QlikTech executives unveiled the future of what I cover in business analytics at its recent industry analyst summit in what they framed as natural analytics and how it underlies the company’s next major release in 2014, and with what they call QlikView.Next which they have outlined publicly. Anthony Deighton, SVP Products and Donald Farmer, VP of Product Management, did most of the talking, but it is clear that the idea unifies the business and technology strategy for its future.
I recently attended an IBM event about its new social business products and services. I was skeptical at first: I have seen another vendor’s “social enterprise” come and go, and although companies need to address customer use of social media, I don’t think “social” is the path businesses should take; it is more to do with collaboration. However, I quickly learned that IBM sees things rather differently. Its starting point is the need for companies to make their workforces smarter – something I agree with. Employees are the heart of a company; for example, according to my research into customer service and the agent desktop, not only do happy, empowered employees twice as often deliver superior customer experiences, but they also meet customer-related targets more often, and deliver or retain more satisfied and more loyal customers who spend more.
Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Operational Performance, Self-service, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Performance, Customer Experience
Business planning is a new software category. These applications enable senior executives to integrate all the plans of business units into a single, integrated view, which helps them have more accurate plans, do more insightful what-if planning, achieve greater agility in reacting to changing business and economic conditions, and execute plans in a more coordinated fashion than was possible. Business planning software is intended for CEOs and COOs, who are not well served by current capabilities. Business planning software enables executives and managers to understand both the operational and the financial consequences of their actions, but it emphasizes the things that the various parts of the business focus on: units sold, sales calls made, the number and types of employees required, customers serviced and so on. Lines of business already do this but in a fragmented fashion using desktop spreadsheets circulated within silos via email. Business planning software provides a platform to support modeling in individual business units, individual planning processes and visualization of the impacts of changes in what-if scenarios. It offers a central data repository for all plans; our benchmark research shows the advantage of this approach: Companies that directly link individual business unit data to an integrated plan get more accurate results. To be specific, 22 percent of those with such links have very accurate budgets compared to just a handful with less direct links and none that employ summarized data.
Topics: Big Data, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CFO, Cloud Computing, Controller, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, In-memory, Integrated Business Planning, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Reporting, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance
Oracle continues to enrich the capabilities of its Hyperion suite of applications that support the finance function, but I wonder if that will be enough to sustain its market share and new generation of expectations. At the recent Oracle OpenWorld these new features were on display, and spokespeople described how the company will be transitioning its software to cloud deployment. Our 2013 Financial Performance Management Value (FPM) Index rates Oracle Hyperion a Warm vendor in my analysis, ranking eighth out of nine vendors. Our Value Index is informed by more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers and their products and how well they satisfy specific business and IT needs. We perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. Our assessment reflects two disparate sets of factors. On one hand, the Hyperion FPM suite offers a broad set of software that automates, streamlines and supports a range of finance department functions. It includes sophisticated analytical applications. Used to full effect, Hyperion can eliminate many manual steps and speed execution of routine work. It also can enhance accuracy, ensure tasks are completed on a timely basis, foster coordination between Finance and the rest of the organization and generate insights into corporate performance. For this, the software gets high marks.
Topics: Analytics, benchmark, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CFO, CIO, close, closing, Cloud Computing, compliance, Consolidation, Controller, Data, driver-based, ERP, Finance Financial Applications Financial Close, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, GAAP, Hyperion, IFRS, In-memory, Integrated Business Planning, Mobile, Modeling, Oracle, Planning, Price Optimization, Profitability, Reporting, SEC Software, Social Media, Tax, XBRL, Office of Finance, Human Capital Management, Big Data
The 2013 Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco was unique in several ways. Against the background of the America’s Cup yacht races on the bay, which Team Oracle won in an amazing comeback, this was the first year in which OpenWorld dedicated a separate track to the full aspects of human capital management (HCM). This emphasis helped to demonstrate Oracle’s increased commitment to HCM. That and several important innovations in the company’s Oracle HCM Cloud product suite led us to select Oracle as winner of this year’s Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award for HCM. (For some background, see my colleague Mark Smith’s assessment of Oracle at its analyst day last spring.)
Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Gamifiacation, HCM, OpenWorld, Operational Performance, Oracle, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance
Two years ago I wrote about communications in the cloud taking over the annual U.K. contact center event Call Centre Expo. Now that dominance is almost complete. At one point at this year’s event I was standing at the center of the show floor and without taking a step I spotted 11 vendors all offering some form of communications in the cloud. This term includes all the systems that manage the various communication channels companies now support for managing customer interactions: telephone, email, fax, postal mail, corporate websites, chat, mobile text messaging, video and social media. Not long ago these channels would have been bundled into the contact center infrastructure and typically managed by disparate, on-premises, often proprietary systems. Now, as these systems reach the ends of their lives, companies are looking for more cost-effective and integrated ways to support multiple communication channels and increasingly are moving to cloud-based systems, which my last benchmark research on the contact center in the cloud identified as the third-most common response to the challenges of interaction-handling.
Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Customer Experience
Business planning as practiced today is a relic, a process hemmed in by obsolete conceptions of what it should be. I use the term “business planning” to encompass all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage, including, for example, sales, production and head-count planning as well as budgeting. Companies need to take a fresh view of all these, adopting a new approach to business planning that while preserving continuity makes a substantial departure from what most companies do now. Currently, in most organizations the budget is the only companywide business plan. However, while necessary for financial management and control, budgets are not especially useful for running an organization.
Topics: Big Data, Budgeting, Business Performance, CFO, Controller, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, In-memory, Integrated Business Planning, Operational Performance, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Reporting, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance
We recently issued our 2013 Value Index on Financial Performance Management. Ventana Research defines financial performance management (FPM) as the process of addressing the often overlapping people, process, information and technology issues that affect how well finance organizations operate and support the activities of the rest of their organization. FPM deals with the full cycle of finance department activities, which includes planning and budgeting, analysis, assessment and review, closing and consolidation, and internal and external financial reporting, as well as the underlying IT systems that support them. Our Value Index is informed by more than a decade of analysis of how well technology suppliers and their products satisfy specific business and IT needs. We perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability to task in five categories as well as of the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. Our resulting index gauges the value offered by each individual vendor and its products in supporting FPM, which is necessary for running an organization efficiently and effectively.
Topics: Analytics, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CFO, closing, Cloud Computing, Consolidation, contingency planning, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, Mobile, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Value Index, Office of Finance
Verint has been a major player in the workforce optimization and voice of the customer (VoC) feedback markets for several years. As I noted in a previous analysis, its major challenges stem from the fact that its product portfolio has come about largely through a series of acquisitions, which has led to integration and user interface issues. Verint has been steadily addressing these by taking an information-driven approach and adding extensive analytics capabilities to the overall portfolio. Recently it has begun developing what it calls “business impact solutions,” the first of which I have written about. These offerings combine a number of individual products into predefined, prepackaged bundles that address some of the common business issues companies face, including personalized guidance of agents on the next best action, call avoidance and cost to serve. During recent briefings I learned that Verint is continuing down this path with two new releases.
Topics: Analytics, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Customer Experience
In business, the first rule of gamification is don’t call it gamification.