Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Agility Provides Simplicity and Innovation in Product Information Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2013 2:04:54 AM

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.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Agility, Agility Multichannel, Operational Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Commerce, Product Information Management, Supply Chain

Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2013 1:34:18 AM

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.

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Topics: Big Data, Datameer, Mobile, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Agility, Customer, ESRI, Globoforce, GRC, HCM, Kronos, Kyriba, Location Analytics, Marketing, NetBase, Office of Finance, Overall Operational Leadership, Peoplefluent, Planview, SQLstream, VMWare, VPI, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, KXEN, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Contact Center, Datawatch, Financial Management, Information Optimization, Information Technology Leader, IT Analytics or Performance, Johnson Controls Panoptix, Roambi, Service & Supply Chain, Upstream Works, Vertex, Xactly Corporation

The Personas that Matter the Most in Business Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 30, 2013 10:30:56 AM

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.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Scientist, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Data Management, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Data

Transforming Treasury with Kyriba Enterprise

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 30, 2013 10:04:07 AM

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.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Controller, credit, debt, Kyriba Financial Performance Management, strategic finance, Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, CFO, cash, spreadsheet, treasurer, treasury

Alteryx Advances the Process of Customer Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 28, 2013 11:44:08 PM

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.

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

Rationalizing the Tyranny of Visual Anarchy

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 28, 2013 9:41:50 AM

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.

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Topics: Analysts, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Visualization, visual analytics, visual discovery

Big Data Brewing Value in Human Capital Management

Posted by stephanmillard on Aug 28, 2013 9:15:37 AM

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.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, HCM, analytical discovery, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Transforming Lease Accounting with Better Software

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 22, 2013 1:48:13 PM

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.

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Topics: GRC, control, error, IFRS, lease, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Accounting, CFO, Financial Performance Management, GAAP, spreadsheet

Confirmit and Voice of the Customer Software

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 22, 2013 1:09:55 PM

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.

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

Eliminating the Strategy/Execution Disconnect

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 19, 2013 8:24:11 AM

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.

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Topics: Master Data Management, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, dashboard, long-range planning, strategic, strategy, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, Data, BI, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM, scorecard

NICE Systems Acquires Causata to Optimize Customer Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 19, 2013 7:56:48 AM

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.

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

Verint Brings New Business Solutions to Optimize Customer Relationships

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 15, 2013 10:33:06 AM

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.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Verint, Workforce Force Optimization

Three Major Trends in New Discovery Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 13, 2013 10:45:40 AM

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.)

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Topics: Datameer, SAP, Splunk, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, IBM, Information Applications, Information Builders, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Data discovery, Information Discovery, visual discovery, Birt analytics, lucidworks

Agent Desktop Management in 2013 Is Hot for Improving Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 13, 2013 10:30:45 AM

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.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Customer Experience Management, NICE Systems, Cincom, Genesys, Jacada, Kana, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Upstream Works, Altitude software. Cicero, OpenSpan

IBM SPSS Analytic Catalyst Makes Sophisticated Analytics Accessible

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 8, 2013 7:18:54 AM

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.

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Topics: advanced analytics, analytic catalyst, driver analysis, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, IBM, SPSS

Spreadsheets Consume More Time Than It Seems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 7, 2013 10:47:02 AM

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.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, 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, spreadsheet

Profitability Management vs. Managing Profitability

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 5, 2013 11:32:05 AM

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.

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Topics: Planning, Sales, Sales Performance, ABC, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Activity Based Costing, costing, FPM, Price optimization, profit, Profitability, S&OP