significant trend or an interesting blip. According to a research firm, Audit Analytics, that number has grown from 153 restatements in 2009 to 245 in 2012, a 60 percent increase. What makes it a blip is that the total is still less than half the number that occurred in 2006 as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act began to take effect. As well, the number of companies restating is still less than one percent of the total. Yet it’s a blip worth paying attention to, since the consequences of a restatement pose a serious professional challenge to finance executives. The right software can help address some of the underlying causes that lead to the need to restate earnings.
Topics: audit, Business Performance, CFO, close, compliance, Consolidation, Controller, Financial Performance, FPM, Governance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), GRC, Reporting, SEC, Tax, XBRL, Office of Finance, Customer Experience
SAS Institute held its 24th annual analyst summit last week in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The 37-year-old privately held company is a key player in big data analytics, and company executives showed off their latest developments and product roadmaps. In particular, LASR Analytical Server and Visual Analytics 6.2, which is due to be released this summer, are critical to SAS’ ability to secure and expand its role as a preeminent analytics vendor in the big data era.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, LASR, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, SAS, SAS institute, Supply Chain Performance, Big Data, Analytics
I recently attended the annual SAS analyst summit to hear the latest company, product and customer growth news from the multi-billion-dollar analytics software provider. This global giant continues to grow its business and solutions to help with fraud prevention, marketing and risk. It lets users apply its analytic and statistical technology in practical applications for business. SAS can meet midsized businesses’ demand with packaging and pricing to ensure it is not seen as only affordable to Global 2000 companies. SAS’ growth in analytics should be no surprise, as our research finds analytics to be the first-ranked priority among technologies for innovating business.
Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Fraud, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), GRC, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Predictive Analytics, Risk, Sales Performance, SAS
Saba held its annual People 2013 customer and analyst conference recently in San Francisco, with approximately 700 customers in attendance. At the conference the company provided analysts a perspective on its progress over the last year and its product roadmap. My colleague Mark Smith wrote about Saba’s acquisition of Human Concepts last year; today Saba says it has 31 million users and 2,100 customers, including names such as Yum Brands, ADP, Proctor & Gamble, Intel and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The analyst event featured speakers from NetApp and Kaspersky Labs, who discussed how their use of Saba products helps their companies achieve their development and business objectives.
Organizations have been talking about how to effectively analyze customer data for more than three decades. This has evolved into a desire for a “360-degree view of the customer” - a comprehensive picture drawn from all available data. As yet, not many organizations have achieved it. Our recent research into customer relationship maturity shows that fewer than one-third (31%) of organizations produce a single set of reports and analysis that the whole organization uses to support customer-related activities. Even those that do produce such a set of reports and analysis lack some critical information, such as customer interactions and social media comments.
Topics: Business Analytics, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
I’ve frequently commented on the artificiality of the emerging software category of governance, risk and compliance (GRC). The term is used to a cover a combination of what were once viewed as stand-alone software categories, including IT governance, audit documentation and industry-specific compliance management, to name three examples. While it’s still common for specific types of software to be purchased piecemeal by different departments, these disparate areas have started a long convergence process. Since just about all controls and risk management efforts require a secure IT environment to be effective, there is a growing interdependence between effective IT governance and everything else connected with enterprise GRC.
Topics: Analytics, Business Performance, compliance, finance, Financial Performance, financial risk management, Governance, GRC, IT Risk Management, Management, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Risk, Sarbanes Oxley, SOX, Customer Experience, Big Data
I recently wrote that Salesforce.com was a vendor to watch during 2013, and during a recent briefing I heard more messages that support this view. First there was confirmation about financials. Even though the company is only 14 years old and the overall economy is not exactly booming, revenues for 2012 were up 35 percent to $3.05 billion, with Europe matching this with a 37 percent year-on-year growth. This not only shows the company is here to stay, but that the cloud is now well and truly established as a delivery model.
Topics: Call Center, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
I recently attended the annual Informatica analyst summit to get the latest on that company’s strategy and plans. The data integration provider offers a portfolio of information management software that supports today’s big data and information optimization needs. Informatica is busy making changes in its presentation to the market and its marketing and sales efforts. New executives, including new CMO Marge Breya, are working to communicate what is possible with Informatica’s product portfolio, and it’s more than just data integration.
Topics: Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CEP, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Management, Data Quality, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Informatica, Informatica Cloud, Information Applications, Information Management, IT Performance, Master Data Management, MDM, Operational Intelligence, Strata+Hadoop, Salesforce.com
Ventana Research completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning recently. As I define it, long-range planning is the formal quantification of the strategic plan and how that strategy is expected to play out over a period of time. The benchmark demonstrated that there’s room for improvement in almost every aspect of the long-range planning process. Almost all (95%) of those participating in the research see the need to advance their process. The research confirmed that long-range planning does not work well in isolation. Greater integration of the annual budget with the long-range plan and deeper integration of individual capital projects and initiatives are two ways to enhance the value of long-range planning process.
Big data analytics is being offered as the key to addressing a wide array of management and operational needs across business and IT. But the label “big data analytics” is used in a variety of ways, confusing people about its usefulness and value and about how best to implement to drive business value. The uncertainty this causes poses a challenge for organizations that want to take advantage of big data in order to gain competitive advantage, comply with regulations, manage risk and improve profitability. Should organizations invest further into visual or deep data discovery on big data, or delve more deeply into statistics and predictive analytics, or find new ways to integrate big data into current operational systems?
Topics: big analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Discovery, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, SAP, Analytics
Clarabridge is a well-known text analytics vendor that markets its products under the banner of customer experience management. As I wrote last year, its products allow organizations to take a closed-loop approach by capturing all forms of text data, analyzing it, categorizing it, understanding root causes of customer issues and raising alerts so that action including collaboration can be taken based on these insights. Such a process is supportive of customer experience management, but for me the missing link is using these insights in real time to actively influence customer interactions.
Topics: Call Center, Clarabridge, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Mobile Apps, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Customer Experience
Data is a commodity in business. To become useful information, data must be put into a specific business context. Without information, today’s businesses can’t function. Without the right information, available to the right people at the right time, an organization cannot make the right decisions nor take the right actions, nor compete effectively and prosper. Information must be crafted and made available to employees, customers, suppliers, partners and consumers in the forms they want it at the moments they must have it. Optimizing information in this manner is essential to business success. Yet I see organizations today focusing on investments in big data because they believe it can effortlessly bring analysts insights. That premise is incorrect.
Like me, you have no doubt spotted the propensity for software vendors and consultants to call anything new “2.0”; for example, we have ERP 2.0 and CRM 2.0. Just recently during a joint Aspect and Microsoft presentation, the companies went one step further and introduced the concept of the 2.0 customer meeting the 2.0 company. My first reaction was one of horror, but as I thought about it, it became clear that customers have changed and so companies need to change to keep up – welcome to the 2.0 world.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Vendor(s), Voice of the Customer, Workforce Force Optimization, Customer Experience, Analytics
Ventana Research recently completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning. As part of the research we had discussions with CFOs and those involved in financial planning and analysis about their company’s strategic and long-range planning processes, which pointed to the need for clarity in using the terms “strategic planning” and “long-range planning.”
Topics: Business Performance, CEO, CFO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Planning, Reporting, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance, Big Data
Platfora has gained a lot of buzz in the Big Data analytics market primarily through word of mouth. Late last year the company took the covers off of some impressive and potentially disruptive technology that takes aim at the broad BI and business analytics ecosystem, including the very foundation on which the industry is built. It recently demonstrated its software at the Strata Conference where the audience that is fixated on big data was in attendance.
I recently attended the Unified Communication Expo exhibition and conference in London to find out how much communications has been changing. As I entered the exhibition center the first thing I noticed was the huge variety of vendors on show, everything from major brands in the telecommunications industry (Aspect, AT&T, BT, Cisco, Mitel, Nokia and Siemens Enterprise Communications) to some major brands perhaps not so associated with telecommunications (Dell, Citrix, Google and Microsoft), to several niche players with products such as mobility management, IP-based voice and data networks, audio/web/streaming/video conferencing, email/chat/text messaging and unified communications (presence and collaboration), to suppliers of audio equipment (Dell, Jabra, Logitech, Plantronics and Sennheiser). For me the most disappointing thing was the lack of vendors focused on the contact center, with only Aspect, Enghouse Interactive, Microsoft (in partnership with Aspect), Noble Systems and ShoreTel in evidence.
Topics: Business Collaboration, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Vendor(s), Voice of the Customer, Workforce Force Optimization, Customer Experience, Analytics
I was discussing the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) mandate with a former head of investor relations at a Fortune 100 company. His take on it is much the same as that of everyone else involved with corporate reporting: it doesn’t produce much value and costs a bundle to comply. I related to him my thoughts on the lack of progress I saw in making the XBRL mandate more useful to corporations and investors alike. Making XBRL data readily available to the public – not just for SEC enforcement purposes – is consistent with the SEC’s three-fold mission to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. In addition to giving XBRL-tagged data greater practical value to investors, the trove of company data assembled by the SEC could be used by a wide range of people working within corporations.
The big-data landscape just got a little more interesting with the release of EMC’s Pivotal HD distribution of Hadoop. Pivotal HD takes Apache Hadoop and extends it with a data loader and command center capabilities to configure, deploy, monitor and manage Hadoop. Pivotal HD, from EMC’s Pivotal Labs division, integrates with Greenplum Database, a massively parallel processing (MPP) database from EMC’s Greenplum division, and uses HDFS as the storage technology. The combination should help sites gain from big data a key part of its value in information optimization.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cirro, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, EMC, HAWQ, HDFS, Hive, Hortonworks, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, MapR, Pivotal HD, Tableau Software, Strata+Hadoop
Human capital analytics used to be simple. It focused on compliance reporting, showed basic information and was an afterthought in most applications. Today analytics is the centerpiece of many human capital management applications and involves many sophisticated tools, because it delivers the some of the greatest value of any process in all HCM. Our next-generation workforce management benchmark research found that 61 percent of companies surveyed are planning to invest in improving their workforce analytics capabilities.
SiSense gained a lot of traction last week at the Strata conference in San Jose as it broke records in the so-called 10x10x10 Challenge – analyzing 10 terabytes of data in 10 seconds on a $10,000 commodity machine – and earned the company’s Prism product the Audience Choice Award. The Israel-based company, founded in 2005, has venture capital backing and is currently running at a profit with customers in more than 50 countries and marquee customers such as Target and Merck. Prism, its primary product, provides the entire business analytics stack, from ETL capabilities through data analysis and visualization. From the demonstrations I’ve seen, the toolset appears relatively user-friendly, which is important because customers say usability is the top criterion in 63 percent of organizations according to our next-generation business intelligence.
Topics: Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, elasticube, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Performance, Qlik, Sales Performance, Tableau, Big Data, Analytics
Business is starting to realize that taking advantage of big data is not just technically feasible but affordable by organizations of all sizes. However, as outlined in our agenda on big data and information optimization, the technology must be engineered to the information needs of business. HortonWorks has been steadily advancing its big data technology called Hadoop and contributing its developments back to the Apache Software Foundation for a range of projects. The company performs enterprise-level testing to ensure Hadoop not just operates but scales across operating systems, cloud computing, virtual machines and appliances. Over the last year Hortonworks has released a number of certifications and benchmarks for an enterprise-ready version of Hadoop for which it provides support and services. These are important steps forward in meeting the needs of IT management, which is the audience evaluating big data technologies in 66 percent of organizations according to our big data research.
SnapLogic, a provider of data integration in the cloud, this week announced Big Data-as-a-Service to address businesses’ needs to integrate and process data across Hadoop big data environments. As our research agenda for 2013 outlines, dealing with data in the cloud is very important to organizations. At the same time, businesses need to be able to integrate their big data with all their technology assets, as I pointed out recently.
Topics: Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Performance, R, Sales Performance, SnapLogic, Big Data, Salesforce.com
The first positive signs for the “the new Genesys” emerged just 100 days after its sale by Alcatel was completed last year, and those positive signs have continued. The company has not only maintained strong development of its core products but has also made an aggressive move into the contact center mid-market, the contact center in the cloud market, and the multichannel communications management market. It strengthens its position now with the announcement of its acquisition of Angel.com.
Topics: Business Analytics, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Genesys, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Force Optimization, Customer Experience, Analytics
Our recent benchmark research project, Spreadsheet Use in Today’s Enterprise, demonstrated that some companies have made modest progress in addressing spreadsheet issues, but there’s still much left to be done. Desktop spreadsheets can be an important source of productivity but, as I’ve noted, you need to understand their limitations and understand the practical alternatives. Users underestimate the impact of spreadsheet problems on their productivity because they tend to overlook the myriad little issues that constantly crop up. Being human, they overlook the ill effects that occur when spreadsheets are misused, and may be spurred to look for alternatives only when disaster strikes (as it did for one major bank).
Topics: Analytics, benchmark, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, enterprise spreadsheet, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, Operational Performance, Reporting, Risk, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance