CFO and Finance Should Take Leadership Role in Pricing

Pricing is an issue that affects almost every for-profit company that doesn’t sell purely commodity products. A corporation’s approach to pricing can range from highly disciplined to ad hoc and from fully centralized to decentralized. The issue of centralized or decentralized depends a great deal...Read more

Oracle Growing ERP in Cloud

Oracle recently held its second ERP Cloud Summit with industry analysts. The all-day event wasn’t just about ERP. The company covered a range of its business applications, including financial performance management as well as its Adaptive Intelligent Applications. And it wasn’t just about the...Read more

Domo Innovates Analytics for Business

Some 3,000 people attended Domo’s recent customer event, called Domopalooza. That’s nearly double the attendance of the previous event, which my colleague Mark Smith covered. Formerly a bit “stealthy,” Domo has started sharing more information, some of which I’ll pass along, as well as observations...Read more

Genesys Advances Engagement and Optimization of Customers

In tracking Genesys for several years I have seen it grow through a series of product developments and acquisitions – from predominantly selling call routing and computer/telephony integration (CTI) software to providing a suite of products that manage inbound and outbound, assisted and...Read more

ERP on the Brink of Change

Ventana Research recently announced the results of its latest Benchmark Research, Next-Generation ERP. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is at the core of nearly every company’s record-keeping and management of business processes. Its smooth and uninterrupted functioning is essential to...Read more

SAS Brings Portfolio of Data Science with Viya

I recently attended SAS Institute’s analyst relations conference. There the company provided updates on its financial performance and its Viya platform and a glimpse into some of its future plans. Financially the company reported another year of growth for 2016, growing 4 percent in constant...Read more

Content Guru Brings Interactions to Cloud for Customer Engagement

Until recently, the contact center technology systems market was straightforward. Vendors typically provided on-premises systems that fell into four broad categories: telephony management, workforce optimization, business applications (most noticeably CRM) and analytics. The advent of more digital...Read more

Cloudera Strengthens Big Data for Business and IT

Cloudera provides database and enabling technology for the big data market and overall for data and information management. As my colleague David Menninger has written, the big data and information management technology markets are changing rapidly and require vendors to adapt to them....Read more

Digital Process Reengineering Drives Business Change

Business process reengineering was a consulting fashion in the early 1990s that spurred many companies to purchase their first ERP systems. BPR proposes a fundamental redesign of core business processes to achieve substantial improvements in market and customer responsiveness, productivity,...Read more

NICE and the Customer Experience Platform

In tracking NICE for a decade I have seen the company grow, through a series of acquisitions and product developments, from a vendor largely of workforce management systems to one that offers a full suite of workforce optimization products. It is now advancing what I call a customer experience...Read more

Optimizing the Business of Selling in 2017

I am happy to provide my personal perspective on the potential of sales organizations, processes and technology to supercharge business activity in 2017. The sales processes of organizations – whether they involve digital commerce or direct or indirect physical selling – should be part of...Read more

B2B Pricing Management Can Strengthen Bottom Line

More businesses are using software to implement and support a strategic pricing strategy designed to optimize revenue and margins in business-to-business (B2B) transactions because it can help improve results at the bottom line. “Optimize” in this instance means managing the trade-off that usually...Read more

Leaders in Workforce Management Software for 2017

Workforce management is a key topic of expertise for Ventana Research. We define workforce management as the set of activities and processes organizations use to manage their hourly and salaried workforce for maximum productivity. It involves not only scheduling, tracking and paying for time worked...Read more

ShoreTel Offers Communications and Contact Centers

Until recently most organizations deployed systems on their own premises to build communications and contact center infrastructures, which often required them to integrate products from several vendors. In the past few years many vendors have moved their systems to the cloud, and others have begun...Read more

IoT Challenges Organization and Technological Readiness

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that extends digital connectivity to devices and sensors in homes, businesses, vehicles and potentially almost anywhere. This advance enables virtually any device to transmit its data, to which analytics can then be applied to facilitate monitoring and a...Read more

New Potential for Human Capital Management in 2017

Human capital management (HCM) offers a prime opportunity for organizations and their human resource professionals to make employee-related processes effective in engaging and retaining the workforce. Manual administrative processes often hampered HR in focusing on the workplace experience and...Read more

2017 Big Data Prediction: A’s Replace V’s

Big data initially was characterized in terms of “the three V’s,” volume, velocity and variety. Nearly five years ago I wrote about the three V’s as a way to explain why new and different technologies were needed to deal with big data. Since then the industry has tackled many of the technical...Read more

Zendesk Puts Real Meaning Back into CRM

One of the first applications I learned about in the contact center market was customer relationship management (CRM). The core capabilities of a CRM system were to manage customer data, marketing campaigns, sales opportunities and service requests. Vendors also touted them as the source for a...Read more

The Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2017

Senior finance executives and finance organizations that want to improve their performance must recognize the value of technology as a key tool for doing high-quality work. Consider how poorly your organization would perform if it had to operate using 25-year-old software and hardware. Having the...Read more

Research Agenda Will Track Big Data and Information Management in 2017

Big data has become an integral part of information management. Nearly all organizations have some need to access big data sources and produce actionable information for decision-makers. Recognizing this connection, we merged these two topics when we put together our recently published research...Read more

Customer Experience Research Agenda for 2017

In 2016 Ventana Research saw a significant shift in the customer engagement and contact center software markets. Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that for 70 percent of companies, customer experience is and will be an important way of competing;...Read more

Research Agenda Will Guide Business Analytics in 2017

Ventana Research analysts recently published our research agendas for 2017. As we put together these plans we think about the forces that are shaping the markets that we cover and then craft agendas that study these issues to provide insights for our community. I’ve been working in the business...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Addresses Today’s Tax Challenges

I’ve long advocated the use of effective technology in the tax function, especially for organizations that operate in multiple jurisdictions or have complex legal structures manage direct tax provision and analysis using outdated or inappropriate tools. Our Office of Finance benchmark...Read more

Nexidia Unifies Interaction Analytics

NICE is a longstanding provider of contact center systems. At the beginning of 2016 NICE acquired Nexidia, a provider of customer analytics, which raised questions about the future of the acquired company, its products and its customers. During a recent briefing SVP of product management Larry...Read more

Pentaho 7.0 Brings Visualization and Data Preparation

The business intelligence market is bounded on one side by big data and on the other side by data preparation. That is, to maximize their performance in using information, organizations have to collect and analyze ever increasing volumes of data while the tools available are constantly evolving in...Read more

B2B Price and Revenue Optimization Goes Mainstream

Price and revenue optimization (PRO) is a business discipline used to produce demand-based pricing; it applies market segmentation techniques to achieve strategic objectives such as increased profitability or greater market share. In essence, PRO enables companies to surf the demand curve using...Read more

USAN Integrates Management of Contact Centers and Communication Channels

Over the last few years the telecommunications and call center industries have undergone radical changes. Telecommunications was mainly in the hands of national and regional telecom companies, which essentially owned all the cables in the ground. The call center market was dominated by a small...Read more

Kofax Kapow 10 Advances Robotic Process Automation

Kofax offers Kapow, robotic process automation (RPA) software used to acquire information from a range of sources without human intervention and without having to write code. These sources include websites, applications, unstructured documents, data stores and desktop spreadsheets. RPA software...Read more

MapR Takes Road Less Traveled to Big Data

The big data market continues to evolve, as I have written previously. Vendors are attempting to differentiate their offerings as they seek to encourage customers to pay for technology that they could potentially download for free. MapR is one of those big data vendors. It entered the market...Read more

Teleopti Targets Workforce Management for Contact Centers

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that the telephone and other nondigital communication channels are far from obsolete: Participating organizations expect growth in all channels. As a consequence, contact centers are likely to remain a key...Read more

Financial Performance Management Software Vendors Face Challenges

Ventana Research defines financial performance management (FPM) as the process of addressing often overlapping issues involving people, process, information and technology that affect how well finance organizations operate and support the activities of the rest of their organization. FPM software...Read more

CallMiner Advances Customer Engagement Analytics

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud confirms what most people intuitively know – that consumers now engage with each other and organizations through more communication channels than a few years ago and that many of these are speech- and text-based....Read more

Treasury is More Effective with Technology

The treasury function in finance departments doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s a fundamentally important one: to ensure that all funds are accounted for and that there is sufficient cash on hand each day to meet operating requirements. Keeping track of and managing cash, especially in larger...Read more

Zuora Empowers the Subscription Economy

Zuora provides software that supports the rapidly expanding subscription economy. I recently attended the company’s user event in London, called subscribe16. During his keynote speech CEO Tien Tzuo insisted that the subscription economy is not only here to stay but is likely to grow substantially....Read more

IBM Watson and Cognitive Compliance

Ventana Research awarded our Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Business Innovation Award for 2016 to IBM for IBM Regulatory Compliance Analytics, powered by Watson (IRCA). This application of cognitive analytics is designed to streamline the identification of potential regulatory...Read more

Ventana Research Unveils New Digital Marketing Mastery

Today’s rapid changes in technology have left many companies behind in the digital transformation that is shaping the future of marketing, sales, commerce and client engagement. At Ventana Research we have seen this change coming, having been close observers and analysts of technological shifts for...Read more

IBM and The World of Watson

IBM recently held its inaugural World of Watson event. Formerly known as IBM Insight, and prior to that IBM Information on Demand, the annual event, attended by 17,000 people this year, showcases IBM’s data and analytics and the broader IBM efforts in cognitive computing. The theme for the event,...Read more

Oracle Plus NetSuite Equals More

Oracle and NetSuite have completed their merger. The combination is likely to be positive for customers because NetSuite will have access to “more,” a word repeated many times over the course of Oracle’s post-acquisition webcast. Existing NetSuite customers will benefit from increased investment as...Read more

Tableau Prepares for Future with Data Preparation and Collaboration

More than 13,000 self-described “data and visualization nerds” gathered in Austin, TX, recently for Tableau Software’s annual customer conference. In his inaugural keynote, Tableau’s new CEO, Adam Selipsky, said that nearly 9,000 were first-time attendees. I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the...Read more

Verint Advances Voice of the Customer

Verint is an established vendor of contact center systems. Its portfolio of products includes digital customer engagement, knowledge management, agent desktop, workforce optimization (for which it was recently rated the top vendor in the Ventana Research 2016 Value Index), voice of the...Read more

Taking Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin and Payments

To the extent that they know anything about blockchain distributed ledgers, people associate it with bitcoin, banking or payment systems in general. However, as I mentioned in an earlier research note, blockchains have a range of potential use cases. Indeed, blockchain distributed ledgers can look...Read more

NICE Robotic Automation Improves Interaction Experience

Robotics is nothing new to some aspects of manufacturing and the IT industry, but it is relatively new in the customer experience (CX) market. The term often conjures up images of little gray machines taking over tasks previously handled by humans – machines making cars, programmed vacuum cleaners...Read more

Big Vendors Deserve Some Respect

Fall is a busy time for software industry analysts. It’s a season filled with vendors’ user conferences and some industry conferences. Throughout the course of attending these events I’ve come to the realization that big vendors are often considered the Rodney Dangerfield of the software...Read more

Clarabridge Engages Customer Experience

Analysts have been talking and writing about a “360 degree” view of the customer for years. Our own benchmark research into customer relationship management shows that only37 percent of organizations are able to produce analysis and reports that yield such a comprehensive view. Other research into...Read more

Investigating the Potential of Data Preparation

Data preparation is critical to the effectiveness of both operational and analytic business processes. Operational processes today are fed by streams of constantly generated data. Our data and analytics in the cloud benchmark research shows that more than half (55%) of organizations spend the...Read more

Workday Planning Improves Control and Visibility

Ventana Research recently awarded Workday a 2016 Technology Innovation Award for its newly released application, Workday Planning, because it simplifies and streamlines the budgeting and planning processes while facilitating collaboration, deepening visibility into spending and enabling tight...Read more

SYSPRO Advances with Collaboration and CRM

SYSPRO is a 35-year-old software vendor that focuses on selling enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to midsize companies, particularly those in manufacturing and distribution. In manufacturing, SYSPRO supports make, configure and assemble, engineer to order, make to stock and job shop...Read more

SugarCRM Stays True to Its Vision

In the late 1990s, CRM systems were launched to help organizations become customer-centric, to manage customer relationships from end to end, through marketing to sales to customer service, and to provide a “360-degree view of the customer.” For a variety of reasons (overselling, lack of proper...Read more

Intacct Advances Subscription Billing and Reporting

Intacct, a cloud-based ERP vendor focused on midsize companies, recently held its annual user group meeting. Two of its products that were covered in the keynote are worth noting. One, already available, enables companies to manage their order-to-cash process in a continuous fashion, from the time...Read more

NGData Delivers DNA on Customers

During a recent briefing with NGData, I was initially put off by excessive “marketing speak.” The team began by describing its product, Lily Enterprise, as a “customer experience operating system.” Being used to having operating systems run entire computers, I wasn’t sure what this meant. This term...Read more

Splunk Delivers Insights from Machines

I recently attended .conf2016, Splunk’s seventh annual user conference. Splunk created the market for analyzing machine data (shorthand for machine-generated data), which consists of log files and event data from various types of systems and devices. Our big data analytics benchmark...Read more

NICE Advances Contact Centers for SMB

Over the years, our benchmark research studies on contact center systems have shown that larger centers use dedicated contact center systems to support their operations nearly twice as often as centers that have fewer than 250 seats. Smaller centers typically lack budgets and technical skills to...Read more

Ditch Presentations to Improve Corporate Governance

The topic of corporate governance received renewed attention recently after the publication of an open letter signed by 13 prominent business leaders, including Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase. The first principle the group advocated in the letter is the...Read more

Big Data Grows Up at Strata+Hadoop World 2016

I recently spent time at Strata+Hadoop World 2016 in New York. I attended this event and its predecessor, Hadoop World, off and on for the past six years. This one in New York had a different feel from previous events including the most recent event in San Jose at the end of March. Perhaps because...Read more

Oracle Goes All In On Cloud

I recently attended Oracle OpenWorld for the first time in several years. The message at this year’s event was clear: Oracle is all in on the cloud. I had heard the message, but I didn’t get the full impact until I arrived at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. All signage at the event contained...Read more

Oracle Adapts Business Applications Intelligently in the Cloud

The annual Oracle OpenWorld user group meeting provides an opportunity to step back and take a longer view of business, industry and technology trends affecting the company. Last year, after listening to Larry Ellison’s and Mark Hurd’s vision for the future of IT, I wrote that Oracle had to...Read more

Evaluagent Focuses on Agent Engagement

Evaluagent is a U.K.-based company founded in 2012 that is carving out a niche in the workforce optimization market. Whereas most WFO vendors offer broad portfolios of products that focus on operational efficiency to reduce the cost of agents, Evaluagent’s narrower portfolio focuses on the...Read more

Oracle Goes All In On Cloud

I recently attended Oracle OpenWorld for the first time in several years. The message at this year’s event was clear: Oracle is all in on the cloud. I had heard the message, but I didn’t get the full impact until I arrived at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. All signage at the event contained...Read more

Processes and Software Make Long-Term Planning and Investing More Effective

Effective capital planning and capital investment are vital to a company’s long-term success. The choices a company makes in this regard – how much to invest and in which facilities or projects – almost always have a profound impact on its competitiveness and performance. Because they have limited...Read more

Industry Changes Shake Up Customer Experience Management

I have been involved in the call center and customer engagement market for more than 25 years, first as a consultant and systems integrator and for the past 11 years as an industry analyst. There have been lots of changes in that time but never as many as in the last 12 to 18 months. A simple...Read more

Aspect Provides Customer Engagement Center in the Cloud

Aspect is a well-established global provider of contact center systems. Its portfolio of products includes applications for contact centers, self-service, workforce optimization and analytics. In May the company announced it has gained clearance for restructuring its debt, which means it is in...Read more

ERP Can Help Transform Finance

Like many other industry observers I’ve heard overblown claims for information technology for decades. However, I’ve also observed that – eventually – reality catches up with vision. Finance and accounting departments are particularly resistant to change, yet because almost no corporations use...Read more

Teradata Takes On Cloud and Developers with Big Data & Analytics

Teradata recently held its annual Partners conference, at which gather several thousand customers and partners from around the world. This was the first Partners event since Vic Lund was appointed president and CEO in May. Year on year, Teradata’s revenues are down about 5 percent, which...Read more

Value Index Analysis Finds Workforce Optimization Market Mature

Ventana Research has published its Workforce Optimization 2016 Value Index. The Value Index provides a comprehensive evaluation of contact center workforce optimization vendors based on responses to our RFP-like questionnaire, which was constructed using insights gained from our recent benchmark...Read more

Get to Know Enterprise Spreadsheets to Improve Business Effectiveness

Ventana Research coined the term “enterprise spreadsheet” in 2004 to describe a variety of software applications that add a desktop spreadsheet’s user interface (usually that of Microsoft Excel) to components that address the issues that arise when desktop spreadsheets are used in repetitive,...Read more

Corporate Controllers: Always Be Closing!

It strikes me that the motto of successful salespeople – “ABC: Always Be Closing!” – could apply equally to corporate controllers, albeit in the accounting sense. For a while now I’ve been advocating continuous accounting, a holistic approach to managing the finance and accounting function that, in...Read more

Verint Adds Robotic Process Automation to Its Portfolio

Verint is an established vendor of workforce optimization products that was the top-ranked vendor in our 2015 Workforce optimization Value Index. However, like many other large vendors in this category, its product portfolio and capabilities extend beyond workforce optimization; indeed, from a...Read more

Research Finds Mobile Analytics and BI Reach Crossroads

Ventana Research has newly published its Mobile Analytics and Business Intelligence 2016 Value Index. The Value Index provides a comprehensive evaluation of vendors and their product offerings across seven categories. In performing that analysis, I realized that this software category is at a...Read more

Xactly Inspires Sales Performance with Coaching and Insights

Imagine how the third Monday in next January looks to leaders in the sales department. That’s the first day of the annual sales kickoff and the excitement level won’t get any higher. New products and services are in the works, lucrative customer contracts are up for renewal, alliance partners are...Read more

Five9 Contact Center System Provides Omnichannel Customer Experiences

Five9 provides contact center in the cloud systems. Its Virtual Contact Center is essentially communication infrastructure software deployed through cloud computing. At the heart of its products is cloud-based telephony software that replaces on-premises ACD and PBX technology. The software...Read more

Vendavo Builds Price and Revenue Optimization into Business Processes

Vendavo is a vendor of business-to-business (B2B) price and revenue optimization software, which I have written about. A major focus of the conference sessions this year at the company’s annual user group meeting was on practical approaches to successful price optimization initiatives. While...Read more

Unit4 Adds Financial Performance Management with Prevero Acquisition

Unit4, a Netherlands-based vendor of financial management software focused mainly on midsize companies, recently acquired prevero, a German vendor of performance management and business intelligence software. The acquisition reflects a convergence of transactional and analytic business...Read more

Upstream Works Delivers Omnichannel Experience for Customers

Since I last wrote about Upstream Works it has expanded its focus on contact center agent efficiency and effectiveness to include omnichannel customer experience. Each of its core products has undergone a number of developments. Its main product now is Upstream Works for Finesse, which it...Read more

A Recipe for Cooking with the Hadoop Ecosystem

It’s part of my job to cover the ecosystem of Hadoop, the open source big data technology, but sometimes it makes my head spin. If this is not your primary job, how can you possibly keep up? I hope that a discussion of what I’ve found to be most important will help those who don’t have the time and...Read more

Hive9 Helps Tame the Chaos of B2B Marketing

It often seems to business-to-business (B2B) marketers as if the only people who understand them are other B2B marketers. They feel that salespeople don’t get what they do day-to-day, that friends and family don’t understand what they do for a living, and most of all that the executives to whom...Read more

Denodo Makes Data Virtualization Relevant to Big Data and Analytics

Data virtualization is not new, but it has changed over the years. The term describes a process of combining data on the fly from multiple sources rather than copying that data into a common repository such as a data warehouse or a data lake, which I have written about. There are many reasons for...Read more

Recurring Revenue Billing: Where Back Office Meets Front Office

Invoicing and billing are mundane business activities that hardly anyone outside of the accounting department cares about, but they are where the back office meets the front office. How well a company handles the process of getting paid by its customers can have an impact on its relationships with...Read more

Salesforce Assimilates Demandware, But Will it Help Them?

In July Salesforce officially closed on its purchase of digital commerce platform provider Demandware for US$2.8 billion. Salesforce’s executives were interested in acquiring a digital commerce platform, and they claim that Demandware was routinely mentioned in their due diligence of the...Read more

IBM Watson and Cognitive Computing to Streamline Compliance

Today’s proponents of artificial intelligence (AI) tend to focus on its spectacular uses such as self-driving cars and uplifting ones such as medical treatment. AI also has the potential to aid humanity in more modest ways such as eliminating the need for individuals to do tedious repetitive work...Read more

Cloud-Based Contact Center Systems Embrace Analytics and Communications

I recently wrote that companies are struggling to provide omnichannel customer experiences and digital customer service is now seen as a business differentiator. To address these issues, organizations need to  change how they use people and processes, and deploy innovative technologies...Read more

Workforce Optimization Undergoes Radical Change – Ready?

In today’s intensely competitive markets, companies must strive to meet customer expectations during every interaction, and interactions occur through many channels. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement finds that customers use up to 17 channels of engagement. Some...Read more

RapidMiner Brings Self-Service to Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is a rewarding yet challenging subject. In our benchmark research on next-generation predictive analytics at least half the participants reported that predictive analytics allows them to achieve competitive advantage (57%) and create new revenue opportunities (50%). Yet...Read more

Evolution of Digital Commerce Challenged by Technology Barriers

Businesses and customers are ready for a new generation of digital commerce technology, but implementing it is challenged by significant barriers in two basic categories: technology commoditization and the lack of an IT and business framework for delivering great customer experiences. ...Read more

Distributed Ledgers Have Business Value beyond Bitcoin

The blockchain distributed database was invented to create the peer-to-peer digital cash called bitcoin in 2008. Although the future potential of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been debated, the distributed ledger structure using a blockchain database that supports bitcoin is likely to...Read more

SAS Make Customer Intelligence Engaging and Valuable

My colleague David Menninger recently wrote about the SAS Analyst Summit, concluding that “the SAS analytics juggernaut keeps on truckin’.” He observed, as I have done in the past, that SAS has a vast array of products that it regularly updates to keep up with market demand, ensuring it...Read more

Modeling Revenue Recognition for Contracts to Meet New Regulations

I recently wrote about the challenge some companies will face in planning and budgeting when new revenue recognition rules go into effect in most countries in 2018. It’s important for companies that will be affected to be sure they have the appropriate systems, processes and training to handle...Read more

Rescuing Retail’s Mobile Customer Experience Requires New Technology

One aspect of living in downtown Chicago is that there’s always something going on. But as distasteful as the subject matter of certain local events can be, some proceedings can inspire perspectives on a number of topics. One that occurs to me is how the retail industry can apply the new generation...Read more

Accounting for Sales Compensation Faces Challenges under ASC 606 and IFRS 15

New standards governing accounting for contracts will go into effect for most companies in 2018. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which administers Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the U.S. (US-GAAP), has issued ASC 606, and the International Accounting Standards Board...Read more

Market Research Finds Omnichannel Issues in Customer Service

In our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud more than two-thirds (69%) of organizations said they need to improve customer service, and market dynamics require them to do this is in new ways. Whereas today most (83%) compete on the services they offer, over...Read more

Qlik Makes a Qonnection with Qlik Sense 3.0

Qlik helped pioneer the visual discovery market with its QlikView product. In some respects, Qlik and its competitors also spawned the self-service trend rippling through the analytics market today. Their aim was to enable business users to perform analytics for themselves rather than building a...Read more

NICE Systems Doubles Down on Customer Experience

NICE Systems was one of the first vendors I started to cover when I joined Ventana Research more than 11 years ago. Back then it was a pure-play vendor of workforce optimization (WFO) systems and was creating a portfolio of products by developing its own systems and acquiring niche vendors of...Read more

Allocadia Enables Excellence in Managing and Operating Marketing

The relevance of marketing to an organization depends on planning and performance measured against it. In writing about marketing management I have observed the marketing mayhem that can occur but also have noted that organizations that take marketing performance management seriously are...Read more

Workiva Automates Composite Documents with Wdesk

Workiva offers Wdesk, a cloud-based productivity application for handling composite documents. I use the term “composite document” to refer to those in which text is created and edited collaboratively by multiple contributors and which incorporates tabular and numerical data from multiple sources...Read more

Marketing Planning Improves Performance

As global business increases competitive pressures, marketing departments face new challenges. They must anticipate and respond to frequently changing customer preferences and produce effective programs and campaigns to attract them. In the online world where customers can jump instantly from one...Read more

Cloud-Based Analytics Still Don’t Deliver Self-Sufficiency

Cloud-based computing has become widespread, particularly in line-of-business applications from vendors such as Salesforce and SuccessFactors. Our benchmark research also suggests a rise in the acceptance of cloud-based analytics.  We’ve seen the emergence and growth of cloud-only analytics...Read more

Contact Centers Need Radical Change to Meet Consumers’ Expectations

I have been involved in the contact center industry for more than 25 years and often see organizations that are slow in keeping up with consumers’ expectations; many of them seem reluctant to change, regardless of the need to do so. For example, agents of my cell phone operator ask the same four...Read more

Big Data Drives Price and Revenue Optimization

Information technology enables a data-driven management style that was not feasible until powerful, affordable computers became generally available. There’s no bright line marking when this became possible; the process is ongoing. People were using financial analytics long before ENIAC, the first...Read more

Microsoft Accepts LinkedIn Connection: Will it Matter?

For some people in sales and marketing who struggle to meet their quarterly targets, the blockbuster announcement that Microsoft will buy LinkedIn for US$26.2 billion may seem like a midyear holiday present: a digital business Rolodex filled with new global connections that can make the task of...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Enables Contact Center in the Cloud

I recently attended the Interactive Intelligence Interactions 2016 conference and came away with four key insights regarding the company’s plans and progress in providing contact centers in the cloud. These include the short-term success of PureCloud, the company’s financial performance, the...Read more

SAP Faces Challenges with Customer Assurance and Digital Boardroom

There were two noteworthy themes in SAP CEO Bill McDermott’s keynote at this year’s Sapphire conference. One was customer assurance; that is, placing greater emphasis on making the implementation of even complex business software more predictable and less of an effort. This theme reflects the...Read more

The Mastery of Marketing Performance Management

Managing marketing performance is anything but simple. It requires establishing a unified approach to assess the outcomes of initiatives and projects and compare results with investments in marketing people and campaigns. In general, while performance management has been conducted effectively at...Read more

Accelerating the Close Can Fix Other Problems

In our Office of Finance benchmark research 60 percent of participants said it takes their companies six or more business days to complete their quarterly close; that exceeds the best practice benchmark of five days. Consultants, academics and vendors have stressed the importance of shortening...Read more

Industry Veteran Brings Leadership on Sales and Marketing

If you’re a sales or marketing executive or manager, your window of business opportunity is closing rapidly. In fact it started closing the day you began your job. Time is not on your side – and your career may well hang in the balance. I want to help you shift that balance to your advantage. My...Read more

Planning Is Necessary for Revenue Recognition Under ASC 606 and IFRS 15

New rules governing revenue recognition for contracts will go into effect for most companies in 2018. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which administers Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the U.S. (US-GAAP) has issued ASC 606, and the International Accounting Standards...Read more

Is NetSuite Sweet for Customers?

It’s widely agreed that customer experience is now the most important dynamic for business. Any organization that wants to retain loyal and even vocal customers should do everything possible to ensure and maintain customer satisfaction. Software companies, especially those that promise to provide...Read more

Next Generation of Product Information Management Empowers Digital Business

Organizations in all industries face various difficulties in managing product information. The most serious is providing complete, engaging information to consumers and customers on the internet. Newly developed products, mergers and acquisitions, changes to pricing and promotions in online...Read more

Mr. President and Department of Labor: Move Aside; Let Employees Work and Learn

Through a federal rule referred to as “Overtime Rule” and part of Title 29 regulations was issued on May 18th, 2016 by the Department of Labor (DOL), the Obama administration now mandates that unless they meet criteria for exemption, employees paid less than $47,476 ($22.825 per hour) are entitled...Read more

Infor Pursues Innovation for Business Applications

Infor recently held its annual Innovation Summit at its New York City headquarters. The company has shown leadership and creativity in business applications on two fronts: focusing its development efforts on enhancing the user experience and collaboration and building an application architecture...Read more

Can We Trust Salesforce for Business in the Cloud?

I have been meaning to write about Salesforce since its Dreamforce 2015 conference. Salesforce provides a platform, tools and applications for business and IT who claims to be the ‘no software’ company which as you will read is exactly what happened on May 10th. Heck, Salesforce is making a lot of...Read more

Data Lakes: Safe Way to Swim in Big Data?

It has been more than five years since James Dixon of Pentaho coined the term “data lake.” His original post suggests, “If you think of a data mart as a store of bottled water – cleansed and packaged and structured for easy consumption – the data lake is a large body of water in a more natural...Read more

Digital Business Innovation and Enterprise Messaging Work Well Together

Organizations are facing a digital transformation, as I have written, that is rapidly changing the applications and services that businesses use to operate and deliver information. This new digital generation addresses the expectations of consumers and business partners for information and...Read more

New Generation of Compensation Software Enhances Human Capital Management

Compensation management is a key activity for engaging all employees and thus for human capital management. I discussed this connection in my perspective on unifying human capital management. In a further step in that direction, I am excited to announce the launch of our next-generation...Read more

New Generation of Enterprise Messaging Supports Digital Transformation

Enterprise messaging is the technology backbone of communications for applications and systems within and between organizations. Both its importance and its complexity are growing as organizations increasingly have to provide real-time responses to business customers and consumers as well as their...Read more

Internet of Things Requires Operational Intelligence

The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of digital connectivity to devices and sensors in homes, businesses, vehicles and potentially almost anywhere. This innovation means that virtually any device can generate and transmit data about its operations – data to which analytics can be...Read more

Zuora Enables Subscriptions to Engage Customers for Revenue Results

As the global economy transforms into a world of digital services that cross industries, including those that provide value-added services for physical products, managing the complications that arise from digital browsing, selection and purchasing of goods, as well as activation, billing and...Read more

SAP Releases Transformative Universal Journal

I recently attended the SAPinsider Financials 2016 conference, a regular event that focuses on the interests and practical needs of people in the finance function of corporations. In several sessions SAP presenters continued to stress its theme of “Simple Finance” as well as making the wry...Read more

Docebo Innovates Learning Management Systems for Employees and Customers

The learning management system (LMS) offers opportunity for organizations to progressively enhance the effectiveness of their workforce. An advanced LMS can be more than a digital version of an organization’s training programs for specific jobs or to achieve compliance with policies and...Read more

Meridian Helps Communities and Customers with Learning Management System

In this highly competitive age, optimizing the potential of workers is essential. A learning management system (LMS) can increase both knowledge and engagement. Our benchmark research on next-generation learning management systems finds that adopting one can help almost half (46%) of...Read more

Mastering Marketing Mayhem in a Meaningful, Meticulous Manner

I hope this title captures your attention; I’m trying to make a point about the chaos going on in managing and operating marketing. What marketing needs in 2016 is to manage and optimize its efforts in a more unified manner. This perspective kicks off a new series on the challenges for marketing to...Read more

Supercharging Sales and Commerce in 2016

For several years I have been advocating that sales organizations adapt their processes and applications to optimize both sales performance and the customer experience. For details see my research agenda for last year. However, it appears that not many sales organizations have responded to this...Read more

Qlik Makes Sense of its Analytics and Business Value

At the 2015 technology analyst summit in Austin, Texas, analytics and business intelligence software vendor Qlik discussed recent market and product developments and explained its roadmap and strategy for 2016. Discussion topics included its Qlik Analytics Platform and QlikView 12.0, Qlik Sense and...Read more

Exploiting Cryptic Data for Securities Analysis

I coined the term “cryptic data” to mean information that isn’t easy to find or access by people who could make use of it. In one instance, cryptic data offers professional investors – portfolio managers and securities analysts – a source of proprietary information that can improve their...Read more

Informatica Advances Big Data Management for Data Preparation and Hadoop

On Monday, March 21, Informatica, a vendor of information management software, announced Big Data Management version 10.1. My colleague Mark Smith covered the introduction of v. 10.0 late last year, along with Informatica’s expansion from data integration to broader data management....Read more

Verint Gains Innovative Products through Acquisition of Contact Solutions

Verint is an established vendor of workforce optimization, advanced analytics and self-service products for customer experience management. Recently it announced its acquisition of Contact Solutions, whose products complement Verint’s. The acquisition adds analytics capabilities and fraud...Read more

FinancialForce Springs Forward with Latest Release

The evolutionary pace of technologies that shape the design of ERP systems has been accelerating over the last couple of years. In addition to cloud computing there is the increasing availability of analytics and reporting integrated into transaction processing systems, which I have noted; support...Read more

Unifying Human Capital Management in 2016

Businesses and their human resource organizations feel pressure to maximize the value of their human capital in today’s intensely competitive world. Many have made or considered investments in new applications that better exploit information to efficiently recruit, engage and retain the best...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Doubles Down on Cloud Computing

Six months ago I wrote that Interactive Intelligence bases its product strategy on continued support of its three core products: CIC, CaaS and PureCloud. During a recent briefing CMO Jeff Platón made it clear that although the company continues to support all three, its main focus will be...Read more

SAS Analytics Juggernaut Keeps on Truckin’

I recently attended the SAS Analyst Summit in Steamboat Springs, Colo. (Twitter Hashtag #SASSB) The event offers an occasion for the company to discuss its direction and to assess its strengths and potential weaknesses. SAS is privately held, so customers and prospects cannot subject its...Read more

Digital Technology Agenda for Business in 2016

Technology innovation is accelerating faster than companies can keep up with. Many feel pressure to adopt new strategies that technology makes possible and find the resources required for necessary investments. In 2015 our research and analysis revealed many organizations upgrading key business...Read more

Genesys Has New Impetus for 2016

During a recent analyst briefing, I learned that Genesys finished 2015 with a bang and enters 2016 with high expectations. Last year it made several changes at the top of the organization, naming a new president, Tom Eggemeier; a new chief marketing officer, Merijn te Booij; and a new head of...Read more

Centage’s Budget Maestro Enables More Effective Budgeting and Planning

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is one of the core functions of any finance department. Preparing a budget, measuring performance to financial objectives and forecasting the company’s financial position are three of the main tasks for the FP&A organization within Finance. A key...Read more

Spark Summit Shows Momentum in Adoption of Apache Spark

Last week I attended Spark Summit East 2016 at the New York Hilton Midtown. It revealed several ways in which Spark technology might impact the big data market. Apache Spark is an open source data processing engine designed for large-scale computing. Spark is often used in conjunction...Read more

TelStrat Achieves Success with Workforce Optimization in the Cloud

TelStrat is a company with a long history. Founded in 1993 it initially resold products of Nortel, Cisco and other telecom equipment vendors. The first product it developed and brought to market was a call recording system deployed on the customer’s premises.  It expanded its portfolio...Read more

Cryptic Data: Challenges and Rewards in Finding and Using It

Using information technology to make data useful is as old as the Information Age. The difference today is that the volume and variety of  available data has grown enormously. Big data gets almost all of the attention, but there’s also cryptic data. Both are difficult to harness using basic...Read more

The Office of Finance in 2016

The imperative to transform the finance department to function in a more strategic, forward-looking and action-oriented fashion has been a consistent theme of practitioners, consultants and business journalists for two decades. In all that time, however, most finance and accounting departments have...Read more

Research Agenda: Big Data and Information Optimization in 2016

The big data market continues to expand and enable new types of analyses, new business models and new revenues streams for organizations that implement these capabilities. Following our previous research into big data and information optimization, we’ll investigate the technology trends affecting...Read more

Research Agenda: Using Business Analytics to Make the Most of Data in 2016

Throughout the course of our research in 2016, we’ll be exploring ways in which organizations can maximize the value of their data. Ventana Research believes that analytics is the engine and data is the fuel to power better business decisions. Several themes emerged from our benchmark research on...Read more

Pardon the Interruption: Industry Veteran Returns to Ventana Research

Some followers of Ventana Research may recall my work here several years ago. Here and elsewhere I have spent most of my career in the data and analytics markets matching user requirements with technologies to meet those needs. I’m happy to be returning to Ventana Research to resume investigating...Read more

Research Agenda: Transforming Customer Engagement in 2016

I have been involved in the contact center, CRM and customer engagement business for more than 25 years. Yet only in the past few years have I seen much change. Until recently nearly all organizations focused on handling customer interactions as efficiently and inexpensively as possible; few made...Read more

Aria Enables Effective Recurring Revenue Management

Aria Systems provides companies with software for managing subscription or recurring revenue business models. A recurring revenue business models includes three types of selling and billing structures: a one-time transaction plus a periodic service charge; subscription-based services involving...Read more

Anodot Provides Anomaly Detection and Operational Intelligence

A new company has emerged in the market for real-time analytics software. Anodot came out of stealth mode in late 2015 with $3 million in funding. It is led by three founders: CEO David Drai, whose company Cotendo was acquired by networking company Akamai Technologies in 2012; Ira Cohen, chief...Read more

Customer Experience in 2016 Infuses New Digital Technologies

There were significant technology developments in customer experience management during 2015. Multichannel contact centers in the cloud took hold of the contact center infrastructure market; I counted 21 vendors offering such services. A variety of vendors entered the market for customer analytics,...Read more

Transforming Tax Departments into Strategic Entities

The steady march of technology’s ability to handle ever more complicated tasks has been a constant since the beginning of the information age in the 1950s. Initially, computers in business were used to automate simple clerical functions, but as systems have become more capable, information...Read more

mplsystems Offers Array of Customer Experience Support for Contact Centers

Based in the U.K., mplsystems is a relatively small vendor of contact center in the cloud systems, having fewer than 200 employees, but it has a distinct portfolio of products. Its core product, intelligentContact, is designed for omnichannel customer engagement. Its two other products, Customer...Read more

IBM Redesigns Cognos to Improve User Experience and Self-Service

IBM redesigned its business intelligence platform, now called IBM Cognos Analytics. Expected to be released by the end of 2015, the new version includes features to help end users model their own data without IT assistance while maintaining the centralized governance and security that the platform...Read more

Workday Works Wonders on Platform for HCM

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a software category that includes an array of business applications that includes human resources and finance. Workday is a vendor at the center of a new generation of ERP. My colleague Robert Kugel recently covered that company’s advances in finance using...Read more

Diabolocom Provides Customer Interaction in the Cloud Solution

In our benchmark research into contact centers in the cloud, nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies said that adopting applications in the cloud would enable them to improve how they handle customer interactions, and slightly fewer than half (44%) said that adopting communication systems in the cloud...Read more

Oracle Advances Applications and Technology for Customer Experience

Oracle has built one of the world’s largest software portfolios through a combination of developing products in-house and acquisitions. In the last few years it has put great effort into transitioning from providing its applications as on-premises products to making them available in the cloud. It...Read more

ERP and Financial Performance Management Begin to Overlap

The ERP market is set to undergo a significant transformation over the next five years. At the heart of this transformation is the decade-long evolution of a set of technologies that are enabling a major shift in the design of ERP systems – the most significant change since the introduction of...Read more

Stibo Systems Continues to Advance PIM for Business and IT

Stibo Systems has been providing product information management (PIM) software for decades. Its work has helped many organizations worldwide take control of their product information by developing a master definition that can be published across many channels from Web to digital to print. We...Read more

Domo Delivers on Managing Business Performance

Over the last four years Domo, a new brand in cloud-based data and analytics software, has worked to enable its customers to understand, collaborate and act on data to achieve business results. Led by its founder and CEO, Josh James, the company has worked to deliver software that provides both a...Read more

Tableau Continues Evolution of Analytics Platform

Tableau Software’s annual conference, which company spokespeople reported had more than 10,000 attendees, filled the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Various product announcements supported the company’s strategy to deliver value to analysts and users of visualization tools. Advances include new data...Read more

Intradiem Enables Real-Time for Agents and Work

When I last wrote about Intradiem, its focus was on using numerous sources of data as input for a rules engine that enables companies to make better use of customer service agents’ idle time by allocating tasks to fill those gaps. Although that fundamental concept hasn’t changed, the latest...Read more

Steelwedge Enables Actionable and Continuous Planning

Supply and demand chain planning and execution have grown in importance over the past decade as companies have recognized that software can meaningfully enhance their competitiveness and improve their financial performance. Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is an integrated business...Read more

Informatica Navigates Carefully to Broader Data Management

This has been a dramatic year for Informatica, a major provider of data integration software. In August it was acquired and taken private by Permira funds and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about US$5.3 billion. This change was accompanied by shifts in its management. CEO Sohaib...Read more

Datawatch Bolsters Data Preparation for all Information Assets

The need for businesses to process and analyze data has grown in intensity along with the volumes of data they are amassing. Our benchmark research consistently shows that preparing data is the most widespread impediment to analytic and operational efficiency. In our recent research on data and...Read more

dvsAnalytics Makes Strong Showing in Workforce Optimization

Having covered workforce optimization systems for more than 10 years, recently I was contacted for a briefing by dvsAnalytics. I quickly learned that the analytics mentioned in the company’s name are focused on workforce optimization. Founded in 1983, dvsAnalytics is headquartered in Scottsdale,...Read more

Enghouse Evolves Products for Contact Center Demands

Over the last few years, through a combination of acquisitions and internal development, Enghouse Interactive has developed a portfolio of contact center products and services. Recently it announced its product portfolio for 2016. This consists of three core products: CCE, CCSP and EICC. These are...Read more

Workday Financial Management Gains Momentum

Workday Financial Management (which belongs in the broader ERP software category) appears to be gaining traction in the market, having matured sufficiently to be attractive to a large audience of buyers. It was built from the ground up as a cloud application. While that gives it the advantage...Read more

Transera Embraces and Analytics

Transera is an established vendor of contact center in the cloud systems and analytics, and as I discovered at the Salesforce Dreamforce ’15 conference and during a recent briefing, it has added support for managing voice interactions for users of Service Cloud. Its core...Read more

Pentaho Poised for Exploiting Internet of Things

PentahoWorld 2015, Pentaho’s second annual user conference, held in mid-October, centered on the general availability of release 6.0 of its data integration and analytics platform and its acquisition by Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) earlier this year. Company spokespeople detailed the development of...Read more

Workforce Management for Human Capital Management

Historically workforce management has been centered on tracking time and attendance, absences and leaves. Organizations view the time and attendance system as the top priority to integrate with the payroll system; in our payroll management benchmark research half (51%) of organizations called...Read more

Evolving to the Next Generation of ERP Systems

The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a pillar of nearly every company’s record-keeping and management of business processes. It is essential to the smooth functioning of the accounting and finance functions. In manufacturing and distribution, ERP also can help plan and manage inventory...Read more

IoT Invigorates Operational Intelligence

The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) extends digital connectivity to devices and sensors in homes, businesses, vehicles and potentially almost anywhere. This innovation enables devices designed for it to generate and transmit data about their operations; analytics using this data can facilitate...Read more

LiveOps Empowers Contact Center in the Cloud

Founded in 2000, LiveOps has evolved a unique two-sided business model. On one side is LiveOps Agents on Demand,  an Uber-like business in which home-based workers sign-up as LiveOps agents, and the company uses them to provide outsourced contact center services. This model enables LiveOps to...Read more

Tidemark Enables More Effective Business Planning

Tidemark Systems offers a suite of business planning applications that enable corporations to plan more effectively. The software facilitates rapid creation and frequent updating of integrated company plans by making it easy for individual business functions to create their own plans while...Read more

Three Tools to Boost Omnichannel Customer Experience

Much is written about omnichannel customer experience, and various software vendors now claim to focus on the customer experience. With various degrees of credibility they range from providers of communication channel management to workforce optimization, voice of the customer, self-service,...Read more

New Generation of Human Resources Management Systems

Ventana Research defines a human resources management system (HRMS) as the set of applications and associated processes that store and manage the employee information used by an organization’s human resources department. New technologies make it possible for the HRMS to perform better and be easier...Read more

The State of Product Information Management Software for Business and IT

The importance of product information management (PIM) has become clear in recent years and especially as it relates to master data management. As I recently wrote handling this business process effectively and using capable software should be priorities for any organization in marketing and...Read more

Product Information Management Trumps Master Data Management

Ventana Research defines product information management (PIM) as the practice of using information, applications and other technology to effectively support product-related processes across the customer, commerce and supply chain. As organizations increase the number and diversity of products and...Read more

Subscriber Experience Impacts Recurring Revenue

The digital economy has changed the way many companies provide products. Some no longer deliver packaged products but provide them as services over a network, typically the Internet. Telecommunications providers in particular are familiar with this business model and have developed processes and...Read more

Splunk Takes on Internet of Things and Bolsters Enterprise Security

Splunk’s annual gathering, this year called .conf 2015, in late September hosted almost 4,000 Splunk customers, partners and employees. It is one of the fastest-growing user conferences in the technology industry. The area dedicated to Splunk partners has grown from a handful of booths a few years...Read more

Genesys Brings G-Force to Powering a Better Customer Experience

I recently joined more than 1,000 users, partners, consultants and other analysts at the first global G-Force 2015 conference, held in Miami. Sponsor Genesys put together an agenda that not only educated but entertained the attendees. For an example of the latter, Sekou Andrews, a poet, actor,...Read more

Oracle Must Pivot to Business Applications

Whatever Oracle’s cloud strategy had been the past, this year’s OpenWorld conference and trade show made it clear that the company is now all in. In his keynote address, co-CEO Mark Hurd presented predictions for the world of information technology in 2025, when the cloud will be central to...Read more

Big Data and Analytics has a New Spark

The concept and implementation of what is called big data are no longer new, and many organizations, especially larger ones, view it as a way to manage and understand the flood of data they receive. Our benchmark research on big data analytics shows that business intelligence (BI) is the most...Read more

Continuous Accounting Enables a Strategic Finance Department

Many senior finance executives say they want their department to play a more strategic role in the management and operations of their company. They want Finance to shift its focus from processing transactions to higher-value functions in order to make more substantial contributions to the success...Read more

Operationalize Predictive Analytics for Significant Business Impact

One of the key findings in our latest benchmark research into predictive analytics is that companies are incorporating predictive analytics into their operational systems more often than was the case three years ago. The research found that companies are less inclined to purchase stand-alone...Read more

Insights from Dreamforce ‘15 Exceeds Expectations

I recently attended my first U.S. Dreamforce, the annual event designed to showcase its products and services as well as those of its partners, and I was impressed. I was told that Dreamforce ‘15 would be big, and it was – just about every hotel, restaurant, meeting room in San...Read more

Business Case for Predictive Analytics is Simpler Than You Think

Our benchmark research into predictive analytics shows that lack of resources, including budget and skills, is the number-one business barrier to the effective deployment and use of predictive analytics; awareness – that is, an understanding of how to apply predictive analytics to business problems...Read more

ResponseTek Makes Customer Experience Management Simple and Sophisticated

ResponseTek is a software vendor whose platform and services help companies collect and act on feedback from their customers. It supports a closed-loop process that collects feedback, analyzes it, provides customizable reports and analysis dependent on the user, and most importantly enables...Read more

Cloud-Based Analytics Requires Hybrid Data Access and Integration

As I discussed in the state of data and analytics in the cloud recently, usability is a top evaluation criterion for organizations in selecting cloud-based analytics software. Data access of cloud and on-premises systems are essential antecedents of usability. They can help business people...Read more

Calabrio Supercharges Workforce Optimization with Analytics for Customer Engagement

Calabrio is a vendor of workforce optimization software whose core product is Calabrio ONE. It includes the common workforce optimization applications: call recording, quality management, workforce management and analytics. The company is rated Hot in our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value Index,...Read more

NICE Delivers Customer Journey Maps for Customer Engagement

Through a continuing program of acquisitions and internal development, NICE Systems has transitioned from being a vendor of workforce optimization systems to one focused on aspects of the customer experience, notably voice of the customer (VOC), customer engagement analytics and customer...Read more

Finance Transformation Requires Strong Leadership

The theme of transforming the finance organization is hot again. The term “finance transformation” refers to the longstanding objective of shifting the focus of finance departments from transaction processing to more strategic activities such as providing the rest of the organization with...Read more

Pitney Bowes Doubles Down on Customer Engagement

From its history of managing postal mail, Pitney Bowes has expanded into products for data management, analytics and location intelligence, as my colleague Mark Smith noted. Continuing this expansion through internal development and acquisitions of vendors such as Portrait Software and RTC, it has...Read more

Data and Analytics in the Cloud is a Reality Today

Our recently completed benchmark research on data and analytics in the cloud shows that analytics deployed in cloud-based systems is gaining widespread adoption. Almost half (48%) of participating organizations are using cloud-based analytics, another 19 percent said they plan to begin using...Read more

Tagetik’s Solid Financial Performance Management Suite

Tagetik is a long-established vendor of financial performance management (FPM) software. Its full-featured suite includes planning, budgeting, consolidation, close management, disclosure management, analysis, dashboards and reporting. The software can be deployed on premises or in the cloud as...Read more

Interactive Intelligence and Omnichannel Customer Engagement

At the end of last year, I wrote about Interactive Intelligence’s release of a new service, PureCloud. It was the company’s first step into the multitenant cloud computing market, using Amazon Web Services and aimed at small-to-midsize contact centers. To help companies understand the...Read more

Optimization Analytics Comes to the Mass Market

Optimization is the application of algorithms to sets of data to guide executives and managers in making the best decisions. It’s a trending topic because using optimization technologies and techniques to better manage a variety of day-to-day business issues is becoming easier. I expect...Read more

Data Preparation is Essential for Predictive Analytics

Our research into next-generation predictive analytics shows that along with not having enough skilled resources, which I discussed in my previous analysis, the inability to readily access and integrate data is a primary reason for dissatisfaction with predictive analytics (in 62% of...Read more

The Strategic Tax Department is a Priority for Longview

Longview’s recent Dialog user group meeting highlighted the company’s continued commitment to providing much needed automation tools for improving tax department performance – tools that enable the tax function to play a more strategic role in the management of a company. The sessions also...Read more

Is NPS the Best Measure of Customer Experience?

Recently my colleague Tony Cosentino wrote an analyst perspective asserting that big data analytics will displace net promoter score (NPS) for more effectively measuring the entire customer experience. This prompted a response from Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian, asserting that big data and NPS...Read more

Skills Gap Challenges Potential of Predictive Analytics

The Performance Index analysis we performed as part of our next-generation predictive analytics benchmark research shows that only one in four organizations, those functioning at the highest Innovative level of performance, can use predictive analytics to compete effectively against others that use...Read more

Predictive Analytics: Investing and Selecting Software Properly

To impact business success, Ventana Research recommends viewing predictive analytics as a business investment rather than an IT investment.  Our recent benchmark research into next-generation predictive analytics  reveals that since our previous research on the topic in 2012,...Read more

Predictive Analytics Enters the Business Mainstream

Our recently released benchmark research into next-generation predictive analytics  shows that in this increasingly important area many organizations are moving forward in the dimensions of information and technology, but most are challenged to find people with the right skills and to...Read more

Upstream Works Helps Customer Service Agents Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness

My research and experience show that contact center agents and others handling customer interactions face the continuing challenge of meeting customer expectations while keeping down the cost of handling interactions. Our benchmark research into the agent desktop and customer service finds...Read more

Host Analytics Modeling Cloud Simplifies Planning and Reporting

Our benchmark research on next-generation business planning finds that a large majority of companies rely on spreadsheets to manage planning processes. For example, four out of five use them for supply chain planning, and about two-thirds for budgeting and sales forecasting. Spreadsheets are...Read more

Companies Need Disruptive Customer Experience Technologies

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement finds that the top priorities in customer service for companies are to improve the customer experience (said 74%) and their customer service performance (70%). To do this, the technological steps most companies expect to improve...Read more

Big Data Analytics Will Displace Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Measuring Customer Experience

Our benchmark research into big data analytics shows that marketing in the form of cross-selling and upselling (38%) and customer understanding (32%) are the top use cases for big data analytics. Related to these uses, organizations today spend billions of dollars on programs seeking customer...Read more

Unit4 Defines Strategy to Disrupt ERP Market

Unit4 is a global business software vendor focused on business and professional services, the public sector and higher education. Recently company executives met with industry analysts to provide an update of its strategic roadmap and to recap its accomplishments since being acquired by a...Read more

Envision Offers Comprehensive Suite for Workforce Optimization

Envision is a vendor of workforce optimization software that I have been following for many years. It is rated a Hot vendor in our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value Index. It offers a full suite of products, including interaction capture, quality monitoring, workforce management, coaching and...Read more

OnviSource Opens Up Workforce Optimization for Contact Center Excellence

OnviSource is a 10-year-old vendor of workforce optimization software whose core product, OnviCenter 7, includes interaction capture, quality monitoring, workforce management, coaching and training, and workforce analytics. The company is rated a Hot vendor in our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value...Read more

IBM’s Vision Features Analytics

IBM’s Vision user conference brings together customers who use its software for financial and sales performance management (FPM and SPM, respectively) as well as governance, risk management and compliance (GRC). Analytics is a technology that can enhance each of these activities. The recent...Read more

Corvisa Brings New Generation of Contact Center Communications in the Cloud

Contact centers in the cloud are increasingly popular alternatives to managing them on a company’s own premises. Running many business applications on hardware owned and managed by a third party is relatively straightforward and requires less support internally. Also the payment model changes from...Read more

Salesforce Helps Companies Innovate in Customer Management

In recent years I have tracked Salesforce, its product development and its announcements. Despite having grown into a giant corporation, it continues to introduce innovations. At a recent analyst day in the U.K., I followed up on the company’s overall direction, some key product developments and a...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Supports Tax Department’s Effectiveness

Companies trust their tax departments with a highly sensitive and essential task. Direct (income) taxes usually are the second largest corporate expense, after salaries and wages. Failure to understand and manage this liability is expensive, whether because taxes are overpaid or because of fines...Read more

Order-to-Cash Cycle for Revenue Recognition

Revenue recognition standards for companies that use contracts are in the process of changing, as I covered in an earlier perspective. As part of managing their transition to these standards, CFOs and controllers should initiate a full-scale review of their order-to-cash cycle. This should include...Read more

Genesys Advances Omnichannel Experience for Customer Engagement

I recently wrote about six technologies that can help companies deliver experiences that live up to their customers’ expectations: an integrated multichannel infrastructure, analytics, a smart agent desktop, business applications such as workforce management and knowledge management,...Read more

Verint Introduces Gamification Software to Motivate and Engage the Workforce

Some new words can give the wrong impression. Take “gamification,” for example. It may sound as if employers are inviting their employees to play games just for fun, when actually this is a technique increasingly being used to recognize achievement and thus help improve performance. Several...Read more

NICE Systems Engages Analytics to Optimize Customer Experience

NICE Systems is an established vendor of workforce optimization products that has long included analytics in its portfolio. Its latest release in this area, NICE Customer Experience Analytics, focuses on mapping, understanding and managing customer journeys and metrics. The product is built on...Read more

New Revenue Recognition Rules Require Software

For most of the past decade businesses that decided not to pay attention to proposed changes in revenue recognition rules have saved themselves time and frustration as the proponents’ timetables have slipped and roadmaps have changed. The new rules are the result of a convergence of US-GAAP...Read more

Infor Makes User Experience A Reason for New Business Applications

Recently, Infor held its second innovation conference with industry analysts at its New York City headquarters. Infor’s products include the major categories of ERP, human capital management and financial performance management applications. Behind the marketing aspects of its use of...Read more

Adaptive Insights Highlights Importance of Strategic Finance

Adaptive Insights held its annual user group meeting recently. A theme sounded in several keynote sessions was the importance of finance departments playing a more strategic role in their companies. Some participating customers described how they have evolved their planning process from being...Read more

Panviva Embraces Cloud Computing for Guiding People and Business Processes

When I last wrote about Panviva I likened its product SupportPoint to a smart agent desktop – a system that helps contact center agents access the information they need to handle customer interactions, guides them through the process of handling interactions and offers advice on what to say...Read more

Nomis Solutions Targets Price and Revenue Optimization in Financial Services

Price and revenue optimization (PRO) software uses analytics to help companies maximize profitability for any targeted level of revenues. PRO utilizes data about buyer behavior to gauge individual customers’ price sensitivity and predict how they will react to prices. It enables users to...Read more

SaaS Buyers and Customers Beware: Data Issues are Cloudy

There’s a long history of companies not paying close enough attention to the contractual elements of acquiring software. Today, this extends into the world of cloud computing. Many companies are choosing to acquire software services through cloud-based providers and increasingly rely on access to...Read more

Who’s Hot in Analytics and Business Intelligence

Ventana Research recently completed the most comprehensive evaluation of analytics and business intelligence products and vendors available anywhere. As I discussed recently, such research is necessary and timely as analytics and business intelligence is now a fast-changing market. Our Value Index...Read more

In the Digital Economy, the Customer Experience Is Critical

Advertising and marketers tell us we now live in a “digital economy.” That implies the economy is based on and depends on digital technologies. It certainly is true that many consumers, especially younger ones, have changed the ways they interact with each other and businesses; they are now more...Read more

New Research to Examine Best Practices in Customer Interactions and Experience with Cloud Computing

In 2013, Ventana Research carried out groundbreaking benchmark research into contact centers in the cloud. It revealed that customer pressures have forced companies to support an increasing variety of channels of interaction. This research investigated the systems companies were using then or were...Read more

Verint Engages on Customer Engagement

In covering Verint for several years I have watched it go from selling call recording systems to adding workforce optimization software, analytics, and support for multiple channels of interaction with customers. Its latest product, Customer Engagement Optimization, increases support for...Read more

Effective Process Management Ensures a Fast Close

Because my research practice is centered on important business issues where technology is a key part of a solution, my written perspectives tend to focus on technology. However, it’s almost never the case that a company can just implement some application and fully resolve a business issue. Some...Read more

Analytics and Business Intelligence: Multifaceted and Evolving Technology

Just a few years ago, the prevailing view in the software industry was that the category of business intelligence (BI) was mature and without room for innovation. Vendors competed in terms of feature parity and incremental advancements of their platforms. But since then business intelligence has...Read more

Does Pricing and Revenue Optimization Make My Bottom Line Look Fatter?

Managing prices has always been an activity of keen interest to businesses, but it has become even more critical to do it well. Over the past decade many companies have found their ability to raise prices has been constrained by intense competition resulting from Internet commerce, global...Read more

Nexidia Brings Compliance and Process Management to Interaction Analytics

Nexidia is a leading vendor of speech analytics vendor. I recently wrote about how it has enhanced its architecture to include text analytics and improve overall system performance. Version 11 of its Neural Phonetic Speech Analytics continues these enhancements to make the product faster...Read more

The Importance of Well-Managed Processes for Planning

It’s stating the obvious to say that how well executives manage planning processes has a big impact on how well a business unit or company plans. However, one significant source of the value of our benchmark research is that it establishes hard evidence – the numbers – that transforms mere...Read more

VPI Applies Business Intelligence to Customer Experience

VPI is a well-established vendor of workforce optimization systems and rated a Hot Vendor in our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value Index. It offers a full suite of products for this market. Notable among them is Performance Reporting, which produces reports and dashboards showing a range...Read more

Enghouse Interactive Expands Portfolio of Contact Center Systems

Enghouse Interactive is one of three divisions of Enghouse Systems, a publicly traded Canadian company founded in 1984. The other two divisions provide network technology to telecommunications providers and applications for public and private transportation companies; Enghouse Interactive owns...Read more

Recurring Revenue Challenges Finance Departments

As I noted in a recent analyst perspective note the recurring revenue business model is gaining increasing use worldwide. Our recently completed recurring revenue benchmark research shows that companies are using this business approach because they find that it can convey a strategic...Read more

Tracking the Customer Journey Is Critical for Engagement

Competition for customers is more intense today than ever before, and companies struggle to differentiate themselves from the competition. Our research repeatedly finds that customer experience is a key differentiator. Our research into next-generation customer engagement said the impetus for...Read more

Alpine Chorus Brings Collaboration and Predictive Analytics to Big Data

In many organizations, advanced analytics groups and IT are separate, and there often is a chasm of understanding between them, as I have noted. A key finding in our benchmark research on big data analytics is that communication and knowledge sharing is a top benefit of big data analytics...Read more

How to Get Business Users to Switch from Spreadsheets

In our benchmark research at least half of participants that use spreadsheets to support a business process routinely say that these tools make it difficult for them to do their job. Yet spreadsheets continue to dominate in a range of business functions and processes. For example, our recent...Read more

Verint Advances Feedback Management to Improve Customer Experience

Verint entered the enterprise market for customer feedback management when it acquired Vovici in August 2011. Since then the Vovici products have been integrated into Verint’s Customer Engagement Optimization suite, which includes products originally developed by Verint and Kana, which it also...Read more

A New Generation of Analytics Offers Help for Sales

All lines of business are under pressure to meet targets and deliver expected results, but none is under more pressure than Sales. Like other organizations it must use information to derive insights about progress and problems and to decide what changes to make. Today businesses collect and analyze...Read more

Integrated Business Planning Is More Effective

Ventana Research recently released the results of our Next-Generation Business Planning benchmark research. Business planning encompasses all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage. The research examined 11 of the most common types of enterprise planning: capital,...Read more

SAP is a Factor for HCM Success

Maximizing the performance and value of people in the workforce should be a primary focus for any business these days. It is a complex task, especially for larger organizations, and chances for success can be increased by investment in human capital management (HCM) applications. In this...Read more

The Establishment of Data Preparation

Data is an essential ingredient for every aspect of business, and those that use it well are likely to gain advantages over competitors that do not. Our benchmark research on information optimization reveals a variety of drivers for deploying information, most commonly analytics, information...Read more

Process Trumps Innovation in Business Analytics

The idea of not focusing on innovation is heretical in today’s business culture and media. Yet a recent article in The New Yorker suggests that today’s society and organizations focus too much on innovation and technology. The same may be true for technology in business organizations. Our...Read more

Recurring Revenue: An Increasingly Important Business Model

Recurring revenue is a term applied to business models that involve three types of selling and billing structures: a one-time transaction plus a periodic service charge; subscription-based services involving periodic charges; or a contractual relationship that charges periodically for goods and...Read more

MicroStrategy Powers Up Security for Analytics and BI

At its annual MicroStrategy World conference, this provider of analytics and business intelligence systems for business and IT introduced a new version of its flagship product, MicroStrategy 9s. Among many advances it adds enterprise grade security with MicroStrategy Usher as part of the...Read more

Sales Agenda for Applications and Technology in 2015

Most people in business management admit that sales is more an art than a science. Organizations have long struggled to find the right mix to improve its effectiveness, and few get the most out of available technology. For many the default is still to use sales force automation (SFA) and...Read more

Giving Tax Departments More Corporate Clout

One of the issues in handling the tax function in business, especially where it involves direct (income) taxes, is the technical expertise required. At the more senior levels, practitioners must be knowledgeable about accounting and tax law. In multinational corporations, understanding differences...Read more

Oracle Advances Analytics and Business Intelligence for Big Data and Cloud Computing

Oracle is one of the world's largest business intelligence and analytics software companies. Its products range from middleware, back-end databases and ETL tools to business intelligence applications and cloud platforms, and it is well established in many corporate and government accounts. A key to...Read more

Cisco Provides a Portfolio of Contact Center Products

I recently attended a Cisco Collaboration analyst day in the U.K. and was impressed by what I heard and saw. Cisco  of course is known as a supplier of network equipment and software, and it has long provided these through a global network of partners. But Cisco also has been in the...Read more

Big Data Research Agenda and Trends are Bolder in 2015

Big data has become a big deal as the technology industry has invested tens of billions of dollars to create the next generation of databases and data processing. After the accompanying flood of new categories and marketing terminology from vendors, most in the IT community are now beginning to...Read more

Making Business Planning More Accurate, Effective and Useful

Business planning includes all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage. Companies do a great deal of planning. They plan sales and determine what and how they will produce products or deliver services. They plan the head count they’ll need and how to organize...Read more

Research Agenda: What Matters for Human Capital Management in 2015

Managing investments in people and their performance is critical to every organization. It also is complicated. To support the various aspects of human capital management (HCM), organizations often use a variety of technology including systems for human resource management, talent management,...Read more

Research Agenda: The Office of Finance in 2015

Last year Ventana Research released our Office of Finance benchmark research. One of the objectives of the project was to assess organizations’ progress in achieving “finance transformation.” This term denotes shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from transaction processing toward...Read more

New Generation of Learning Management Systems Delivers Business Value

As organizations look to improve the competency and skills of their workers, learning management system (LMS) technology can help improve their efforts. Our latest benchmark research in next-generation learning management systems finds a range of progress in this regard. Our Performance Index...Read more

Office of Finance Research Demonstrates Importance of Using Effective Financial Software

Our recently published Office of Finance benchmark research assesses a broad set of functions and capabilities of finance organizations. We asked research participants to identify the most important issues for a finance department to address in a dozen functional areas: accounting, budgeting,...Read more

Research Agenda: Technology Innovation for Business in 2015

This year presents much opportunity for organizations to use a new generation of technology to compete better, be more efficient in their business operations and engage their workforces to their full potential. We have identified and begun to track the following next-generation technologies:...Read more

Research Agenda: Business Analytics Trends and Possibilities in 2015

Our benchmark research into business technology innovation shows that analytics ranks first or second as a business technology innovation priority in 59 percent of organizations. Businesses are moving budgets and responsibilities for analytics closer to the sales operations, often in the form...Read more

Genesys and Workforce Optimization

Genesys is best known as a provider of contact center management systems and has long provided computer/telephony integration (CTI) and single-queue call routing systems. Over the past few years it has had changes of ownership and now is a stand-alone company focused on providing systems to...Read more

Make Automating the Office of Finance and Accounting a Priority

Our recent Office of Finance benchmark research demonstrates the importance of using automation to execute finance department functions. Information technology systems do at least two things very well that make better use of people’s time, and both of them can substantially improve...Read more

Research Agenda: Customer Technology for 2015

I recently wrote about customer experience lessons I learned during 2014 and the technologies required to deliver EPIC experiences. Both of these analyses focus on the people, processes, information and technologies required to improve the customer experience at every touch point, and these...Read more

Actuate and OpenText: The Background and Potential Future

Actuate, a company known for powering BIRT, the open source business intelligence technology, has been delivering large-scale consumer and industrial applications for more than 20 years. In December the company announced it would be acquired by OpenText of Ontario, Canada. OpenText is Canada’s...Read more

Managing Sales Compensation Requires Commitment

Sales organizations are under constant pressure to maximize their potential. To accomplish this they need to integrate their people and processes with those of the finance and operations groups and have access to all available information and useful technology. This is particularly true in the area...Read more

Technology Requirements for Providing an EPIC Customer Experience

Customer Experience was one of the subjects most talked and written about during 2014, and I expect this to continue in 2015. Many observers and analysts, including me, believe it can be the difference between companies succeeding or going out of business. Yet debate continues to define what...Read more

Beqom Simplifies Compensation in Sophisticated Ways

It is more important than ever for businesses to attract and retain the best talent, and managing compensation effectively is an essential tool for doing so. Obviously companies must pay well to compete, but managing salary, merit pay, variable pay and incentives for employees, tracking their...Read more

Workforce Optimization Software Vendor Ratings in Perspective

As with many other research topics, Ventana Research investigates workforce optimization in two ways. Our benchmark research into next-generation workforce optimization assesses how companies use workforce optimization systems now and intend to in the future, while our Workforce Optimization...Read more

IBM Builds Innovation into Watson Analytics

In 2014, IBM announced Watson Analytics, which uses machine learning and natural language processing to unify and simplify the user experience in each step of the analytic processing: data acquisition, data preparation, analysis, dashboarding and storytelling.  After a relatively short beta...Read more

ManyWho Brings New Approach to Workflow and Business Efficiency

ManyWho was launched in May 2013 by two former executives, Dave Norris and Steve Wood. They branded it the Cloud Workflow Company, It offers an innovative approach that allows organizations to create workflows, automatically convert them into business applications and run the...Read more

Customer Engagement Analytics Getting Simpler with Verint

Verint is a well-established vendor of workforce optimization systems. It recently acquired KANA Software, as I discussed, which enabled Verint to move further into the customer engagement market. Now Verint has combined the two companies’ range of analytics products to create Verint...Read more

Profisee Simplifies Master Data Management

Organizations today create and collect data at ever faster rates, and this introduces challenges in ensuring that data is not just managed but used in a consistent manner for a range of operational and analytic tasks. This is made more difficult by new data sources whose definitions vary from...Read more

Salesforce Innovates in Customer Engagement

When began in 1999 its stated intent was “to reinvent CRM in the cloud.” In 15 years, the company has achieved much more than that, having a major impact on the way IT systems are delivered: Large numbers of vendors have followed its example to provide cloud-based systems. It...Read more

Integration of Big Data Involves Challenges

Big data has great promise for many organizations today, but they also need technology to facilitate integration of various data stores, as I recently pointed out. Our big data integration benchmark research makes it clear that organizations are aware of the need to integrate big data, but...Read more

Lessons Learned about the Customer Experience in 2014

During this year talk has been widespread about the customer experience, which is good. What is not so good is that, according to my benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement, most companies still struggle to deliver satisfying experiences. However, the research and my discussions...Read more

Payroll Management Software Rated in 2015 Ventana Research Value Index

To help companies improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their payroll management processes, we have assembled our 2015 Value Index for Payroll Management. It evaluates vendors of payroll management software to provide a guide for selecting the right application to suit specific needs. The...Read more

Workforce Optimization Vendors Rated in 2015 Ventana Research Value Index

The Ventana Research Value Index for Workforce Optimization in 2015 is now released. Workforce optimization covers all aspects of managing everyone who handles customer interactions and is thus vital to improve operational efficiency, and customer and employee satisfaction. It includes the...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Innovates in the Cloud for Contact Centers

Interactive Intelligence is a well-established supplier of contact center systems and just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Customer Interaction Center (CIC) is its on-premises product, which provides integrated management of multiple communication channels and supports a high degree of...Read more

IBM Enables Business Innovation from 21st Century Technology

Those of us who have been in the technology industry for many years remember the phrase “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” Then IBM was both a hardware and a system software vendor, and most IT managers new that hardly anyone would question a decision to go with IBM. These days IBM has done...Read more

Deciding When to Replace ERP Is Complicated

A company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is one of the pillars of its record-keeping and process management architecture and is central to many of its critical functions. It is the heart of its accounting and financial record-keeping processes. In manufacturing and distribution, ERP...Read more

SYSPRO Offers Supply Chain Visibility for Midsize Companies

SYSPRO is a 35-year-old ERP vendor that focuses on products for midsize companies, particularly those in manufacturing and distribution. In manufacturing, SYSPRO supports make, configure and assemble, engineer to order, make to stock and job shop environments. The company attempts to...Read more

Pentaho Presents Big Data Orchestration Platform with Governance and Data Refinery

PentahoWorld, the first user conference for this 10-year-old supplier of data integration and business intelligence that provides business analytics, attracted more than 400 customers in roles ranging from IT and database professionals to business analysts and end users. The diversity of the crowd...Read more

Intacct Improves Cloud of Collaboration, Payments and Reporting

Financial management software provider Intacct recently held its seventh annual user conference. In addition to a long list of enhancements in current and upcoming product releases, the company used the occasion to announce Intacct Collaborate, a capability built into its software that enables...Read more

Big Data Requires Integration Technology

The market for big data continues to grow as organizations try to extract business value from their own masses of data and other sources. Earlier this year I outlined the dynamics of the business opportunity for big data and information optimization. We continue to see advances as big data and...Read more

Salesforce Analytics Cloud Delivers Wave of Elegant Dashboards

At this year's Dreamforce more than 140,000 people gathered in San Francisco to share the excitement about the use of technology for business.’s annual conference has reached megashow status, which is a mixed blessing: Dreamforce remains social in its design, but it has become...Read more

Splunk Vies to Become Big Data Platform for Operational Intelligence

At a conference of more than 3,500 users, Splunk executives showed off their company’s latest tools. Splunk makes software for discovering, monitoring and analyzing machine data, which is often considered data exhaust since it is a by-product of computing processes and applications. But machine...Read more

New Technology to Recruit, Engage and Retain Employees

Most HR technology practitioners and vendors attend the annual HR Technology Conference and Exposition. One of the largest industry gatherings, it provides an indicator of their levels of investment and the hottest trends. This year’s event revealed new technologies and approaches to two key human...Read more

Technology Can Enhance Performance in Finance Departments

Finance transformation” refers to a longstanding objective: shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from transaction processing to more strategic, higher-value functions. Our upcoming Office of Finance benchmark research confirms that most of organizations want their finance department...Read more

Data-Driven Business Processes Essential for Optimization

When applying information technology to drive better business performance, companies and the systems integrators that assist them often underestimate the importance of organizing data management around processes. For example, companies that do not execute their quote-to-cash cycle as an end-to-end...Read more

Qlik Sense Makes Sense for Qlik

Qlik was an early pioneer in developing a substantial market for a visual discovery tool that enables end users to easily access and manipulate analytics and data. Its QlikView application uses an associative experience that takes  an in-memory, correlation-based approach to present a simpler...Read more

Finance Needs Better Analytics and Analytic Skills

Finance and accounting departments are staffed with numbers-oriented, naturally analytical people. Strong analytic skills are essential if a finance department is to deliver deep insights into performance and visibility into emerging opportunities and challenges. The conclusions of analyses enable...Read more

Oracle’s Larry Ellison Challenges Human Capital Management Market

This year Oracle OpenWorld conference opened with a fiery speech by Larry Ellison, who has stepped down from his role as CEO to become Executive Chairman and CTO. Filling his rhetoric with claims of market leadership and attacks on competitors SAP and Workday, Ellison set an aggressive tone for...Read more

Tableau Capitalizes on the Experience of Analytics

Tableau Software introduced its latest advancements in analytics and business intelligence software along with its future plan to more than 5,000 attendees at its annual user conference in its home town of Seattle. The enthusiasm of the primarily millennial-age crowd reflected not only the...Read more

NICE Systems Delivers Customer Engage Platform

I recently wrote about NICE Systems expanding beyond workforce optimization, including more analytics in its product portfolio. This expansion is continuing. NICE recently announced the NICE Engage Platform. This consists of three components: an enhanced version of its call recording product,...Read more

Infor Advances Business Computing

Infor recently held its annual Inforum user group meeting, along with a series of sessions with analysts. The $2 billion business software company has products in the major categories of ERP (including enterprise financial management), human capital management, customer relationship...Read more

ADP Bets Future on HCM

ADP recently held its annual analyst day in the company’s new innovation center in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The location emphasized what ADP wanted to get across to the analyst community at the event: that it intends to become a significant vendor of human capital management (HCM)...Read more

Oracle Financials is in the Cloud

Like most vendors of on-premises ERP and financial management software, in moving to the cloud Oracle has focused on developing for existing and potential customers the option of multitenant software as a service (SaaS). (I’m using the term “ERP” in its most expansive sense, to include such systems...Read more

FinancialForce Brings More Mobile, Social and Planning Technology to Market

FinancialForce’s 2014 summer release incorporates improvements in mobile and collaboration features and provides enhancements to the planning dimension of its professional services automation (PSA) suite. In the last couple of releases the company emphasized expansion in the functional...Read more

What’s Next?: The Interplay of Software and Hardware with Business and Consumers

“What’s next?” is the perennially insistent question in information technology. One common observation about the industry holds that cycles of innovation alternate between hardware and software. New types and forms of hardware enable innovations in software that utilize the power of that hardware....Read more

NICE Systems and Customer Engagement Analytics

I recently wrote about NICE Systems’ acquisition of Causata to enhance its analytics capabilities and expand from workforce optimization into customer experience management. NICE recently released Customer Engagement Analytics, which is designed to analyze customer interaction data to...Read more

Tax Data Warehouses Become Essential as Governments Raise the Ante

I’ve written before about the increasing importance of having a solid technology base for a company’s tax function, and it’s important enough for me to revisit the topic. Tax departments are entrusted with a highly sensitive and essential task in their companies. Taxes usually are the second...Read more

New Generation of Data and Analytics in Cloud

It’s widely agreed that cloud computing is a major technology innovation. Many companies use cloud-based systems for specific business functions such as customer service, sales, marketing, finance and human resources. More generally, however, analytics and business intelligence (BI) have not...Read more

Next Generation of Human Resources Technologies Elevates Potential of Employees

The human resources management system (HRMS) have been a central part of human resources departments for decades. Though useful to HR, these systems have also been static. Speaking generally, their functionality has not advanced greatly while other technologies have made great strides, and the...Read more

NewVoiceMedia Advance Cloud-Based Contact Center Technology

Recently NewVoiceMedia announced that it has raised $50 million to fund its growth. The company was founded in 2000 in the U.K., initially offering call management and routing as cloud-based systems. Until then, most companies built their contact centers using on-premises private branch exchange...Read more

Ventana Research Rates Total Compensation Management Software in 2014 Value Index

Now available from Ventana Research is our Value Index on Total Compensation Management for 2014.  Total compensation management directly addresses one of an organization’s largest investments – employee pay. As such it is a critical activity for supporting other human capital management and...Read more

Oracle Customer Experience in the Cloud

Oracle has a large and diverse set of products and now has most of its business applications operating in the private and public cloud. However, some recent acquisitions have enabled it to focus on cloud-based-products for managing the customer experience. Our next generation customer...Read more

Workday Bolsters Human Capital Management

In the past year Workday has been making efforts to improve its human capital management (HCM) suite focused directly on the core human resources management systems and talent management software. In my previous analyst perspective about Workday I looked at its mobile capabilities for HCM....Read more

Businesses Must Make Self-Service Reporting a Priority

One of the charitable causes to which I devote time puts on an annual vintage car show. The Concours d’Élegance dates back to 17th century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered with judges on a field to determine who had the best carriages and the most beautiful horsepower. Our event serves as...Read more

The Next Generation of Predictive Analytics

Our benchmark research consistently shows that business analytics is the most significant technology trend in business today and acquiring effective predictive analytics is organizations’ top priority for analytics. It enables them to look forward rather than backward and, participate organizations...Read more

NetSuite Rides Wave of Cloud ERP Adoption

Like other vendors of cloud-based ERP software, NetSuite offers the key benefits of software as a service (SaaS): a smaller upfront investment, faster time to value and potentially lower operating costs. Beyond that NetSuite’s essential point of competitive differentiation from is broad...Read more

The Future of Integrating ERP and Applications in the Cloud

In recent years line-of-business applications including accounting, human resources, manufacturing, sales and customer service have appeared in the cloud. Cloud -based software as a service (SaaS) has replaced on-premises applications that were previously part of ERP and CRM environments. They have...Read more

IBM Brings Sophistication to Customer Analytics and Prediction

During recent IBM analyst big data event, I learned about a new product, IBM Predictive Customer Intelligence. It extracts and processes customer-related data from multiple sources to analyze customer-related activities and has capabilities to predict customer behavior and actions. Predictive...Read more

Roambi Goes Android and Box for Mobile BI

Mobility continues to be a hot adoption area in business intelligence, according to our research across analytics and line of business departments. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of organizations said their mobile workforce would be able to access BI capabilities in the next 12 months according to our...Read more

Tagetik Advances Disclosure Management for Office of Finance

Tagetik provides financial performance management software. One particularly useful aspect of its suite is the Collaborative Disclosure Management (CDM). CDM addresses an important need in finance departments, which routinely generate highly formatted documents that combine words and numbers....Read more

Teradata’s Fast Track to Big Data Analytics

At its annual industry analyst summit last month and in a more recent announcement of enterprise support for parallelizing the R language on its Aster Discovery Platform, Teradata showed that it is adapting to changes in database and analytics technologies. The presentations at the conference...Read more

IBM Advances Business Experience in Using Advanced Analytics

The developed world has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to information technology. Individuals walk around with far more computing power and data storage in their pockets than was required to send men to the moon. People routinely hold on their laps what would have been considered a...Read more

Cornerstone Improves Employee Engagement through Talent Management

Cornerstone OnDemand is a large pure-play vendor of talent management software, with more than 1,700 clients, more than 14.5 million users and more than 60 percent growth in revenue over the past 12 months. At the company’s annual customer conference this year, CEO Adam Miller talked about a...Read more

Information Builders Innovates in Data Visualization and Operational Intelligence

Information Builders announced two major new products at its recent annual user summit. The first was InfoDiscovery, a tool for ad hoc data analysis and visual discovery. The second was iWay Sentinel, which allows administrators to manage applications in a proactive and dynamic manner. Being a...Read more

SAS Helps Manage Interactions and Gain Insights on Customers

By its own admission, SAS has a very large software portfolio (of more than 250 individual products), and it continues to develop and release more products and updates to existing ones. Some of the products are sold alone, and others are bundled into “enterprise solutions”. Some are for...Read more

Nexidia Brings Sophistication to Customer Interaction Analytics

Last year I assessed how Nexidia had advanced its products to support customer interaction analytics. Since then the market has changed, and Nexidia continues to expand its products to meet a broader set of needs for analyzing and optimizing customer interactions. Companies are recognizing...Read more

New Generation of Recurring Revenue and Billing Inspired from Cloud Computing

Much has been written about how cloud computing changes the way businesses source their software and services. For software companies, instead of being installed inside the company, software like business applications run on a computer installed at an external site. If the external site is not...Read more

Longview Tax Software Helps Tax Departments Be More Strategic

Longview Solutions has a longstanding presence in the financial performance management (FPM) software market and was rated a Hot vendor in our most recent FPM Value Index. Several years ago it began offering a tax provision and planning application. I think it’s worthwhile to focus on the tax...Read more

8x8 Integrates Communications and Contact Center in the Cloud

8x8, Inc. was founded in the 1980’s to provide semiconductor products to the emerging personal computer market; in 2002 it was relaunched to focus on Voice over IP (VoIP) services. By 2008 it had become the second-largest independent VoIP provider in the U.S., and its product, Virtual Office,...Read more

Teradata Takes Bigger Approach to Big Data

Teradata continues to expand its information management and analytics technology for big data to meet growing demand. My analysis last year discussed Teradata’s approach to big data in the context of its distributed computing and data architecture. I recently got an update on the company’s...Read more

Genesys and IBM to Improve Customer Engagement with IBM Watson

The contact center market continues to shift focus from handling customer calls as efficiently as possible to providing superior customer engagement across multiple touch points. The latest advancement is an joint announcement from IBM and Genesys who have signed a partnership agreement...Read more

Xactly Delivers New Inspiration for Sales to Maximize its Potential

In an analyst perspective at the beginning of this year I wrote that sales organizations must step beyond conventional wisdom to generate the best outcomes. One such step is to invest in software that delivers immediate value to manage sales and be efficient in its operations. Our latest...Read more

SAP Sets Course for Simple ERP

The keynote theme at this year’s Sapphire conference in Orlando was Simple. Top executives from SAP, a software company associated with complexity, stated and restated that its future direction is to simplify all aspects of its products and the ways customers interact with them and the company...Read more

Payroll Management Needs Integration with Human Capital Management

Our recently released benchmark research on optimizing payroll management assesses how organizations use payroll information, processes and technology. It finds that most of them still need to improve. Our analysis compared the forces motivating investment in payroll management systems to...Read more

NICE Systems Closes Voice of the Customer Loop

NICE Systems is best known for its suite of workforce optimization products [] that I recently assessed. However, after attending its user event last year, I wrote in 2013 that it was extending its portfolio and changing its focus to concentrate...Read more

Finance Analytics Require Training to Improve

Analytics has long been a core discipline of Finance, applied to analysis of balance sheets, income statements and cash-flow statements. However, as I’ve noted, most finance departments have not kept up with recent advances. Our recent research in finance analytics shows that few organizations...Read more

Informatica Unveils New Platform and Tools for Information Optimization

At the Informatica World 2014 conference, the company known for its data integration software unveiled the Intelligent Data Platform. In the last three years Informatica has expanded beyond data integration and now has a broad software portfolio that facilitates information management within the...Read more

Tibco Acquires Jaspersoft for Energizing Analytics Portfolio

Tibco’s recent acquisition of Jaspersoft helps the company fill out its portfolio of business intelligence (BI) and reporting software in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Tibco already offered a range of products in BI and analytics including Tibco Spotfire, an established product for...Read more

Epicor Faces a Challenging Future

Epicor used its recent user group conference to explain its strategic direction and product roadmap. The company is the result of multiple mergers of business software corporations over the past 15 years; its target customers are midsize companies and midsize divisions of larger organizations. Its...Read more

Alteryx Analytics Brings Power of Predictive and Big Data to Market

Alteryx has released version 9.0 of Alteryx Analytics that provides a range of data to predictive analytics in advance of its annual user conference called Inspire 2014. I have covered the company for several years as it has emerged as a key player in providing a range of business analytics...Read more

InContact Advances Workforce Optimization for Contact Centers

InContact has cloud-based products that cover multichannel communications infrastructure (sometimes referred to as a “contact center in the cloud”) and workforce optimization. The channel management products were developed by inContact and through a partnership with Verint. InContact has been...Read more

Ultimate Software Modernizes and Expands Human Capital Management Suite

Ultimate Software is one of the larger players in the market for human capital management (HCM) software, with roots in providing human resources and payroll management products. Recently I attended its annual Connections conference. Last year the company focused attention on expansion of its...Read more

Pitney Bowes Brings New Software for Better Business Insights

I recently attended the 2014 global analyst summit in San Francisco hosted by Pitney Bowes, an old technology company (now in business for 94 years) that has a new focus in its software along with an entirely new executive team. These leaders unveiled a business and technology strategy meant to...Read more

Saba Advances Talent Management with Recruiting and Intelligence

At Saba’s recent global customer conference executives discussed the company’s latest product enhancements, progress made during the past year and plans for the future. Saba provides a talent management suite that includes all capabilities except compensation management and is a leading vendor of...Read more

Contact Center Expo 2014 Highlights Cloud Computing and Customer Experience

I recently presented at the 2014 ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference and have a few insights I want to share. I was impressed by the two main keynote speeches. In the first Bill Rancic, an entrepreneur, author and TV personality, talked about “How to Succeed in Business and Life.” Bill is...Read more

Panviva Enables Smarter Customer Service

On its website Panviva describes itself as providing “business process guidance,” which is a phrase I was notfamiliar with. As I searched the site, I found messages such as”it’s all about customer experience,” “the right information for the right person at the right time” and “navigating...Read more

OpenSpan Makes Smart Agent Desktop Simpler

My benchmark research into the smart agent desktop finds that in nearly two-thirds (65%) of companies, contact center agents have to access multiple systems as they try to resolve customer interactions. These range from channel management systems (such as telephone, email, text messages and...Read more

Infor at the End of the Beginning

From my perspective, Infor’s strategy to accelerate revenue growth is to offer companies more innovation and a lower and more predictable cost of ownership than its rivals in the business software market; its products include the major categories of ERP, human resources and financial performance...Read more

Qvidian Helps Sales Optimize Execution

Few sales organizations realize their full potential, partly because they don’t execute well. We urge organizations to move beyond conventional wisdom in how they think about executing sales processes and have placed methods for making improvement to sales execution at the center of our research on...Read more

Successful Sales Forecasting Requires Dedicated Technology

Sales forecasting is an essential process for most businesses. It helps guide the efforts not only of the sales function but also of finance, operations, manufacturing and customer service. Our recently released sales forecasting benchmark research reveals significant insights and best...Read more

New Generation of Learning Management Systems

Learning is an integral component of human capital management, and a new generation of learning management systems advances learning in organizations around the world. These systems have evolved over the years from a classroom scheduling tool that facilitated instructor-led and classroom training...Read more

Finance Analytics Requires Data Quality

Our research consistently finds that data issues are a root cause of many problems encountered by modern corporations. One of the main causes of bad data is a lack of data stewardship – too often, nobody is responsible for taking care of data. Fixing inaccurate data is tedious, but creating IT...Read more

Big Data Analytics Require Best Practices in Using Technology

Organizations should consider multiple aspects of deploying big data analytics. These include the type of analytics to be deployed, how the analytics will be deployed technologically and who must be involved both internally and externally to enable success. Our recent big data analytics benchmark...Read more

Requirements for Becoming a Strategic Chief Risk Officer

The proliferation of chief “something” officer (CxO) titles over the past decades recognizes that there’s value in having a single individual focused on a specific critical problem. A CxO position can be strategic or it can be the ultimate middle management role, with far more responsibilities than...Read more

Finance Departments Still Lag in Using Advanced Analytics

Business computing has undergone a quiet revolution over the past two decades. As a result of having added, one-by-one, applications that automate all sorts of business processes, organizations now collect data from a wider and deeper array of sources than ever before. Advances in the tools for...Read more

SAP Supercharges Business Intelligence with Analytics

SAP recently presented its analytics and business intelligence roadmap and new innovations to about 1,700 customers and partners using SAP BusinessObjects at its SAP Insider event (#BI2014). SAP has one of the largest presences in business intelligence due to its installed base of SAP...Read more

Equifax Delivers Insightful Analytics for Compliance with Affordable Care Act

Pressure to comply with requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a looming challenge for most organizations today. Many go through numerous manual iterations such as running reports and compiling data into spreadsheets from benefits, payroll and HR systems to calculate whether their...Read more

Anaplan Springs Forward with Winter Release

Anaplan, a provider of cloud-based business planning software for sales, operations, and finance and administration departments, recently implemented its new Winter ’14 Release for customers. This release builds on my colleagues analysis on their innovation in business modeling and planning in...Read more

Kronos Innovates and Leads Workforce Management

In the past year Kronos announced a major release of its Workforce Central suite and more recently, made an announcement regarding a major investment that should help keep the company well capitalized. Kronos is one of the largest vendors of workforce management systems, providing time and...Read more

NICE Delivers Customer Interactions with Next Generation Workforce Optimization

In my research of NICE Systems for several years I have remarked often that its biggest challenge is to integrate all the products that now make up its Customer Interaction Management suite. Through acquisitions, in-house development and partnerships, this suite has grown to include interaction...Read more

SAS Innovates the Potential of Business Analytics

SAS Institute, a long-established provider analytics software, showed off its latest technology innovations and product road maps at its recent analyst conference. In a very competitive market, SAS is not standing still, and executives showed progress on the goals introduced at last year’s...Read more

Cloud Computing is More Than Multitenancy

There’s a growing realization that the multitenant approach to the cloud isn’t the only option that companies should weigh in deciding between deploying software on-premises and in the cloud. That some people describe the multitenancy approach as “the real cloud” reflects the contentious nature of...Read more

Technology Makes a Difference for Location Analytics

Our latest benchmark research into the market for location analytics software finds significant demand for location-related technology that can improve business outcomes and generate relevant information for various types of users. (Location analytics is an extension of business analytics that can...Read more

Customer Analytics Research Reveals Required Capabilities for Software

Our recently released research into next-generation customer analytics shows that the most participants (52%) use spreadsheets as a customer analytics tool. I recently wrote that while these popular tools are adequate for some tasks, they are not suitable for analyzing large volumes and...Read more

Ceridian Expands Workforce Management to Human Capital Management

At its recent 2014 analyst day Ceridian showed the progress it has made on its Ceridian and Dayforce human capital management (HCM) platform since last year’s launch of its broader HCM portfolio. Ceridian’s overall HCM business, which the company says had revenue of $950 million in 2013 and now has...Read more

The Virtues of Automating Reconciliation

Reconciling accounts at the end of a period is one of those mundane finance department tasks that are ripe for automation. Reconciliation is the process of comparing account data (at the balance or item level) that exists either in two accounting systems or in an accounting system and somewhere...Read more

Big Data Analytics Research Reveals Benefits of Investment

We recently released our benchmark research on big data analytics, and it sheds light on many of the most important discussions occurring in business technology today. The study’s structure was based on the big data analytics framework that I laid out last year as well as the framework that my...Read more

Confirmit Advances Social Analytics for Voice of Customer

The last time I reviewed Confirmit it had just acquired CustomerSat and was re-engineering its products to support a broader approach to voice of the customer (VOC), which Ventana Research defines as a complete view of customer interactions, customer sentiments after interactions and the...Read more

Cloudera Makes Hadoop a Big Player in Big Data

I had the pleasure of attending Cloudera’s recent analyst summit. Presenters reviewed the work the company has done since its founding six years ago and outlined its plans to use Hadoop to further empower big data technology to support what I call information optimization. Cloudera’s executive team...Read more

ERP’s Future Is Hybrid Cloud

Information technologists are fond of predictions in which the next big thing quickly and entirely renders the existing thing so completely obsolete that only troglodytes would cling to such outmoded technology. While this vision of IT progress may satisfy the egos of technologists, it rarely...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Advances Contact Center Software Portfolio

Building a contact center is growing in complexity as companies struggle to support customers’ ever-higher expectations. Customers now insist on engaging with companies through the channel of their choice, often from a mobile device, and at a time of their choosing. If they interact with a person,...Read more

Oracle Has Sunny Forecast for Cloud Computing

At Oracle’s recent cloud computing analyst summit in sunny Palm Springs, the company’s executive team insisted that it sees clear skies for its efforts in cloud computing. The summit was led by senior executive Thomas Kurian, who runs the entire product organization and reports directly to CEO...Read more

Microsoft Shows Off More than ERP with Dynamics

Convergence is the Microsoft Dynamics business software user group’s meeting. Dynamics’ core applications are mainly in the accounting and ERP category, descendants of products Microsoft acquired: Great Plains (now GP), Solomon (SL), Navision (NAV) and...Read more

IBM Delivers New Talent Management Suite

At its recent Connect 2014 event IBM announced IBM Kenexa Talent Suite, an integrated talent management suite. The release strengthens its Smarter Workforce initiative by combining IBM and Kenexa products and services in one human capital management (HCM) offering. IBM Kenexa...Read more

SAS Unifies Big Data for Business and IT

Many businesses are close to being overwhelmed by the unceasing growth of data they must process and analyze to find insights that can improve their operations and results. To manage this big data they find a rapidly expanding portfolio of technology products. A significant vendor in this market is...Read more

Customer Analytics Deserve More Than Spreadsheets

I recently completed two closely related benchmark research reports, on next-generation customer engagement and next-generation customer analytics. The  research on customer engagement shows that companies on average engage with customers through seven or eight communication channels and...Read more

Location Analytics Delivers Geographic Insights

Adding geographic and location context to business information enables organizations to develop fuller understanding and optimize the activities of people that use the information. We call this location intelligence, and to achieve it requires location analytics, which focus on that context where...Read more Continues Move to be Platform Provider began with a simple message: On-premises CRM has come to the end of its useful life, and the way forward is cloud-based CRM. I have written several times that the company has won this argument, and my research into contact center in the cloud confirms this: 63 percent of...Read more

Building a Better Business Case for Buying Software

When it comes to making a business case for software investments, many people fail to recognize that the case itself is just one part of what amounts to an internal sales and marketing effort that they must perform well to be successful. Focusing only on the numbers and assumptions in a spreadsheet...Read more

The Sales Forecast Requires Commitment not Status Quo

In today’s highly competitive sales environment, where success depends on meeting the specific needs of buyers, an accurate and timely sales forecast is a critical tool for optimizing business outcomes. I discussed this as part of our 2014 research agenda for sales, noting that linking the forecast...Read more

Human Capital Analytics Delivers Benefits for Business

The market for human capital analytics is in flux, as companies begin to evaluate and adopt more capable tools and processes for this area of human capital management. A look at the tools organizations are using and plan to use for human capital analytics provides an example of this change. Our...Read more

FinancialForce Broadens Its Reach with ERP and More

FinancialForce recently introduced FinancialForce ERP, a family of cloud-based software designed to support a variety of customer-centric businesses such as professional services organizations or companies that specialize in business and industrial distribution. Many of these types of...Read more

Wearable Computing is in Fashion and Ready for Business

In the near future, technology will be something we wear or attach comfortably to our bodies. Wearable computers have been evolving for some time, and while that might seem futuristic to the uninformed, in the technology industry it is rapidly becoming real. This trend is important for...Read more

Oracle Modernizes HR with Mobile and Wearable Computing

At Oracle’s first-ever HCM World conference, the technology company demonstrated its commitment to human resources customers, explaining its strategy for Modern HR in the Cloud, which is focused on meeting the needs of employees in a large, dispersed workforce. The conference was insightful both...Read more

Five Priorities for the Office of Finance in 2014

A core objective of my research practice and agenda is to help the Office of Finance improve its performance by better utilizing information technology. As we kick off 2014, I see five initiatives that CFOs and controllers should adopt to improve their execution of core finance functions and...Read more

MicroStrategy Reveals New Generation of Analytics for Cloud and Mobile Computing

At its recent MicroStrategy World 2014 conference, the enterprise software company introduced a portfolio of products to make it easier to perform analytics and make them easier to access through the cloud and mobile forms of computing. These announcements accelerate MicroStrategy’s transition to...Read more

Economic Recovery Spurs Growth in Recruiting Software

One strong sign of the economic recovery as manifested in the human capital management market is the recent spate of announcements of new recruiting applications from software companies that are not always considered for recruiting. Here are some of them. Ultimate Software announced the launch of...Read more

Mobile Business Intelligence – Who is Hot in 2014

Ventana Research recently completed the most comprehensive evaluation of mobile business intelligence products and vendors available anywhere today. The evaluation includes 16 technology vendors’ offerings on smartphones and tablets and use across Apple, Google Android, Microsoft Surface and RIM...Read more

The Business Technology Challenge of 2014: Information Optimization

Our recently released benchmark research on information optimization shows that 97 percent of organizations find it important or very important to make information available to the business and customers, yet only 25 percent are satisfied with the technology they use to provide that access....Read more

The Human Capital Management Technology Revolution in 2014

Human capital will continue to be an organization’s largest investment in 2014 and if productive will be one of its most valuable assets and differentiators. It also continues to rank as top priority by CEOs across the industry. We anticipate that businesses that take advantage of the innovative...Read more

The Challenge of Making ERP Systems More Configurable

In the wake of the past year’s usual crop of failed ERP implementations, I’ve read a couple of blogs that bemoan the fact that ERP systems are not nearly as user-friendly or intuitive as the mobile apps that everyone loves. I’ve complained about this aspect of ERP, and our research confirms that...Read more

The Future of Customer Engagement Is Complicated

In my benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement three-quarters (77%) of participating companies said it is necessary to improve the way they engage with customers. The main drivers for doing that are to improve the customer experience (74%) and improve customer service (70%)....Read more

The Challenge for Sales in 2014: Stepping Beyond Conventional Wisdom

It should be no surprise for those who work in sales that increasing outcomes collectively is not always easy. Sales teams and individuals work under pressure to perform at high levels, selling more than they did in the previous period or more than the person who previously had responsibility for a...Read more

Envision Takes Workforce Optimization to the Cloud

Envision has carved out a slice of the workforce optimization market by offering its suite of products as cloud-based services. In addition to core products such as interaction recording, quality assurance, workforce management, training, coaching and agent analytics, it offers speech and...Read more

Paxata Give Analysts Valuable Time Back for Analytics

Paxata, a new data and analytics software provider says it wants to address one of the most pressing challenges facing today’s analyst performing analytics: simplifying data preparation. This trend toward simplification is well aligned with the market’s desire for improving usability, which our...Read more

Uptivity Launches Gamification Capabilities for Workforces

I am not comfortable with the term “gamification” used in the context of business applications. It sounds as if employees are officially allowed to play games while working and thus take their attention away from the task at hand, which in a contact center is serving customers. So I was skeptical...Read more

Big Data Offers Business Opportunity for Information Optimization in 2014

Businesses are always looking for ways to grow and to streamline their operations. These two goals can come into conflict because as organizations become larger it becomes more complicated to be agile and efficient. To help them understand and modify their processes, businesses can derive insights...Read more

The Value Index of Workforce Management Software for 2014

Ventana Research recently released our Value Index on Workforce Management for 2014. We define workforce management as the set of processes by which organizations manage their hourly and salaried employees to maximize productivity. It involves not only tracking time worked and providing...Read more

Business Analytics in 2014: Trends and Possibilities

Our benchmark research shows that analytics is the top business technology innovation priority; 39% of organizations rank it first. This is no surprise as new information sources and new technologies in data processing, storage, networking, databases and analytic software are combining to offer...Read more

SuccessFactors Integrates More with SAP for Human Capital Management

Much has happened for SuccessFactors in the past year as it became more a part of SAP, which acquired it in 2012.  One of the most notable changes was the departure of its founder, Lars Delgaard, who set the culture of the company, and the selection of Shawn Price as president. The changes in...Read more

Boardwalktech Addresses Spreadsheet Woes in Business

Our benchmark research on enterprise spreadsheets explores the pitfalls that await companies that use desktop spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel in repetitive, collaborative enterprise-wide processes. Because people are so familiar with Excel and therefore are able to quickly transform...Read more

Customer Engagement in 2014: Agenda for Delivering Best Customer Experience

In 2013 we continued to see change in the contact center, customer service and customer experience markets: Consumers’ communication habits continued to evolve, more business units outside the traditional contact center became involved in handling interactions, software vendors continued to come up...Read more

Opportunity for the Office of Finance in 2014

Senior finance executives and finance organizations that want to improve their performance must recognize that technology is a key tool for doing high-quality work. To test this premise, imagine how smoothly your company would operate if all of its finance and administrative software and hardware...Read more

IBM Bets a Billion to Mobilize Watson Business Unit and Monetize Cognitive Computing

With much fanfare and a rarely seen introduction by CEO Ginni Rometty, IBM launched IBM Watson as a new business unit focused on cognitive computing technology and solutions, now being led by Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin. The announcement is summarized here:. Until now IBM Watson was important...Read more

Verint Doubles Down on Customer Engagement with Acquisition of KANA

Verint recently announced a definitive agreement to acquire KANA Software. Its goal, in the words of the press release, is to “transform the way organizations engage with their customers.” Customer engagement and customer experience management have become the topics of many conversations in my...Read more

Research Agendas for 2014: Optimizing the Use of Technology for Business

Greetings, everyone, and best wishes for a great start to 2014. In this new year, utilizing best practices and skills learned in 2013 will be critical for optimizing the use of efforts to support both business and IT. In 2013 many organizations made progress in balancing technology decisions across...Read more

Infor Makes Customer Experience Management Simpler for Marketing

I recently wrote that Infor aims to reinvent business applications and its new developments make it a vendor to watch. I was therefore intrigued to have a demonstration of its latest marketing products, Infor Epiphany and Infor Orbis Marketing Resource Management. These are grouped on its...Read more

Aria Makes Billing Simple for Recurring Revenue

I have written lately about how digital customers change customer engagement. It’s no surprise that at the heart of this change, as well as many others that impact business, is the Internet. Along with smart mobile devices, the Internet has changed the ways consumers engage with each other and...Read more

IBM Integrates Risk Management for Financial Services

Integrated risk management (IRM) was a major theme at IBM’s recent Smarter Risk Management analyst summit in London. In the market context, IBM sees this topic as a means to differentiate its product and messaging from those of its competitors. IRM includes cloud-based offerings in operational...Read more

IBM Brings New Innovation in Analytics for Business Insights

Like every large technology corporation today, IBM faces an innovator’s dilemma in at least some of its business. That phrase comes from Clayton Christensen’s seminal work, The Innovator’s Dilemma, originally published in 1997, which documents the dynamics of disruptive markets and their impacts on...Read more

Companies Struggle to Engage with Customers Digitally

If you stop to compare communication preferences of the past to those of today, you can’t fail to notice some major changes, especially in younger generations. Talking on the phone – fixed or mobile – is in decline, as many people now prefer text messaging, chat and social media. We rely on the...Read more

Failure in Agent Workforce Optimization Adoption Plagues Customer Interaction

Ventana Research defines workforce optimization as a set of processes and technology for customer agents that include interaction (call) recording, quality monitoring, workforce management, training and coaching, compensation management and analytics. My benchmark research into next-generation...Read more Expands into Human Capital and Supply Chain Management, a provider of cloud-based financial applications, recently announced two pending acquisitions. One is Vana Workforce, which makes a human capital management (HCM) application aimed at small to midsize companies. The other is LessSoftware, a supplier of Web-based supply chain...Read more

Host Analytics Lifts Spreadsheets to Cloud for Finance

Host Analytics has introduced AirliftXL, a new feature of its cloud-based financial performance management (FPM) suite that enables its software to translate users’ spreadsheets into the Host Analytics format. I find it significant in three respects. First, it can substantially reduce the time...Read more

Teradata Establishes Trust in Big Data Technology

At its Teradata Partners conference in Dallas, a broader vision for big data and analytics was articulated clearly. Their pitch centered on three areas – data warehousing, big data analytics and integrated marketing – that to some degree reflect Teradata’s core market and acquisitions in the last...Read more

No Need to Dream of Customer Engagement at Dreamforce

I recently wrote how the recent U.K.-based Call Centre Expo showed that companies have shifted priorities for deployment systems from on-premises infrastructures to cloud-based systems and that as a consequence vendors had shifted focus from workforce optimization to cloud-based multichannel...Read more

Companies Need to Reconcile Customer Interaction Priorities

Today companies handle an increasing number of customer interactions and they do this through a greater number and variety of communication channels, and by using more employees that are dispersed throughout the organization. Managing the pool of agents in a contact center has always proved a...Read more

Finance Can Get a Big Advantage from Big Data

All the hubbub around big data and analytics has many senior finance executives wondering what the big deal is and what they should do about it. It can be especially confusing because much of what’s covered and discussed on this topic is geared toward technologists and others working outside of...Read more

The Cloud Can Help You Get Smarter If You Let It

One of the potential benefits of cloud computing to access business applications and data is its potential to improve the situational awareness of executives and managers. By this I mean their understanding of what’s going on outside their company in addition to what’s happening within it. Today...Read more

Mobility and Social Interaction Are the New Trends in Human Capital Management

2013 was a big year for the annual HR Technology conference, as its well-known co-founder and leader for the past 16 years, Bill Kutik, stepped down, passing leadership of the event to Steve Boese, another familiar name in the community. Beyond the change in leadership, at this year’s show were a...Read more

PROS Will Acquire Cameleon to Enhance Sales Effectiveness

PROS Holdings, a provider of price and revenue optimization software, has an agreement in principle to acquire Cameleon Software, which offers configure, price and quote (CPQ) applications. The combined company is likely to benefit from a broader geographic presence (PROS is based in Houston while...Read more

Nuevora Takes Flexible Approach to Big Data Analytics

While covering providers of business analytics software, it is also interesting for me to look at some that focus on the people, process and implementation aspects in big data and analytics. One such company is Nuevora, which uses a flexible platform to provide customized analytic solutions. I...Read more

Infor Aims to Reinvent Business Applications

Infor is a vendor I haven’t covered much in the past, but after attending the recent Infor on the Road day in the U.K. that is about to change. I viewed Infor as basically a CRM vendor, and I don’t believe such systems have much impact on customer engagement and the customer experience. Indeed...Read more

Big Data and Analytics Helps Business Transform and Gain Competitive Advantage

In our benchmark research on business technology innovation, organizations ranked analytics the number-one priority (for 39%) among six technology trends. Big data, perhaps because it is a more technical concept, ranked fifth, with 11 percent of organizations calling it a top innovation...Read more

Zeacom Communication Center 7.0 Modernizes the Agent Desktop

When I last reviewed contact center vendor Zeacom it was in the process of being acquired by Enghouse Interactive, with its primary goal being a more global presence. At the time Zeacom’s main selling points were support for multiple channels of communication and integration...Read more

Informatica and Exterro Partner for More Effective E-discovery

Informatica and Exterro have announced a partnership in the market for discovery of electronic data and documents (known as e-discovery). Exterro has made its reputation in e-discovery workflow and legal holds management while Informatica is a leader in data integration...Read more

Tidemark Unifies New Generation of Business Planning Software

Tidemark announced the release of the Fall 2013 version of its eponymous cloud-based application that my colleague assessed earlier in 2013. This new release adds capabilities for labor planning and expense management as well profitability modeling and analysis. These two areas...Read more

Natural Analytics Transforming QlikView

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....Read more

IBM Social Business Bets on Key Application and Technologies

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...Read more

CEOs and Executives Need Business Planning Software

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...Read more

Oracle Hyperion Products Challenged by New Generation of Expectations

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...Read more

Oracle Demonstrates Innovation in Human Capital Management

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...Read more

Key Insights from Call Centre Expo 2013

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...Read more

It’s Past Time for the Next Generation of Business Planning

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...Read more

Find Out Which Is the Hottest Financial Performance Management Software

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...Read more

Verint Utilizes Voice and Feedback to Advance Employees and Customer Satisfaction

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,...Read more

Gamification Must Drive Software Ergonomics

In business, the first rule of gamification is don’t call it gamification. An interesting event at the recent Oracle OpenWorld was a panel on this topic led by Ken Comee, CEO of Badgeville. Offered in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, his company’s Behavior Platform helps users of Oracle Sales Cloud...Read more

Nexidia Advances Customer Interaction Analytics

Nexidia is best known as a vendor of speech analytics. It was one of the first in this market, and a key differentiator is that its product uses phonetics to identify words and phrases embedded in recordings of phone calls. This capability has the advantage over standard word and phrase...Read more

Pentaho Doubles Down on Unifying Big Data and Business Analytics

Pentaho recently announced Pentaho 5.0 which represents a major advancement for this supplier of business analytics and data integration software as well as for the open source community to which it contributes and supports. In fact, with 250 new features and enhancements in the 5.0 release,...Read more

Next-Generation ERP Must Take a Giant Leap

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems emerged in the 1990s. Even though they don’t do much in the way of planning, the systems provide companies a means of centralizing and consolidating transaction data collection (such as purchase orders, inventory movements and depreciation), automating the...Read more

ResponseTek Goes Mobile for Customer Insight

ResponseTek is a well-established player in the marketing and customer feedback markets. It has four products that cover market research, customer feedback, knowledge management and media monitoring,  that enable companies to capture comments made on public sites, typically social...Read more

Tableau Continues its Visual Analytics Revolution

In his keynote speech at the sixth annual Tableau Customer Conference, company co-founder and CEO Christian Chabot borrowed from Steve Jobs’ famous quote that the computer “is the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds,” to suggest that his company software is such a new bicycle. He went on to...Read more

The Real Truth on Agent Performance and Workforce Optimization

Ventana Research believes that in today’s highly competitive markets the most important factor is the customer experience, or to be more precise, the way agents handle customer interactions and their outcomes from the perspectives of both customers and businesses. Our research on the contact center...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Helps Tax Departments Increase Effectiveness

Technology for the Office of Finance can have transformative power. Although progress has been slow at times, today’s finance organizations are fundamentally different from those of 50 years ago. For one thing, they require far fewer resources (chiefly people) to perform basic accounting, treasury...Read more

CallCopy Brings Insights to Agent Performance through Analytics

In my last review of CallCopy I wrote that it was moving further from its origin as a call recording vendor by expanding its product range to include workflow optimization applications such as quality monitoring, workforce management, coaching, agent-related analytics, customer...Read more

The Predictive Analytic Evolution of R

R, the open source programming language for statistics and graphics, has now become established in academic computing and holds significant potential for businesses struggling to fill the analytics skills gap. The software industry has picked up on this potential, and the majority of business...Read more

Enkata Launches Action Center for Optimizing Employee Performance

Enkata, as I wrote not long ago is continuing to expand the range and capabilities of its products for optimizing employee actions while maintaining a firm foothold in analytics for the contact center and agents. Its latest release, Action Center, maintains this position with a focus on...Read more

Corvisa Cloud Provides Communications Management in the Cloud

Our benchmark research on the contact center in the cloud shows that today organizations have to support more channels of interaction with their customers in order to provide superior customer service. This places pressure on companies to find systems that provide integrated management of...Read more

Agility Provides Simplicity and Innovation in Product Information Management

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...Read more

Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

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...Read more

The Personas that Matter the Most in Business Analytics

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...Read more

Transforming Treasury with Kyriba Enterprise

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...Read more

Alteryx Advances the Process of Customer Analytics

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...Read more

Rationalizing the Tyranny of Visual Anarchy

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...Read more

Big Data Brewing Value in Human Capital Management

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...Read more

Transforming Lease Accounting with Better Software

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...Read more

Confirmit and Voice of the Customer Software

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...Read more

Eliminating the Strategy/Execution Disconnect

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...Read more

NICE Systems Acquires Causata to Optimize Customer 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...Read more

Verint Brings New Business Solutions to Optimize Customer Relationships

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...Read more

Three Major Trends in New Discovery 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...Read more

Agent Desktop Management in 2013 Is Hot for Improving Customer Experience

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...Read more

IBM SPSS Analytic Catalyst Makes Sophisticated Analytics Accessible

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...Read more

Spreadsheets Consume More Time Than It Seems

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...Read more

Profitability Management vs. Managing Profitability

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...Read more

Pricing, Planning and Performance Management Software Creates Business Value

People who don’t spend much time analyzing the software market may have trouble understanding the differences between products in a given software category or the difference between two categories. This happens because vendors and commentators use the same words to describe different depths of...Read more

Mercer Unifies Talent Management Practice and Announces Product Suite

Mercer is a global consulting company that has more than 19,000 employees in more than 40 countries. One of the company’s major consulting practices is talent management. My colleague Mark Smith assessed Mercer’s survey delivery product WIN for compensation management in September 2011. Mercer...Read more

BIRT Analytics Strives To Make Analytics Business Friendly

Actuate recently announced BIRT Analytics Version 4.2, part of its portfolio of business intelligence software. The new release includes several techniques used by analytics professionals placed behind a user-friendly interface that does not require advanced knowledge of statistics. Beyond the...Read more

Enkata Optimizes Claims Processing

Enkata used to focus its products on improving agent performance in the contact center. It has gradually expanded that focus to include improving the performance of workers in the back office, an effort that has culminated in a suite of products that help companies improve processing of...Read more

PivotLink Makes Attribution Modeling More Approachable

PivotLink is a cloud-based provider of business intelligence and analytics that serves primarily retail companies. Its flagship product is Customer PerformanceMETRIX, which I covered in detail last year. Recently, the company released an important update to the product, adding attribution...Read more

Datameer 3.0 Introduces Advanced Big Data Analytics for Hadoop

Datameer , a Hadoop-based analytics company, had a major presence at recent Hadoop Summit, led by CEO Stephan Groschupf’s keynote and panel appearance. Besides announcing its latest product release, which is an important advance for the company and its users, Datameer’s outspoken CEO put forth...Read more

Hadoop Summit and Hortonworks Promise To Make Big Data More Engaging

Hadoop Summit is the biggest event on the West Coast centered on Hadoop, the open source technology for large-scale data processing. The conference organizers, Hortonworks, estimated that more than 2,400 people attended, which if true would be double-digit growth from last year. Growth on the...Read more Is Full of Surprises

Anyone who follows is used to surprises, but over the last couple of months the company has come up with some that go beyond the usual. It rebranded the recent user conference in London as a customer company event. This follows from changing its messaging to urge every company to...Read more

Making Treasury More Strategic

Along with other aspects of the finance organization, there’s increasing emphasis on having the treasury function play more of a strategic role in the organization. Typically, Treasury is charged with keeping track of and managing cash. Especially in larger organizations, this can be complicated...Read more

Peoplefluent Innovates with Video and Collaboration and also Unifies Recruiting

To strengthen its position in both core talent management and the social form of it, Peoplefluent has purchased a video collaboration platform and enhanced its existing recruiting products. My colleague Mark Smith wrote about Peoplefluent’s evolution toward a social talent management platform...Read more

IBM Improving the Science to Apply Business Analytics for Better Customer Engagement

I recently wrote how IBM is making customer analytics smarter. Since then IBM has run events in North America and Europe to demonstrate how it is continuing these efforts and expanding into other areas. Outside of the customer space you can read how my colleagues assess its efforts: Mark...Read more

Roambi Means Mobile Business in the Cloud

Roambi, a supplier of mobile analytics and visualization software, announced the release of a cloud-based version of its product, which allows the company to move beyond the on-premises approach where it is established and into the hands of more business users. Roambi Business...Read more

KXEN Provides Good Enough Modeling for Predicting Business Outcomes

Predictive analytics in an inherently difficult task and often takes specialized skills. While not easy, the business results of predictive analytics can be significant. 68% of companies say they use predictive analytics to create competitive advantage while 55% say that they increase revenue....Read more

Cornerstone Doubles Down on Talent Management

Cornerstone OnDemand is a vendor of cloud-based systems for talent management. In February I covered the launch of its Cornerstone for Salesforce application and its announcement of annual earnings. Cornerstone has approximately 1,300 clients and 11 million users in companies with on average...Read more

Cisco to Foster Smarter Network of Data by Acquiring Composite Software

Cisco Systems has announced its intent to acquire Composite Software, which provides data virtualization to help IT departments interconnect data and systems; the purchase is scheduled to complete in early August. Cisco of course is known for its ability to interconnect just about anything...Read more

Big Data Will Make Elephants Dance

IBM’s Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference started me thinking about the longer-term potential impact of big data and related technologies on business management. I covered some of the near-term uses of big data and analytics in an earlier perspective. There are numerous uses of...Read more

A Year Makes a Big Difference for Big Data Analytics

Users of big data analytics are finally going public. At the Hadoop Summit last June, many vendors were still speaking of a large retailer or a big bank as users but could not publically disclose their partnerships. Companies experimenting with big data analytics felt that their proof of concept...Read more

Datawatch Acquires Panopticon for Big Data Discovery and Visualization across Business Processes

Business analytics can help organizations use data to find insights that lead to new opportunities and address issues unrecognized before. One player in this market is Datawatch, known for its tools for information optimization and harvesting value from big data including content and documents. I...Read more

SAS Aligns Marketing and Customer Intelligence

I recently attended SAS’s European analyst event, where I went to focus on new developments around customer intelligence, an application of big data that SAS includes in its high-performance analytics and visual analytics. SAS offers an amazing number and range of products that is hard to keep...Read more

Informatica Has New Vibe for Information Optimization

Information management is important to every line of business that seeks to improve its business processes and decision-making. In response to pressure from those departments, CIOs and IT organizations must examine whether they have focused enough on the I for information and not just the T for...Read more

Information Builders Advances Integration and Analytics for Business Intelligence

Information Builders  (IBI) was highest ranked vendor in Ventana Research’s Business Intelligence Value Index for 2012. The combination of data integration, business analytics, visual and data discovery and performance management software in a single framework allows the company to address a...Read more

IBM Showcases Big Data and Analytics for Business

IBM hosted the Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference in Toronto recently to emphasize the strategic importance of this topic to the company and to highlight recent and forthcoming advancements in its big data and analytics software. Our firm followed the presentations with interest. My...Read more

Planview Improves Potential of Long-Range Planning

Planview recently announced general availability of Planview Enterprise 11. The new release enhances the user experience through a comprehensive redesign of the interface to promote ease of use. The changes are intended to facilitate an integrated approach to long-range planning of capital projects...Read more

Barriers to Omnichannel Customer Communications

In never ceases to amaze me, the number of new terms and acronyms the contact center market generates. Just as everyone is getting used to the fact that customers interact with companies through multiple communication channels (multichannel for short), someone invents the term omnichannel and we...Read more

IBM’s 2013 Vision Bodes Well for Finance

I recently attended Vision 2013, IBM’s annual conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and sales performance management software. These three groups have little in common operationally, but they share software infrastructure needs and basic supporting software components...Read more

Anaplan Innovates Business Modeling and Planning

Anaplan’s software is designed to help organizations across finance, sales and operations improve accuracy, timeliness and collaboration in their business analytics and planning. I recently attended the company’s first user conference, Hub 2013, in San Francisco, which featured customer success...Read more

Xactly Makes Objectives the Incentive for Improvement

Sales organizations and individuals strive to reach their quotas and get paid the maximum commissions for their performance. In support of these goals, software vendor Xactly offers a suite of applications for sales performance management that operates in the cloud computing environment. An example...Read more

IBM Watson Engagement Advisor for Smarter Customer Service

Recently my colleague Mark Smith wrote about the IBM Watson platform. Mark is our expert on technically complex subjects like IBM Watson and‎ cognitive computing and the value it can provide to organizations and wrote an educational white paper on the topic. In fact IBM Watson was awarded the...Read more

Workday 19 Expands Mobility and Strengthens HCM Platform

In April Workday released version 19 of its suite of applications for human capital management (HCM), financial management and other areas. Workday’s strategy is to differentiate itself in the ERP market, specifically in competing with Oracle and SAP, by being a pure-play cloud vendor. The...Read more

Five Principles for Optimizing Business Analytics

Organizations today must manage and understand a flood of information that continues to increase in volume and turn it into competitive advantage through better decision making. To do that organizations need new tools, but more importantly, the analytical process knowledge to use them well. Our...Read more

SoCoCare Enables Social Customer Service

Much is being written about the impact of social media on customer service, although my research into the agent desktop shows it hasn’t reached the fever pitch that many commentators would have us believe. It is true that the number of consumers using social media and as a consequence the...Read more

SAP HANA is Technology Platform of Choice for SAP

At this year’s annual SAP user conference, SAPPHIRE, the technology giant showed advances in its cloud and in-memory computing efforts. It has completed the migration of its conventional application suite and portfolio of tools to operate on SAP HANA, its in-memory computing platform, and made...Read more

SumTotal’s elixHR Platform Can Ease HR’s Pain

One of the most important ongoing challenges in human capital management is to do master data management (MDM) of core human resources information more effectively. This challenge is often most complex for large organizations that have operations spread around the globe and HR management systems in...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Reveals Ambitious Plans for Customer Service

At its recent user conference, Interactions 2013, Interactive Intelligence (Nasdqaq: ININ) showcased its extensive product portfolio and its ambitious plans to improve the products both technically and functionally. I have written more than once about the complexities of building a contact...Read more

Microsoft: Big Data Analytics and Mobile Challenges

Microsoft has been steadily pouring money into big data and business intelligence. The company of course owns the most widely used analytical tool in the world, Microsoft Excel, which our benchmark research into Spreadsheets in the Enterprise shows is not going away soon. User resistance...Read more

IBM Making Customer Analytics Smarter

When it comes to today’s customers, companies have to be smart if they are going to anticipate and meet new customer expectations. These days IBM talks about doing most things in “smart” ways. Recently I was briefed on IBM’s Smart Customer Analytics, but it took me quite a while to find information...Read more

Social Collaboration Is in Finance’s Future

Finance departments don’t immediately come to mind in conversations about social collaboration technology. Most of the software used for social collaboration that I’ve seen demonstrated focuses on the sales process or for broader employee engagement. The Facebook-style interface may cause finance...Read more

Teradata Brings In-Memory Computing and Data Discovery to Big Data

Teradata recently gave me a technology update and a peek into the future of its portfolio for big data, information management and business analytics at its annual technology influencer summit. The company continues to innovate and build upon its Teradata 14 releases and its new processing...Read more

Software Aims To Prevent Foreign Corrupt Practices

In some parts of the world, bribing government officials is still considered a normal cost of doing business. Elsewhere there has been a growing trend over the past 40 years to make it illegal for a corporation to pay bribes. In the United States, Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act...Read more

Nomis Advances Price Optimization in Financial Services

At this year’s Global Pricing Forum, host Nomis Solutions announced the availability of its Discretion Manager software, which supports dynamic price negotiations. The annual event brings together thought leaders and practitioners interested in pricing. Nomis currently has 17 of the...Read more

Four Types of Discovery Technology For Using Big Data Intelligently

Information technology for business is changing rapidly as organizations demand innovation to help them discover insights and facts. Our research into business technology innovation found analytics to be the top priority in 39 percent of organizations. Businesses feel pressure to be better,...Read more

Ceridian Launches HCM Portfolio for Managing Workforces Effectively

I attended the 2013 Ceridian’s analyst day in Chicago to hear about and evaluate the progress the company has made over the last year and see the latest updates to its products since our firm last commented on them. Last September my colleague Mark Smith assessed Ceridian’s workforce management...Read more

Teradata Addresses the Foundation of Big Data Analytics

Our benchmark research found in business technology innovation that analytics is the most important new technology for improving their organization’s performance; they ranked big data only fifth out of six choices. This and other findings indicate that the best way for big data to...Read more

Oracle Aims To Simplify IT and Innovate Your Business

I was recently at Oracle Analyst World which is the vendor’s annual gathering of technology industry analysts. Its executives and others in the products organization deliver the latest news on where the titan is focusing efforts to expand its technology and markets. This year, against the...Read more

NICE Systems Leading Change at Interactions 2013

I recently attended NICE Systems’ annual user conference, this year called Interactions 2013. In discussions of its different products and latest releases and testimonials from selected clients, I was surprised by how the messages were packaged. NICE has a long history of acquiring companies, and...Read more

Oracle Brings Enhancements to Business Intelligence

Responding to the trend that businesses now ask less sophisticated users to perform analysis and rely on software to help them, Oracle recently announced a new release  of its flagship Oracle BI Foundational Suite (OBIFS as well as updates to Endeca, the discovery platform...Read more

Infor Demonstrates Steady Stream of Advances to Customers

At this year’s Inforum user group conference, Infor representatives showed the progress the organization has made since last year in transforming itself from a ragbag of mostly small, often obsolete software companies to a competitive vendor of a modern enterprise management software suite....Read more

Attensity Uses Social Media Technology for Smarter Customer Engagement

When I last wrote about Attensity I classified it as a “pure play” text analytics vendor, but the latest release of its product has lead me to revise my opinion. Its product Respond uses natural language-based analysis to derive insights from any form of text-based data and among other...Read more

International Integrated Reporting Framework Takes Shape

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) recently published a draft framework outlining how it believes businesses ought to communicate with their stakeholders. In this context the purpose of an “integrated report” is to promote corporate transparency by clearly and concisely...Read more

Investigate User-Friendly Spreadsheet Alternatives

I’ve been using spreadsheets for more than 30 years. I consider this technology tool among the five most important advances in business management of the 20th century. Spreadsheets have revolutionized many aspects of running an organization. Yet as enthusiastic as I am about them, I know the limits...Read more

CIOs and the Business Intelligence Dilemma

Just about all the CIOs I speak with are at an inflection point in their careers. Some are just biding time before retirement, but many are emerging CIOs who are driven more by a business imperative than a technological one. Today, market and cultural pressures are forcing CIOs to move quickly and...Read more

Kana Paints a New Picture of Unifying Customer Service

Back in July I wrote about Kana’s acquisition of Ciboodle and its previous acquisition of Overtone and what seemed to be its ambitious plans to release an integrated version of the products. I went so far as to say Kana would have “something unique to offer” if it pulled off this effort....Read more

Equifax Anticipates Need for Better Technology in Healthcare Compliance

As most employers are aware, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or Affordable Care Act) goes into effect in January 2014 which I recently assessed the need to be technology ready. The new law was signed into law on March 23rd 2010 and with the Supreme Court decision in June of...Read more

Companies Need Smarter Agent Performance Management

I read a lot these days about how companies should pay more attention to contact center agent or customer service representative satisfaction, as it can have an impact on customer experience and meeting key customer-related metrics. This is a far cry from the “good old days” when agents were often...Read more

Adaptive Planning “Suitens” Its Offering

For four years Adaptive Planning has been building out its cloud-based financial software. Starting with budgeting, planning and forecasting, it added analytics, data visualization, dashboards and alerting as well as flexible reporting and collaboration tools. It recently announced the...Read more

The Importance of Managing Details in Long-Range Planning

Ventana Research recently completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning. As I define it, long-range planning is the formal quantification of the more conceptual strategic plan. It makes specific assumptions and expresses in numbers how a company expects its strategy will...Read more

Is Your Organization Technology Ready for the Affordable Care Act?

To comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or Affordable Care Act), which survived a Supreme Court test and a presidential election, all employers with more than 50 full-time employees must be ready by January 2014 to deal with the lion’s share of the law’s employer...Read more Prepares Marketing for the Future

At the beginning of the year I wrote analyst perspective outlining why I think is a vendor to watch during 2013. I followed this up with a post noting that Salesforce has shifted its headline messaging from becoming the “collaborative company” to becoming the “customer...Read more

IBM’s Five Lenses for Big Data Analytics

Last week, IBM brought industry analysts to its famed Almaden Research Center, where the company outlined its big data analytics strategy and introduced a number of new innovations. Big data is no new topic to IBM, which has for decades helped organizations store and use data. But technology has...Read more

ClickFox Maps the Customer Journey

The last time I reviewed ClickFox it was primarily focused on capturing how callers transverse IVR menus. It produced visual maps of what options callers used and thus how they navigate what can be quite complex menus, allowing users to identify the most common paths and thereby optimize these...Read more

Astute Solutions Supports Integrated Approach to CRM

Like all analysts, I have a series of classifications to help group together vendors with similar capabilities. My challenge is to create categories that align with most users’ expectations so I don’t confuse readers when I define which category a vendor falls into. My “big five” are WFO or agent...Read more

Datawatch Enables a New Generation of Information Optimization

When organizations need to optimize their business processes and improve operations and decisions, the often speak of having the right information at the right time, but don’t always make that a priority. This information optimization is often thought to be expensive and time-consuming, especially...Read more

Businesses Can Turn to Scribe for Integration in the Cloud Anytime

Businesses continue to try to increase productivity and simplify tasks in order to use their time smarter. Our recent business technology innovation research found that, when it comes to analytics, 44 percent of organizations spend the most time on data-related tasks. With lack of resources...Read more

How New Information Technology Will Transform Auditing

A recent news release by Robert Half, a staffing company that specializes in accounting and finance personnel, covered what it sees as the most important attributes required for auditors in the 21st century. “7 Attributes of Highly Effective Internal Auditors” covers the people dimension of...Read more

SAP’s New Fraud Management Analytical Application

SAP recently announced its new Fraud Management analytic applications. Currently in “controlled” (limited) release, it’s a promising start for the product and a good example of the type of business process revolution that’s possible when companies can execute complex analytics on big data sets...Read more

Tidemark Leads New Wave of Innovation in Planning and Performance Excellence

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...Read more

ParAccel Takes a Smart Path to Faster Analytics from 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...Read more

Business Leads the Way to Cloud Computing

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...Read more

Companies Need Effective Contact Center Analytics

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...Read more

Public XBRL Vendors Should Go the Extra Mile

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,...Read more

Ultimate Software Takes HCM Global

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...Read more

Alteryx 8.5 Focuses on the User Experience of the “New Boss”

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...Read more

The Big Deal with Big Data is More Valuable with Kapow

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....Read more

Getting to the Next Generation of Finance Analytics

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...Read more

IBM Launches Customer Experience Lab

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...Read more

Vitria Brings Power of Big Data and Business Analytics to Operational Intelligence

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...Read more

Software to Fend Off Earnings Restatements

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...Read more

SAS Innovates into the Big Data Analytics Era

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...Read more

SAS Makes Analytics Pay Dividends for Business

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...Read more

Saba Doubles Down on Dedication to Empower People and Collaboration in 2013

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...Read more

Taking Advantage of a New Generation of Customer Analytics Using Big Data

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...Read more

Addressing Key Operational Risk Requirements

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...Read more Helping Organizations Achieve Customer Excellence

I recently wrote that 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...Read more

Informatica Establishes Order from Information Chaos

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...Read more

Long-Range Planning Does Not Work in Isolation

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...Read more

The Four Pillars of Big Data Analytics

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...Read more

Clarabridge Operationalizes Text Analytics for Better Customer Experience

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,...Read more

Information Optimization is a Key Benefit of Big Data Investments

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...Read more

Welcome to the 2.0 World of Technology Marketing

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...Read more

A Profile of Strategic and Long-Range Planning

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...Read more

Platfora Aims to Remake the Foundation of Business Intelligence for 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...Read more

Three Unified Communications Trends in Evidence at UCExpo 2013

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...Read more

Make XBRL Data from EDGAR More Accessible

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...Read more

EMC Looks to Be Pivotal for Big Data

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...Read more

OrcaEyes Delivers a Whale of Workforce Analytics and Planning

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...Read more

SiSense Performance Makes Business Analytics Provider an Award-Winner

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...Read more

Hortonworks Takes Hadoop to the Windows of Microsoft

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....Read more

SnapLogic is Making Big Data Integration as a Service a Hadoop Reality

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...Read more

Genesys Acquires to Advance Contact Centers

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...Read more

Spreadsheet Denial is a Big Issue

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,...Read more

LogiXML Capitalizes on Embedded Business Intelligence

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...Read more

Cornerstone Making Talent Management Simpler to Use

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...Read more

Big Data Analytics Faces a Chasm of Understanding

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...Read more

Transera Uses Big Data for Customer Engagement Analytics

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...Read more

Big Data is Broken Without Integration

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...Read more

Cisco Advances Customer Interactions and Collaboration in Contact Center

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...Read more

Use – Don’t Abuse – Spreadsheets

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...Read more

Big Data Search is Getting Better with LucidWorks

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...Read more

Profit Velocity’s New Dimension in Managing Profitability

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...Read more

Why Business Intelligence Software is Failing Business

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...Read more

The Evolution of Social Learning for Human Capital Management

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...Read more

New Generation of Location Analytics

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...Read more

Rising Rates Will Catch Companies Flat-Footed

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...Read more

LiveOps Improves the Agent Experience

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...Read more

Pitney Bowes Advances Spectrum for Information Management

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...Read more

Splunk Provides Operational Intelligence in the Cloud

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...Read more

Happy Birthday XBRL

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...Read more

Subscription Billing Model Can Maximize Customer Value

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...Read more

IBM to Acquire Star Analytics for Financial Data Integration

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...Read more

MicroStrategy Raises the Ante on Mobile, Social and Cloud Innovation

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....Read more

Intradiem Takes Customer Agent Task Management to Next Level

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...Read more

Turning a Spotlight on Human Capital Analytics

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...Read more

Get to Know Alternatives to Desktop Spreadsheets

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...Read more

OnviSource Joins-Up Customer-Related Processes

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...Read more

IBM Provokes Social Collaboration and Smarter Workforce Revolution

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...Read more

NewVoiceMedia Expands Globally to Advance Contact Center in the Cloud

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...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Advances Tax Management

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...Read more

Making Payroll Management a Strategic Part of Human Capital Management

Managing payroll has long been viewed as an administrative task, time-consuming and focused on ensuring that everyone is paid correctly and on time. In fact, in the American Payroll Association’s most recent annual study, the main metrics tracked for payroll performance are payroll cost per...Read more

Enghouse Interactive Advances Multichannel Customer Interactions

I recently wrote how Enghouse Interactive is building a portfolio of products to support contact center in the cloud. The foundation of all its products is the handling of interactions through a comprehensive set of communication channels. My research into the contact center in the...Read more

Technology Innovation in 2013 is a Business and IT Priority

The proper use of technology enables businesses to be more efficient. Our recent research into technology for business innovation found that 56 percent indicate innovative technology is very important, yet only 9 percent are very satisfied with theirs, showing plenty of room for improvement....Read more

The Spreadsheet and the Whale

Banking giant JP Morgan raised eyebrows in 2012 when it revealed that it had lost a substantial amount of money because of poorly conceived trades it had made for its own account. The losses raised questions about the adequacy of its internal controls, and broader questions about the need for...Read more

Vertical Solutions Integrates Field Service and CRM

I hadn’t come across Vertical Solutions until a recent briefing, from which I found that the company offers an interesting combination of field service management and CRM. Vertical Solutions has offices around the world, and its target market is companies with between 50 and 2,500+ users in...Read more

HireVue Advances Recruiting for Developers with CodeVue

HireVue has announced the release of a new add-on module for its HireVue Digital Interview Platform. CodeVue is intended to improve the way organizations identify, screen and assess technical or developer positions. Potentially it will benefit companies that need to fill large numbers of...Read more

Actuate Makes Big Play with BIRT Analytics

Actuate this week announced BIRT Analytics, and thereby puts itself firmly into supporting a range of business analytics needs from data discovery and visualization to a range of data mining and predictive capabilities that allows itself new avenues of growth. Actuate has long been a staple of...Read more

Verint Announces Real-Time Personalized Guidance

Recently Verint announced a new development in its workforce optimization suite Impact 360 Workforce Optimization that it calls Personalized Guidance. It aims to improve the customer experience by prompting anyone handling customer interactions with what they should do next. The principle...Read more

Companies Miss the Point of Voice of the Customer (VOC)

The majority of companies think it is important to collect customer feedback, according to my recent research into customer feedback management, and they put that feedback to an average of five uses, the top five of which are to improve customer service (75%), to develop customer experience and...Read more

SAP Business Analytics Strategy Built on SAP HANA and Delivers Better Business Intelligence

SAP just released strong preliminary quarterly and annual revenue growth, which in many ways can be attributed to a strong strategic vision around the HANA in-memory platform and strong execution throughout the organization. Akin to flying an airplane while simultaneously fixing it, SAP’s bold...Read more

The Rationale and Agenda for Why Human Capital Management in 2013

Human capital is most organizations’ largest investment and one of their largest differentiators against the competition. So it follows that those that take advantage of the compelling, game-changing technology now available in human capital management (HCM) will place themselves at a competitive...Read more

Cisco Finesse Provides Innovative Agent Desktop

My recent benchmark into the unified customer service agent desktop shows how critical the agent desktop is to improving agent satisfaction, meeting key customer-related metrics and enhancing the customer experience. The typical agent desktop contains multiple systems that allow agents access...Read more

The Secrets to Big Data and Information Optimization Revealed in 2013 Research Agenda

Managing the access, storage and use of data effectively can provide businesses a competitive advantage. Last year I outlined what the big deal is in big data, as the initial focus on the volume, velocity and variety of data – what my colleague Tony Cosentino calls the three V’s – is only one...Read more

Best Practices and Benefits from Using a Customer Service Agent Desktop

My research into the customer service agent desktop shows that most centers expect a lot of their contact center agents: more than half (59%) handle between two and five different services (such as general queries, complaints and sales) and 14 percent handle seven or more. Nearly half (49%)...Read more

The Big Deal is in the 2013 Business Analytics Research Agenda

Did you catch all the big data analogies people used in 2012? There were many, like the refinement of oil analogy, or the spinning straw into gold analogy, and less useful but more entertaining ones, like big data is like a box of chocolates, or big data is like The Matrix (because “there’s no way...Read more

Joining Ventana Research to Inspire Human Capital Management

Hi; pleased to meet you!  I’m tremendously excited to be joining the team here at Ventana Research, and I’m looking forward to adding my experience, observations and opinions to this team of very talented industry analysts!  Let me start by telling you a little about my background, and...Read more

2013 Direction of Technology for Customer and Contact Management

At the beginning of 2012 Ventana Research predicted that six major technologies would have an impact on the provision and supply of IT systems, and that these would bring about innovation in the way organizations support their business. Each of the six – business and social collaboration, mobile,...Read more

The Business of Sales and Marketing – Our Research Agenda for 2013

Most organizations see improving the effectiveness of sales as a way to increase productivity. Those organizations that take advantage of the latest sales applications and technology are finding themselves with a competitive advantage, but many organizations lack the time and resources to assess...Read more

SAP Announces Business Suite on HANA

For the past couple of years I’ve been pointing to the importance of in-memory computing to the future of business applications. It’s an integral part of Ventana Research’s business and finance research agenda for 2013, and it’s one of the core technologies that senior executives should have...Read more

Customer and Contact Center Management Research Agenda for 2013

Despite the recession, 2012 was a busy year in the contact center, customer service and customer experience markets. Ventana Research completed four benchmark research studies into customer relationship maturity, contact center in the cloud, customer feedback management and agent desktop....Read more

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2013

Businesses always see a lag between when technology makes some advance possible and when a majority of companies actually adopt it. There’s even a longer lag between the emergence of an advance in a business process or technique and the time it takes to become mainstream. When we write our research...Read more

NICE Systems Addresses Fraud in Contact Centers

Back in 2007 when NICE Systems acquired Actimize I wondered how long it would be before someone figured out how to use the company’s fraud detection systems in contact centers. The answer is now, as NICE Systems announces its Contact Center Fraud Prevention system. The original Actimize system...Read more

Verint Advances Integration and Interactivity for Workforce Optimization

In early 2012 I wrote a blog post about how Verint was overcoming some of its product integration issues by using an information-driven approach that allows users to drill down from key performance metrics into underlying application data. The latest version of its Impact 360 Workforce...Read more

Revolution Analytics Rides R Language into Mainstream Business

Revolution Analytics is a commercial provider of software and services related to enterprise implementations of the open source language R. At its base level, R is a programming language built by statisticians for statistical analysis, data mining and predictive analytics. In a broader sense, it is...Read more

Customer Service Presents Major Challenges

In today’s competitive markets, many organizations recognize that customer service represents an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition. However, our research into the agent desktop shows that providing excellent customer service is a real challenge in many areas,...Read more

Happy New Year: Build on Foundation of Lessons Learned in 2012

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. I hope everyone has gotten some rest and is ready for a great 2013. 2012 was a busy year in which we saw a critical inflection point, where an elevated focus on new methods and innovative technological approaches such as big data, business analytics,...Read more

Best Practice Customer-Related Metrics

Customers have always been important to companies, but what are the best metrics to measure the success of customer-related activities, and how well companies meet customer expectations? At the beginning of 2012 I carried out benchmark research into customer relationship maturity. In it I asked...Read more

2013 Vendor to Watch –

It’s hard to believe that was launched only 14 years ago. It has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar company that has changed the way companies source software. Back in the early days its two primary messages were “the end of on-premises software” and “a new era of CRM...Read more

Like Big Data, Operational Intelligence is Evolving to Deliver Right Time Value

Ventana Research has been researching and advocating operational intelligence for the past 10 years, but not always with that name. From the use of events and analytics in business process management and the need for hourly and daily operational business intelligence, but its alignment with...Read more

California Blue Shield Foundation Uses FinancialForce to Improve Finance Effectiveness

As I’ve noted before, it’s common for CFOs of companies that are transitioning from being a small to a midsize business (that is, when they grow past about 100 employees) to find that the entry-level accounting package that they have been using no longer fits their needs. This software may be...Read more

Linking Customer Feedback and Business Benefits

Many organizations collect customer feedback, but my recent research into customer feedback management shows that most have yet to take advantage of modern techniques. The research shows that companies on average use approximately four methods. The most popular remain email and online surveys,...Read more

Why Maturity is Important for More Effective Planning and Budgeting

Ventana Research does benchmark research that assesses the maturity of organizations across four dimensions: people, process, information and technology. We examine business issues along those dimensions because we recognize the interconnected relationships among them. Especially in larger...Read more

What Every CEO Should Know About Software for Finance and Sales

This is the third in a series of blog posts on what CEOs (and for that matter, all senior corporate executives) need to know about IT and its impact on running a business. The first covered the high-level issues. As I noted, it’s not necessary for a CEO to be able to write Java code or master the...Read more

Interactions’ Virtual Assistant Provides Self-Service Innovation

Organizations have been struggling for years to find effective systems to support customer self-service. One of the most popular techniques has been to deploy an IVR system, but my research into customer experience management shows that nearly two-thirds (61%) of customers using IVR end up...Read more

Quantrix Unveils Release 5

Quantrix recently unveiled Quantrix 5, an updated version of its financial modeling software designed to fill the gap between spreadsheets and business intelligence (BI) systems. Quantrix provides users with many of the capabilities of an enterprise system and addresses shortcomings of desktop...Read more

Saving Microseconds with Informatica’s Ultra Messaging

Increasingly, global financial markets compete on speed, so much so that high-speed trading capabilities have become a performance differentiator for the largest financial services firms and some investment funds. Transmitting messages with quotes, prices and trade data is a core capability for...Read more

The Dynamic Culture and Swedish History Behind QlikView

I recently returned from Sweden, where QlikTech International hosted its annual analyst “unsummit.” Much of the information I was exposed to was under NDA, so I cannot talk about it here. What I can discuss, and what in many ways may be more interesting and more important, is the company’s focus on...Read more

Adaptive Planning Helps the University of Central Florida Plan Faster and More Accurately

When they were first introduced three decades ago, electronic spreadsheets provided a major advance in corporate planning compared to the paper spreadsheet-and-adding-machine systems they replaced. However, time passes and, as our research shows, desktop spreadsheets often hamper productivity...Read more

Making Back Office Apps Fun

Business software is beginning to undergo a design revolution comparable to the seismic shift from the green screen to the graphical user interface (GUI) that began in the mid-1980s. Three forces are at work. One is the retirement of large numbers of members of the baby-boom generation and the rise...Read more

Equifax Workforce Solutions for Human Capital Management

Businesses need to simplify HR and compliance processes to save time and reduce risk. Talx, which helps employers address concerns in hiring, pay and compliance, has now assumed the name of its parent company and become Equifax Workforce Solutions [PDF]. HR and finance professionals...Read more

Longview Helps 3M Shape Its Future in Business Planning

Effective planning has always been a challenge for companies, and it’s all the more so today. Even when companies deploy dedicated planning applications, they often do not or cannot use them to full advantage. I had a chance to learn more about 3M Corp. use of business planning in our recent 2012...Read more

The Conundrum of Changes in Market Research and Predictive Analytics

As a market research practitioner and a technology industry analyst covering big data and business analytics, I enjoyed listening to other analysts discuss the market research industry in a webinar.  My own research augments and sometimes contrasts with that of the webinar participants. In the...Read more

The Brave New World of Business Intelligence

We recently completed our benchmark research on next-generation business intelligence. Ventana Research looks as next-generation BI as a function of traditional BI that is converging with new technologies such as mobility, collaboration and cloud computing. Just a few years ago business...Read more

IBM Watson Advances a New Category of Cognitive Computing

IBM Watson blends existing and innovative technology into a new approach called cognitive computing. At the simplest operational level it is technology for asking natural language-based questions, getting answers and support appropriate action to be taken or provide information to make more...Read more

Take Time Now to Get Mobile Customer Service Right

Recently I read that each person has an average of 1.8 devices connected to the Internet, and this number is likely to grow as people continue to buy smartphones and tablets. In parallel, the number of apps available in the various app stores is growing exponentially, with the iPhone store alone...Read more

Using the Close as a Finance Department Diagnostic

Earlier this year we published our Trends in Developing the Fast, Clean Close benchmark research findings. The most significant was that, on average, it takes longer for companies to close their books today than it did five years ago. In 2007, nearly half (47%) we closing their quarters within...Read more

Altitude Software Supports Contact Center in the Cloud

Recently I completed a benchmark research project into the adoption of a contact center in the cloud, which I defined as the combination of contact center-related communications, applications and analytics in the cloud. Furthermore I defined communications in the cloud as the systems to manage...Read more

GoodData Rides BI in the Cloud for Business Value

GoodData has been around since 2007, but it has seen especially explosive growth in the last year due to the fast adoption of cloud Business Intelligence. In a recent meeting, Roman Stanek, the company’s CEO, told me GoodData has more than 6,000 customers, and that many of these are household...Read more

The Big Deal in Big Data is a Big Opportunity

Big data was big news in 2012 and probably in 2013 too. The Harvard Business Review talks about it as The Management Revolution. The Wall Street Journal says Meet the New Boss: Big Data, and Big Data is on the Rise, Bringing Big Questions. Given big data’s popularity in the press, you might think...Read more

The Reality of Social Customer Service

Much is written these days about how consumers have changed their buying and communication habits, and how more are turning to social media to search for product and service information, complain, exchange news and opinions, and, well, to be social. This has led to predictions such as the demise of...Read more

Product Information Management is for Business

To maximize the potential of their investments, businesses must manage product information, yet for many businesses product information is scattered and duplicated in many systems, which leads to duplication of effort, incorrect information about product descriptions and prices and improper...Read more

Top Priorities for the Next Generation of Workforce Management

Since the early ’80s, when I personally experienced the transition from written time cards to cards for swiping on a time clock at a grocery retailer I worked at, I have been interested in the software and technology of workforce management. That gives me a perspective not many analysts can match...Read more

What Every CEO Needs to Know About Key Supporting Technologies

I recently started a series of blog posts on what CEOs (and for that matter, all senior corporate executives) need to know about IT. The first covered the high-level issues. As I noted there, it’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP...Read more

SAP Launches SAP 360 Customer – New Offering but Old Mission

Over the last few weeks SAP has run several events for both customers and the analyst community to herald the launch of SAP 360 Customer in an attempt to regain ground in the CRM market and convince everyone that it has sorted out its cloud, mobile and collaboration strategy. One of the...Read more

The Right Software is Crucial for Effective Planning

I’ve been examining how corporations plan and budget for more than decade. One clear pattern that has emerged is the difficulty that using desktop spreadsheets imposes on the process. Ventana Research recently published findings from our trends in business planning benchmark research, and the...Read more

Mplsystems Extends Beyond Contact Center in the Cloud

The parent company of mplSystems, Message Pad Ltd., was founded in the U.K. in 1994 and provides the infrastructure to support contact center operations. mplSystems’ main product family is intelligentContact (iContact), which is available either on premises or in the cloud. It is an...Read more

Hewlett Packard Charges Fraud at Autonomy– Lessons Learned?

Many people enjoy mystery stories or crime thrillers; in the same vein of savoring the whodunnit and howdunnit, I like a good accounting scandal. My fascination with cooking the books started when I was young with the “great salad oil swindle”, which wound up causing losses in excess of $1 billion...Read more

Informatica Optimizes Data Integration for Big Data and Cloud Computing

The technology ecosystems are expanding rapidly and the use of big data and cloud computing challenge organizations to process information efficiently and deliver consistent high-quality data. To address these issues, Informatica has introduced two new offerings. In the area of big data, much...Read more

Tableau Thrives in Providing Visual Discovery for Business Analytics

Tableau Software is growing fast. Tableau has taken a “land and expand” strategy that drives what they call the democratization of analytics within organizations. Tableau has enjoyed first mover advantage in the area of exploratory analytics called visual discovery, a growing type of business...Read more

Quill Brings a Narrative of Insights to Business Analytics

Business analytics has become the highest ranked technology innovation, according to our benchmark research on business technology innovation, but a lack of trained resources and inefficient technology have hampered the best of organizations when they attempt to roll out analytics. Our benchmark...Read more

Zeacom Enters the Growing Enghouse Interactive Contact Center Solution Empire

I recently wrote a blog post about how Enghouse Systems is expanding its portfolio of contact center vendors, and another detailing more about what capabilities its products support. I noted that its acquisition trail wasn’t over and that it was in the process of acquiring Zeacom. Although not...Read more

Social Media Stupidity in the Technology Industry

If you follow my writing, you’ve seen blog posts with titles such as Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers and Industry Analyst Art or Fiction: Questionable Technology Predictions, so it should be no surprise I can’t resist an opportunity to talk about a...Read more

A Decade of Research at Ventana Research

I’m happy to say that Ventana Research celebrated its tenth anniversary at our recent Business Technology Innovation Summit in San Jose at the Tech Museum. This location was fitting, since at the event we introduced and presented our first-ever Technology Innovation Awards and...Read more

Building The Collaborative Enterprise to Improve Customer Relationships

I have challenged some of the hype about the social enterprise because I feel “social” gives the wrong impression. For most people, social media is predominately about being social. While everyone likes to feel that going to work is partly about being social, when it comes down to it running a...Read more

What Every CEO Needs to Know About IT

The business/IT divide is a barrier that prevents most companies from achieving their true performance potential. The divide has remained a constant impediment since the dawn of business computing six decades ago. It’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the...Read more

Can Business Trust Microsoft for Mobile Technology?

Mobile technology continues to advance weekly, with new software releases and new versions of devices. Though it has been in the headlines frequently in recent weeks, can Microsoft really change the mobile technology dynamics in the business world? In the last three years the mobile technology...Read more

What’s Wrong with Today’s Planning and Budgeting

People have been complaining about the budgeting and planning processes in their organizations for decades. If you’re old enough, you may recall President Carter’s failed attempt to use something called zero-based budgeting to impose discipline in federal outlays. (In his first year in office...Read more

CallMiner Introduces Real-Time Speech Analytics

I recently wrote how CallMiner had expanded into text analytics and had released its myEureka product, which in my opinion took the presentation of analytics to a new level. My colleagues agreed, and our firm awarded CallMiner the 2012 Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award for...Read more

Building Your Workforce Into a Strong Tribe

TribeHR has brought to market an HR application suite that uses social collaboration to empower workers and managers to perform tasks that might once have been done mostly by HR professionals, or not done at all. The software-as-a-service-based TribeHR application helps businesses with fewer...Read more

Kronos Takes Tablets and Tasks to Workforces

Workforce management software vendor Kronos released its financial results at its 15th annual KronosWorks conference (#KronosWorks12) this week. As a private company Kronos had $870 million in revenue for its 2012 fiscal year ending in September, making Kronos one of the largest software and...Read more

Vocalcom Supports Contact Center in the Cloud

Vocalcom is one of the up-and-coming names in the contact center market. Founded in 1995, it is headquartered in France but has a worldwide presence, with 4,500 customers and more than half a million users of its services. It may not be as well-known as other companies in the same space...Read more

Business Planning Benchmark Shows No Improvement in How Companies Plan and Budget

Organizations engage in a range of forward-looking activities. Sales organizations have pipelines to forecast sales. Manufacturing organizations set and reset demand plans and near-term production schedules, often in response to longer-term production plans that determine what they will make and...Read more

Using Maturity Assessments to Improve Performance

The idea of devising and using maturity assessments to improve business performance has been a staple of management, functional and strategic consultants for decades. It’s based on two unassailable principles. One is the general assertion that companies differ in their ability to do anything along...Read more

IBM Cognos Insight Focuses on Discovery and Exploratory Analytics

IBM’s Information on Demand conference last week took over the fifth-largest conference venue in the country at the Mandalay Bay and Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas. During the keynote at the end of day one, IBM demonstrated its Cognos portfolio, a family of products that helped IBM earn...Read more

The Big Data in Teradata

At the recent Teradata’s annual Partners user conference, the company outlined its expanding role as a provider distributed information architecture technology. My colleague Tony Cosentino assessed Teradata’s business analytics and big data strategy, but there is more under the covers in regards to...Read more

IBM Makes Big Deal of Big Data

At its annual IBM Information on Demand 2012  (IOD) and Business Analytics Forum, IBM unleashed a broad range of news concerning big data and analytics. It showcased its recently announced IBM PureData System appliance, which provides an engineering system for...Read more

The Red Hot Business Intelligence Vendors for 2012 Revealed in Value Index

Ventana Research has just released the 2012 Value Index for Business Intelligence, in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has been researching this software category for almost a decade. Our latest benchmark research in business intelligence found that...Read more Positions as Cloud Platform Leader launched more than 12 years ago as the founding CRM vendor in the cloud. Today it has grown to be the kitchen-sink vendor in the cloud. It seems every month it announces some new cloud service, and its services now cover almost the entire enterprise: sales, marketing, service, HR,...Read more

Teradata’s Big Data and Analytics Strategy Unveiled

Unlike other recent conferences that seem to focus almost exclusively on cloud computing, this week’s Teradata Partners Conference emphasized big data and analytics. The vision that Teradata lays out is one in which new technologies such as Apache Hadoop live side by side with more traditional...Read more

SAP Takes Business and Finance Mobile Using SAP HANA

SAP has inaugurated a new series of business applications it calls Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) OnDemand as a cloud-based subscription service. The applications are part of SAP’s EPM version 10 suite, which it introduced last year. It’s a first step in what is likely to be a...Read more

Justifying Analytics for Agents and Better Customer Service

Our new world of multifaceted customer communications is driven by moments of interaction with the brand, often called moments of truth. Today’s call center analytics put companies in a position to manage these moments. Analytics that are specific to the call center include desktop analytics, event...Read more

SAP Provides Facts over Fiction on SAP HANA and Launches NetWeaver in the Cloud

At the SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas this week, the global software giant unveiled the latest versions of its technology, platforms and applications across the cloud, mobile and on premises. SAP executive Vishal Sikka followed up in person to his written response to the statements...Read more

Oracle Fusion Financials: Boring is Cool

There weren’t any headlines (or even many tweets) about Oracle Fusion Financials emanating from this year’s Oracle OpenWorld (#OOW12) conference. Maybe that’s by design, because it’s not in Oracle’s best interest to kick up a lot of dust about ERP migration. The financial applications software...Read more

PivotLink Analyzes Shoppers with Retail Analytics in the Cloud

I had the opportunity last week to visit PivotLink in the Bellevue, Washington, office that houses the company’s development team and marketing leadership to see its software. After taking the helm a little more than a year ago and putting a new team in place, CEO Bruce Armstrong has...Read more

SumTotal Systems HCM Portfolio Advances in a Mobile and Social World

During its annual industry analyst summit this week, human capital management software vendor SumTotal Systems introduced new heads of finance, marketing and sales, and talked about expanding operations in Europe and Asia-Pacific – all part of a business growth strategy that I am sure the...Read more

Shifts in Retail Demand New Analytics

Our benchmark research into retail analytics suggests that only 34 percent of retail companies are satisfied with the process they currently use to create analytics. That’s 10 percent fewer businesses satisfied than we found for all industries combined. The dissatisfaction is being driven by...Read more

In HR Technology, Social and Mobile Are Hot and Becoming Business Necessity

This week I’m at the 2012 HR Technology Conference (Twitter: #HRTechConf) where the scene is more than cool – it is hip. In the past several years technology for human resources – now more often called human capital management – has transformed from administrative software to applications...Read more

Putting XBRL to Work in the Mortgage Market

Unless you have some combination of a very strong credit rating, a high income-to-debt payment ratio and a relatively low loan-to-value ratio, it’s not especially easy to refinance a mortgage these days. That’s a shame, because there are plenty of people who have stayed current in meeting their...Read more

Industry Analyst Art or Fiction: Questionable Technology Predictions

I recently wrote about how technology vendors attempt to skew analysts’ and influencers’ research from the edit and review cycles controlled in financial contracts to payment for placed blogs as independent analysis published on the Internet. It is unfortunate that we have to deal with this...Read more

Oracle’s Exalytics Appliance Delivers Business Analytics

At Oracle OpenWorld this week I focused on what the company is doing in business analytics, and in particular on what it is doing with its Exalytics In-Memory Machine. The Exalytics appliance is an impressive in-memory hardware approach to putting right-time analytics in the hands of end users by...Read more

Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers

In my more than a decade of writing on the trends and direction of the technology industry, occasionally I have talked about the dark side of technology industry analysts. In that vein, I wrote about the diminishing science of research in technology analyst firms, which has impacted the quality of...Read more

Cloud Computing Challenges On-Premises for Software Preference’s recent Dreamforce user conference got me wondering about how far the market for cloud-based software has come. To answer that question, I looked to our own research. For the past several years Ventana Research has routinely asked participants in its benchmark research what...Read more

Call Centre Expo 2012 Reveals Some Surprising Trends

Call Centre & Customer Management Expo has been running for several years now. The event provides an opportunity for contact center and customer service managers in Europe to catch up with all the latest and greatest going on in the market. At this year’s event earlier this week, as usual,...Read more

Oracle Fusion for CRM and HCM Ready with a Mobile Tap

I attended Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference this week. The company claims it holds the world’s largest technology conference, with 50,000 attendees and a million people viewing sessions online. It was a great opportunity to get close to the Oracle Fusion Applications, which the company...Read more

Encountering New Bottlenecks with Oracle’s Breakthrough Technology

Two key themes that emerged from Larry Ellison’s Sunday night keynote at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld were faster processing speed and cheaper storage. An underlying purpose to these themes was to assert the importance of Oracle’s strategic vertical integration of hardware and software with the...Read more

Informatica Goes Heiler for PIM and Product Information Management

Informatica is a Hot vendor when it comes to our Value Index for Data Integration. When it comes to meeting the business need for consistent and high-quality product information, Informatica just raised its prospects with its announced takeover of Heiler Software. Until now, Informatica has lacked...Read more

IBM’s SPSS Shows Chops in Predictive Analytics

IBM acquired SPSS in late 2009 and has been investing steadily in the business as a key component of its overall business analytics portfolio. Today, SPSS provides an integrated approach to predictive analytics through four software packages: SPSS Data Collection, SPSS Statistics, SPSS Modeler and...Read more

Confirmit Moves to Voice of Customer and Feedback Management

Confirmit is one of the leading vendors of market research services. It has a full range of products that support every step of the market research cycle. Its software lets users create surveys that can be delivered through multiple channels, perform panel management (managing teams of people...Read more

How Effective Is Your Company’s Planning for Long-Term Investing?

Effective capital planning and capital investment are vital to a company’s long-term success. The choices a company makes – how much to invest and in which facilities or projects – have a profound effect on its long-term success. For that reason, companies take pains to ensure that these decisions...Read more

Workforce Analytics Does Not Require Big Data – Yet!

Exactly what is the relationship between workforce analytics and big data? Most of the use cases for big data seem to revolve around marketing, social media and customer service initiatives where unstructured data sources reveal big value. Our research into big data analytics suggests a prime...Read more

Enghouse Interactive Contact Center Products Offer a Range of Capabilities

Enghouse Systems Ltd. is not one of the best-known brands in the contact center market, but if it keeps acquiring vendors at the rate it has been doing then it might soon be. It was founded in Canada in 1984, and from what I can see it is grown largely by acquisition to revenues of more than...Read more

VPI Extends into Multi-channel Analytics

Voice Print International recently announced it has selected Hewlett-Packard’s Autonomy to deliver speech and multi-channel analytics. This news means VPI joins a small group of vendors that can provide a view of customer interactions across multiple communication channels, which is of growing...Read more

Plumbing the Salesforce Clouds is Your Business

Salesforce is a global software-as-a-service (SaaS) company to be reckoned with. The swarming crowds at its Dreamforce event last week were estimated to exceed 90,000. The company is rapidly growing an ecosystem that includes Sales, Service and Marketing Clouds; for building...Read more

Other Side of the Pond Takeaways from Salesforce Dreamforce puts on a marketing event that no other software vendor can come close to. Any CEO that can get MC Hammer rapping about your company as an introduction to your keynote has to be admired. The actual content got mixed reviews; my colleague Mark Smith saw some shortfalls in how...Read more

Salesforce Struggles to Deliver on the Dream of Analytics

I was at the Dreamforce conference this week to hear about the latest advancements from the cloud computing software giant. Salesforce has helped revolutionize cloud computing for business, and its social media and collaborative technologies help advance business processes in...Read more

Salesforce Dreamforce Keynote: Social is Changing Industry Power Structures

With more than 90,000 attendees registered and 100,000 more expected to watch via live stream on Facebook,’s Dreamforce is the biggest technology event of this year. The conference kicked off yesterday morning with MC Hammer letting the packed house know that it was “Chatter time”...Read more

Salesforce Helps Midsize Company Dreams Come True

I cover the meat-and-potatoes aspects of corporate computing. I also pay attention to the special needs of midsize companies (by our definition, those with between 100 and 999 employees), which are unlike those of either small business or large corporations. After attending this year’s Dreamforce...Read more

Transforming Three Vs of Big Data into Three Ws of Business Analytics

Thinking about big data and the swirling world of analytics that surrounds it can be overwhelming. Broad-based organizational and technological changes are driving a new industrial constitution built on time-to-value and closed-loop systems of organizational and machine learning.  As I...Read more

Genesys Advances Customer Service to the Cloud

In what will no doubt be one of a host of announcements coming out of Dreamforce, Genesys announced a new set of cloud-based services especially for customers. Genesys is a well-known brand in the contact center market, but it has undergone significant change of late and is...Read more

Are You Dreaming Social? Salesforce Is!

The annual Dreamforce conference (Twitter: #DF12), just underway, may be the largest software conference ever, with attendance, physically and on the Internet, expected to be 90,000. Certainly, as one of the largest software events of 2012, this conference will be heavily...Read more

Customer Feedback Processes Lagging in Companies Today

Many people these days talk about voice of the customer (VOC) programs and how they can improve business performance. The foundation of any VOC program is collecting customer feedback, analyzing it and using the insights to improve customer-focused processes, training and the use of technology....Read more

Oracle Presents a Taleo Future for Human Capital Management

I attended Taleo World to see how well Oracle is integrating Taleo after acquiring the company in 2012. I assessed the announcement by Oracle earlier this year; it was clear then that Oracle needed to make this acquisition to boost its cloud computing and talent management efforts. In the...Read more

NewVoiceMedia Provides Contact Center in the Cloud

Our recent benchmark research into the adoption of cloud-based systems to support contact center operations shows that around 10 percent of companies have adopted what is commonly termed communications in the cloud – that is, systems in the cloud to manage delivery of telephone calls to the...Read more

Splunk Bids to be King of Search and Operational Analytics

As I listened to the keynote address at, conf2012, the annual Splunk user conference, my initial impression was that the company was spreading itself too thin. The company highlighted four rather formidable areas of organizational focus: Enterprise 5.0, the company’s flagship data platform,...Read more

Look Who’s Hot in Data Integration for 2012

Ventana Research has just released the 2012 Value Index for Data Integration, in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has been researching this software category for almost a decade. Our latest benchmark research in information management found that...Read more

Rethinking Budgeting for 2013

Budget season is about to open at most companies that operate on a calendar year, so this is probably as good a time as any to rethink the process. Almost all companies will undertake the construction of a budget this year the same way they did it last year, despite widespread complaints that it is...Read more

Companies Should Consider Adopting Contact Centers in the Cloud

Our recent benchmark research on the contact center in the cloud shows companies are under more pressure than ever to upgrade their contact centers. The large majority of companies (73%) think it is very important to improve the way they handle customer interactions, and only a small...Read more

Tagetik Offers a Suite Spot for Financial Performance Management

If you’re considering purchasing a financial performance management (FPM) suite, you shouldn’t overlook a recent entrant in the category, Tagetik (which sort of rhymes with “magnetic”). The company, which was founded in 1986 and is based in Lucca, Italy, began by focusing mainly on Europe, but has...Read more

Jaspersoft 4.7 Shows Big Data Opportunity and Mobile BI Challenges

Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite competes in the open source and broader BI market. Its customer base is mostly in the small and midsized business and OEMs and SaaS providers who can embed Jaspersoft code directly into their offerings. Earlier this summer, the company introduced Jaspersoft...Read more

Gaining Time-to-Value From Big Data

I had a refreshing call this morning with a vendor that did not revolve around integration of systems, types of data, and the intricacies of NoSQL approaches. Instead, the discussion was about how its business users analyze an important and complex problem and how the company’s software enables...Read more

SAS Furthers Cloud Computing for Business

After this summer’s SAS European analyst event, I wrote that I came away less than convinced SAS was truly committed to the cloud, based largely on the fact that most other vendors are blowing their cloud trumpets much louder than SAS. It seemed developments in and around customer...Read more

What a Bugatti Can Teach Us About Information Management

One of the community groups to which I donate my time is an organization that puts on a Concours d’Élegance – a vintage car show. Such Concours date back to seventeenth-century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered to see who had the best carriages and most beaudacious horses. Our Concours...Read more

IBM Making Billion-Dollar Bet on Kenexa for Social Business and Talent Management

IBM has announced its intention to acquire Kenexa as part of IBM Smarter Workforce initiative and social business software division. It’s a billion-dollar-plus investment to bolster IBM’s social business and give the company more depth in the human capital management software market that...Read more

Good Data Stewardship Is Critical for Business Analytics

Our research consistently finds that defects in data are the root cause of a wide range of problems encountered by modern corporations. The magnitude of the problem correlates with the size of the company: Big companies have bigger headaches than midsize ones. Data issues diminish productivity in...Read more

Midsize Companies Find ERP in the Cloud Increasingly Attractive

Midsize businesses “pay” for their use of entry-level accounting systems by not having the essential information they need readily available and by using up valuable time that could be better spent generating business, finding issues or responding to opportunities sooner or simply enhancing the...Read more

Closing the Analytics Skills Gap

A study by the McKinsey Global Institute published earlier this year suggests a coming shortage of more than 140,000 workers with deep analytical skills and a shortage of more than 1.5 million data-literate managers. I’m not sure how the study defined these roles, but I’d guess that those with deep...Read more

The Stupidity of KPIs in Business Analytics

In my last rant, on business analytics and the pathetic state of dashboards, I pointed out significant flaws in business intelligence software created by technology providers and in how it is being deployed by business and IT. Now I want to follow up with some insight on disconnects to a critical...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Embraces Business Process Management

The product page for Interactive Intelligence highlights what the company is best known for – IP-based business communications. This image is further strengthened by its flagship Customer Interaction Center platform, which offers organizations a fully featured multimedia contact center in...Read more

The Pathetic State of Dashboards

Over the last several months, my colleague VP and Research Director Tony Cosentino and I have been assessing vendors and products in the business intelligence market as part of our upcoming Value Index. Tony recently wrote about the swirling world of business analytics, covering many of the...Read more

Tibco Bets on Event-Driven Analytics

Over the years Tibco has provided infrastructure for enterprise data integration and has built a substantial installed base. Now the company positions itself as supplying next-generation analytics for big data through service-oriented architecture (SOA). SOA has been around for a while; Ventana...Read more

Making Better Use of Ratios in Analytics

For the past several years Ventana Research has focused more on analytics and their importance to improving business performance. We’ve done extensive benchmark research in business analytics, detailing how they are used generally in business and in major functional areas of companies as well as...Read more

Predictive Analytics Move Toward Center Stage

In this second in a blog series on business analytics I focus on the increasingly important area of predictive analytics. Our benchmark research into predictive analytics shows that while the vast majority of companies see this technology as important or very important for the future of...Read more

The Collaborative Enterprise to Support Customer Interactions

I’ve challenged a lot of the hype about the social enterprise, because I feel “social” gives the wrong impression. For most people, social media is predominately about socializing. While everyone likes to feel that going to work is partly about interacting with friends, when it comes down to it...Read more

Put a Smile in Your Last Mile of Finance

People used to use the phrase “the last mile” solely to refer to a condemned prisoner’s path to execution. Then the telecommunications industry picked it up to describe that part of a circuit between a major trunk line and a subscriber. Later still a defunct software company, Movaris (now part of...Read more

Stibo Is Red Hot for Product Information Management

When it comes to managing product information, organizations know they have room for improvement; only 27 percent trust their efforts completely, and less than a fifth (19%) are very satisfied with them. Almost half (48%) say they have too many incompatible tools, while 41 percent do not have a...Read more

Anaplan is on a Mission for Planning Driven Performance Management

When it comes to the task of managing performance, many organizations still find themselves fixated on the past rather than planning for improvement in the future. When performance management processes operate efficiently, technology to support activities such as modeling and analytics can optimize...Read more

Make IT Spending Transparent

What does it cost to run an IT department? That’s an easy question to answer, but for most companies, why it costs that amount is not. IT departments often complain that most of their budget is devoted to funding daily operations and basic maintenance (“keeping the lights on”), but often, one big...Read more

Making Sense of the Swirling World of Business Analytics

Our benchmark research on business analytics suggests that it is counterproductive to take a general approach to the topic. A better approach is to focus on particular use cases and lines of business (LOB). For this reason, in a series of upcoming articles, I will look at our business...Read more

CIOs Need to Make Information Management a Real Priority

Our recent benchmark research on information management uncovered some startling facts about the level of technology adoption necessary for efficient information-centric organizations. Chief information officers (CIO) are responsible for the availability of information to their businesses in a...Read more

Meeting the XBRL Challenge Takes Inventiveness

For several years the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has mandated that filers apply eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) tags to their financial statements. XBRL was developed to make it easier for investors to use a company’s financial information. Now XBRL US has kicked...Read more

Calabrio Provides Integrated Workforce Optimization

Calabrio offers a suite of workforce optimization (WFO) products used in call centers that includes call recording, quality recording, workforce management and performance management, and it also offers a purpose-built speech analytics product. From a briefing and demonstration, I confirmed...Read more

Karmasphere Addresses Big-Data Skills Gap with Collaboration and Analytics

Karmasphere has an interesting story to tell. Much like Datameer, which I recently blogged about, Karmasphere sits on top of the Hadoop distributed platform where companies such as Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR compete. Karmasphere provides a...Read more

Product Information Management Is Hot for Business

Ventana Research has just released our 2012 Value Index for Product Information Management (PIM), in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has been researching this software category for many years, and our latest benchmark research in product...Read more Advances Customer Interaction

Since it was founded in 1999, has been driving other vendors and end-user organizations to rethink how they supply and purchase software. The company has grown from being a supplier of CRM in the cloud to a vendor with diverse offerings that include a development platform, an...Read more

Enghouse Expands Its Portfolio of Contact Center Vendors

A look at Enghouse Interactive’s Products page shows it is not the easiest of companies to understand. Listed are six products – companies actually – that make up the parent: Arc Solutions, CosmoCom, Datapulse, Synellect, TelRex and Trio. As yet this list doesn’t include the latest...Read more

Microstrategy Provides Hadoop and Predictive Analytics with Version 9.3

MicroStrategy, announced version 9.3. The announcement came out of Amsterdam this month just in front of MicroStrategy World, the company’s annual conference for the European market. Release 9.3 delivers significant updates in four main areas: big data, advanced analytics, automated...Read more

WorkForce Software Focuses on Effective and Efficient Workforces

Our research agenda for 2012 in human capital management outlined the importance of workforce management for all organizations. One provider, WorkForce Software, provides systems that support scheduling, time and attendance, leave and absence and fatigue management. As I noted in my last...Read more

VPI Optimize Agents for Quality Customer Interactions

VPI, a well established vendor in the workforce optimization (WFO) space, was recently rated as a Hot vendor in the Ventana Research Agent Performance Management 2012 Value Index, which extends the traditional definition of WFO to include multichannel interaction capture, agent-related analytics,...Read more

How to Start Integrating Business Planning

Usually, just figuring out how to start the process of change is a major barrier to improvement in business. I think that’s especially true when it comes to integrated business planning (IBP). I started using that term six years ago to differentiate that process from financial budgeting and the...Read more

Microstrategy’s Mobile Vision Mobilizes Business

On the heels of the release of his new book, The Mobile Wave, Microstrategy’s CEO Michael Saylor delivered an interesting keynote at Microstrategy World in Amsterdam this past week. Unlike other keynotes we’ve seen at various supplier conferences, the presentation was not a sales pitch....Read more

Knowlagent Increases Agent Utilization and Customer Satisfaction

Knowlagent has carved out a unique position in the agent performance management market. Everyone involved in running a contact center knows how difficult it is to manage agent time so that agents are available within service level agreement specifications to answer inbound customer calls, have...Read more

Kana Acquires Ciboodle

This month Kana announced it had acquired contact center provider Ciboodle. This comes a few years after Ciboodle was acquired by Sword, a marriage that apparently didn’t work out because Sword, a predominantly services company, didn’t make the necessary investment in the Ciboodle products to keep...Read more

Actuate Rides the Big-Data Wave

Actuate, the driving force behind the open source Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project, is positioning itself in the center of the big-data world through multiple partnerships with companies such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, KXEN, Pervasive and a number of OEMs. These...Read more

Sales Performance Management Is Red-Hot with Applications

We have just released our 2012 Value Index for Sales Performance Management (SPM), in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has beenresearching this software category for many years, and our latest benchmark research in sales performance...Read more

Financial Institutions Need Dynamic Risk Management

Planning portfolio risk follows the same basic tenets as other sorts of business planning. It must be done in the context of a time dimension. In business, short-term plans are developed with a lot of givens or constraints. For example, capacities are fixed, because it’s impossible to wave a magic...Read more

Datameer Provides Business Visualization and Discovery for Hadoop

As volumes of data grow in organizations, so do the number of deployments of Hadoop, and as Hadoop becomes widespread, more organizations demand data analysis, ease of use and visualization of large data sets. In our benchmark research on Hadoop, 88 percent of organizations said analyzing...Read more

Journey Maps Enhance the Customer Experience

My research into customer experience management shows that companies are increasingly aware that the customer experience has a profound impact on business success. In almost equal numbers, participants said it determines the loyalty of customers (21%), the propensity of customers to recommend...Read more

Is Your Vendor Hot in Financial Performance Management Software?

We recently issued our 2012 Value Index on Financial Performance Management (FPM). Ventana Research defines 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...Read more

Agents Performance Management is Hot for Successful Customer Interactions

Our benchmark research into agent performance management shows that the majority of companies are not very mature in their use of people, processes, information and technology in handling customer interactions. Companies are most mature is their use of information, but even in this area they...Read more

CODA Financials Has a Flexible Approach to ERP

CODA’s Financials has a specific target market, from companies in the upper half of the midsize range to the lower end of the large range (that is, companies with 500 to 2,500 employees) in services (not manufacturing) businesses. CODA, the company, started in the 1990s and differentiated...Read more

Make Spreadsheet Competence a Priority

I’ve written frequently on issues that confront desktop spreadsheet users, such as business modeling and capital investment, as well as the risk and control issues spreadsheets pose and their contribution to paralysis by analysis. I focus mainly on the technology aspects of organizational...Read more

Companies Need Unified Approach to GRC for IT

One of the most important trends in business over the past 20 years has been the broadening use of information technology to manage and support activities. In the early decades of business computing, companies developed islands of automation for largely numeric functions such as billing, inventory...Read more

Get Serious about Managing Customer Profitability

It’s clear that certain customers generate more profits than others, just as some products offer greater economic returns than others, as I’ve noted before. For this reason, efforts to improve customer profitability are not a new trend. Good managers have always looked for ways to achieve the...Read more

Callminer Expands Into Text and Social Analytics

Callminer is best known as a vendor of speech analytics software. Along with its own suite, its products also are embedded in those of several other vendors to provide speech analysis. During a recent briefing, I learned that the company has not only expanded into text and social analytics but...Read more

Kognitio Brings Big Data Experience to Business Analytics

Kognitio has been serving the analytics and data needs of organizations for more than 20 years with an in-memory analytics platform that meets many of the big-data needs of today’s organizations. Kognitio Analytical Platform provides a unique massively parallel processing (MPP) in-memory...Read more

Roambi Provides Digital Platform for Mobile Business

The demand for business information on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets continues to increase, while the technology to support it has not. In our benchmark research on information applications, only 11 percent of organizations said they are very satisfied with their ability to...Read more

Hold-Free Networks’ Can Enhance Customer Experience

Many companies have legacy systems in their contact centers, especially systems to manage telephony. My research into the use of technology in centers shows they can create headaches for center managers whose budgets don’t allow them to invest in new systems to match emerging business...Read more

The Financial Close Measures CFO Effectiveness

What’s a fast, free and reasonably reliable way of gauging the effectiveness of a finance department’s management? It’s the number of days it takes it to close the books. Companies that take six days or fewer after the end of the period to close their monthly, quarterly or semiannual accounts...Read more

Operational Risk Management Is a New Imperative

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but our recent Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) benchmark research shows that companies deal with risk with varying degrees of effectiveness – especially operational risk. A majority of companies lag in their overall GRC maturity,...Read more

Mobile Customer Service: New Generation of Interaction Technology

Recently a flurry of vendors have announced new products that enable companies to build mobile customer service applications that I have analyzed, including Genesys, Interactive Intelligence, Jacada and NICE Systems. All are intended to respond to customer demands for self-service through...Read more

Total Compensation Is Hot in Human Capital Management

We have just released our 2012 Value Index for Total Compensation Management (TCM), in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has been researching this category for many years, and our latest benchmark research in total compensation...Read more

The Mandate for Social Collaboration in Business

It is hard to avoid seeing the impact of social media on our daily work, from marketing and sales to customer service. Consumers and customers can interact on the Internet to share their experiences and opinions often and easily, but internally we in business are still operating in the era of...Read more

IBM Encourages Adoption of Predictive Analytics

Our benchmark research on business analytics finds that just 13 percent of companies overall and 11 percent of finance departments use predictive analytics. I think advanced analytics – especially predictive analytics – should play a larger role in managing organizations. Making it easier to...Read more

Globoforce Engages Employees with Social Recognition

The use of social collaboration to support human capital management is increasing as the need to engage talent becomes a higher priority in organizations. In particular, those that have a growing population of workers from the millennial generation see social media as a primary means of...Read more

Get Sales Applications That Make You Smarter and More Engaged

It’s clear that sales organizations need to be efficient, but many are unaware of critical applications they could deploy to establish sales excellence. In my recent analysis, “Sales Organizations Need a Swift Technology Kick”, I outlined why sales departments have to look beyond using sales force...Read more

Keeping Big Data from Becoming Big GIGO

Anyone who focuses on the practical uses of information technology, as I do, must consider the data aspects of adopting any new technology to achieve some business purpose. Reliable data must be readily available in the necessary form and format, or that shiny new IT bauble you want to deploy will...Read more

Pitney Bowes is Transforming Customer Communications

Pitney Bowes (PB) opened its annual technology summit (Twitter: #TechSummit12) with a review of its organizational assets and its rich history of engineering hardware and systems for physical and now digital delivery of communications. The multibillion-dollar technology giant is transforming itself...Read more

Social Dynamx Enables Social Customer Service

I hear a lot of talk about  the impact of social media on customer service and the contact center. My research into customer relationship maturity shows much of this is only talk. The research shows that while many companies have rushed to create a Twitter handle and a Facebook page and...Read more

IBM Advances Predictive Analytics for Decision Management

At its Business Analytics Analyst Summit (Twitter: #IBMBAS12) this week, IBM unveiled its new release of analytics software for decision management. Over the last 25 years decision support systems have transformed into decision management, in which analytics, rules and optimization methods help...Read more

Hortonworks Leads a Fast and Growing Herd of Hadoop

Hadoop, the big-data technology, has transformed businesses’ ability to cost-effectively store and process large volumes of data for analysis. Numerous companies have invested in supporting Hadoop, and some produce commercial versions of the open source technology. At last year’s Hadoop...Read more

Planview Helps Direct Business and IT Portfolios to Optimal Outcomes

Business has been getting smarter about using technology for analyzing processes and optimizing outcomes, but still has much room for improvement when it comes to operational management. Traditional project management has advanced to encompass financial and operational planning, including...Read more

This Is Not Your Father’s Pitney Bowes

On the first morning of the Pitney Bowes (PB) Insights 2012 User Conference in New Orleans I had the opportunity to meet with John O’Hara, president of Pitney Bowes Software, and his management team. Given the staid reputation of the company, I expected to encounter more formal behavior and a...Read more

SAS Expands Business Relevance in Using Analytics

After the SAS analyst event last year, I wrote that it is hard to keep track of everything SAS has to offer because it had so many products and developments in the pipeline. Back from this year’s event, I can report that 2011 was successful, its revenue and worldwide presence are up, and SAS...Read more

Why Our Benchmark Research Is Different and Matters

We started Ventana Research a decade ago, with the objective of providing the highest quality in business-focused information technology research available. We were particularly interested in offering fact-based market research that would focus on the practical needs of getting the most value from...Read more

Enterprise Revolution of Predictive Analytics with Version 6

In our benchmark research in predictive analytics we’ve uncovered some intriguing tools for taking advantage of big data in the enterprise. Revolution Analytics, which we analyzed earlier this year, this month introduced its 6.0 release. Revolution extends the open source statistical...Read more

Teradata Aster Standardizes Access to Hadoop with SQL-H

Using Hadoop just got easier, thanks to Teradata’s introduction of SQL-H, a new query interface to analyze data from Hadoop.  Most Hadoop access methods require preprocessing and staging of data from the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) using technologies such as MapReduce....Read more

Cognos Express Gives Midsize Companies Outsize Capabilities

A main reason why desktop spreadsheets are pervasive in midsize companies (which we define as those with 100 to 1,000 employees) is that these organizations do not have the financial and manpower resources to implement and maintain traditional enterprise business intelligence and performance...Read more

SuccessFactors Connects People with New Applications

I attended SuccessConnect (Twitter: #sconnect), the annual SuccessFactors conference, to hear the latest from this talent management applications company. A lot has changed for the formerly independent company since it acquired Plateau less than a year ago and Jobs2Web. In turn, earlier this...Read more

New Generation of Big-Data Analytics with 1010data

At first I thought 1010data just developed a faster data warehouse technology to be used with business intelligence tools. After a recent briefing, however, I learned  that it provides much more than a data warehouse; the product is a large-scale analytics server that empowers business...Read more

Vitria Aims To Boost Adoption of Operational Intelligence

Ventana Research was the first analyst firm to cover operational intelligence, and a while back I wrote how the products of Vitria support proactive customer service by using event data to anticipate likely impacts of operation issues on customer service. Our research into the use of...Read more

Talemetry Finds and Verifies Candidates Better than Others

Talent Technology software finds and verifies candidates for hire in organizations that use it, as I discussed in my analysis last year. The company’s newly announced product Talemetry Verify provides candidate screening and assessment to help recruiters and job seekers. Improving...Read more

Companies Are Lagging in GRC Maturity

Ventana Research recently completed benchmark research on governance, risk and compliance (GRC), three business activities that are naturally linked. Although managing them requires separate and sometimes very different processes, on the whole these activities affect each other: Effective corporate...Read more

Information Builders Advances Business Analytics and Big Data

More than 1,000 people attended the 32nd annual Information Builders Summit conference this week to learn about the company’s advances in big data, business analytics, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media, which CEO and founder Gerald Cohen announced and demonstrated during...Read more

Jacada Supports Mobile Customer Service

Jacada pioneered what I call a smart agent desktop when in 1990 it created the tools that allow companies to develop a desktop application that follows the process of handling a call, hides applications behind a simple-to-use interface and automates access and updating of systems. This smart...Read more

Glad to be Part of the Ventana Research Team

Hello! I’m excited to be the newest member of the Ventana Research leadership team to bring research insights and education to the business analytics and technology industry. I’d like to start by telling you a bit about who I am, why I’ve chosen to join this company and what I hope to contribute....Read more

Oversight Systems Focuses on Saving Money and Preventing Fraud

I recently spoke with Oversight Systems, an operational intelligence analytics company that uses predictive analytics and optimization to help companies save money, reduce the risk of loss and fraud, and reinforce corporate governance and compliance efforts. Ventana Research views operational...Read more

Echopass Demonstrates Value of Contact Center in the Cloud

Our benchmark research into the contact center in the cloud shows that almost all companies now support multiple communication channels to engage with customers. Most of them also involve multiple business units in handling inbound and outbound interactions. More companies now support at-home...Read more

ADP Aims To Dominate Human Capital Management

Acquisitions and new product releases continue to make the market for human capital management a hotbed of activity, as organizations attempt to fully utilize and increase the value of their workforces as I have outlined in my research agenda. ADP, with more than $10 billion in revenues and more...Read more

What’s the Rush in Adopting IFRS?

I have commented before on the movement to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the United States to replace US-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Most recently I discussed the drive toharmonize the significant differences between US-GAAP and IFRS on...Read more

Cloudforce UK Shows at Its Best

When the marketing machine rolls into town, you have to sit up and listen, and that’s what 14,000 attendees did at the latest Cloudforce event in London. The company took over a vast portion of the ExCel London Exhibition Centre to accommodate the keynote speech, lots of side...Read more

Ariba Acquisition Will Bolster SAP’s Growing Cloud Presence

SAP is planning to acquire e-commerce company Ariba in a transaction worth about US$4.3 billion expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Ariba provides cloud-based collaborative business commerce through a Web-based trading community that enables companies to find, connect and...Read more

Xactly Helps Sales Go Mobile and Get Smarter with Incent 8

Businesses aim to make their sales function as productive as possible, but they don’t always support that goal with investment in technology. I recently wrote about sales needing a swift technology kick. Sales application vendor Xactly provides a boot with the release of Xactly Incent 8 and...Read more

Opera Solutions Orchestrates Intelligent Applications using Big Data and Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics has the potential to help businesses increase the impacts of their actions by creating indicators that represent future outcomes based on existing behavior. This process becomes more complicated when they have to apply predictive analytics to what we call big data environments....Read more

Splunk Provides Intelligence for Customer Analytics

Recently my colleague Mark Smith wrote about Splunk and its latest technology supporting analytics for IT on machine data and providing operational intelligence. I wasn’t familiar with the company, which has focused on IT users and improving the performance of a company’s networks and IT...Read more

IBM Displays Software for GRC at Vision 2012

I recently attended Vision 2012, IBM’s conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and performance optimization software. I reviewed the finance portion of the program in a previous blog. I’ve been commenting on governance, risk and compliance (GRC) for several years,...Read more

Genesys Moves into Mobile Self-Service for Customers

It has been a busy time for Genesys, a company best known for computer/telephony integration (CTI) and routing software for contact centers. In February it split from Alcatel-Lucent and announced that with financial backing from two investment funds it was going forward as a stand-alone company....Read more

IBM Shows Off Vision for Finance

I recently attended Vision 2012, IBM’s conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and performance optimization software. From my perspective, two points are particularly worth noting with respect to the finance portion of the program. First, IBM has assembled a financial...Read more

SAP Brings Out New Voice and Strategy for the Cloud at SAPPHIRE

At this week’s SAPPHIRE NOW (Twitter #SAPPHIRENOW) annual conference, SAP unveiled a refreshed cloud computing strategy and released technology that addresses its new cloud computing business priorities regarding customers, people, money and suppliers. It’s a good time to see what has...Read more

Informatica 9.5 Supports New Generation of Big Data and Cloud Computing

Informatica has announced a major release, version 9.5, of its software platform, which will be generally available in June. The company’s data integration technologies will support the new generation of computing that includes big data, cloud computing, mobile and social media. These...Read more

NICE Systems Mobile Customer Self-Service Connects to Agents

Conventional wisdom in the contact center is that self-service options for customers reduce the number of their telephone calls. However, my benchmark research into the use of technology in contact centers throws doubt on this, finding that companies still expect the volume of...Read more

Market Dynamics Force Change at Transcom

I have written several times that the market dynamics around customer relationships are changing faster now than at any previous time in my experience. Smartphones and tablets are changing the way consumers communicate, social media has opened up a channel of communications over which companies...Read more

Kronos Supercharges Workforce Analytics with New Technology

Adoption of workforce analytics is increasing as organizations seek to recruit and retain employees more effectively and ensure that their people deliver the productivity they expect. According to our benchmark research on the topic, 89 percent of organizations want to make it simpler to...Read more

JDA’s Revenue Recognition Issues Have Lessons for Finance

JDA Software is an established vendor of (among other categories) accounting software for the retail sector. So it is a bit ironic that the company is in the process of restating its earnings for 2008 through 2010 because of revenue recognition practices that led it to book some revenue sooner...Read more

Sales Organizations Need a Swift Technology Kick

Our latest benchmark research on sales applications and technology reveals three trends sales organizations see as critical to improving their operations and performance: mobile technology like smartphones and tablets, collaborative capabilities and business analytics applied to sales. At the...Read more

Consolidation Software Is a Key to Faster Closing

For at least a couple of decades completing the financial close within five or six business days after the end of the period has been accepted as a best practice. As such, that creates an expectation that finance organizations that take longer should work to reduce their closing intervals. In...Read more

Pentaho Business Analytics Brings Visual Discovery and More Big Data Support

With the release of Business Analytics version 4.5, Pentaho has expanded its platform and tools to address the needs of business and IT. The product has come a long way since the version 4 release less than a year ago, which broke ground in ease of use and support for big-data...Read more

Kapow Software Harvests and Virtualizes Information and Applications for Business

Making business use of the vast amount of information on the Web and Internet along with a company’s intranet is no easy task. Kapow Software aims to help by providing tools to define and virtualize access to information, integrate it with other information, such as that in databases, and present...Read more

Nomis Global Pricing Forum Highlights Pricing Optimization

I recently attended the 2012 Global Pricing Forum hosted by Nomis Solutions, a provider of software and services to banking and finance companies. This annual event brings together thought leaders and practitioners in the area of pricing and revenue optimization (PRO). This technique uses...Read more

Make It Simple for Customers To Engage with You

A recent research project involving 7,000 consumers carried out by the Harvard Business Review concluded that to retain customers and get them to buy more products, organizations must make it simple for people to engage with them, provide information they trust and allow them to weigh their...Read more

InetSoft Empowers Organizations To Mobilize Business Analytics

Business intelligence software is increasingly mobile, becoming available via smartphones and tablets and now enabling planning and what-if scenarios to determine the impacts of changes that might be made to improve performance. InetSoft, which has been providing business intelligence tools for...Read more

Infor’s Could Help with Tax Provisioning

One of the new products that Infor announced at its recent Inforum user conference (which I covered here) is, which is designed to facilitate localization of its applications (that is, adapting them for languages, units of measure, statutory requirements, customary processes and other...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Offers Customers Mobile Self-Service

Interactive Intelligence announced Interaction Mobilizer, the latest application in its growing portfolio of products. As I recently wrote, Interactive Intelligence has come a long way since it launched its first software-based PBX in 1994. It was a pioneer in offering contact center...Read more

Peoplefluent Advances Social Collaboration and Learning with Socialtext

This week Peoplefluent announced that it has invested in Socialtext, a company that provides social collaboration software at the enterprise level. With this strategic investment Bedford Funding, the private equity firm that owns Peoplefluent, is the direct beneficiary. Peoplefluent will...Read more

Workday 16 Brings Simplicity and Mobility to Human Capital Management

Competition in the human capital management market rages on, with application suppliers racing to provide sophisticated applications that operate in the cloud. Cloud computing is a key factor in advancing human capital management, included in our research agenda for this area, along with...Read more

NICE Transforms Customer Experience through Mobile and Interaction Intelligence

I attended NICE Systems’ annual Interactions (Twitter #Interaction2012) conference in Nashville to get the latest from this growing global software business that focuses on customer-centric applications. If you have not heard of NICE you might not be primarily involved in managing and...Read more

Customer Engagement Day Reveals New Issues and Opportunity

I recently attended the second in the series of customer engagement days organized by the Directors Club (GB & NI). The format of the event was the same as the first day that I wrote about and included three keynote presentations and three roundtable sessions where attendees discussed how...Read more

Datawatch Enables Business Analytics through Data Discovery and Virtualization

Thanks to Datawatch, businesses may find themselves buying and deploying fewer new business analytics and business intelligence tools. As I noted in my analysis last year, the company’s new management has begun to transition it to a more appealing market position in which it helps enterprises...Read more

Infor Presents Itself as a Large Software Startup

Infor described this year’s Inforum user group meeting as a coming-out party for a large startup company. Such a debut was necessary because Infor had been operating in something of a stealth mode for the past three years: a limited marketing presence, no unified message and a weak, sometimes...Read more

Splunk: Big Data Machine for Operational Intelligence

Splunk recently entered the financial markets as a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: SPLK) and also entered a new phase in its corporate growth. Splunk combines the power of search and discovery with analytics on data generated by IT systems, that they call machine data, and provide insight for...Read more

IBM Makes Big Data Deal for Vivisimo and Supports Cloudera Hadoop

Through a series of acquisitions and organic development over the last five years, IBM has established itself as a leader in enterprise big data for business analytics. I recently wrote about IBM Smarter Analytics, which brings together the company’s portfolio of software, systems and services from...Read more

Datameer Advances Big-Data Analytics on Hadoop

The increasing pressure to store, retrieve and process data on an unprecedented scale in the enterprise has created a market for processes and tools to support it. Big data, as it’s widely known, is one of the six business technology innovations of the decade outlined in our research agenda, and it...Read more

TALX Provides New Elements in Workforce Analytics

The workforce analytics market continues to evolve as organizations seek to improve the time it takes to find insights and employer metrics in order to meet compliance requirements, mitigate risk and enforce governance policies. TALX, a subsidiary of Equifax, provides a range of data-oriented...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Puts Meaning Back in Innovation

Marketing claims about a company’s innovation have become so common as to be almost meaningless, and this is true in the software business. That’s a shame because it obscures cases in which a vendor really is innovative. For example, at a recent partner and analyst event hosted by Interactive...Read more

Verint Revamps Applications in Information-Driven Approach

Verint is one of the major players in the contact center market, with two suites of products that support contact centers and voice of the customer analysis. The company’s website shows that these suites have been put together from a combination of in-house developments and...Read more

BizNet Enables Enterprise Spreadsheet-Based Reporting

I’ve been advocating more intelligent use of spreadsheets for the better part of a decade. Ventana Research coined the term “enterprise spreadsheet” in 2004 to describe software applications that marry a Microsoft Excel user interface with a business rules server and a relational or...Read more

Merced Acquisition Spurs NICE Changes

Last December NICE Systems announced a definitive agreement to acquire Merced Systems. I have been covering both companies for several years, and initially it wasn’t obvious to me why the acquisition made sense. My colleague Mark Smith wrote about the deal and expressed concerns about how the...Read more

SAS Advances Customer Intelligence

SAS is one of the largest and best-known independent vendors of BI and analytics. The company’s website shows  16 product lines, and product variations to match almost every business analytics requirement in any industry. One of its core products lines is Customer Intelligence, which I...Read more

Tello Launches Innovative Method To Collect Customer Feedback

The various media, including the social form, insist that the customer is king;  exaggeration or not, it is true that understanding their customers is of greater importance to companies than ever before. The newest way to understand customers is to capture all the comments they make about a...Read more

Host Analytics Introduces Its Own Business Analytics

Host Analytics has added new analytics and reporting resources to its cloud-based performance management suite. Business Analytics will offer a broad set of built-in analytics and reporting capabilities or, for companies with an existing business intelligence infrastructure (from vendors...Read more

Businesses Should Hear Voice of the Customer

In the last several years many companies have shifted away from the mad pursuit of new customers toward focusing on retaining existing customers and winning more business from them. Against that background I expected to see a resurgence of customer relationship management processes and systems, but...Read more

IBM Will Take Varicent for Sales Performance Management

In an unexpected announcement this morning, IBM announced its intent to acquire Varicent to enter the sales performance management market. For IBM this is a strategic acquisition, since it did not have any significant or dedicated applications for sales. IBM intends to acquire and place...Read more

inContact Supports Customer Interaction Management

Managing contact centers typically includes five areas: communications management, workforce optimization, business applications such as CRM, analytics and customer experience management. Last year I wrote about how inContact has evolved from a communications provider to sell a contact...Read more

Full Use of XBRL Is Not Here Yet

The mandate by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that requires its filers to apply eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) tags to their financial statements has been in effect for several years. (XBRL is a core element of our Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2012.) One...Read more

Aria Heralds a New Era for Billing Systems

Recently I was introduced to Aria, which provides a billing and subscription management system in the cloud. Its target customer is any company that offers subscription- and/or usage-based services. Its core module allows users to set up a product catalogue that consists of plans (such as...Read more

Cambridge Semantics Makes Intelligent Use of Information

The increasing volume of information within enterprises and on the Internet requires businesses to be smarter and more efficient in how they use it. One large challenge is navigating through information and access to the data underlying key business documents in a way that people actually think and...Read more

ResponseTek Enhances Understanding of Customers

If they haven’t done so yet, businesses ought to become acquainted with two relatively new concepts: customer experience management (CEM) and voice of the customer (VOC). Ventana Research defines CEM as the practice of managing the customer experience at all touch points regardless of the...Read more

SumTotal Systems Sums Up Human Capital Management

Businesses’ strategic imperative to optimize human capital is creating significant energy in the market for applications used to attract, optimize and retain talent. Amid all the recent acquisitions and changes that I have been writing about in this field, SumTotal Systems seems to get less...Read more

A Smart Desktop Enables Customer Service Process Improvement

A desktop or laptop computer is an essential tool for people who carry out customer-facing activities, especially contact center agents. My benchmark research into the use of technology in contact centers shows that agents may have to use eight systems or even more to handle a simple...Read more

Can You Trust Salesforce and Rypple for Performance Management?

Salesforce has begun to toot its marketing horn about its new capabilities for performance management through its acquisition of Rypple, a provider of software designed for social collaboration for improving employee engagement. I have already discussed this acquisition (See: more

Time To Consider How Accounting Rules Changes Will Affect IT Systems

The evolution from United States Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (US-GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has been under way for more than a decade. I’ve commented on IFRS adoption before. It’s a hot topic for accountants and auditors because it goes to...Read more

The Jobscience of Human Capital Management

New human capital management solutions are entering the market, aiming to simplify recruiting, hiring, onboarding and managing employees. Many such applications focus on talent management for use after employees are hired, but vendors also need to streamline tasks for recruiters, HR administrators...Read more

Research Uncovers Keys to Using Predictive Analytics

As a technology, predictive analytics has existed for years, but adoption has not been widespread among businesses. In our recent benchmark research on business analytics among more than 2,600 organizations, predictive analytics ranked only 10th among technologies they use to gene­rate analytics,...Read more

SAS Advances Big Data and Cloud Computing

I want to share my observations from the recent annual SAS analyst briefing. SAS is a huge software company with a unique culture and a history of success. Being privately held SAS is  not required to make the same financial disclosures as publicly held organizations, it released enough...Read more

Saba Expands the Concept of Human Capital Management

Saba this week announced its acquisition of Human Concepts, which provides applications and tools for understanding and interacting with employees through visualizations based on the organizational chart. Human Concepts had expanded its portfolio beyond tools to support planning and change...Read more

IBM Launches Smarter Analytics: Ready to Get Smart?

IBM this week launched a business initiative called Smarter Analytics to showcase the value of its technology and professional services in this area. The event, led by Steve Mills, head of IBM’s software and systems business, highlighted the company’s ability to solve analytic challenges...Read more

Data Plays a Key Role in the Close-to-Report Cycle

Ventana Research recently completed an update to our last benchmark research on the financial closing process. It shows that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did five years ago. Whereas nearly half (47%) were able to close their quarter or half-year period within...Read more

Process Improvement Is Key to a Faster Close

Ventana Research’s new financial close benchmark research reveals that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did five years ago. Whereas nearly half (47%) were able to close their quarter or half-year period within six business days five years ago, just 38 percent are...Read more

Slow Closers Aren’t Serious about Improving Financial Performance

The most intractable issues that face finance departments are those that “everyone” knows must be addressed but somehow never muster the collective urgency to do so. Many couch potatoes know they need to watch their diet and exercise regularly. If asked, they would say it’s important or even very...Read more

SAP Rolls Out Business Planning and Consolidation on HANA at SAPinsider

For me, the most significant announcement to come out of the recent SAPinsider conference was the company’s formal release of Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) running on HANA, SAP’s in-memory computing appliance. For me, HANA is a potential “game changer” for planning, statutory...Read more

Information Management Technology Revolution and Research Agenda for 2012

In our definition, information management encompasses the acquisition, organization, dissemination and use of information by organizations to create and enhance business value. Effective information management ensures optimal access, relevance, timeliness, quality and security of this data with the...Read more

Business Intelligence Revolution and Research Agenda for 2012

For most people involved with business intelligence (BI), these are exciting times. Using BI to improve business processes continues to motivate organizations to invest in BI. The focus on BI also empowers business analytics and can be rented in the cloud computing model of accessing software. New...Read more

Don’t Treat Real Estate as a Fixed Cost

Financial analysts typically classify real estate as a fixed cost. Strictly speaking, that’s correct, but looking at it this way leads many organizations to overlook and miss opportunities to more carefully manage their real estate and other occupancy expenses. In industries where occupancy or...Read more

Expo Shows Maturity of Unified Communications

Like many other observers with a business perspective, I have been skeptical of unified communications, but a day I spent at the recent Unified Communications Expo 2012 went a long way to convincing me that unified communications has entered the mainstream. At this point I think...Read more

Informatica Expands Data Footprint for Business and IT

My colleague Mark Smith and I recently attended data integration vendor Informatica’s annual industry analyst event. The company offered some impressive numbers regarding growth and profitability over the years, with 30 consecutive quarters of growth even during the recent recession. Through...Read more

Research Reveals Challenge of Building Customer Relationships

Businesses have long struggled to build ongoing, profitable relationships with their customers.  Our new benchmark research into customer relationship maturity shows that this is not getting easier.  One reason is that consumers now want to interact with organizations...Read more

Ceridian’s Ambitious Agenda in Human Capital Management

I attended the Ceridian analyst summit (Twitter #CENAday) in Boston to see how the company  is expanding its business in HR-related software and services into human capital management (HCM). Ceridian derives $1.5 billion in revenue from more than 130,000 customers with 25...Read more

Customer Engagement Day Highlights Issues for Companies

My namesake Jon Snow is chairman of the Directors Club (GB & NI), an association for professionals who focus on dealing with customers.Recently he organized the first of a series of customer engagement days designed to bring together senior representatives of U.K. companies to listen to a...Read more

Human Capital Management Research and Educational Agenda for 2012

Utilizing the talents of everyone in the workforce is a critical priority for businesses. Savvy executives understand and are anxious to avoid the cost and time incurred in replacing trained, experienced employees and the downturn in productivity while jobs are unfilled. Our benchmark research...Read more

Cicero’s Desktop Helps Users Work Smarter

Cicero provides what I call a smart desktop product. The software allows users to hide multiple applications behind an easy-to-use interface and build rules to complete tasks more efficiently and effectively, for example, specifying  what field to complete next or the next question...Read more

The Business of Sales Research Agenda for 2012

Investing wisely in sales-related people and processes is a key to business success. In 2012, helping sales staff perform at their highest levels should be a top priority for management. That may take some effort, according to our benchmark research, which indicates that only 14 percent of sales...Read more

Alteryx’s Business Analytics Empowers New Generation of Data Artisans

I attended the Alteryx user conference called Inspire 2012 (Twitter: #Inspire12)  in Denver this week. This fairly new analytics software company has been gaining customers in a range of brand-name organizations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Supervalu, U.S. Cellular and VF Corp. The...Read more

It’s Getting Easier To Go Beyond Spreadsheets for Modeling

One trend in business software that’s still in its early stages but gathering momentum is the availability of modeling tools that fill the gap between desktop spreadsheets and enterprise systems. Granted this “early stage” has been under way for quite some time, but the technology has finally...Read more

Ventana Research’s Business Technology Innovation Research Agenda for 2012

Now finishing our first decade of providing research and education for business and IT professionals, we at Ventana Research have learned what it takes to improve the value of processes and performance in many industries. This is no easy task; it requires thorough and wide-ranging research on the...Read more

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2012

As this year begins, “finance transformation” is a trend gaining favor with strategic consultants. The term is associated with the objective of shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from transaction processing toward more strategic and higher-value functions. This objective is hardly...Read more

Informatica Advances Business with Data Integration for Social Media

Even in this recessionary economy Informatica has been defying spending constraints. At its annual analyst summit (Twitter #INFAAnalyst) the company unveiled its growth strategies. Informatica has more than 4,500 customers for data integration and information management and now is turning its...Read more

The Customer and Contact Management Research Agenda for 2012

In all the years I have spent building contact centers and tracking this market, from both business and technology perspectives many things have not changed. Center managers are still under pressure to drive down costs, customers generally are not satisfied with the way their interactions are...Read more

GAAP and IFRS Harmonize Revenue Recognition Standards

The melding of the world’s two main financial accounting standards – United States Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (US-GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – continues apace. Initially, the idea was to converge the two into a single, global standard. Although there...Read more

A Taleo Tale: Oracle Reaches for Cloud Credibility

The acquisition frenzy in the enterprise software market continues. The announced acquisition of Taleo by Oracle will remove the independence of another successful cloud-based software company. Publicly traded Taleo (NASDAQ: TLEO) provides talent management applications on a rental...Read more

Zeacom Announces Full Support for Microsoft Lync

A few months ago, I evaluated Zeacom CommunicationsCenter (ZCC), which provides a multichannel contact center that is integrated closely with business process automation. This allows organizations to build a contact center tied to their interaction-handling processes and deliver any...Read more

Workday’s Financials: Maturing

I recently got an update from Workday that focused mostly on its Financials software. This part of the company’s business management suite has received less development attention than the HR aspects since the company’s founding in 2005. The bulk of Workday’s development investment has...Read more

Enkata Expands Customer Analytics for a Better Customer Experience

The products of Enkata have generally been designed for what Ventana Research terms performance management for customer service and call centers, including applications connected to agent performance management (quality monitoring, coaching, training and related analytics) and operational...Read more

Actuate Establishes Performance Analytics for Business Excellence

Business analytics and big data are common topics of conversation in the business and information technology markets, but these technologies are only building blocks to help businesses manage performance. Entering the conversation is Actuate, which for years has had a performance management...Read more

Revolution Analytics Hosts Contest on Business Predicting the Future

Revolution Analytics recently announced the winners of its “Applications of R in Business” contest. Revolution Analytics has built a business around supporting R, an open source statistical software package, and extending it with features it licenses to customers. I served as a judge in...Read more

Technology Terminology: What’s in a Name?

When it comes to technology, debates about whether a particular name suits its category are rampant. Here is a link to one such argument about the term “big data” from Curt Monash, an analyst whom I respect a great deal. This debate rages in the Twittersphere also, as in this...Read more

Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile: Hands-On Review Finds Shortfalls

The stakes have never been higher for suppliers of interactive business intelligence. Our benchmark research on business analytics finds that businesses overwhelmingly (89% of participants) want simpler analytics and metrics, and usability (57%) and functionality (47%) are the two most...Read more

The Big, Cloudy, Mobile and Social World of MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy, one of the largest independent vendors of business intelligence (BI) software, recently held its annual user conference, which I attended with some of my colleagues and more than 2,000 other attendees. At this year’s event, the company emphasized four key themes: mobility, cloud...Read more

Confirmit Provides Customer Insights through Surveys

Ventana Research believes that to provide excellent customer experiences it is necessary to understand what customers want and their likely behaviors, and one direct way to achieve this is by collecting and analyzing customer feedback. The challenge for organizations in this regard is that...Read more

MicroStrategy Infuses Social Media Intelligence into Marketing

I attended the annual MicroStrategy World in Miami to check on the progress this company known for business intelligence (BI) software has made in expanding into a mobile platform and tools company that also announced a new version of its products. While MicroStrategy’s efforts in...Read more

Big Data Is More than Hadoop

We recently published the results of our benchmark research on Big Data to complement the previously published benchmark research on Hadoop and Information Management. Ventana Research undertook this research to acquire real-world information about levels of maturity, trends and best...Read more

Feedback Management Can Improve the Customer Experience

There is a lot of talk today in customer service circles about the “voice of the customer” (VOC). For some people it means speech analytics (literally the voice of the customer), some others use it as an equivalent to the “360-degree view” of the customer, and for others it is about customer...Read more

Some Ways To Get More Bang for Your IT Buck

One of the major issues IT executives face is how to charge their departmental costs back to each part of the business according to their usage. It’s a touchy issue that can be the source of end-user disenchantment with the performance and contribution of the IT organization. Ultimately,...Read more

Vertex’s Tax Data Warehouse Matures

I recently had a briefing from Vertex on its tax data warehouse (TDW), a key component of its tax technology platform Vertex Enterprise. The TDW concept has been around for decades, but the earliest versions were custom-built and hampered by the technology limitations of their day. This made...Read more

Reorganized Epicor Has Strategy for Competing

I recently received an update from ERP software vendor Epicor, my first since it was acquired in May 2011 by Apax Partners, a private equity company, and simultaneously merged with Activant, an ERP and point-of-sale software company serving midsize retailers and distributors. In my view,...Read more

Infor’s Management Outlines Corporate and Software Strategy

I recently met with Infor’s management team, led by CEO Charles Phillips. Phillips joined Infor in October 2010 after leaving Oracle, taking several other executives with him, including Duncan Angove, now president of Infor, and Pam Murphy, now the COO. In addition to the changes in the executive...Read more

Clarabridge Advances Customer Experience Management

Clarabridge is an established vendor of text analytics products, which it sells both directly to the market and indirectly through an extensive set of partnerships with companies such as MicroStrategy, IBM Cognos and Verint. Recently it has been marketing its applications...Read more

Action-Oriented Analytics Can Help Manage Risk

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but as I’ve noted, companies deal with risk with varying degrees of effectiveness. A complex, ongoing process, operational risk management identifies risks to support successful operations of an organization, estimates the monetary and other...Read more

Tidemark Reaches the Starting Gate

My colleague Mark Smith and I recently chatted with executives of Tidemark, a company in the early stages of providing business analytics for decision-makers. It has a roster of experienced executive talent and solid financial backing. There’s a strategic link with Workday that...Read more

Customer and Contact Center Management in 2012

After reviewing the benchmark research I carried out during 2011 into customer and contact center analytics, the use of technology in contact centers and the adoption of cloud-based contact centers and systems, I have come up with a list of critical investments that I predict...Read more

Top Ten Best Practices Learned from 2011 Technology Market Chaos and Stupidity

While we will wait until January to publish our recommendations for the new year, we can digest the lessons learned in 2011 within the technology markets and with Ventana Research right now. That’s appropriate, since we at Ventana Research are committed to helping you with solid information and...Read more

Today’s Companies Need Action-Oriented Information Technology Systems

Management decision-making typically involves a three-step process of inform, analyze and act. In the earliest days of what came to be known as business intelligence, developers created decision support systems that provided information and analytics to help executives and high-level managers...Read more

What Enterprises Can Learn from Major Events and Surprises in 2011

Rather than make predictions for 2012, which are everywhere right now, I want to look back at some of the surprising events of 2011. I think it’s worth considering what happened that wasn’t expected and what these things might tell us about the information technology market. Here, in no particular...Read more looking for a Successful Rypple in Human Capital Management made a surprising announcement of its agreement to acquire Rypple, a software company that defines its product as a social goals application. I call this a surprise because although Salesforce has been extending its reach beyond sales and customer service to IT in providing...Read more

Cloud-Based Contact Center Research Finds Deployment Growth

Cloud-based systems have arrived as an option for how organizations source their IT systems, now and in the future. Proponents of the cloud – of which I am one – will tell you they have several major advantages over conventional on-premises systems. They require little upfront capital expenditure;...Read more

SAP Must Translate Technology Advances into Business Use

At its annual Influencer’s Summit in Boston, SAP offered multiple perspectives on where the company’s strategy and products are heading. Overall, I was struck by the essential similarities to its message on its strategic direction a decade ago. The overarching objective in its roadmap now, as then,...Read more

SAP Aims to be More Cloudy and Mobile in 2012 and Beyond

I attended the annual SAP Influencer Summit (Twitter #SAPSummit), at which executives from SAP meet with analysts and customers from around the world to discuss the company’s direction. Pointing out that in 2012 SAP will reach its 40th anniversary of operations, chief communications officer...Read more

Yellowfin 6 Advances Collaboration and Mobility Capabilities

Collaborative and mobile technologies continue to influence business intelligence (BI) software products. The recent release of Yellowfin 6 embraces these innovations in a visually appealing, end-user-oriented BI product. Yellowfin is an independent BI software vendor based in Australia...Read more

Talend 5 Unifies Information Management Platform

Talend recently announced version 5 of its information management platform, which emphasizes unifying its various components. Through a combination of development activities, acquisitions and partnerships, Talend has been steadily building its portfolio of information management...Read more

Users Should Apply ERP To Manage End-to-End Processes

ERP systems not only collect information about transactions, they also automate processes. The latter includes managing the handoffs between roles and enabling electronic document creation and management associated with that. Indeed, it was the promise of improving process management and...Read more

Maturing Customer Relationships Continuously

The old proverb “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” applies well to the management of customer relationships. If business technology vendors are to be believed, managing customer relationships involves – indeed, is driven by – software.  We have a somewhat different...Read more

NICE to Acquire Merced Systems for Excellence in Customer Service and Sales

NICE Systems last week announced an agreement to acquire Merced Systems, a provider of business applications for customer service and sales organizations. This acquisition slipped by with little fanfare, but it marks a significant milestone for NICE, a major provider of applications and...Read more

Contingency Planning and the Euro’s Collapse

I thought of writing a note on this topic when multinational corporations started to withdraw their deposits from eurozone banks, but the pessimism that event engendered was short-lived. Now, as the monetary crisis deepens in Europe, it’s perhaps time to ask what your company would do if parts of...Read more

SAP Spends Big on SuccessFactors for Cloud Computing and Talent Management

In a move to invigorate adoption of its cloud computing and talent management applications, SAP has announced its intent to acquire SuccessFactors – a deal valued at US$3.4 billion . SAP’s years of development and business efforts have produced only mediocre results in customer growth and...Read more

Kalido Directs Data Governance

Kalido recently introduced version 9 of its Information Engine product. The company has been around for 10 years but has had difficulty establishing its identity in the information management market. Kalido was perhaps ahead of its time, partly a vendor of data integration, partly master...Read more

Patent Documents Useful for Buyers of Price Optimization Software

Doing one’s homework is vital in buying business software. However, unless you’re replacing a relatively simple application, it’s hard to know exactly what to evaluate. Indeed, if people in a company given this task don’t have experience in using a specific type of business application or don’t...Read more

Actuate Brings Business Intelligence to Customer Information

Actuate, which develops commercial versions of the open source Business Intelligence Reporting Tool (BIRT) technology, recently held a one-day event in London. My colleague Mark Smith covers Actuate’s products, but I was impressed by the simplicity of the company’s message, the core of which is...Read more

IBM Cognos 10 Does Profitability Management

I believe that one of the more important analytical applications that a company can implement is profitability management. IBM Cognos offers Profitability Modeling and Optimization as part of its Cognos 10 offering that my colleague has assessed. As I’ve noted, most people in a corporation are...Read more

Spotfire 4.0 is Socially Collaborative and Interactive

Tibco recently introduced Spotfire 4.0, the most recent version of its interactive discovery and business intelligence (BI) tool. Spotfire comes at BI through visualization. It uses in-memory processing and good user interface design to develop highly interactive displays of data. Version 4.0...Read more

A Good Example of More Effective Tax Data Management

Right after I posted my blog about the dearth of useful content for the line-of-business and finance audience at this year’s Oracle Open World, I attended a truly useful session. (Of course, it had been shunted to the next-to-last time slot on the final day of the event.) It was a case study...Read more

Risk Analytics Has Benefits for Optimizing Performance

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but dealing effectively with risk is a progression. Indeed, history shows businesses adapting and coping better with risk through innovation. The importance of using information technology to manage risk is growing because today’s systems can...Read more

The World of Big Data Gets Even Bigger at Hadoop World

Cloudera’s recent Hadoop World 2011 event confirmed that the world of big data is getting even bigger. As I wrote of last year’s event, Hadoop, the open source large-scale data processing technology, has gone mainstream. And while 75% of the audience attended this year for the first time and so may...Read more

Kronos Puts Workers and Managers in Touch

At its 2011 KronosWorks annual user conference, the workforce management application provider advanced its agenda with the introduction of new applications to further its global presence. From my visit, and from looking back at my analysis of its 2010conference, it seems the...Read more

SumTotal Systems Optimizes The Use of Human Capital

I just attended the first-ever analyst summit (Twitter #SumAS11) of SumTotal Systems to learn more about the company’s people and products since my in-depth analysis from earlier in the year. This key player in the business applications market offers a portfolio of applications in...Read more

Crystal Ball Is Cloudy for ERP Market

As Workday continues to expand and the likelihood of its IPO becomes a more frequent topic of discussion, so does the movement of ERP systems to the cloud. Thus far, only a minority of companies have chosen to put their ERP and accounting systems in the cloud, but the numbers are growing...Read more

Contact Centers Should Align Objectives and Metrics

It never ceases to amaze me, when you ask people what their business objectives are and how they are measured, how often the two have little in common. This has been the case consistently in the research I have carried out over the last eight years into customer service and contact center...Read more

Zeacom Simplifies Multichannel Interaction Management

For years building a call center was technically challenging as it typically involved integrating proprietary products from multiple vendors. Although more vendors now offer integrated solutions, even these can difficult to administer and use because of variable user interfaces and gaps in the...Read more

Managing Mountains of Cash Is Harder than It Sounds

At first thought, it seems as if having a mountain of cash to manage is a problem most companies would like to have, but it’s a real problem nevertheless. To be sure, the large majority of companies are able to deal with their cash and short-term and longer-term monetary investments because the...Read more

IBM Gets Big and Personal with Business Analytics

IBM’s Information on Demand (IOD) event showcased its products for both information management and business intelligence. I’ve covered the information management aspects of IOD in a separate post. In this post I’ll look at the business intelligence aspects. Earlier this year IBM made predictive...Read more

IBM Intensifies Information Management Again at IOD

IBM made more than two dozen announcements in conjunction with its recent Information on Demand (IOD) event. In this post I’ll address the impact of IOD from an information management perspective and in a separate post shortly from an analytics perspective. Trying to organize the mass of...Read more

Host Analytics Decision Hub Offers Central Financial Repository

Host Analytics is taking advantage of one of the inherent advantages that vendors of software as a service (SaaS) have compared to on-premises ones: It’s easier for them to offer their customers data services and shared data repositories. The company’s  Decision Hub has been available...Read more

Informatica Parses the World of Hadoop

Informatica recently introduced HParser, an expansion of its capabilities for working with Hadoop data sources. Beginning with Version 9.1, introduced earlier this year, Informatica’s flagship product has been able to access data stored in HDFS as either a source or a target for...Read more

Despite Recession, Acquisitions Continue in Contact Center Market

It has been a busy year for relationships among vendors in the contact center market and despite tough economic times, it doesn’t look like things are slowing down. For example, early this year acquired Radian6 to strengthen its position as a supplier for what it calls “the...Read more

Transera Delivers Contact Center Interactions in the Cloud

Throughout this year we have seen more vendors begin to offer a contact center in the cloud. The latestis Transera, which offers an integrated set of products that focuses on enabling interactions for customer service agents. It has four main groups of products: operations management, agent...Read more

Workday Rising while Oracle Sleeps in the Clouds

As Workday held its annual Workday Rising conference this week, it’s a good time to note the accomplishments of the company and to provide a fair and balanced coverage that has yet to be spoken by my industry peers for some reason. Co-founder and co-CEO David Duffield, who founded...Read more

Successful Price Optimization Has Multiple Dimensions

As its name suggests, demand-based pricing is a method that uses the buyer’s demand, based on an estimate of a good’s or service’s perceived value to the buyer, as the central element in setting price. Pricing strategies are most important because they can have a disproportionate impact (positive...Read more

QlikView 11 Advances Collaboration and Changes Course on Mobility

QlikTech recently introduced QlikView 11, the latest version of its business intelligence (BI) software, which emphasizes new collaboration features as well as enhancements to its user interface. In an about-face, though, in its approach to mobile access, the company has moved away from its native...Read more

Marketing Executives Aren’t Ready for the Social Explosion of Data

I had a chance to review the results of an interesting new global study of chief marketing officers (CMOs) by IBM, and I want to comment on some of its findings. Adding to the pressures facing the CMO today are new challenges in brand promotion and the growing impact of consumer sentiment...Read more

Kinaxis Users Deal with Supply Chain Complexity

I recently attended Kinaxis’ users’ group meeting and learned some interesting things. The company, which has been around since 1995, provides software for large corporations with complex supply chains. Over the past decade its product has evolved well past its roots as a material requirements...Read more

IBM Brings Business Analytics to Apple iPad

Fulfilling its intention to make it easier to access and use analytics and business intelligence, IBM released its Cognos Mobile application natively for the Apple iPad. Of course IBM is not the first to release a native application for the tablet, and many might say that it is late in...Read more

Interactive Intelligence Offers Trial Access to Contact Center in the Cloud

Cloud computing offers companies opportunity to innovate in the ways their contact centers handle customer interactions. Systems vendors have been gradually moving call and other interaction management to the cloud, along with some of the core applications required to operate a contact center such...Read more

Moments of Truth in the Customer Experience

I find that customer experience management (CEM) means different things to people. Recently I attended a seminar organized by Rapide, a U.K. technology vendor that specializes in helping companies improve their interactions with customers. The seminar included talks from speakers I don’t...Read more

Planning for Fixed-Asset Investment Requires the Right Tool Not Just a Spreadsheet

In today’s economy, all companies are contending with a dynamic business environment characterized by volatile commodity prices and exchange rates, a shaky global financial system and slow growth in many countries. Many of them rely heavily on desktop spreadsheets to support the data collection and...Read more

Oracle Invests Into Information Applications by Acquiring Endeca

In a move that may indicate the beginning of a new wave of activity in the business intelligence (BI) market, Oracle has announced its intention to acquire Endeca. Founded in 1999, Endeca originally focused on search capabilities for online commerce. Users selected a product...Read more

SuccessFactors Takes Learning to a New Plateau

Attendees at the SuccessFactors Insights conference and those of us on Twitter socializing with the Insights11 hashtag in San Diego this week was designed for Plateau customers who came to the final conference that was scheduled prior to its acquisition by SuccessFactors. The...Read more

Hiring Goes Digital with HireVue

A vendor I have been tracking and got to examine at the recent HR Technology Conference has a tool to help businesses improve their talent management that I had profiled this company in my talent management guide for the event. HireVue’s Digital Interview Platform records interviews...Read more

Teradata: All in the Family of Appliances and Big Data

Teradata recently held its Partners User Group meeting (Twitter hashtag #TDPUG11) in San Diego. Analysts were briefed previously on some of the announcements, which I covered in an earlier post. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize that Teradata is at the center of a trend in the...Read more

Oracle Big Data Appliance and Cloud Computing Stands on Shoulders of Giants

Oracle made several announcements at its recent Open World event demonstrates its strengths in the business computing market but also that it is standing on the shoulders of giants. The company has developed the expertise, processes and market share to scale out the ideas and innovations of...Read more

New Customer and Contact Center Technology at Call Centre Expo

I have spent the last two days at the U.K.’s largest contact center trade show, which this year moved to London Olympia from the NEC in Birmingham. While the overall number of visitors seemed to be down, some exhibitors told me there were more high-level attendees with serious intent to purchase....Read more

A Practical Look at Driver-Based Planning

I hadn’t thought about the exact definition of “driver-based planning” until the question came up in the context of our planning benchmark research showing that only 6% of companies with more than 100 employees do driver-based planning. Broadly defined, the term could be applied to the...Read more

The Value and Limits of the Term “GRC”

My colleague Mark Smith and I have frequently commented on the artificiality of the emerging software category governance, risk and compliance (GRC). To be sure, once stand-alone categories of software (IT governance, audit documentation and industry-specific compliance management, to...Read more