The need to be effective in the marketing, selling, manufacturing, distributing, and sourcing products requires more consistent and higher quality product information. This is where product information management (PIM) has great potential, and as I have attested is the responsibility of business to lead the process and technology improvements. Of course for PIM to be efficient IT needs to support business leadership to improve PIM and ensure access and integration of data and applications. One of the technology providers that help in this mission is Agility Multichannel, a software supplier that I have been tracking for many years and rated the highest level as a Hot Vendor in our 2012 Ventana Research Value Index for Product Information Management. In the scope of PIM its product has the ability to handle a broad range of channels of interaction for product information, from traditional print and electronic layout to email, portal, mobile and commerce interfaces across the life cycle of product information.
Topics: Commerce, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Performance, Product Information Management, Sales Performance, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance, Sales, Big Data
In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness. Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.
Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Customer, Customer & Contact Center, Datameer, Datawatch, ESRI, Financial Management, Financial Performance, Globoforce, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), GRC, HCM, Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Information Optimization, IT Performance, Johnson Controls Panoptix, Kronos, KXEN, Kyriba, Location Analytics, Location Intelligence, Marketing, Mobile, NetBase, Office of Finance, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Oracle, Overall Operational Leadership, Peoplefluent, Planview, Roambi, Sales, Sales Performance, Service & Supply Chain, Social Media, SQLstream, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Upstream Works, Vertex, VMWare, VPI, Workforce Performance, IT Analytics & Performance, Xactly, Information Technology
As a new generation of business professionals embraces a new generation of technology, the line between people and their tools begins to blur. This shift comes as organizations become flatter and leaner and roles, context and responsibilities become intertwined. These changes have introduced faster and easier ways to bring information to users, in a context that makes it quicker to collaborate, assess and act. Today we see this in the prominent buying patterns for business intelligence and analytics software and an increased focus on the user experience. Almost two-thirds (63%) of participants in our benchmark research on next-generation business intelligence say that usability is the top purchase consideration for business intelligence software. In fact, usability is the driving factor in evaluating and selecting technology across all application and technology areas, according to our benchmark research.
Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Data, Data Management, Data Scientist, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance
Many finance executives want to improve their department’s effectiveness in order to play a more strategic role in their company. However, frequently they find at least three serious challenges to achieving this sort of finance transformation. One is that too much time and resources are devoted to purely mechanical tasks. Another is that the information executives need is not always available immediately. A third is that they lack the data (which is unavailable or too difficult to access), the analytic tools or both to do rapid contingency planning. One area in the Office of Finance that needs particular attention is treasury, as I commented recently. Treasury management is a challenge because it’s highly detailed and demands complete accuracy. These requirements make it an area that can benefit from more automation.
The market for customer analytics continues to grow as organizations realize the current competencies and technology are not aligned to the priority of providing the best possible customer experience through supporting business processes. At the same time those organizations that have invested and continue to improve in this area are taking advantage of why I call a new generation of customer analytics. As I research into technology to support customer analytics, I had a chance to assess the work done by a business analytics software provider called Alteryx. My colleague Tony Cosentino who is the research director of our business analytics efforts recently wrote an analysis of Alteryx, but I wasn’t familiar with the company until my own briefing about its customer analytics focus. For the technical aspects of the product, you can consult Tony’s analysis, but I want to discuss several key points that came up during my briefing.
Topics: alteryx, Business Analytics, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Desktop Analytics, Operational Performance, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
It has become evident from the advancements we’ve seen in the business analytics market that the use of visualization is now becoming mainstream. In my analysis of the market last year I wrote about the pathetic state of dashboards, where the assumption in the business intelligence software industry is that placing four to six charts or tables of data in a screen and publishing to business users can create business intelligence. That assumption has yet to be proven and is completely irrational, as presenting analytics in basic charts does little to provide context and a guide for taking actions and making decisions.
In recent months I have been asked a straightforward question by several clients: How do you define big data in the context of human capital management? More specifically, the question isn’t so much about the classic definition of big data – which includes the storage and use of high volume of data, high velocity of data and high variety of data, commonly known as the 3Vs – but really has two parts: What are the key differentiators between analytics applications and big data applications, and to what degree must an application include external data to be considered big data? Ventana Research has been covering big data for some time, and my colleague Tony Cosentino wrote about big data and workforce Analytics last September. But both human capital management and big data have evolved since then, so I think it’s worth writing about again.
Because of its impact on the Office of Finance, I’ve written in the past aboutthe proposed timeline and IT implications of the convergence of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). While the bottom-line differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS are likely to be minimal for most businesses, some aspects of the convergence promise to be significant and problematic. One important change is how companies account for leases. The process of arriving at these rules has been contentious because it represents a major change that will entail substantial process and accounting challenges for U.S. GAAP companies. These changes are likely to go into effect as part of U.S. GAAP well ahead of any adoption of IFRS in the U.S. IT systems also will be affected, but software could smooth the transition if vendors provide a workable product.
The last time I was briefed by Confirmit it had just acquired CustomerSat and, in addition to undergoing a number of internal developments, was transitioning from supporting market research, customer and employee feedback to focusing more on voice of the customer (VOC). One of its key differentiators has been its ability to combine market research, customer and employee feedback to close the loop and produce VOC reports and analysis that include all three perspectives. Confirmit added the ability to collect feedback throughunstructured “conversations” on smart mobile devices, in recognition that these devices are being used more frequently by consumers and therefore such capabilities increase the likelihood of consumers responding to requests to provide feedback. Although my research on customer feedback management shows this to be an important, growing requirement, the Confirmit products continue to support the creation and analysis of surveys as a core way of collecting and understanding customer feedback.
Topics: Call Center, Confirmit, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
This is the beginning of the season when companies that are on a calendar year begin their strategic and long-term planning. Ventana Research performed an extensive investigation in this area with our long-range planning benchmark research. Strategic and long-range planning is a process and discipline that companies use to determine the best strategy for succeeding in the markets they serve and then ensure they have the capabilities and resources needed to support their strategic objectives.
Topics: Budgeting, Business Performance, CEO, CFO, Customer & Contact Center, dashboard, Data, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Master Data Management, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Planning, Reporting, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Human Capital Management, Big Data, Office of Finance, Analytics
NICE Systems is well known in the contact center market for its suite of workforce optimization products. However, over the past several months it has gradually been expanding out of the pure-play contact center market into back-office and mobile applications, as well as the broader market of customer interaction handling. My research on the contact center in the cloud shows that customer interaction processes are getting more complex as customers demand faster, more personalized responses, interactions occur through more communication channels, and more lines of business are involved with interaction handling. My recent benchmark research shows that companies are becoming increasingly reliant on analytics to monitor and assess how well they are performing these critical tasks and in what areas they need to improve.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, NICE Systems, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
Earlier this year I wrote that Verint Systems, which makes workforce optimization and analytics products for customer engagement, has changed its focus from individual product capabilities to packaged business solutions that include specifically configured versions of its products. The first of those was real-time personalized guidance; it uses several of the company’s Impact 360 workforce optimization products to guide agents in real time as they handle customer interactions. I wrote at the time I was expecting more of these from Verint, and now it has brought out three additional solutions, which I learned about during a recent briefing.
Topics: Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Operational Performance, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Verint, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Force Optimization, Customer Experience, Analytics
A few months ago, I wrote an article on the four pillars of big data analytics. One of those pillars is what is called discovery analytics or where visual analytics and data discovery combine together to meet the business and analyst needs. My colleague Mark Smith subsequently clarified the four types of discovery analytics: visual discovery, data discovery, information discovery and event discovery. Now I want to follow up with a discussion of three trends that our research has uncovered in this space. (To reference how I’m using these four discovery terms, please refer to Mark’s post.)
Topics: Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Discovery, Datameer, IBM, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Discovery, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Oracle, SAP, Splunk
Ventana Research has just released its 2013 Value Index for Agent Desktop Management, in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products that support the management of the desktop systems that agents use to handle customer interactions. Our firm has researched this software category for many years, and our benchmark research into customer service and the agent desktop shows the impact the agent desktop has on agent satisfaction and efficiency and the business outcome of such interactions. Because of its increasing importance, we have taken agent desktop management out of our Customer Experience Value Index and created a separate category for it.
Topics: Call Center, Cincom, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Genesys, Jacada, Kana, NICE Systems, OpenSpan, Operational Performance, Salesforce.com, Upstream Works, Customer Experience, Analytics
IBM’s SPSS Analytic Catalyst enables business users to conduct the kind of advanced analysis that has been reserved for expert users of statistical software. As analytic modeling becomes more important to businesses and models proliferate in organizations, the ability to give domain experts advanced analytic capabilities can condense the analytic process and make the results available sooner for business use. Benefiting from IBM’s research and development in natural-language processing and its statistical modeling expertise, IBM SPSS Analytic Catalyst can automatically choose an appropriate model, execute the model, test it and explain it in plain English.
The spreadsheet is one of the five most important advances in business management over the last 50 years. It has changed all aspects of running an organization. It was the original “killer app” that made people go out and buy personal computers. So you see I’m enthusiastic about spreadsheets, but I realize they have limits that must be respected to work efficiently. One of the more important findings from our benchmark research Spreadsheets for Today’s Enterprise was about the time spent in maintaining spreadsheets. We asked participants how much time they spend per month in updating, revising, consolidating, modifying and correcting the spreadsheet used in the most important process associated with their job. The answers varied depending on the intensity with which people work with spreadsheets. On average, the heaviest users – those whose work requires them to spend all or almost all of their time using them – spend 18.1 hours per month on maintenance – the equivalent of more than two days per month! Even those who spend more than half their time in this fashion use up nearly two days (15.7 hours). For a tool designed to enhance personal productivity, these results should be sobering to executives and managers.
Topics: Analytics, benchmark, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, enterprise spreadsheet, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Performance, Reporting, Risk, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance
Pricing and profit margins appear to be trending topics, which is normal at this stage of the business cycle. North American companies achieved high levels of profitability coming out of the last recession by staying lean, but this trend has run its course. Margins are being squeezed, and companies are looking for ways to add to the bottom line.