Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Cloud-Based Analytics Requires Hybrid Data Access and Integration

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 8, 2015 11:08:21 PM

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 perform analytic tasks themselves without having to rely on IT. Some tools allow data integration by business users on an ad hoc basis, but to provide an enterprise integration process and a governed information platform, IT involvement is often necessary. Once that is done, though, using cloud-based data for analytics can help, empowering business users and improving communication and process .

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Software as a Service, Mobile Technology, Customer Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Data

The Establishment of Data Preparation

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 21, 2015 12:44:18 AM

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 access, decision-making, process improvements and customer experience and satisfaction. To accomplish any of these purposes requires that data be prepared through a sequence of steps: accessing, searching, aggregating, enriching, transforming and cleaning data from different sources to cre­ate a single uniform data set. To prepare data properly, businesses need flex­ible tools that enable them to en­rich the context of data drawn from multiple sources, collaborate on its preparation to serve business needs and govern the process of preparation to ensure security and consistency. Users of these tools range from analysts to operations professionals in the lines of business.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Preparation, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Information Optimization

MicroStrategy Powers Up Security for Analytics and BI

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 17, 2015 11:43:49 PM

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 maintenance update to its 9.4.1 release. Security is increasingly critical for analytics and BI. Technologies that work intensively with data, including reporting, business intelligence, analytics and data preparation, have access to a range of applications and databases and could leave gaps in access controls and security of essential business data. Already in 2015 the data breach at Anthem put more than 80 million medical records at risk. Our benchmark research in big data analytics finds that integration into security and user access frameworks is a very important capability to 37 percent of organizations.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Governance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Security

Sales Agenda for Applications and Technology in 2015

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 17, 2015 8:36:06 PM

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 spreadsheets to manage processes and try to increase the productivity of sales staff. In our view they should take a holistic approach to sales processes from contact to close and support everything from sales forecasting to pipeline management to compensation with applications designed for these purposes. Those in sales operations need to apply analytics to understand and fine-tune sales activities. Those in sales management need applications that can help recruit, engage and retain the best talent. Even more than elsewhere in business, in sales people matter, and the organizations that most empower their teams are likely to get the best results. Optimizing people and processes requires a balance of information and technology to support the various needs of the sales organization.

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Topics: Sales, Recurring Revenue, Sales Compensation, Sales Forecasting, Customer Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, CRM, SFA

Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

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

In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness. Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.

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

Oracle Aims To Simplify IT and Innovate Your Business

Posted by Mark Smith on May 2, 2013 10:21:23 AM

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 background of the consumer and business markets embracing mobile and cloud computing, Oracle is working to sound like a more friendly supplier that can help remove legacy issues and inefficiencies that plague CIOs and data centers. Oracle also used this forum to attract IT departments to the technology advances it has made across its deep and broad portfolio of products. Oracle has more than 3,900 software products and more than 3,000 software patents that indicate its significant investment in R&D. Now the company is beginning to release improved products more frequently, which most customers now expect from technology vendors.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Social Collaboration, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, CFO, COO

Why Business Intelligence Software is Failing Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 15, 2013 4:11:24 PM

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 Intelligence finds a mature set of technology vendors and products. But even as these products mature in capabilities, the majority lack features that would make them easy to use.  Our recent research on next-generation business intelligence found that usability is the most important evaluation criteria for BI technology, outpacing functionality (49%) and even manageability (47%). The pathetic state of dashboards and the stupidity of KPI illustrate some of the obvious ways the software needs to improve for businesses to gain the most value from it. We need smarter business intelligence, and that means not just more advanced sets of capabilities that are designed for the analysts, but software designed for those who need to use BI information.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, Natural Language, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Discovery

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

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 5, 2013 10:01:34 AM

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, business and social collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media become part of the mainstream business and IT dialogue. These technologies are beginning to be part of or embedded into enterprise software that will be available in 2013. This is a critical step forward that will help organizations become more efficient in their operations and use technology to its fullest. As we start the new year, I thought a reflection back on the some of the highlights from 2012 was in order.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Market Research, Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Technology

Are You Dreaming Social? Salesforce Is!

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 18, 2012 10:46:36 AM

The annual Salesforce.com 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 covered via social media, while under the roof of the Moscone Center and surrounding hotels Salesforce will be demonstrating the power of using social media concepts in the enterprise and combining those concepts with collaboration software. Salesforce, which has become a cloud computing and software–as-a-service force in the industry, is publicizing its new efforts in marketing and in work applications. Once a conference for marketing and sales professionals, Dreamforce is now a technology and IT event that interests many IT organizations that are examining how renting software on the Internet can help their efforts and support their business priorities more efficiently than purchasing it.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Supply Chain Performance, Research, SFDC, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Dreamforce

Look Who’s Hot in Data Integration for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 7, 2012 11:52:53 AM

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 data integration is a critical component of information management strategies, according to 55 percent of organizations. Our benchmark research on organizations using this software not only uncovers best practices and trends, but it also highlights why IT is using data integration to advance its competencies across people and processes.

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Topics: Big Data, Master Data Management, Microsoft, Pentaho, Sales Performance, SAP, SAS, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Talend, SnapLogic, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Syncsort

WorkForce Software Focuses on Effective and Efficient Workforces

Posted by Mark Smith on Jul 27, 2012 9:20:11 AM

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 analysis on WorkForce Software, the company’s focus on the fatigue aspect of workforce management, especially in white-collar environments such as transportation, utilities and healthcare, has provided them both recognition and growth. I attended the company’s first technology analyst summit this week to get a deeper view into the company and its products and see how it is shaping up in light of our research on the key applications providers in this market.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, SuccessFactors, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, HTML5, Time & Attendance, Workforce Management

Globoforce Engages Employees with Social Recognition

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 27, 2012 2:39:27 PM

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 communication. Social collaboration is growing in acceptance – 58 percent of organizations now permit it, according to our benchmark research on social collaboration and human capital management (HCM). For many organizations, this opens up communication with employees that goes well beyond electronic mail.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Globoforce, Human Capital Management, Social Collaboration, Social Recognition, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Get Sales Applications That Make You Smarter and More Engaged

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 27, 2012 2:04:03 PM

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 automation (SFA) and spreadsheets and examine dedicated applications for improving productivity and effectiveness. Our benchmark research in sales applications found a new set of application priorities in sales organizations that you should assess to determine how well your sales efforts match up to others’. Also, in most cases, we found the prioritization and needs of sales organizations are not aligned, resulting in wasted time and likely creating a lack of access to accurate information for sales management and operations.

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Sales Forecasting, IT Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, SFA

Echopass Demonstrates Value of Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on May 31, 2012 11:09:24 AM

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 agents, and contact centers are becoming more distributed. These scenarios are a good fit for cloud-based systems, and the research finds that the top three ways organizations said they can meet these challenges, and thus improve the way interactions are handled, are to improve training and coaching, adopt applications in the cloud and adopt communications in the cloud. It also shows that organizations have high expectations of cloud-based systems, expecting them to require less capital expenditure, facilitate innovation in interaction handling, lessen demand on in-house resources, including IT and better support home-based agents.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Echopass, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications

Cloudforce UK Shows Salesforce.com at Its Best

Posted by Richard Snow on May 24, 2012 11:13:56 AM

When the Salesforce.com 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 events and meeting rooms and an expo floor where attendees could see demonstrations of every product and service, including many from partners showing what they have to offer.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, LiveOps, NewVoicemedia, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, Vocalcom

Opera Solutions Orchestrates Intelligent Applications using Big Data and Predictive Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on May 23, 2012 11:08:41 AM

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. As yet only 13 percent of organizations are using predictive analytics according to our business analytics benchmark research, although 37 percent indicated that predictive capabilities are very important to their business analytics efforts. Opera Solutions is one of the larger vendors of dedicated predictive analytics software, having more than 650 employees, more than 200 of them data scientists, who help organizations turn their data into actionable intelligence. There is opportunity for the company, as predictive analytics and visualization of data are two capabilities not available in four out of every five organizations according to our big-data benchmark research. Beyond creating indicators, Opera Solutions’ applications can generate signals that present results not only visually but also in English sentences that integrate the analytics and provide guidance for determining next steps. This sophisticated capability can help improve business processes and refine decision-making and truly interact with the application.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Opera Solutions, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Operational Intelligence

Splunk Provides Intelligence for Customer Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on May 22, 2012 1:08:30 PM

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 systems. From a customer management perspective, these are of little interest unless they impact the customer experience; for example, if the website is down or the online banking system is unavailable. But in a follow-up briefing I learned that Splunk is increasingly playing in the business analytics market and has several user cases that relate directly to customers.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Splunk, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM

Genesys Moves into Mobile Self-Service for Customers

Posted by Richard Snow on May 21, 2012 11:29:54 AM

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. Over the last few years Genesys has diversified its portfolio to include workforce optimization, agent desktop, intelligent customer front door (ICFD) and analytics. Amid the current economic uncertainties, going it alone might seem risky and lead it to focus on these core products before expanding more. Not so; at its recent customer event, it announced a new product, Genesys Mobile Engagement, that it says “links mobile apps to customer service agents.”

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Genesys, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM

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

Posted by Mark Smith on May 18, 2012 2:59:01 PM

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 changed since my analysis at the SAP Analyst Influencer Summit last December.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAP, Human Capital Management, Mobile Technology, Business Analytics, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Information Technology

Informatica 9.5 Supports New Generation of Big Data and Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on May 18, 2012 1:25:19 PM

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 computing environments, which our firm has defined as key business technology drivers for this decade, have a compelling impact on the data that enterprises create and use. Being smart about integrating and utilizing significant volumes of data is essential; continuously copying and storing duplicate versions of data is not the best path forward.

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Topics: Big Data, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Informatica, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Strata+Hadoop

NICE Systems Mobile Customer Self-Service Connects to Agents

Posted by Richard Snow on May 18, 2012 11:38:55 AM

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 interactions through all channels, including the phone, to increase. This is further supported by my benchmark research into customer experience management which shows many customers starting out with self-service opt to call the contact center because they cannot resolve their issues. In recognition that for the foreseeable future agent-assisted service is likely to sit alongside self-service,  NICE Systems recently announced Mobile Reach,an application that ties self-service on mobile devices to agent assistance.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Experience, NICE Systems, Social CRM, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM

Kronos Supercharges Workforce Analytics with New Technology

Posted by Mark Smith on May 11, 2012 12:22:26 PM

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 provide workforce analytics, which is not surprising as our analysis shows that only 12 percent of organizations have reached the highest level of maturity here.

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Topics: MicroStrategy, Human Capital Management, Kronos, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Mobility, Workforce Performance, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Sales Organizations Need a Swift Technology Kick

Posted by Mark Smith on May 10, 2012 12:06:52 PM

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 same time many sales processes are becoming easier to use, including compensation, forecasting and quota and territory management. To take advantage of these advancements sales management has to establish priorities and better understand how they can help maximize the time focused on selling.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Pentaho Business Analytics Brings Visual Discovery and More Big Data Support

Posted by Mark Smith on May 10, 2012 8:54:52 AM

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 sources. Advancing beyond its roots in business intelligence, Pentaho Business Analytics 4.5 addresses data discovery, data integration and data mining and provides visual discovery and analytics that operate against stores of big data.

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Topics: Big Data, Pentaho, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Strata+Hadoop

Kapow Software Harvests and Virtualizes Information and Applications for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on May 8, 2012 11:08:53 AM

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 it in a useful format. The tool can supply access to data from legacy applications such as PeopleSoft and Siebel, newer applications from Oracle and SAP and applications in cloud computing environments, such as Salesforce.com’s. And Kapow Software not only accesses and integrates information from applications but also enriches it.

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Topics: Big Data, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Kapow, Strata+Hadoop

Interactive Intelligence Offers Customers Mobile Self-Service

Posted by Richard Snow on May 7, 2012 10:09:56 AM

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 applications in the cloud, which now include communications in the cloud and products for workforce optimization. The latest announcement follows similar ones from other vendors also announcing applications to support mobile self-service. Each of those products supports slightly different sets of capabilities, but all of them follow the trend to provide organizations with another channel through which customers can interact with them, and support customers who want self-service capabilities from their smartphones or tablets.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Peoplefluent Advances Social Collaboration and Learning with Socialtext

Posted by Mark Smith on May 4, 2012 12:10:44 PM

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 extend Socialtext into the human capital management market while continuing to let the company meet the broader market interest in its offering. Peoplefluent has moved quickly to make this application and platform available to its customers.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, LMS, Peoplefluent, Performance, Recruiting, Research, SocialText, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Workday 16 Brings Simplicity and Mobility to Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on May 4, 2012 10:22:00 AM

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 analytics, collaboration, mobility and social media.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workday, Workforce Analytics

NICE Transforms Customer Experience through Mobile and Interaction Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on May 4, 2012 9:50:58 AM

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 interacting with customers, the area in which NICE has been growing organically and by acquiring technology providers that complement its existing portfolio. As we discussed in recent analyses, and NICE acquired Merced Systems for its sales- and service-centric performance management applications and Fizzback for customer feedback management software. Both have helped it become a more strategically focused software business. NICE Systems targets enterprise contact centers as well as financial risk, compliance and security. NICE makes its applications available not just on-premises but also in software as a service and hosted environments.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, NICE Systems, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Customer Engagement Day Reveals New Issues and Opportunity

Posted by Richard Snow on May 1, 2012 11:15:43 AM

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 organizations should engage with customers. As for the first event I chaired the roundtable on perfecting multichannel customer engagement in the contact center and gave a keynote on how social media is impacting the contact center.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, NICE Systems, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Genesys, InContact, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Noble Systems, Verint

Infor Presents Itself as a Large Software Startup

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 30, 2012 11:28:24 AM

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 inconsistent brand identity. It also needed to formally introduce Infor to customers of Lawson, the ERP supplier it acquired last year. The “startup” designation is meant to signal that Infor has been able to render a decade-long consolidation of dozens of smaller companies into one cohesive entity.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, ERP, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Epiphany, expense management, Lawson, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, CRM, finance, Infor, Supply Chain, Financial Performance Management

Splunk: Big Data Machine for Operational Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 27, 2012 11:37:25 AM

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 a new generation of operational intelligence that helps everyone in IT including the CIO determine the efficiency of its systems that support business. The company has built a platform that can index data on a large scale (“big data”) for rapid analysis and search. They also through its analytics provide the ability to perform visual and data discovery which is critical to reduce the time to determining unknown issues in existing IT systems. This helps IT staff ascertain not just the performance but the efficiency of systems that operate on a 24-by-7 basis. Splunk’s software operates in real time, surpassing the traditional methods of applying business intelligence against a data warehouse – a practice that’s ineffective for use in IT, where time is not the CIO’s friend when it comes to understanding issues or opportunities for improvement. Splunk has grown rapidly, partly because it’s simple to download and try, and then to license for use in production. It has more than 3,300 licensed customers in 75 countries. The management team is led by CEO Godfrey Sullivan, who has experience and a track record at companies such as Hyperion.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Splunk, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, IT Analytics, Location Intelligence, Machine data, Operational Intelligence, Strata+Hadoop

IBM Makes Big Data Deal for Vivisimo and Supports Cloudera Hadoop

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 26, 2012 12:29:08 PM

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 analytics to big data. But supporting big data requires the ability to access many sources of information; our benchmark research on big data found that more than half of organizations require information from external sources, and that requires some software flexibility.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Vivisimo, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Strata+Hadoop

Datameer Advances Big-Data Analytics on Hadoop

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 26, 2012 10:25:26 AM

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 has created a renaissance in data management. Our benchmark research on big data finds the top benefits of it to be the ability to retain and analyze more data (74%) and to increase the speed of analysis (70%). In this context a vendor named Datameer comes in.

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Topics: Big Data, Datameer, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Strata+Hadoop

TALX Provides New Elements in Workforce Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 26, 2012 9:57:57 AM

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 services that help HR, payroll and tax professionals. Its integration with eVerify service assists the hiring process with I-9 compliance, and capabilities to examine workforce compensation and financial liabilities and reduce false unemployment claim costs. TALX, which has the credit files of tens of millions of employees in the U.S. through its parent Equifax, that with employee salary data provided by the employer can determine the financial health and risks of a workforce.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Sustainability, eThority, Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, TALX, Workforce Analytics

Interactive Intelligence Puts Meaning Back in Innovation

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 23, 2012 9:17:35 AM

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 Intelligence (ININ), its CMO told me that ININ has stopped using the phrase “deliberately innovative”  because claiming to be innovative isn’t helpful in getting across its messages.

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Topics: Microsoft, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

BizNet Enables Enterprise Spreadsheet-Based Reporting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 19, 2012 10:39:20 AM

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 multidimensional data store. This approach offers the best of both worlds in the sense of taking advantage of widespread familiarity and training with Excel while substantially reducing issues stemming from the desktop spreadsheet’s lack of data integrity, referential integrity and limited dimensionality as well as limited auditability and control. One example of the enterprise spreadsheet is data consolidation and data reporting software offered by BizNet Software. It enables business users to work within an Excel environment to assemble, manage and deliver periodic reports from enterprise data sources. It offers greater efficiency than stand-alone spreadsheets while effectively addressing the above-mentioned core issues.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Reporting, Budgeting, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Data, Financial Performance Management, Microsoft Excel, Spreadsheets

SAS Advances Customer Intelligence

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 18, 2012 11:22:20 AM

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 wrote about last year. Customer Intelligence consists of four main components: strategy and planning, information and analytics, orchestration and interaction, and customer experience – among all these interesting areas, only the last really indicates what the products do.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, SAS, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Intelligence, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Contact Center Analytics, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Tello Launches Innovative Method To Collect Customer Feedback

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 17, 2012 9:49:11 AM

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 company, analyze them and produce reports containing information such as likes and dislikes, hot issues, trends and sentiment analyses – many people today call this collection the voice of the customer (VOC). It can help companies with a range of tasks: refining customer-facing strategies, improving products and services, streamlining front- and back-office business processes, focusing training and supporting front-line operational decisions such as how to handle customer interactions.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, CRM

Host Analytics Introduces Its Own Business Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 16, 2012 11:57:33 AM

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 such as IBM, Infor, Oracle or SAP), the option of a self-service approach. I believe these new analytics and reporting capabilities give companies considering only on-premises performance management deployments another reason to consider a cloud-based option; for Host Analytics it broadens the set of features it has to compete with other cloud-based vendors.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Reporting, Budgeting, closing, Consolidation, Host Analytics, XBRL, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Data, benchmark, Decision Hub, Financial Performance Management, SEC

Businesses Should Hear Voice of the Customer

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 16, 2012 11:44:43 AM

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 instead there is a growing focus on social media, customer experience management (CEM) and voice of the customer (VOC). I have already voiced my concerns on the level of focus on social business. My research into CEM shows that as yet few companies fully understand it or have the systems they need to support an enterprise-wide CEM initiative. The same seems to be true of VOC.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Management

IBM Will Take Varicent for Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 13, 2012 12:11:02 PM

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 Varicent within the IBM Business Analytics group, which develops similar analytics and performance management application for other line of business and IT organizations.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Workforce Performance

inContact Supports Customer Interaction Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 13, 2012 11:06:55 AM

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 center in the cloud that supports most of those requirements. Its products cover communications (ACD, CTI, Dialer and IVR), workforce optimization (Quality Management, Workforce Management and eLearning, which includes content production, hiring and screen recording), analytics (Reports 2.0, which through a partnership with QlikView provides enhanced reporting and analysis capabilities) and customer experience management (ECHO Customer Survey).

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Topics: QlikView, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, InContact, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Workforce Management, Verint

Aria Heralds a New Era for Billing Systems

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 12, 2012 10:25:03 AM

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 subscription charges or recurring use charges) and inventory items. Usage-based charges can be based on a scale; for example, the first 10 occurrences are charged at one rate, the next 10 at another rate and so on. Users can create a plan by modifying an existing plan or by picking items from a list. Plans are hierarchical, making it easy for companies to update and manage plans built on lower-level plans; for example, a platinum service plan can be made up of a combination of lower-level services such as bronze or silver. Users can also create dependencies – for example, specifying that a plan must include software support or cannot include 7-by-24 calls. Inventory items are one-offs – for example, a modem that allows connection to hosted disc storage – and each of these can have its own charging structure. This may seem complicated, but a demonstration showed that the process consists mainly of ticking boxes or dragging and dropping prebuilt items.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM

Cambridge Semantics Makes Intelligent Use of Information

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 12, 2012 8:57:53 AM

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 operate. The traditional technology approach is defining a data model with a database and then mapping the data to it and is not capable of dealing with data from diverse unstructured information sources and do not provide navigation or discovery on the information. Fortunately, information technology has advanced to provide ways to build a semantic information framework over a company’s unstructured information assets in the enterprise and on the Internet.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Cambridge Semantics, Data Virtualization, Informatics, Information Discovery

ResponseTek Enhances Understanding of Customers

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 9, 2012 12:06:05 PM

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 communications channel being used. To manage that experience, three types of systems are directly helpful: smart desktop technology to help employees deliver great experiences to customers as they are occurring; smart self-service technologies that support easy-to-use, Web-based customer service; and customer feedback management to collect and analyze survey responses, free-form comments and social media posts. This focus is part of my research on trends and best practices in customer feedback management and is part of my latest research agenda. We define VOC as reports and analysis of all customer-related data (structured, unstructured and event-based), not just analysis of speech or feedback.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Callminer, ResponseTek, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

SumTotal Systems Sums Up Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 9, 2012 11:53:22 AM

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 attention than its size and the reach of its business merit. The company has more than 45 million users, with more than 15 million of them operating in a cloud computing environment spanning more than 3,500 customer companies worldwide. Its investments in 2011 in mobile, social learning and workforce analytics software have become part of its HCM portfolio, as have its acquisitions of CyberShift to expand into workforce management and Accero for payroll, benefits and analytic content. The company has done a good job of extending its portfolio while improving the user experience for its customers.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

A Smart Desktop Enables Customer Service Process Improvement

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 6, 2012 11:53:55 AM

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 interaction, and I heard of one case where agents had to navigate 50 screens within one application to close a sale. This all takes time, often leads to errors, frustrates the agent and undermines the customer experience as they wait for their issues to be resolved. Aggravating this situation, people now have to handle more types of interactions and have to use different types of technology to handle new communication channels and collaboration software, while the number and complexity of business applications is also on the increase.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Unified Communications

Can You Trust Salesforce and Rypple for Performance Management?

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 1, 2012 11:35:11 PM

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: Salesforce.com looking for a Successful Rypple in Human Capital Management) and have actually signed up for and used the software. Rypple has introduced some great innovations to promote feedback and dialogue between employees and managers. Salesforce has expanded what this software can be used for in an organization with its latest announcement, as it discussed at its Cloudforce conference and posted on YouTube. Rypple has many cutting-edge customers, including Facebook, that are looking for a different approach to talent management processes than that of the traditional HR organizations in well-established industries. However, anyone expecting to use the application to replace existing performance management software will find Salesforce’s announcement to be a little premature based on the state of the application and capabilities.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, SuccessFactors, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Jobscience, Rypple, Saba, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

The Jobscience of Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 30, 2012 1:42:30 PM

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 and hiring managers. Jobscience provides software that simplifies the processes of getting the talent you want to hire ready to work as quickly as possible.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Jobscience, Rypple, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Saba Expands the Concept of Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 24, 2012 10:54:55 AM

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 processes critical for organizational succession and transition. The company has more than 500 customers worldwide, including partners like Infor, Oracle and SAP.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, Human Concepts, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Saba, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

IBM Launches Smarter Analytics: Ready to Get Smart?

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 23, 2012 9:29:54 AM

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 at all levels of complexity. At the event IBM highlighted Watson, the learning and expert systems technology that in 2011 beat human champions on Jeopardy. IBM also introduced a collection of case studies exemplifying its customers’ success. 

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Topics: IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Operational Intelligence

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

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 22, 2012 9:08:56 AM

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 six business days five years ago, just 38 percent are able to do so in our latest benchmark. Similarly, five years ago 70 percent of companies were able to complete their monthly close in six days; today only half can. The research confirms that most companies (83%) view closing their books quickly as important or very important. Participants acknowledge that they can do better, saying on average that their company can cut at least two days from both the monthly and quarterly closes. Moreover, the longer it takes their company to close, the more time participants think they could save.

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Topics: Office of Finance, close, Consolidation, Controller, XBRL, Business Analytics, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, CFO, Data, Document Management, Financial Performance Management

SAP Rolls Out Business Planning and Consolidation on HANA at SAPinsider

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 19, 2012 10:42:35 AM

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 consolidation and other analytics-supported financial processes because of the substantial reduction it enables in processing time from loading to reporting. In-memory systems provide a substantial edge in speed of processing large data sets or complex calculations, whereas the latency between thought and answer in complex scenario analyses on disk-based systems often prevents a collaborative dialogue around possible situations and their potential outcomes. Today, companies have to simplify the analysis, severely limit the amount of detail or find some combination of the two. More than likely, they wind up not having a potentially valuable collaborative dialogue in activities such as weekly or monthly review and revision of operating plans and their financial consequences, closing the books or assessing the impact of pricing changes on profitability. In the case of planning, I expect that in-memory systems will enable make it easier for companies to make changes to detailed plans (such as the budget or production plans), which is difficult today for many of them.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Planning, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Experience, ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, IFRS, XBRL, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, finance, Financial Performance Management, GAAP, HANA

Expo Shows Maturity of Unified Communications

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 14, 2012 11:55:38 AM

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 organizations should consider it as a viable option to improve the efficiency of their communications systems, the ability to collaborate internally and with customers, and the effectiveness of their multimedia contact centers. 

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Topics: Microsoft, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Dell, NEC, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, IBM, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Nokia, Vocalcom and Zeacom

Research Reveals Challenge of Building Customer Relationships

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 13, 2012 2:51:22 AM

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. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Ceridian’s Ambitious Agenda in Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 9, 2012 11:15:20 AM

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 million employees at organizations ranging from small and midsize business to two-thirds of the Fortune 500. CEO Stuart Harvey has been expanding the company’s management team, with key additions in heads of marketing and finance and promotions of internal management, all of whom were front and center for the analyst summit. Ceridian’s focus on human capital management meshes with our 2012 research agenda in this field as it tries to exploit the potential value of an entire workforce to meet the needs of the business.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, Compensation, dayforce, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Customer Engagement Day Highlights Issues for Companies

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 9, 2012 10:45:13 AM

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 few presentations about hot issues in engaging with customers and more importantly to share experiences and concerns about key customer engagement issues in roundtable discussions, such as “the rise of the social enterprise,” “listening to the voice of the customer” and “mobile customers require a mobile strategy.” In addition to presenting a keynote on the state of social media in customer service, I chaired a discussion on “perfecting multichannel customer engagement in the contact center.”

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Human Capital Management Research and Educational Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 9, 2012 8:14:35 AM

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 into recruiting found that more than half of organizations now use metrics of cost and time-to-hire, which indicates the maturing of human resources organizations in response to this challenge. 

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Topics: Human Capital Management, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Cicero’s Desktop Helps Users Work Smarter

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 8, 2012 9:54:44 AM

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 to ask a caller. It enhances customer experience management by enabling users to focus on the customers rather than on how to access the various systems, data and information needed to resolve interactions. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Cicero, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics

The Business of Sales Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 6, 2012 10:28:24 PM

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 organizations operate at the highest level of innovation and competitiveness. In recent years, most organizations merely discussed moving beyond using only their sales force automation application and Microsoft Office for improving sales efficiency. Now sales organizations can move beyond systems that were designed decades ago, thanks to the availability of a broad range of applications to support sales activities and processes. In fact dozens of new types of sales applications are available to help sales focus on selling, which creates another issue. Where should sales organizations focus their limited resources and budgets?

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Planning, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, assets, Learning, Office of Finance, Performance, Reporting, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, channel, coaching, commission, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA

Ventana Research’s Business Technology Innovation Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 24, 2012 8:08:19 AM

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 best (and worst) practices that organizations need to understand as they try to increase their competency and effectiveness – and our firm is committed to that work. For 2012 we are moving forward from the business technology revolution agenda we outlined at this time last year, including business analytics, business collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media. We have added a focus on big data, a trend that has reinvigorated the dialog about managing large volumes of data and how to use it effectively. Our research framework spans a diverse set of research agendas and practices from the viewpoints of the lines of business, IT and specific industries and knits together the necessary strategies and best practices across the four critical aspects of people, processes, information and technology.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Market Research, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Industry Analyst

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 23, 2012 9:44:11 AM

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 new – it has been the purpose of my practice for the past nine years. Our research confirms that most people want their finance department to take a more strategic role in the management of the company. But although some progress has been made, Finance still spends too much time and effort on the mechanics of day-to-day operations.

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Topics: Social Media, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Informatica Advances Business with Data Integration for Social Media

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 22, 2012 11:13:40 AM

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 attention to the data in social media networks. Our firm has already identified social media as a key technology that businesses must embrace over the next decade to improve competitiveness or just keep up. Informatica already helps IT departments become better data stewards through a variety of methods and supports the executive mission of the CIO. My colleague David Menninger will comment on its vision and direction for its data integration portfolio; I will focus on its decision to use its technology for social media, which is part of a forthcoming product roadmap. Regarding the importance of embracing social media in this area, see David’s research and educational agenda in information management for 2011.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Market Research, Social Media Intelligence, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Mobility, CMO

The Customer and Contact Management Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 21, 2012 11:03:52 AM

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 handled (perhaps less so), and organizations still aren’t making the most of customer interactions. However, as noted in my predictions for 2012, I am expecting more rapid change in the next couple of years than ever before with the advent of a collection of technologies that are already impacting business interactions with customer or by their actions.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

A Taleo Tale: Oracle Reaches for Cloud Credibility

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 10, 2012 8:34:18 PM

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 cloud computing basis. Acquiring Taleo, which by all accounts has done a good job of growing the recruiting and applicant sourcing software business in a scalable cloud environment, was too good for Oracle to pass up. SAP’s much costlier acquisition of SuccessFactors, which I assessed clearly placed more pressure on Oracle to do something rather than nothing.

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Topics: SAP, Human Capital Management, LMS, Oracle Fusion HCM, Peoplefluent, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Mobility, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HRMS, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Taleo, Workday, Workforce Analytics

Zeacom Announces Full Support for Microsoft Lync

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 10, 2012 2:02:37 PM

A few months ago, 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 form of interaction to the person most qualified to handle it. At the time of my review, the product ran alongside products from the likes of Avaya, Cisco and NEC, and was resold and supported by the partner networks of these suppliers. There was also a beta test under way that supported integration with Microsoft Lync, which provides an alternative to using PBX products from these vendors.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Zeacom

Workday’s Financials: Maturing

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 10, 2012 1:37:33 AM

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 aimed at making its human capital management applications an industry leader and adding related capabilities such as payroll. It’s hard to argue against this strategy, if only because Workday is the spiritual offshoot of PeopleSoft; founded the company after Oracle’s hostile takeover of PeopleSoft, which he also founded. This pedigree gave the new company an advantage with workforce management software buyers. Moreover, adoption of cloud-based ERP has lagged far behind that of other cloud-based applications such as sales or workforce management, especially in the larger companies that have been Workday’s target market.

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Topics: ERP, Office of Finance, expense management, financial, PSA, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Infor, Tidemark, Workday, Professional Services, Project Management

Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile: Hands-On Review Finds Shortfalls

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 31, 2012 8:09:08 AM

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 important evaluation criteria according to our Value Index vendor and product assessment methodology. In addition our business analytics research, 38 percent said that accessing analytics and metrics via mobile technology is important or very important. 

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Mobility, Oracle

MicroStrategy Infuses Social Media Intelligence into Marketing

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 27, 2012 1:59:37 PM

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 mobile BI and cloud computing are ahead of its competitors in the BI industry, they’re not its only expansion points for enterprise software.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Market Research, Social Media Intelligence, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Mobility, CMO

Reorganized Epicor Has Strategy for Competing

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 19, 2012 7:43:29 AM

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, taking the company private is a good idea since it will have to make ongoing investments that would not have been treated kindly by the stock market. Bringing Epicor and Activant together (and perhaps adding other companies to the portfolio) could allow the entity to spread some development costs over a broader base of revenues, but software combinations are difficult to execute well.

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Topics: Big Data, Microsoft, Mobile, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Dynamics, Epicor, Sage, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, CRM, Infor, Social, Financial Performance Management

Infor’s Management Outlines Corporate and Software Strategy

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 16, 2012 10:58:32 AM

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 suite, Soma Somasundaram, who had been at Infor and its predecessor companies since 1995, became EVP in charge of R&D. A private company, Infor had been keeping a low profile for the past several years, probably because results were nothing to brag about, and I suspect Phillips wanted to wait until there were substantive improvements to point to before fully engaging with analysts. Subsequent to his arrival, Golden Gate Capital, the private equity firm that assembled Infor from dozens of once-independent software companies, acquired ERP vendor Lawson Software in July 2011. Lawson itself had merged with Intentia, a Swedish ERP company in 2005. I estimate pro-forma 2011 revenues for Infor plus Lawson for a full year at $2.7 billion (the company has not published this number). This is only a fraction of 2011 revenues for SAP (about $14.5 billion) and Oracle’s applications ($6.8 billion). Infor reported that organic growth in license revenues was 17 percent, roughly in line with comparable companies, and executives indicated in the meeting that maintenance renewals have improved.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Epiphany, expense management, Lawson Software, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, finance, Infor, Financial Performance Management

Tidemark Reaches the Starting Gate

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 3, 2012 11:50:33 AM

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 reflects a common background at the operational and investor levels. As it gets rolling, Tidemark is targeting large and very companies as customers for its cloud-based system for analyzing data. It can automate alerts and enhance operating visibility, collaboratively assess the potential impacts of decisions and support the process of implementing those decisions.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Warehousing, Master Data Management, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, GRC, Budgeting, Risk Analytics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Data Integration, Financial Performance, In-Memory Computing, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Risk, Workday, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, Strata+Hadoop

Customer and Contact Center Management in 2012

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 3, 2012 11:35:26 AM

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 will distinguish customer and contact center management in 2012.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Top Ten Best Practices Learned from 2011 Technology Market Chaos and Stupidity

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 31, 2011 8:58:16 AM

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 education. We help thousands of organizations make a better, faster, safer, smarter and more cost-effective environment for leveraging technology to its fullest extent. Our benchmark research worldwide across thousands of organizations of all sizes and vertical industries has found there is a lot more room for improvement than most realize or are addressing.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Market Research, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, CFO, Industry Analyst, Technology

Today’s Companies Need Action-Oriented Information Technology Systems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 29, 2011 11:08:54 AM

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 choose the best course of action. Working with numbers rather than gut instinct still is viewed as a best practice. After all, a pilot who doesn’t trust his or her instruments is heading for an accident.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Modeling, Office of Finance, Budgeting, closed loop, contingency planning, driver-based, driver-based planning, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, best pracices, business value, cash management, challenge, financial planning

Cloud-Based Contact Center Research Finds Deployment Growth

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 20, 2011 12:01:03 PM

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; the major costs come as a monthly “rental” charge for using the service rather than an annual license; they are less demanding on in-house resources; they are quicker, easier and less risky to implement; there is no annual maintenance fee as updates are built into the service charge; and organizations have disaster recovery taken care of by the vendor. With this background I recently carried out benchmark research to discover organizations’ current and likely adoption of cloud-based systems to support their contact center operations.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

SAP Must Translate Technology Advances into Business Use

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2011 10:13:59 AM

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, is to have information technology increasingly adapt to the needs of individual users and how they choose to execute established/repetitive or ad-hoc processes,  rather than forcing them to adapt to the limitations of the technologies they are using. Back then the idea was to create a comprehensive process framework – a closely coupled approach. Today, it’s essentially the opposite, as SAP products run on an architecture that enables flexibility – a loosely coupled approach – both in how the computing infrastructure is organized and how people execute their tasks. It seems to me that this reflects the impact of having choices between cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises systems and the need to enable access through a variety of devices (from desktops to mobile handhelds and tablets). Mobility is important both for people whose roles take them beyond the firewall (in sales, service and logistics, for example) and executives and managers who often find themselves managing by walking around. Tablets, smartphones and similar devices are attractive also because people consider them personal items and associate them with fun, whereas desktops and notebooks are corporate and work-related.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, In-memory, Mobility, Workforce Performance, finance, Risk, Financial Performance Management

SAP Aims to be More Cloudy and Mobile in 2012 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 20, 2011 8:20:33 AM

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 Hubertus Kulpus and chief marketing officer Jonathan Becher kicked off the summit, then passed the microphones to co-CEO Jim Hagemann-Snabe and CTO Vishal Sikka for overviews of the business and technology strategies. They presented a well-rehearsed dialogue on SAP’s definition of its software business as being in two areas, the “system of record” and “system of engagement”; the first term describes its transactional applications and the second its portfolio of business analytics.

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Topics: Mobile, Sales, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, Smart Phones, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Business Applications, CFO, COO, CRM, HR, Sybase, Tablets, Talent Management, Digital Technology

NICE to Acquire Merced Systems for Excellence in Customer Service and Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2011 11:45:54 PM

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 technology for call centers and a player in their evolution into multichannel contact centers. Building on a good 2010, as my colleague Richard Snow noted, NICE expects to reach almost $800 million of revenue in 2011, which would make it one of the largest companies in its segment. NICE has made multiple acquisitions to build its software portfolio, including purchases of Actimize, CyberTech, eGlue and others mentioned below. It recently won our 2011 Ventana Research Leadership Award in the contact center category with its customer deployment at Alliance Data. NICE Systems plans to have Merced Systems as a foundation of its enterprise systems and a complement to its contact center workforce optimization offering. This purchase builds on its other acquisitions, including FizzBack recently and IEX and Performix in 2006, which helped NICE establish its customer service and back office agent performance management software. That area has not grown as quickly as NICE would like, mostly due to marketing that was not aggressive enough in attracting customers. NICE recently rebranded its NICE SmartCenter for helping agents, as Richard noted, and is leveraging its assets into the back office, which he also assessed. Our benchmark research on contact center technology found that companies’ priorities for future investments match up well with NICE Systems’ focuses on expanding customer service agent applications and analytics applications.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Marketing, Merced Systems, NICE Systems, Revenue Performance, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Call Center, CFO, CMO, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Sales Performance Management, SFA, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Contingency Planning and the Euro’s Collapse

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 5, 2011 12:44:33 PM

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 its financial system implodes. You may think that your company will not be affected because it doesn’t do business with the eurozone. Or you may believe that it’s unlikely to happen and therefore not worth spending the time to consider the implications. I think both assumptions are mistaken.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Modeling, Office of Finance, Budgeting, contingency planning, crisis, driver-based, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, best pracices, business value, cash management, challenge, financial planning

SAP Spends Big on SuccessFactors for Cloud Computing and Talent Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 5, 2011 12:20:59 PM

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 revenue in cloud computing for human capital management comparably to its expectations and others in the market. In a teleconference SAP and SuccessFactors executives hyped the potential of the combined organizations. SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott said that it will become a “Cloud Powerhouse” and a “Unbeatable Force” and “will become the number-one cloud computing HCM solution in the cloud – period.” This may overstate the case: SuccessFactors is unproven as a power in cloud computing beyond the appeal of its own applications for human capital and HR. It can’t compare, for example, to the reach of Salesforce.com and its Force.com and application ecosystems like that in salesmarketing and other people-related application areas nor provide a platform and tools supporting collaboration and mobility.

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Topics: SAP, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Financial Performance, Mobility, Oracle, Workforce Performance, HRMS, Infor, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Taleo, Workday, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management

Actuate Brings Business Intelligence to Customer Information

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 21, 2011 10:02:43 AM

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 that the ActuateOne suite of products allows companies to extract data from multiple data sources, use one product to analyze it and present the results in multiple formats in response to individual user requirements. A key component of this visualization is how easily it can display the results on smartphones and tablets. Actuate presenters demonstrated these capabilities in a lengthy session designed to show that this is “BI for the layman”; that is, after some from help from IT in setting up access to data sources, users can do everything else through the software’s drag-and-drop capabilities. My recent benchmark research into contact center analytics suggests that such simplicity is critical for more business users to adopt BI; if companies are to move away from using spreadsheets to produce their customer and contact center analyses, in addition to being able to do more the new products will have to be as easy to use as spreadsheets.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Kronos Puts Workers and Managers in Touch

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 11, 2011 12:39:32 PM

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 company’s focus is to simplify management of an hourly workforce.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Kronos, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management

SumTotal Systems Optimizes The Use of Human Capital

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 11, 2011 12:02:32 PM

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 HRMS, workforce management and talent management, pieced together over several years with financing from its owner, Vista Equity Partners. This has been a busy year, asSumTotal acquired GeoLearningAccero and CyberShift to gain entry into the expense and workforce management application markets.

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Topics: SAP, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, HRMS, Infor, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Workday, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management

Zeacom Simplifies Multichannel Interaction Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 8, 2011 11:27:11 PM

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 integration. These challenges become harder as companies expand their contact centers to support multiple communication channels and agents of several kinds dispersed over multiple locations.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Zeacom

Despite Recession, Acquisitions Continue in Contact Center Market

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 2, 2011 12:42:36 AM

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 Salesforce.com acquired Radian6 to strengthen its position as a supplier for what it calls “the social enterprise.” This is not a term I particularly like, but there is no doubt CEOs are interested in understanding what customers are saying about them on social media, and so this looks like a smart move. Just how many companies fully understand social media and the implications for their business is another question, but social media is not going to go away so I expect more companies to develop plans for it in 2012.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, [Vendor references]

Workday Rising while Oracle Sleeps in the Clouds

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 28, 2011 12:05:33 PM

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 PeopleSoft, champions a set of core values in its culture and leads a workforce that has built a new generation of ERP applications for deployment in the cloud computing environment. The suite brings together human capital management (HCM) applications to manage absence, benefits, compensation, goals, performance, succession and career planning, along with payroll; accounting applications for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and cash management; and spend management applications for procurement and expenses including labor. Workday prides itself on the innovative design of its application technology, compared to the on-premises approach of PeopleSoft (now part of Oracle). It has received significant financial investment to support development, including $85 million in recent Series F financing, which indicates support for its approach.

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Topics: SAP, Human Capital Management, Kronos, NetSuite, Recruiting, Zuora, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Cornerstone OnDemand, Digital Interviewing, Hiring, HRMS, Saba, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Taleo, Tidemark, Workday, Workforce Analytics

Marketing Executives Aren’t Ready for the Social Explosion of Data

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 27, 2011 3:09:48 AM

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 expressed in several channels, including social media. The research found these to be the top two concerns in marketing and that 65 percent of organizations are not prepared to deal with them. My investigations lead me to agree with these findings.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Market Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, CMO, Demand Generation

IBM Brings Business Analytics to Apple iPad

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 27, 2011 1:48:04 AM

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 doing so, but in reality the market for dedicated applications on tablets is just heating up. The adoption rate of the iPad as the tablet of choice for business continues to grow, and while statistics are not yet available our research has found a groundswell of interest this year and last among businesses in mobility for analytics and BI. In this context, the mobile app is significant for IBM Cognos. It has delivered software for mobile technology including smartphones for over a decade, but the new application was carefully designed to establish a foundation for upcoming incremental releases in the tablet format.

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Topics: Microsoft, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Google, Playbook, RIM, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, IBM, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Cognos, Digital Technology

Interactive Intelligence Offers Trial Access to Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 25, 2011 11:08:10 AM

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 as call recording, workforce management and analytics. Interactive Intelligence is one of the front runners in this market with its Customer Interaction Center. To approach potential customers that aren’t convinced of the virtues of cloud-based systems, Interactive Intelligence recently launched a new service, Quick Spin, a trial version of the its suite.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Moments of Truth in the Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 21, 2011 12:06:10 PM

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 normally associate with CEM, and they opened up a new perspective that revolves around a concept I first explored while working at Price Waterhouse Consulting: Moments of Truth.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Rapide, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

SuccessFactors Takes Learning to a New Plateau

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 19, 2011 10:53:32 AM

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 conference provided educational and customer content in an agenda focused on developments in the previous Plateau learning management system (LMS) and new products that SuccessFactors is integrating with it. SuccessFactors brings significant number of assets that the Plateau technology and people can leverage from its global scale and operations to the product release and customer operations centers for cloud computing delivery of its applications.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Learning Management System, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Digital Interviewing, Hiring, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Hiring Goes Digital with HireVue

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 17, 2011 11:33:02 AM

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 eventHireVue’s Digital Interview Platform records interviews and enables hiring managers to review candidates’ responses to critical questions.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Digital Interviewing, Hiring, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

New Customer and Contact Center Technology at Call Centre Expo

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 15, 2011 3:33:21 AM

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.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, SAP, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Call Copy, Enghouse interactive, Enkata, Genesys, NewVoicemedia, Nexidia, ShoreTel, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, and Verint, cTalk Ltd, Noble Systems, Digital Technology

Visier Is a New Force in Workforce Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 7, 2011 12:20:25 PM

In the last year some software vendors have been developing a new generation of workforce analytics that leaves pie and bar charts behind in their dashboards and reports in favor of a more intuitive approach. One such company, Visier,is now demonstrating such a fresh approach, which exemplifies what business analytics in general and especially those used to optimize and understand the workforce should look like. I spent time at the HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas this week reviewing the software and talking with the development team to learn about the company and its products.

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Topics: Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Is Oracle Social Network Worth a Look?

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 7, 2011 9:27:27 AM

Oracle unveiled its Social Network at Open World, but it seems most in the industry weren’t aware of it – or maybe Oracle does not want  them to pay much attention to it. My synopsis is that Oracle Social Network is definitely a work in progress that, even by Oracle own yardsticks of marketing and accessibility, is not ready to for enterprise use.

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Topics: Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance

Cloudy Forecast for Oracle Fusion for CRM and HCM

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 7, 2011 8:50:02 AM

I did not go to Oracle OpenWorld this year because it seemed the company was fixated on appliances and technology with little  emphasize on its Fusion applications business, which the focus on business is a major interest of our firm. Based on the reports of my colleagues on its applications discussion (See: “Apps Hard to Find at Oracle Open World“) and Oracle Exalytics (See: “Oracle Unveils BI Appliance Called Exalytics“) and my review of Oracle’s online materials and keynotes, I was right to skip it. The week was full of diatribes about appliances and infrastructure, while applications played second fiddle. This is a longstanding imbalance for Oracle, perhaps understandable given its history and the need to build revenue from its expensive Sun Microsystems hardware acquisition.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Hyperion, Open World, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, financials, Fusion Applications

The Unofficial Business Technology Guide for HR Technology Conference

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 3, 2011 12:42:35 PM

The HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas that begins today will showcase an array of new business technology innovations for human capital management and talent management. The business technology to help human resources professionals is evolving dramatically, and this is a place for HR and workforce management professionals to find new methods that help increase productivity and optimize business outcomes. Early this year our firm defined five business technology innovations that will be vitally important in this decade for HR as well as other lines of business: They are cloud computing, social media, mobility, analytics and collaboration. Each of these when integrated with business and workforce processes can improve worker/manager interactions, and when combined they can have a widespread impact across the enterprise.

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Topics: Mobile, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Digital Technology

The Unofficial Talent Management Guide for HR Technology Conference

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 3, 2011 12:33:15 PM

The HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas that begins today will showcase an array of new applications for talent management. The array of applications and advancements to help human resources professionals is evolving dramatically, and this is a place for HR and workforce management professionals to find new methods that help increase productivity and optimize business outcomes. The five business technologyinnovations that will be vitally important in this decade for HR as well as other lines of business: They are cloud computing, social media, mobility, analytics and collaboration. If you want to read what is new in these areas, you can read my business technology guide to the conference.  Each of these when integrated with talent management processes can improve the potential of your workforce and help recruit and retain talent.

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Topics: Mobile, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Digital Technology

The Unofficial Talent Management Guide for HR Technology Conference

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 3, 2011 11:22:13 AM

The HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas that begins today will showcase an array of new applications for talent management. The array of applications and advancements to help human resources professionals is evolving dramatically, and this is a place for HR and workforce management professionals to find new methods that help increase productivity and optimize business outcomes. The five business technologyinnovations that will be vitally important in this decade for HR as well as other lines of business: They are cloud computing, social media, mobility, analytics and collaboration. If you want to read what is new in these areas, you can read my business technology guide to the conference. (URL FROM OTHER BLOG) Each of these when integrated with talent management processes can improve the potential of your workforce and help recruit and retain talent.

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Topics: Mobile, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Recruiting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Digital Technology

Dayforce Engages Workforces for Higher Productivity

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 30, 2011 2:44:49 AM

Improving worker/manager collaboration becomes a top priority as organizations realize the impact of such collaboration on workforce productivity and profitability. One way to enhance that collaboration is to make tasks such as scheduling, time and attendance and task management accessible through smartphones and tablets. The management team at Dayforce has experience with workforce management applications and now into the next generation of collaboration and mobility. The company uses innovative Web technology to make its workforce management applications easy to use, and is able to demonstrate the value of the monthly and annualized time its approach saves over that of others.

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Topics: Mobile, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, dayforce, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Digital Technology

Excentive Provides a Simpler Path to Total Compensation Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 30, 2011 2:26:14 AM

Retaining talent and managing financials related to compensation should be a top priority for the HR and finance functions of companies, and many of them realize this. In our recent benchmark research in total compensation management, 72 percent of participants said it’s important or very important to have a compensation system aligned to their processes. One newer provider to the market, Excentive, started in 2002 in Europe and expanded globally in 2009. Its Excentive Compensation Cockpit supplies more than just a managerial view of compensation; it’s a total compensation management application that enables users to design and model compensation across an entire workforce or for the specific needs of the sales and service lines of business.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales Performance, Human Capital Management, Sales Compensation, Sales Operations, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Excentive, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Proposal Software Simplifies Key Aspects of Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 25, 2011 11:29:30 PM

Sales proposals can determine whether a deal is booked or lost. In most organizations the process of creating and delivering a proposal is manual and one-off, with many potential places for mistakes. This lack of rigor and efficiency impairs many organizations’ ability to leverage their resources. Proposal Software helps sales organizations with an application called PMAPS that addresses sales management and operations. 

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Topics: Mobile, Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CMO, CRM, DF11, Sales Performance Management, SFA

Salesforce.com Presents the Social Enterprise

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 23, 2011 10:01:39 AM

As he opened last week’s Cloudforce 2011 conference in London, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff declared that companies “must become social or die.” He reiterated the message in answer to a direct question I put to him during lunch with the media and analysts. I have heard several of his keynotes, and reviewed my colleague analysis from recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. and this one had a distinct change of emphasis. Benioff seems to feel that the cloud argument has been won, his big CRM competitors have been overcome and it is time to focus on helping companies grasp the changed business environment they now exist in. Dare I say it, there was even a hint that the answer is software – specifically, software to enable what Salesforce calls the social enterprise.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Professional Services Automation Makes Sense in the Cloud

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 22, 2011 9:30:19 AM

Cloud computing has changed the fundamental economics of business software, bringing new capabilities within reach of large numbers of small and midsize companies for the first time. Cloud-based ERP, for example, enables many midsize companies that in the past might have continued to use an entry-level accounting package to have more capable and sophisticated systems. The investment in software and IT capabilities to implement an ERP system on-premises is considerable enough that midsize companies often put up with a less-capable one. As well, midsize companies can now have their own call center operations because cloud-based offerings that support these operations require substantially lower up-front investments and have significantly lower operating costs than their on-premises counterparts. Consequently, a company that once outsourced all of its call center activities now has a greater degree of control of this strategic capability, often at a lower overall cost. The economic aspects of adopting the cloud are compelling, but there are other reasons as well. In some business software categories, even if the company has the IT resources and money to manage it on-premises, it makes better business sense to obtain this capability as a service in the cloud. For example, expense management is not a strategic process, and software users are often operating outside the company firewall.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, ConnectWise, Consulting, NetSuite OpenAi, PlanMill, ProjectHelp, Projector, PSA, Unanet Technologies, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, FinancialForce, Professional Services, Professional Services Automation, Project Management

WorkForce Software Can Simplify Managers and Workers Lives

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 22, 2011 9:05:17 AM

A key component of workforce management software is to aid in scheduling and tracking time and attendance, streamlining interactions between managers and employees regarding these aspects of the job and promoting compliance with corporate and regulatory policies. WorkForce Software has been growing rapidly over the last decade while meeting these needs with an application suite that covers issues from leave management to case management. Its product helps businesses deal with overlapping regulations from federal and state governments, union contracts and corporate-level policies, and is being deployed in industries such as education, utilities, banking, the public sector, entertainment and transportation, especially in midsize organizations looking for workforce efficiency. The company is expanding its global reach through its partners and distribution channel.  

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Topics: Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Mercer Updates Total Compensation Management To Help Retain Talent

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 19, 2011 12:16:32 PM

To retain talent, organizations must ensure that their workforce’s compensation is comparable to that of their industry peers. As part of this effort, they should integrate compensation reviews with goal and performance reviews to ensure employees are paid their fair market value; otherwise the best talent will become a flight risk. Many organizations understand this; in our performance management for talent management benchmark research, two-thirds said they want to integrate compensation with the review process. But most companies have more to do; they need to establish a continuous process that compares all information on new hires, promotions and market events, at least as part of an annual performance review or preferably every quarter. They should not delay change until employee feedback or exit interviews indicate that being underpaid is a primary reason for people leaving.  

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Topics: Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Mercer, Metrics, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Taleo Innovates Talent Management with Social Media and Mobile Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 14, 2011 9:09:09 AM

At this year’s Taleo World conference in San Francisco, more than 1,600 Taleo customers learned about the company and its suite of talent management applications. A major theme of the conference was the company’s investment in mobility and social media and the intersection of those trends with collaboration tools.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Mobile Applications, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Taleo, Workforce Analytics

For Dovetail CRM Means Customer Service

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 6, 2011 10:13:44 AM

LinkedIn’s CRM experts group is hosting an active discussion about what are the top three CRM systems. Along with the blatant promotion of certain well-known products, you can’t fail to notice that the term means different things to people, and that systems gathered under this acronym may cover a range of capabilities. A closer examination of the discussion shows that a majority of discussion participants associate CRM with sales force automation, fewer with customer service and the fewest with marketing. Dovetail Software belongs in the second group, positioning itself as specializing in “support and service software.” 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Dovetail, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Rolling Forecasts Are a Good First Step toward Smarter Financial Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 6, 2011 9:54:45 AM

I recently participated in a panel discussion about the rise in the use of rolling forecasts in corporate planning. I’m not surprised by this trend; I have encouraged it. Ever since the financial crisis started three years ago, I’ve been writing that companies should rethink how they plan and budget to respond to increasing business volatility. Rolling forecasts are useful because they continually extend the formal planning horizon out more than a year rather than having it stop abruptly at the end of a company’s fiscal year. They can be the right first step in improving the effectiveness of a company’s budgeting process, but ultimately I believe that organizations need to adopt a better approach to planning – what I refer to as integrated business planning. Moreover, companies that want to adopt a rolling forecast approach must first make important changes to their planning and budgeting processes to make them leaner, more focused and faster. 

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Budgeting, IBP, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, COO, Integrated Business Planning

Salesforce Presents New Social Enterprise with Chatter, Mobility and Data

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 3, 2011 10:13:06 AM

At the Dreamforce conference, Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) CEO Marc Benioff unveiled the latest evolution of the company’s strategy and supporting technology for cloud computing and mobile technologies. Its aim is to enable businesses to engage with customers and prospects via social media channels – what Salesforce calls the “social enterprise” – and empower employee and customer social networks to operate individually and together. Note I did not mention CRM, which doesn’t have a role in this platform for basic interactions with prospects and customers and is accompanied by a large ecosystem of partners that provide dedicated marketing and contact center applications. As summarized in its announcement, Salesforce’s strategy is clearly different from that of others in the applications market, including Oracle and SAP, which have products for the cloud computing environment and have made strides into integrating collaboration and social media capabilities into their applications.

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Topics: Mobile, Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Sales Cloud, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Chatter, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CMO, CRM, DF11, Sales Performance Management, Service Cloud, SFA

Salesforce.com and the Big Picture from Dreamforce

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 3, 2011 9:36:48 AM

Even here in the U.K., we are well aware that Salesforce.com’s annual event Dreamforce is happening this week in San Francisco. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there, but a contingent of the Ventana Research team is there, and from what they are telling me it is quite a show. I have written before that Salesforce has the best marketing machine in the world, let alone the software industry, and it seems to have topped previous events. The company undoubtedly has changed the way many companies think about software, forced many vendors to change their delivery models and is impacting the way consumers think about communicating and running their lives. But let me make a few long-range observations.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Varicent Improves Sales Operations Efficiency

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2011 9:57:21 AM

Sales organizations strive to maximize the performance of their staffs to meet quotas and revenue targets in an efficient manner. This focus is part of my agenda to help organizations innovate and maximize revenue in sales. To achieve this requires automation of various sales activities including compensation, incentives, quota development, territory optimization, channel management, analytics and planning. Varicent is focused on these aspects of sales, offering software deployable in three ways: rented in the cloud, hosted for easier management or purchased for use inside the organization. My last analysis of the company and its products was part of our 2011 Value Index for Sales Performance Management; in it we rated Varicent a Hot Vendor overall across our seven evaluation categories applied to its application suite. That analysis included our analysis of Varicent SPM version 7 that made significant advances in the use and process of managing compensation and incentives but also the rest of their application portfolio from territory management, sales quota management and channel management. 

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Marketing, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Operations, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CMO, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA, Varicent

Get the Most from Dreamforce for Your Sales Force

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 12:27:29 PM

Salesforce.com’s 2011 Dreamforce conference is under way. If you’re in sales and you use the company’s application, here’s how to gain the most value from your time at the conference. 

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Marketo, Merced Systems, Qvidian, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Operations, Zilliant, Zyme Solutions, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Callidus Software, Camelon Software, CFO, ChannelInsight, Cloud9 Analytics, CMO, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA, Varicent, Vendavo, Xactly

Xactly What Sales Needs To Improve

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:42:31 AM

In addressing the needs of their sales and operations teams to automate and improve performance, many organizations turn to providers of sales applications designed for specific activities. Many of these activities, including sales compensation, incentives, commissions, quotas, territories and others, Xactly has been delivering for years. This company is no newcomer to the market, with significant experience in meeting the needs of small to midsize sales organizations, and more recently addressing the needs of larger ones. 

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Marketing, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CMO, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA, Xactly

Gaining Sales Traction with Merced Systems

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:15:59 AM

Looking to make your sales force more effective by automating its operations? Merced Systems can provide the traction your sales team needs. The company has been providing applications for more than a decade to customer service and more recently sales organizations, helping both measure and manage performance. Several years ago Merced Systems made a substantial investment to expand to the sales organization with new applications and now offers analytics and reporting, compensation and incentives, and coaching and talent development.  

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Marketing, Merced Systems, Revenue Performance, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CMO, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA

Cloud9 Delivers Sales Forecasting

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 29, 2011 10:41:10 AM

If you want to hit the booking and revenue targets required to operate a business, you have to manage your sales forecast and pipeline. Optimally you should be able to monitor and act upon them any day of the week and make adjustments whenever you need to. Unfortunately, most organizations have to wait until they finish their manual efforts at the end of the month or quarter, or they miss critical changes in deals and behavior because they rely only on reporting from their sales force automation (SFA) software.  

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Forecasting, Sales Operations, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, Cloud9 Analytics, CMO, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA

Here’s What Marketers Should Do at Dreamforce

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 29, 2011 9:54:01 AM

The largest cloud computing conference, Dreamforce 2011, operated by Salesforce.com, is now upon us. This year attendance is estimated to be over 40,000, and there will be more technology- and developer-focused attendees and dialogue than marketing material. Unlike past years, I expect marketing professionals to be a small percentage of attendees, so I thought I would offer them a guide through the circus of activities at the conference.  

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, ExactTarget, HubSpot, Manticore Technology, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Planning, Marketo, Pardot, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, CFO, CMO, CRM, Demand Generation, Eloqua, SFA, Unica, Digital Technology

Qvidian: A New Player in Sales Efficiency and Effectiveness

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 26, 2011 9:01:30 AM

Qvidian entered the market for applications in sales performance management in 2011. The company, formed from the merger of The Sant Corp. and Kadient, has introduced a new suite of applications for proposals and playbooks that sales departments should examine if they’re looking to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. These applications are part of what we at Ventana Research call a sales performance management blueprint that helps optimize sales related activities and processes. 

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Marketing, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CMO, CRM, Sales Performance Management, SFA

ADP’s Provides Tools to Simplify Workforce Mobility

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 25, 2011 9:28:31 AM

I recently got an update on mobile applications and strategy for smartphones from ADP, the $9 billion provider of applications and services in human resources, payroll and benefits. By acquiring and partnering with organizations, ADP has become the largest provider in this segment while focusing on providing added value and new offerings to its customers. For some companies, being such a large business  human capital management and talent management software could inhibit its agility, but ADP has quickly made progress in bringing its first generation of applications to the Apple iOS platform for iPhone.  

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Human Capital Management, Mobile Applications, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Digital Technology

The Consumerization of Collaborative BI Has Arrived

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 24, 2011 9:39:41 AM

We cite collaboration as one of five key technology influences on the business intelligence (BI) market, and I get many questions about collaboration and BI from end users and vendors alike. The rise of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter has raised awareness of collaborative platforms and created a critical mass of participants, which is a necessary ingredient for successful collaboration. However, I have to point out that consumer-oriented social media tools do not provide all the necessary components for collaborative BI.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Can We Trust Hewlett- Packard?

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 20, 2011 9:10:55 AM

Just when it seemed that Hewlett-Packard’s new management team led by CEO Leo Apotheker had a growing and solidifying technology agenda that included mobile computing, yesterday it all changed.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Google, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), HP, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, HP Touchpad, Digital Technology

Echopass Enables Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 19, 2011 9:44:06 AM

In the past year various vendors have begun to offer some or all of the systems required to build and run a contact center through a cloud-based service. I recently came across another one, Echopass, which has a different operating model than I am used to. Its core services are provided by products from two vendors that as yet don’t provide their products in the cloud: Genesys, which supplies call routing, intelligent front-door and intelligent back-office workflow, and Verint for workforce optimization (WFO). Echopass supplements these with other vendors’ products, such as Voxify’s speech platform, speech engines from IBM and Nuance and Microsoft .Net and SQL services. Along with a number of in-house developments this array enables Echopass to offer what is in effect a best-of-breed suite that is integrated to create a unified offering. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Echopass, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

eThority 5 Brings Analytics to Life

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 17, 2011 11:42:41 AM

It is evident that business analytics is now a core business process in most organizations, but as our benchmark research on the topic shows, many have a lot of room to improve in how they use it. A dedicated provider of analytics tools, eThority continues to advance its technology to supply flexibility for the needs of a range of professionals from business management to analysts. 

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Mobile Applications, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Envision Closes Quality Monitoring Loop

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 17, 2011 8:27:01 AM

Envision is an established provider of workforce optimization (WFO) products and last year was rated a “Hot” vendor in the Ventana Research Value Index for Agent Performance Management (APM). Its suite of products includes recording, quality monitoring, workforce management, coaching, e-learning, performance management and speech analytics. The WFO market is now quite competitive, and along with other vendors, Envision recently announced some product improvements. As well as a number of technical improvements – such as support for more Microsoft products, performance and scalability – the main improvements center on quality monitoring and training of contact center agents. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Envision, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

OpenConnect Enables Process Improvement

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 11, 2011 11:24:20 AM

It has taken me a long time to recognize that companies function through a series of processes, mostly executed by people (employees) and supported by information and systems. I was familiar with process maps that show activities happening in sequence and branches caused by certain conditions, but these were mainly paper exercises; my working assumption was that people “just get on with things.” But looking closely reveals that getting on with things happens in processes. To help make this clear, OpenConnect provides a product designed to create process visibility of activities, variances and metrics, with the goal of improving performance.  

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, OpenConnect

Vitria’s Operational Intelligence Enables Proactive Customer Service

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 8, 2011 9:36:38 AM

Vitria is one of a small group of vendors offering a type of analytics called operational intelligence. The term is not widely known, although Ventana Research has defined and tracked this market for many years and researched. We define operational intelligence (OI) as “a set of event-centered information and analytics processes operating across the network that enable people to take effective actions and make better decisions.” For its part Vitria defines OI as “a new type of real-time, dynamic analytics that delivers visibility into business operations.” Marry the two and you begin to see what differentiates OI from other forms of analytics. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Vitria, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

KANA’s SEM Resembles CEM

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 3, 2011 9:39:49 AM

I’m no great fan of three-letter acronyms, so I wondered what KANA Software means by positioning itself as the leader in service experience management (SEM), which is a term I had not heard. I have thought of KANA as a CRM vendor, but through a program of internal development and two acquisitions, it has transformed itself into something quite different. The acquisition of Lagan in 2010 added additional CRM functionality, enterprise case management and a track record of providing solutions to public-sector authorities. In April of this year Kana announced the acquisition of Overtone, which added text analytics capabilities, with a particular focus on analyzing content extracted from social media. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Kana, Lagan, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Overtone

SAS Helps Optimize Key Business Processes

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 7, 2011 1:14:21 PM

If you look at the SAS Institute home page it appears easy to identify what it does – “the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.” My colleague recently assessed them as the multi-billion dollar business analytics supplier which I would agree. However, at the company’s recent analyst event I learned that this description only skims the surface of what it really does; even SAS CMO Jim Davis said he couldn’t be sure of the exact number of products it has (more than 200). Some things, however, are more evident: SAS is successful, with revenues up 6.7% on a like-by-like basis from last year; staff numbers continue to grow (up 2.4% from 2010 and 2011 already showing a 4.9% growth); Fortune named it one of the best places to work; customer satisfaction scores are at an all-time high; and it has enough cash in the bank to be self-funding and able to execute an extensive acquisition program, including companies such as DataFlux, which specializes in data management.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, SAS, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

SHRM Helps Socialize Human Resources

Posted by Mark Smith on Jul 3, 2011 7:30:21 AM

I had the pleasure to drop into the 63rd annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Las Vegas where over 18,000 human resources professionals came to learn, engage with peers and also enjoy a variety of entertainment. It was the definitely the place to be if you wanted to mix Hollywood with HR. From Sir Richard Branson in Sunday’s opener to music from Keith Urban to controversial political commentator Arianna Huffington and finally actor Michael J. Fox for the closing keynote, the HR professionals got to enjoy a range of interesting perspectives; it seemed like a good outlet for a segment of professionals who often do not get enough credit in business.  

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Mobile Applications, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

PeopleFluent Brings New Face and Mobility to Talent Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 28, 2011 4:10:59 PM

This week the management of Peopleclick Authoria renamed the company PeopleFluent, reoriented its vision and launched a new suite of applications. This effort is intended to hone its focus on the intersecting aspects of talent management and respond to the increasing importance of mobility in this field. This move indicates the dynamic changes that are occurring as the software industry tries to meet the expectations of the next generation of workers and managers. PeopleFluent will rely on not just the rich history of Peopleclick and Authoria in the talent management market but also the recent acquisition of Aquire that brings it workforce analytics; its goal is to further expand its customer base with technology that provides the most usable applications in this market. Company rebranding efforts are always risky, but this one will be worth watching.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Metrics, Mobile Applications, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Business Analysts, Take Control of Your Analytic Destiny

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 24, 2011 11:35:43 AM

The recent buzz around business analytics has generated resurgent conversation about what businesses need from their data to optimize business processes and make better decisions. Our benchmark research on business analytics in more than 2,500 organizations produced unprecedented information about business and IT usage and competency with analytics. It confirmed that effective use of business analytics requires a balance of people and skills, processes, information and technology not just to provide capabilities but also to engage business analysts and users across the organization. The research also identified significant challenges facing organizations in terms of inefficient analytics processes and ineffective technology. 

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Uncategorized, Workforce Performance, Business Planning, CFO

Information Builders Advances Business Intelligence for Smartphones and Tablets

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 17, 2011 3:30:47 PM

At this year’s Information Builders Summit, the company’s annual conference for users and analysts (Twitter: #Summit2011) in Dallas, the long-time supplier of business intelligence and information management software showed how it has been able to sustain double-digit revenue growth thanks to highly accessible and scalable software that operates on a variety of platforms and data sources. Its recent expansion into information management, master data management and integration helps organizations link data to business analytics quickly – something our benchmark research has found to b