Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

The 2023 Value Index for Customer Experience Management: Vendor and Product Ratings

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 25, 2023 3:15:00 AM

I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The 2023 Ventana Research Value Index: Customer Experience Management is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories derived from RFP responses submitted by customer experience (CX) vendors. These categories reflect the real-world criteria required by organizations for CX software procurement. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the Product Experience — Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability — and two related to the Customer Experience — TCO/ROI and Vendor Validation.

This research-based index evaluates the full business and information technology value of VR_VI_CXM_Logo-2customer experience management (CXM or CEM) software offerings. I encourage you to learn more about our Value Index and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool.

This Value Index research evaluates the following vendors that offer products for CXM suites as we define them: Adobe, Alvaria, Amdocs, Avaya, Cisco, Content Guru, Emplifi, Freshworks, Genesys, HubSpot, NICE, Oracle, Precisely, Qualtrics, Salesforce, SAP, ServiceNow, Sprinklr, SugarCRM, Verint, Zendesk and Zoho. Fourteen of these 22 suppliers responded positively to our requests for information and provided completed questionnaires and demonstrations to aid our analysis of their CXM products. Along with briefings and information where provided, all online material that was generally available was used for the analysis. This report includes products generally available as of October 31, 2022.

The following vendors declined to participate or did not respond to our invitation: Cisco, Freshworks, Genesys, HubSpot, NICE, Oracle, Qualtrics and SAP. To organizations considering products from these vendors, we recommend extra scrutiny as part of the software assessment because they did not make their technology available for the Value Index evaluation process.

Unlike many IT analyst firms that rank vendors from an IT-only perspective or focus on a specific type of software, Ventana Research has designed the Value Index to provide a balanced perspective, rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. This approach not only reduces cost and time but also minimizes the risk of making a decision that is bad for the business.

Using the Value Index will enable your organization to achieve levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to optimize customer experiences.

We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating CXM software suite offerings and offer this Value Index as both the result of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. The Value Index can be used to evaluate existing suppliers plus provides evaluation criteria for new projects. Using it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP.

The Value Index for Customer Experience Management in 2023 finds Salesforce first on the list, followed by Zoho and Verint.

Companies that rated in the top three of any category — including the Product and Customer Experience dimensions — earned the designation Value Index Leader. The Value Index Leaders in Product Experience are:

  • Salesforce
  • Zoho
  • Verint

The Value Index Leaders in Customer Experience are:

  • Adobe
  • Salesforce
  • Sprinklr

The Value Index Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

  • Salesforce, in four categories.
  • Content Guru and Verint, in three categories.
  • Adobe, NICE and Zoho, in two categories.
  • Amdocs, Avaya, Oracle, SAP and Sprinklr, in one category.

The overall performance chart provides a visual representation of how vendors rate across Product and Customer Experience. Vendors with products scoring higher in a weighted rating of the five Product Experience categories place farther to the right. The combination of ratings for the two Customer Experience categories determines their placement on the vertical axis. As a result, vendors that place closer to the upper-right are Exemplary and rated higher than those closer to the lower-left and identified as Vendors of Merit. Vendors that excelled at Customer Experience over Product Experience have an Assurance rating, and those excelling instead in Product Experience have an Innovative rating.

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Note that close vendor scores should not be taken to imply that the packages evaluated are functionally identical or equally well-suited for use by every organization or process. Although there is a high degree of commonality in the kinds of use-cases organizations cite for CXM, there are many idiosyncrasies and differences that can make one vendor’s offering a better fit than another.

After more than a decade of technological advances, all the products we evaluated are feature-rich, but not all the capabilities they offer are equally valuable to users. Moreover, the existence of too many capabilities may be a negative factor for an organization if it introduces unnecessary complexity. Nonetheless, an organization may decide that a larger number of options is a plus, especially if some of them match its established practices or better support a new initiative that is driving the purchase of new software.

Features, functions and vendor assessments are not the only deciding factors. For example, an organization may face budget constraints such that the TCO evaluation can tip the scale to one vendor or another. This is where the Value Index methodology and appropriate weighting can be applied to determine the best fit of vendors and products to an organization’s specific needs.

Our firm has made every effort to encompass in this Value Index the overall Product and Customer Experience from our Customer Experience Management blueprint, which we believe reflects what a well-crafted RFP should contain. Even so, there may be additional areas that affect which vendor and products best fit an organization’s particular requirements. Therefore, while this research is complete as it stands, utilizing it in your own organizational context is critical to ensure that products deliver the highest level of support for your projects.

You can find more details on our website as well as in the Value Index Market Report.

Regards,

Keith Dawson

Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Digital Commerce, Subscription Management, agent management

Keith Dawson

Written by Keith Dawson

Keith leads the expertise in Customer Experience (CX), covering applications and technology that facilitate engagement to optimize customer-facing processes. His focus areas include: agent management, contact center and voice of the customer and technology in marketing, sales, field service and applications such as digital commerce and subscription management. Keith’s specialization is in natural language and speech tools with intelligent virtual assistants, multichannel routing and journey management, and the wide array of customer analytics. He is focused on how businesses can break down technology and operational silos to provide more efficient processes for two-way engagement with customers. Keith has been an industry analyst for more than a decade and prior was the editorial director of Call Center Magazine. There he pioneered coverage of cloud-based contact centers, speech recognition and processing, and the shift from voice to multichannel communications. He is a graduate of Amherst College.