Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

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

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

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

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

All-Inclusive CX Suites Reveal the Big Picture to Optimize CX Management

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 19, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Having just completed the 2023 Ventana Research Value Index for Customer Experience Management, I want to share some of my observations about how the market has developed. We found that there are many tools available for various needs related to customer management and communication, ranging from marketing tools to contact center systems to data and analytics applications. It is rare to find all the components fully integrated into a single platform, although that appears to be where the industry is headed. We found that despite the lack of clarity in the marketplace, technology is moving quickly to provide users with more extensive tools that work better together. The vendor landscape is fractured, but most are taking advantage of developments in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and workflow automation to deliver functionality that, in some cases, was simply not possible as recently as five years ago.

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

The 2023 Market Agenda for CX: Analytics Takes Center Stage

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 12, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its Market Agenda in the expertise area of Customer Experience. CX has emerged as a way for organizations to demonstrate value and stand out in the marketplace. The technology underlying modern CX is transitioning from tools that are based on communication to those centered on data analysis and process automation. This allows organizations to build great experiences and reap the benefits in customer loyalty and value. It also forces companies to reckon with the complexity and disruption that technologies like artificial intelligence and automation bring to an organization.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, CEM, Self-service, Analytics, Contact Center, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service

Verint Bets Big on Engagement Automation and Intelligence

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 11, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Since 2021, Verint’s message to the customer experience community has focused on the “engagement capacity gap,” a way of describing how the available resources for CX clash with the high level of customer expectations. The argument is that efforts to close that gap require a rethink of how contact centers (and their parent organizations) operate and plan.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management

2023 Market Agenda: Digitalization Evolves for Business Revitalization

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 6, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research has announced its market agenda for 2023, continuing a 20-year tradition of credibility and trust in our objective efforts to educate and guide the technology market. Our research and insights are backed by our expertise and independence, as we do not share our Market Agenda or our market research – including analyst and market perspectives – with any external party before it is published. We continuously refine our Market Agenda throughout the year to ensure we offer the expertise and insights organizations rely on to better assess and navigate the direction of the technology industry.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Digital Business, Office of Revenue

The CCaaS Business Case Shifts from Costs to Capabilities

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 14, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The market and buyer landscape for contact center operating services has changed significantly since the onset of the pandemic, now almost three years ago. Three years would have been enough time for some significant shifts, even without the pressure the pandemic put on service operations. Nevertheless, with on-premises systems now taking a backseat industrywide, it’s fair to say that CCaaS, which typically refers to cloud-based systems, now represents the lions’ share of spending and therefore stands as a proxy for the industry as a whole. Ventana Research predicts that by 2026, 7 in ten organizations will have moved all or part of their contact center technology into the cloud to attain greater flexibility and scalability.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

The Business and Technology Trends for 2023 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 13, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The technology industry has established itself as a pivotal force in its ability to help organizations become more intelligent and automated. But doing so has required a journey of epic proportions for most organizations that have had to endure a transition of competencies and skills that was, in many places, transitioned to consulting firms who were hired appropriately to manage changes. Unfortunately, this step led, in many cases, to an extended focus on digital transformation rather than the necessary modernization of business processes and technology. Through 2024, after concerted investment into digital transformation, one-half of organizations will require a new digital business and technology agenda for organizational resilience.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Digital Business, Office of Revenue

Optimizing Customer Communication Channels

Posted by Keith Dawson on Nov 9, 2022 3:00:00 AM

For quite a few years now, two trends have put the contact center on a collision course. First, the technology used to handle customer inquiries has been evolving quickly, moving organizations farther and farther away from the traditional mode of primarily answering voice calls. At the same time, consumers have become much more demanding. There’s no doubt that customers are more likely to use quality of service as a gauge for whether they should continue doing business with an organization. They’re more willing to bolt for a competitor if they have a bad experience. In short, they want more of everything, and contact centers have been trying to accommodate these expectations.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

NICE Elevates Power of Customer Experiences

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Pressures to engage consumers through every interaction and provide a delightful customer experience are influencing advancements in business and technology. Organizations are challenged to manage friction points experienced by billions of consumers amid expanding digital channels. These issues must be addressed to engage and respond to customers every second of the day.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center, agent management, Digital Business

Contact Centers Should Revisit KPIs for Strategic Relevance

Posted by Keith Dawson on Nov 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Traditional key performance indicators used for performance measurement in contact centers are no longer sufficient. These outdated standards don’t reliably inform mid- and upper-level leadership about the true impact of agent work and behavior. Organizations should begin to expand the notion of what’s important in order to make the contact center a stronger organizational institution, more closely tied to others who impact the customer experience. Outside the contact center, people are keen to understand the relationship between what’s being spent and what’s coming in: revenue and growth.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, data artisan, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Technology is Only Part of the Customer Experience Transformation

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 6, 2022 3:30:00 AM

Through 2025, establishing customer experience application suites on a common platform will be the focal point of the drive to optimize customer and organizational engagement. Organizations that are passionate about improving the customer experience are choosing to empower processes and people with intelligence through smarter applications that embrace analytics, artificial intelligence and automation to personalize and optimize the customer journey, whatever the channel of customer choice.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Agent Performance Management Changes With the Times

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 20, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Today’s contact centers need to revisit core assumptions around measuring agent performance. Changes in business conditions influencing agent engagement raise new questions about whether traditional performance models are sufficient to address the more complex customer needs that have taken center stage in recent years.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Why Outbound Is a Smart Channel for Customer Communication

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 13, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Outbound communication is used in a number of different contexts. For potential customers, traditional telemarketing still exists, though it is limited these days due to its minimal effectiveness. Instead, many customer-experience planners have substituted digital outbound over voice for lead generation and nurturing campaigns. Customers find text messages in the channel of their choice to be much less intrusive, and they are considerably less expensive than having contact center agents reach out.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Zoho One Reaching Needs of Larger Organizations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 7, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Zoho presented analysts with a deep look at its strategy and roadmap at its July analyst conference, describing how it intends to meld its many business applications together through integration at the level of the platform. The company, which is privately owned and funded, has generally sought to build its own tools rather than buy or partner. This approach has allowed the firm to create a suite of tightly linked tools that share a common interface.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Data, AI and Machine Learning, Digital Business, Customer Experience Management, customer service and support

Preparing Agents for Success in Automated, Distributed Contact Centers

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 4, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The contact center industry is reexamining how organizations engage with contact center agents. One thing that we learned from the forced movement to work-from-home was that organizations have to provide agents with appropriate tools to collaborate and communicate with peers and supervisors as well as workers in the back office who participate in all sorts of customer-facing or customer-adjacent processes. It is also important to provide supervisors with visibility into agent activity. That means extending existing coaching and evaluation methods. Ventana Research believes that by 2025, nearly every organization will have dedicated systems or processes that help supervisors manage remotely.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Field Service Heads for Greater Automation and Integration

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 26, 2022 3:30:00 AM

Field service is a segment of customer experience that is dominated by two elements: the complexity of the issues handled, and the high cost of providing on-site services. It is recognized as a critical component of the service experience, especially when managing the condition of high-precision equipment in the medical, manufacturing and utility industries. It is also a high-risk moment in the customer life cycle. Consumers often experience the process as a series of disconnected visits and handoffs that fail to resolve issues the first time.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Amazon Connect Adds Workforce Optimization Capabilities

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

At Enterprise Connect in March, Amazon announced new functionality in its cloud contact center platform, Amazon Connect. The company is now including a full Workforce Optimization component, which includes built-in forecasting, capacity planning and scheduling capabilities. It's no surprise that Amazon is adding these capabilities, as WFO has become a core component of a complete CCaaS platform.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center

Work-From-Anywhere Has a Communications Impact

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Contact centers are undergoing a radical reshuffling of the workforce, partly because the pandemic shifted agents to remote work. But the trends were in place to reorganize the world of work long before the pandemic. Digital contact channels, which are gaining in popularity, require workers that are better informed and capable of handling more complex and interdependent interactions and processes. That’s changing the nature of training, management and even process design between departments.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management

Technology Trends in Customer Support Software

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 3, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Customer Service and Support (CSS) software is about more than case tracking and trouble tickets. Many organizations view the service call as an opportunity to solidify a positive customer relationship and perhaps enhance the loyalty and value of the customer. That has propelled interest in the emphasis on workflows and automation that now/currently drives CSS, particularly when it comes to managing self-service and field service, and the ability to provide agents with contextually relevant information during interactions.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

OnviSource Brings Intelligence to Contact Center Automation

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Today’s contact center agents find themselves handling increasingly more complex interactions due to changes in consumer demand, advances in self-service and the proliferation of digital contact channels. This added complexity requires continuous agent support for successful customer experience outcomes. Intelligent software can reduce agent workload and improve customer interactions by picking up customer cues.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center, AI

Why We Need a New Definition for CX Software Platforms

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The technology underpinning customer experience (CX) is a hodgepodge of tools that have been developed for niche use cases and then expanded to fill broader roles. Examples include the old (CRM, help desk software and speech analytics) and the new (customer data platforms and conversational AI). This is because CX is a set of very specialized processes that happen in different parts of the enterprise, managed by people who often do not connect with peers handling related processes. Service-related activities are focused in the contact center, personalization and loyalty in marketing departments, and so forth.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Digital Marketing, agent management, intelligent marketing, Customer Experience Management, Digital Experience Platform, Conversational Marketing, customer service and support

Contact Center Cost Control, Part 2: Getting Granular

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 1, 2022 3:00:00 AM

In a previous Analyst Perspective, we discussed some of the big-picture trends that are bringing cost control back as a core driver of contact center operations. In this report we will tackle some of the practical ramifications: how those trends affect decision-making and operations.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Contact Center Cost Control, Part 1: Rethinking Modern Operations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Contact centers have always been very cost-centric and attuned to the kinds of constraints that they have to operate in, but many organizations were diverted from that kind of focus when the pandemic first hit. In 2020, there was a sudden need for new tools and equipment just to keep centers running, and the costs involved in enabling agents to work from home — equipping them and their supervisors with the tools they needed to collaborate and stay in sync — were unavoidable.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Top Trends in VoC Analytics

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 16, 2022 3:00:00 AM

A formal Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is a necessity for any organization that wants to grow its customer base and differentiate from its competitors. Unfortunately, many organizations have not updated their notion of “formal” in quite a few years.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Digital Marketing, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, Conversational Marketing, customer service and support

Xactly Advances Support for Revenue Performance Management

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Feb 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Revenue performance management and the role of revenue operations is moving to the forefront of sales organizations, aligning departments around a single view of the business with shared revenue targets and goals. This facilitates the needs of the sales department as well as customer experience, marketing and renewals. The concept of RevOps does not yet have a widely shared common definition within organizations. Because revenue organizations include workers associated with sales operations, there tends to be a bias that RevOps leans towards sales management with the addition of customer success for retention and marketing.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Sales Performance Management, partner management, Revenue Management, Sales Engagement, Revenue Performance Management

The 2022 Market Agenda for CX: Enabling Resilience in Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 2, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its Market Agenda in the expertise area of Customer Experience. For the past several years, many organizations have found it challenging to provide excellent customer experiences in the face of drastic technology changes and the ongoing pandemic. These challenges have highlighted for many decision-makers how strategic CX can be in differentiating from competitors. But it can also be a complex and disjointed effort that requires continuous investment in people, processes and technologies.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

The 2022 Value Index for Agent Management Classifies and Rates Vendors

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 31, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research is sharing insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Agent Management 2022 is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to customer experience vendors supporting the spectrum of Agent Management. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ TCO/ROI and vendor validation.

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

Shifts in Agent Management Software Benefit Agent Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 26, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The 2022 Ventana Research Value Index for agent management software is published, offering interesting observations about how the market is advancing to provide more sophistication to agents and the management of them. The market is now characterized by applications integrated into multifunction suites, a significant change accelerated by the pandemic in the short term and vendor consolidation over a longer period. The core applications — workforce management scheduling, call recording and evaluations, and performance management — are largely commoditized. This has opened the door to systems for ensuring agent access to real-time knowledge, peer collaboration and other, more advanced systems.

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

2022 Market Agenda: Digital Business Enables Organizational Resilience

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 24, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research has announced its market agenda for 2022, continuing the tradition of reliability in our efforts to educate and guide the technology market. Our assessments are backed by our expertise and independence, as we do not share our market agenda or our research – including analyst and market perspectives or our Value Index – with any external party until it is published. We review and refine our market agenda throughout the year to ensure we offer the expertise and insights organizations rely on to better assess and navigate the direction of the technology industry.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Digital Business, Office of Revenue, Market Agenda

Customer Experience Needs Accountability with Executive Leadership

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The contact center is where much of customer experience management happens, but it is by no means the beginning or end of the CX story. Other departments, notably marketing and revenue, have a stake in what happens during the customer’s lifecycle. Whether it’s developing offers, orchestrating interactions or assessing behavior and intent, handling the complexity of the relationship requires a broad set of participants who are not always in alignment.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Customer Experience Management

Why Revenue Planning Should be Continuous and Year Round

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Dec 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

With the emergence of multiple selling channels and the rise of the subscription model, the need for a unified approach to revenue planning and execution should be a priority for every organization. As I have written about in my analyst perspective Revenue Management: The Opportunity for Innovation and Optimization, this need to unify the approach and focus on alignment across all revenue supporting teams in furtherance of an organization’s objectives and targets is of key importance to ensure that teams handle different aspects of a customer’s journey and experience. And, as I will further discuss, this alignment between groups is rarely a happy accident but rather the result of forward-looking, continuous planning.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Sales Performance Management, AI and Machine Learning, Subscription Management, Revenue Management, Sales Engagement

Automating Workflows for a Better Customer Experience

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 1, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Any organization that relies heavily on a large labor force looks to automation to reduce costs, and contact centers are no exception. They handle interactions at such large scale that almost any effort to automate some part of the process can deliver measurable efficiencies. Two factors have ratcheted up attention on automating customer experience workflows: the dramatic expansion of digital interaction channels, and the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to facilitate workflow deployment.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Data Integration, Contact Center, Data, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, data operations, Digital Business, Experience Management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service

Revenue and Commercial Operations: The Difference Matters

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Nov 18, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The emergence of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) has mirrored the adoption of the subscription model and the development of multiple selling and buying channels over and above the traditional direct sales model, referred to as Revenue Management. Supporting the traditional sales team and management was the sales operations team with responsibilities around incentive compensation, territory and quota planning, sales metrics and reporting and sales forecasting as well as sales engagement and enablement tools and applications. Aligned with this functional area under the CRO is another set of roles and functions called revenue operations or RevOps.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Analytics, Sales Performance Management, Digital Commerce, Subscription Management, partner management, Revenue Management, Sales Engagement

Vonage Buys Into Conversational Commerce With Jumper.ai

Posted by Keith Dawson on Nov 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When migrating their communications stacks to the cloud, many organizations come face to face with a quandary: do they emphasize the business phone system and gravitate toward a unified communications vendor? Or should they focus on the specific applications needed for running their contact centers and seek out a CCaaS vendor?

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service

NICE CXi Is a Pivot to the Post-Contact Center World

Posted by Keith Dawson on Nov 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When NICE acquired inContact in 2016, it began a transformation that saw it broaden its product offering and positioned itself to play a larger role in the contact center and customer experience industries. It was a prescient move, creating a firm that could supply end-to-end contact center functionality in the cloud. And it anticipated today’s market dynamic, in which NICE and its competitors are racing to define (and capitalize on) the post-contact center future.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Business Continuity, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Digital transformation, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Digital Business, Experience Management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Digital Communication Platforms Enable Better Work and Customer Experiences

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The age of digital communication platforms is upon us. The need has never been greater for an open and secure platform that satisfies the demand for enterprise-grade business and technology requirements. Overcoming today’s technology challenges is possible with a next-generation cloud-based delivery model that is both extensible and reliable. Organizations considering a digital communication platform can take decisive steps to ensure digital communications for everyone — inside, outside, everywhere, anytime, any location and on any device.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Business Continuity, Contact Center, Digital transformation, Digital Business, Digital Communications, Experience Management

AI’s Value to Contact Centers: What Are the Use Cases

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 28, 2021 3:00:00 AM

In part one of this Analyst Perspective on the use of artificial intelligence within contact center applications, we focused on the evolution — and resulting benefits — of tools embedded with AI, including ease-of-use for non-data-scientists.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

The Digital Awakening of Business Process Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The work environment today demands that your organization advances the efficiency to execute business processes for continuous operations to have a positive impact on business performance. The capability to be responsive to any range of minor to disruptive business events is required to support business continuity and level of organizational readiness to meet the needs of digital business. Ventana Research asserts that in 2025, one-quarter of organizations will remain digitally ineffective in achieving the business priorities for customer-, product- and people-related processes. It is essential to eliminate bottlenecks and become an organization that places action and decision-making at is center to optimize the execution of business processes.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, embedded analytics, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, Digital transformation, natural language processing, AI and Machine Learning, continuous supply chain, agent management, Digital Business, Experience Management, Field Service, Process Mining, Streaming Analytics

AI’s Value to Contact Centers: Improved Customer and Agent Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When artificial intelligence emerged from the labs and vendors started offering it as a component of their software, many contact-center buyers shied away from it. From their point of view, AI and machine learning tools were new, expensive, relatively untested and had an uncertain use case. This stance was understandable, as contact center professionals are traditionally expected to be risk-averse when deploying technology into their operations. Contact centers are, by design, supposed to be hardened, mission-critical sites of high reliability. There has historically been a bias towards avoiding new technology, deploying only when it has been thoroughly vetted across the industry.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Contact Center, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support

Calabrio Brings VoC to Larger CX Potential

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Tools for contact center agent management have changed considerably in the past few years. The suite of software applications has grown from those that perform core functions in scheduling and quality control to include more advanced solutions for agent guidance, integrated desktops, and workflow and automation design. One area of intense investment by vendors has been analytics, specifically for assessing customer satisfaction and hearing the “voice of the customer.”

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management, Customer Experience Management, customer service and support

The Pandemic Heightens Need for Agent Management

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The primary effect of the pandemic on agent/workforce management beginning in 2020 was a rush to re-site and re-equip contact centers and agents. This was achieved with a surprising speed and smoothness industrywide. But once achieved on a “temporary” or “emergency” basis, it became clear that this shift was going to be semi-permanent. Even if the majority of the agent population moves back into standard centers, there is now a consensus that some portion of the workforce will work from home. As a result, the industry’s vendors have focused their messaging and short-term roadmaps on enhancing workforce engagement, or what we call agent management. These include promoting tools for measurement, management, and supervisory tools like mobile interfaces into workforce systems.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Uniphore Automates Intelligent Conversations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 16, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Customer support operations increasingly rely on automation and complex workflow processes to reduce costs and improve experiences. Automation also allows organizations to make their service processes richer, incorporating information and staff from back offices, for example, or embedding conversational tools into contact center processes.

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Topics: Customer Experience, embedded analytics, Analytics, Contact Center, natural language processing, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, Process Mining, Streaming Analytics, customer service and support

Revenue Management Maximizes Partner and Reseller Subscriptions

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 15, 2021 12:00:00 AM

Among the many digital economy trends written about in recent years, one of the most significant has been the adoption of a subscription business model. For organizations with a business model that also includes reselling third-party products and services, this shift to subscription services adds complications and potential challenges.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Product Information Management, Price and Revenue Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Subscription Management

Subscription Automation Enables a Better Subscriber Experience

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 8, 2021 3:00:00 AM

A subscription business model and an exceptional customer experience are equal priorities for many organizations. Much has been written about both: Subscription and usage services are considered the business model for the digital age, and a great customer experience is how organizations acquire and retain customers. I believe that by 2024, the category of subscription management software will emerge with a suite of applications and platform supporting the subscriber experience through the complete customer lifecycle to drive operational effectiveness.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Subscription Management

Expert.ai Earns 2021 Digital Innovation Award for Digital Technology

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 7, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Analytics, Internet of Things, Digital Technology, blockchain, natural language processing, Awards, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, extended reality

Moovila Earns Digital Business Innovation Award for 2021

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Operations & Supply Chain, Digital Business, Work Management

Dialpad Stresses the Unity of UCaaS and CCaaS

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 25, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Dialpad provides contact center and business phone services, a market that is in transition due to a convergence of technologies and business conditions.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Collaboration, Contact Center, natural language processing, AI and Machine Learning, agent management

Field Service Transformation for CX Differentiation

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 10, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Field service is one element of the service-delivery process that an organization must get right or risk alienating important customers and causing friction in the relationship. The customer experience is directly affected by the timeliness, speed and accuracy of on-site work. Consequences of poor performance can hurt revenue, particularly in B2B situations where failures may cause expensive shutdowns or delays in conducting business.

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

ServiceNow Earns Customer Experience Digital Innovation Award for 2021

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 6, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.

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

Palantir Earns Overall Digital Innovation Award for 2021

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Continuous Planning, embedded analytics, Learning Management, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Internet of Things, Business Planning, Contact Center, Data, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Revenue, blockchain, natural language processing, data lakes, Total Compensation Management, robotic finance, Predictive Planning, employee experience, candidate engagement, Conversational Computing, Continuous Payroll, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, continuous supply chain, Subscription Management, agent management, extended reality, intelligent marketing, sales enablement, work experience management, lease and tax accounting, robotic automation

Using Event Data in Manufacturing to Improve Business Processes

Posted by David Menninger on Jul 28, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Event data can be used to enhance existing processes, but it can also be used to dramatically impact operations, revenue models and the bottom line for manufacturers. Our Benchmark Research shows 95% of manufacturers consider it important to speed the flow of information and improve responsiveness within business processes. In this perspective I’ll share how manufacturers are working with event data to transform their organizations.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Information Management, Internet of Things, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain

Are DXPs Really Needed in a CX World?

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 20, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Customer experience (CX) tools are going through a transition, from piecemeal applications designed to solve narrowly defined problems, to broader suites with integrated functionality. This is occurring along multiple fronts in CX. Software for managing inbound interactions and customer issues is being gathered into CX suites sometimes described as Customer Experience Management (CEM). On the marketing side, the phenomenon is seen in the creation of Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs).

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Product Information Management, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, intelligent marketing, Conversational Marketing

ServiceNow Brings Customer Workflows with Automation and Intelligence

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 20, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Customer Service & Support (CSS) is a software segment that provides tools for tracking and resolving customer problems, primarily through contact centers. The segment has been mature for decades but today is reinvigorated by a new emphasis on workflows and automation. Vendors, like ServiceNow, have been innovative in developing new technologies for managing self-service and field service, and providing agents with contextually relevant information during interactions. The new technologies brought to bear on this include artificial intelligence (AI) for knowledge search and delivery; agent assist and guidance tools; and SMS-centric customer messaging.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Digital Commerce, AI and Machine Learning, Subscription Management, agent management

CX Suites Focus on Managing Customer Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When we speak of the “customer experience,” we are really referring to the results of a broad spectrum of activities that collectively we describe as a journey or a lifecycle. In the past, how we spoke about customers was largely determined by the limited view of what transpired during short, contact center interactions. Customer experience (CX) evolved as a way to incorporate more facets of behavior into an assessment of the customer’s ultimate value and intent than is possible by looking only at an isolated interaction.

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

Twilio is Vendor of Merit in Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 8, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Twilio drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Amazon has Merit in the Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 7, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Amazon drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Vonage has Merit for Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 5, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Vonage drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Enghouse Altitude Rated with Assurance in Contact Center Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 3, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Altitude, now part of Enghouse, drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

RingCentral Brings Merit to Market for Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about RingCentral drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

8x8 Provides Assurance in Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about 8x8 drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Five9 is Innovative in the 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 29, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Five9 drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Aspect has Assurance in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Aspect drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Cisco is Innovative in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 23, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Cisco drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Avaya is Innovative in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Avaya drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Content Guru is Exemplary in 2021 Value Index for Contact Centers

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 17, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Content Guru drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Genesys is Exemplary in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 16, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Genesys drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Zendesk Advances a Suite for CX

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 15, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The outlines of a post-pandemic customer experience (CX) landscape are emerging, and it appears that the market dynamic is bringing companies from different segments into heightened competition with one another. Over the past few years, there has been a change in software-buying preferences from niche point solutions to packaged software suites. Organizations and buyers now want more capability and usability across different tools and they want to work with fewer, and better integrated, vendors.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center, agent management

Talkdesk is Exemplary in the Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Talkdesk drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

NICE inContact is Exemplary and Overall Value Index Leader in Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 11, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about NICE drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

The Value Index for Contact Center in the Cloud: Classification and Rating of 14 Vendors

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 10, 2021 3:00:00 AM

I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud 2021 is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to cloud contact center vendors. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ TCO/ROI and vendor validation. I encourage you to learn more about our Value Index and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool.

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

The Market for Contact Center in the Cloud Software

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 9, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Having just completed the 2021 Ventana Research Value Index for Contact Center in the Cloud, I want to share some of my observations about how the market has advanced since our assessment three years ago. The trend towards cloud deployment for contact center infrastructure has accelerated, partly (but not exclusively) due to the urgency of the 2020 pandemic. CCaaS has been generally accepted as a safe, reliable alternative to premises-based ACDs that also has benefits in cost-control, scalability and rapid technical innovation. There is a consensus within the industry that CCaaS will soon become the dominant deployment mode, with premises tools reserved for niche applications. Vendors report that the majority of their new customers are cloud-focused.

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

Customer Service and Support: Expanded Role and Need for Software

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 27, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Customer service and support (CSS) is a term with two meanings. Most generally, it refers to the functions of a contact center in handling post-sales customer inquiries that require some effort or action on the part of the business. More specifically, it refers to the elements of the software stack that facilitate those operations, primarily case tracking and trouble ticketing.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Analytics, Contact Center, AI and Machine Learning, agent management

Subscription Pricing Changing for Sustained Customer Growth

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on May 20, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Subscription pricing models are no longer new. Many companies have experience with this pricing model even if there has not been complete adoption across their entire product and service offerings. Companies that use this model, or have spent time looking at the approach, understand the approach of a recurring revenue stream based on a repeating flat fee.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Subscription Management

Zoho Builds a CX Suite Inside Zoho One

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 11, 2021 3:00:00 AM

There are many software components that facilitate contact center operations. Historically, the industry has relied, in part, on niche or best-of-breed applications but this is shifting in favor of broadly integrated suites or ecosystems. When we look at CX trends beyond the contact center, the shift is even more pronounced, with the bundling/collection of applications from martech to CRM-incorporating software that were formerly/previously purchased separately.

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

The Voice of the Customer Is Really a Chorus of Voices

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a catch-all term that refers to the collection of customer feedback in various formats. Sometimes this feedback is in the form of quick surveys or reactions to questions like, "Did I resolve your issue today?" or "Would you recommend our service to a friend?" Alternatively, it can be derived from less specific but more numerous data signals that span multiple interactions or across a customer base. Most businesses make an effort to capture some customer feedback.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Contact Center, AI and Machine Learning, agent management

Avaya: Adapting and Focused on CX, CCaaS Success

Posted by Keith Dawson on Apr 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Business phone systems and contact center platforms received renewed attention in 2020 as organizations acquired tools for agents working from home. That put the spotlight on vendors, like Avaya, that have feet in both worlds. Since both forms of communications technology are well-suited to the cloud, Avaya has developed its Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) portfolios in parallel. The effort has borne fruit, with significant product enhancements notched recently. Ventana Research asserts that by 2023, one-quarter of organizations will to UCaaS and CCaaS technologies to collaborate in the enterprise and with customers more effectively.

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

The Experience of Digital Commerce

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Apr 9, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Digital commerce affects almost everyone’s lives. It is hard to remember a time when one could not sign on to a website like Amazon, order a product, pay for it and have it delivered to your front door within days, not weeks. Although catalogues have been around for a century or so, the digital-commerce revolution has changed the way we think about shopping for many of our everyday and special occasion products. Extend this to digital services, such as streaming videos or online games, and there is barely a sector that has not been touched by digital commerce. And, for organizations, it is an essential component of their revenue-management efforts that enables the digital transformation and monetization of goods and services.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Product Information Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Commerce, AI and Machine Learning

8x8 Shows Why CCaaS and UCaaS Should be Unified

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The pandemic accelerated several trends in the contact-center industry that were already underway, chiefly: moving infrastructure and software applications to the cloud, and rethinking the process of managing agents. One byproduct of these trends is a renewed look at the similarities between business-phone systems (also known as unified communications, or UC) and contact center systems (CC).

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Topics: Customer Experience, Analytics, Collaboration, Contact Center, AI and Machine Learning, agent management

Salesforce Service Cloud: Contact Center with Workforce Engagement

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The modern contact center relies heavily on software that enables agents to perform multiple complex tasks while simultaneously managing the customer-facing side of interactions. This has allowed CRM vendors to build tools, such as agent desktop interfaces, that control virtually all aspects of the service environment.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, agent management, sales enablement

The Mandate for Contact Center and Agent Management

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The ways in which consumers engage with organizations have changed. Long-established communication channels such as the telephone, email and company websites are still used, but many consumers now prefer to use text messages, online chat, social media, virtual agents and applications on their mobile devices to contact the company and address issues. As a result, organizations have had to add support for many new channels of customer engagement.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center, agent management

Content Guru Brings CCaaS with Confidence to US

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 19, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Shifts in the market due to the pandemic have upended the contact center marketplace, accelerating the inevitable migration of infrastructure to the cloud and changing the way agents are managed. The pandemic also increased the dependence customers have on contact centers in the absence of in-store buying.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, agent management

Customer Data Platforms: Essential for Effective Customer Experience

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 16, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Since customer data platforms (CDP) emerged in the marketplace about five years ago, there has been debate about what roles they fill, especially within customer service organizations. They were originally developed by small software firms to provide marketing teams with a comprehensive view of customer records. Those records could be scattered throughout an organization, siloed by system and department. CDPs were an attempt to shortcut integration processes that are long, expensive and often custom-designed.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, data artisan, Data Governance, Data Lake, Data Preparation, Data, Information Management (IM), intelligent marketing

The New Verint: Experiences and Engagement with Customers

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Verint has recently separated into two companies, one of which is a dedicated provider of software focused on customer engagement and will keep the Verint name. (The other is called Cognyte and focused on security analytics.)

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Contact Center, agent management

SAP Service Cloud Bridges the Contact Center and the Back Office

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The contact center is still, for most businesses, where customer experience is designed, delivered and measured. And as we might expect, customer experience (CX) tools are migrating from where they started point solutions based on narrow functions into broader suites that encompass multi-departmental functions and reach across customer journeys. The goal is to provide more consistency across interactions, and to provide organizations with deeper insights into customer behavior along with control over the various moments of influence that occur along the lifecycle.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Digital Commerce, Enterprise Resource Planning, agent management

The 2021 Market Agenda for Customer Experience: Achieving Excellence in Engagement

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 24, 2021 3:30:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2021 market agenda in the expertise area of Customer Experience. Most organizations have some degree of focus on managing how they interact with their customers, but it is often a disjointed and constrained process. Developing an effective customer experience has become an investment priority in recent years as organizations increasingly recognize the importance of good experiences to profitability, customer longevity and advocacy on behalf of brands.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Management, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service

The Ventana Research 2021 Market Agenda: How Digital Effectiveness Impacts Organizational Agility

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 17, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research has announced its market agenda for 2021, continuing the tradition of transparency in our efforts to educate and guide the technology market but also our independence as we do not share our market agenda or analyst perspectives with any external party. Each year, we proudly formulate our market agenda that is not biased by clients or the technology industry, focusing on education rather than the prospect of consulting or software revenue. We review and refine our plan throughout the year to ensure we offer the expertise and insights organizations rely on to better understand – and navigate – the direction of the technology industry.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Office of Sales, Digital Business

How to Take Advantage of AI/ML Today

Posted by David Menninger on Feb 8, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The industry is making huge strides with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). There is more data available to analyze. Analytics vendors have made it easier to build and deploy models, and AI/ML is being embedded into many types of applications. Organizations are realizing the value that AI/ML provides and there are now millions of professionals with AI or ML in their title or job description. AI/ML is even being used to make many aspects of itself easier. Organizations that want to build and deploy their own AI/ML models need to be realistic about the capabilities that are available today. As a practical matter, organizations should anticipate that a robust AI/ML deployment in the current environment requires a set of specialized skills and operational processes, including data operations (dataops) and ML operations (MLops). Collaboration across these disciplines and processes is also required.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Preparation, Digital Technology, AI and Machine Learning

The Opportunity for CX is Beyond Your Contact Center

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The contact center has long represented the starting point for customer experience initiatives. Now, however, most organizations are finding that they need to invest beyond this singular point of engagement. When organizations look at customer experience holistically, they see the need to incorporate the perspectives of people in other departments and channels of customer engagement. These diverse new points of view come with an interest in deploying CX technology that also meets their needs. As a result, organizations are looking at not just vendors traditionally in the contact center space but those that operate across the entire customer journey, and shifting some of the existing contact center budgets to tools that fill multiple roles.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Contact Center

Intelligent Virtual Agents Are an Imperative for Digital Self-Service

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 22, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The pandemic has raised the stakes for self-service in every part of the customer journey. In 2020, the customer service industry underwent a shock to its collective system by pulling up stakes and moving agents to remote work. At the same time, consumers moved away from in-person interactions in stores and branches. This systemic disruption has led to longer call wait times and tougher interactions because collaborating and accessing company data systems from outside the office is difficult.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center, Digital Technology, natural language processing, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, agent management

Teradata Vantage CX: The Real Customer Data Platform

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 8, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Teradata is not a name that is commonly associated with the customer experience marketplace, but that is likely to change as customer experience (CX) practitioners wrestle with the problems created by the multiple streams of data thrown off by the many applications and customer touchpoints they have to manage. Teradata’s Vantage CX is a tool for ingesting and managing customer information at great scale, combining the functions of a modern CDP with the analytics that makes customer data actionable.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Contact Center, Data, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, AI and Machine Learning, intelligent marketing

Trends in Contact Center Market for 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 22, 2020 3:00:00 AM

This has been a dramatic year for contact centers. The underlying technology has been changing for some time, but that change is now accelerating because of the urgent operational shifts forced by the pandemic. When you can’t gather dozens or hundreds of people into a single, open-plan site, you must look at alternative models for staffing and interaction handling. You must also work harder to create positive customer experiences across multiple contact channels.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Digital Commerce, AI and Machine Learning, Subscription Management, agent management

Reltio Connected Customer 360 earns our 13th Digital Innovation Award for Marketing

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 21, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcases advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to improved efficiency and productivity in the processes and the performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations that advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce

Talkdesk: CX Cloud earns our 13th Digital Innovation Award for Customer Experience

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 13, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcases advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to improved efficiency and productivity in the processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy innovations in technology that advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Conversational Computing, collaborative computing, agent management

8x8: Open Communications Platform earns our 13th Digital Innovation Award for Digital Technology

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 9, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcases advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to improved efficiency and productivity in the processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations that advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Analytics, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, blockchain, employee experience, candidate engagement, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, agent management, extended reality, business digital commerce, work experience management

ServiceNow: Now Platform earns our Overall Digital Innovation Award

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 6, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcases advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to improved efficiency and productivity in the processes and the performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations that advance business and IT.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Contact Center, Workforce Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting, robotic finance, employee experience, continuous supply chain, agent management, work experience management

Why I Joined Ventana Research

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 1, 2020 3:00:00 AM

It’s very exciting to embark on a new chapter of one’s career, so I am thrilled to be joining Ventana Research to lead the practice of expertise in customer experience (CX). Some who know me might remember that I’ve been in this industry since a much younger version of me edited Call Center Magazine in the 1990s and 2000s. Others might have crossed paths in my role at several industry analyst firms. I’ve been around for quite a while, invigorate and help CX emerge as a competitive differentiator in the industry, watching successive waves of technological and operational changes wash over this industry. So what’s special about this moment, for the CX industry, for Ventana Research and for myself?

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

Zuora and Subscription Management: Suite and Platform to Address Digital Business

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 28, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The last decade has seen exponential growth amongst subscription-based business models. Pioneered in the B2C market with cloud-based SaaS offerings, the last decade has seen exponential growth in the share of the economy that is now subscription based. Increasingly, this modern business model is permeating throughout more traditional style industries and companies. But regardless of whether a company is natively subscription based, or is transitioning, maintaining this growth requires organizations to foster long-term relationships with customers and deliver products and services that get better over time.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, embedded analytics, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Commerce, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting, natural language processing, robotic finance, AI and Machine Learning, revenue and lease accounting, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales, sales enablement

Subscription and Usage Management Technology Needs for the Modern Economy

Posted by Stephen Hurrell on Sep 11, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Subscription-based business models have seen exponential growth over the last decade. The growth of this recurring revenue business model, where a subscriber commits to repeatedly pay for a good or device for a fixed or indefinite timeline, has been caused by the shift from the one-time selling of physical products to selling digital services on a subscription basis. The first phase of this transformation was led by “digitally native” organizations, typically B2C, that have only ever offered services via subscription. Although a large market in its own right, it is still dwarfed by businesses selling physical products. But this market is also changing, as more and more traditional organizations transition some or all of their revenue to the subscription economy. Ventana Research asserts that through 2023, fewer than half of organizations will have the correct technology in place to support such a transition. This Analyst Perspective looks at some of the key implications of this transition and what it means for technology choices as companies move toward a subscription management approach to overseeing the subscribers and usage of their products and services.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, embedded analytics, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Commerce, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting, natural language processing, robotic finance, AI and Machine Learning, revenue and lease accounting, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales, sales enablement

The Business Continuity Imperative: Price and Revenue Management for Resilience in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 2, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Economic dynamics and market pressures during a black-swan event can wreak havoc on efforts to effectively manage revenue operations and pricing for business continuity. For many organizations, environmental changes disrupt the methods by which these essential business processes are managed can be disrupted, damaging the revenue streams that create profitability. The array of pricing strategies and related promotional tactics across channels for configure, price and quote (CPQ), digital commerce and subscription management can challenge the best of organizations. Leadership must examine the agility of pricing management to determine if they have ability to make and manage changes to determine the effectiveness of decisions. This requires visibility into revenue operations and selling channels, which in turn requires programs, processes and technology designed to meet the needs of what is called price and revenue management (PRM).  

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Internet of Things, Data, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, Workforce Planning, Price and Revenue Management, Total Compensation Management, Conversational Computing

The Business Continuity Imperative: Experience Management across Business for Organizational Effectiveness in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Jul 26, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Over the past several months, I have discussed a wide range of topics that organizations must consider and appropriately prioritize to maintain business continuity during periods of upheaval. But sometimes it’s important to take a step back and reflect on a critical and recurring theme: experiences. The array of experiences across the workforce and business processes both inside and outside of the organization are an essential part of an organization’s success. Leadership must give these experiences the attention they deserve, and this requires visibility into operations and the tools to measure effectiveness, especially during black-swan events. Fulfilling this objective requires the programs, processes and technology designed to meet the needs of what is called experience management (XM).

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Internet of Things, Data, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, Workforce Planning, Operations & Supply Chain, Total Compensation Management, Conversational Computing

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Workforce Experience and Human Capital Management in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Jul 12, 2020 6:00:00 AM

The workforce is an essential part of an organization’s overall business potential because it ensures continuous operations, even in black-swan events. The workforce is the core of the organization and should get the attention it deserves. In challenging times, a “customer-first” mentality tends to take hold — this is not unreasonable but in focusing on satisfying customers and opportunities, business leaders too often forget that the workforce experience is essential to achieving desired results. Fulfilling this objective requires technology designed to meet these human capital management (HCM) objectives. An organization’s agility and ability to invest adequate time and resources into the workforce experience is essential to an organization’s sustainability and operational effectiveness.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Continuous Planning, Business Continuity, Analytics, Business Planning, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Robotic Process Automation, employee experience, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, agent management, People Analytics

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Digital Experience in Marketing for 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 28, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Marketing is inextricably linked to business success, and digital technology is essential to an organization’s overall marketing potential because it generates interest and brand awareness. In a black-swan event, the marketing department often is overwhelmed by short-term demands, so in these situations it’s of the essence that digital transformation gets the attention it deserves. In challenging times, a “putting-out-fires” mentality tends to take hold — this is not unreasonable but in focusing on satisfying the interest of the moment, business leaders too often forget that a consistent digital experience is essential to engaging consumers, the public and customers in a way that contributes to long-term success. Fulfilling this objective requires technology designed to deliver for marketing to meet this essential imperative. An organization’s agility and ability to invest adequate time and resources into marketing technology that enables a superior digital experience is essential for its sustainability and operational effectiveness.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Data, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Conversational Computing

Modernizing PIM for Product Experience Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 25, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Today’s businesses must manage a continually expanding array of data, content and digital assets as well as satisfy the demands of consumers for comprehensive product information. Addressing these challenges requires unified processes and automated systems and, most importantly, the ability to augment and enrich product information. Our earlier PIM research found that more than half (52%) of organizations have incompatible tools and almost half (48%) must cope with disparate forms of data. These are situations that lead to wasted time and inefficiency in checking for errors and reconciling data across systems.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, PIM, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Intelligent CX, product experience management, PXM

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Agent and Customer with Contact Centers in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Ventana Research on Jun 21, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Contact centers play a substantial role in an organization’s success. The customer journey is engaged here, at each moment of interaction. Agents, whether human or machine-driven, are intrinsic to the customer experience and the value of the contact center. Customers are essential to an organizations’ overall business potential because they generate revenue. In a black-swan event, demand for customer service may spike or dip, so in these situations it’s of the essence that agents get the attention they deserve. In challenging times, a “customer-first” mentality tends to take hold — this is natural, but in focusing on satisfying customers, business leaders too often forget that the agent experience is essential to effective customer engagement. Fulfilling this objective requires contact center technology designed for this purpose. An organization’s agility and ability to invest adequate time and resources into agents is essential for its sustainability and contact center effectiveness.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Data, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Conversational Computing

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Subscriber Experience and Subscription Management in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 14, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Subscriptions are the future of business. Subscribers are essential to an organization’s overall business potential because they generate recurring revenue. In a black-swan event, demand for a subscription may spike or dip, so in these situations it’s of the essence that subscriptions get the attention they deserve. In challenging times, a “subscriber-first” mentality tends to take hold — this is not unreasonable but in focusing on satisfying subscribers, business leaders too often forget that the subscription experience is essential to retaining them. Fulfilling this objective requires technology designed for subscriptions. An organization’s agility and ability to invest adequate time and resources into subscriptions is essential for its sustainability and operational effectiveness.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Data, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Subscription Billing, Conversational Computing, Subscription Management, Subscriber Experience

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Partner Experience and Channel Performance Agenda

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 10, 2020 5:50:52 PM

Partners play a key role in the revenue and growth of every organization. Whether channel selling is in assistance to internal sales or independent, what happens in partnering has ramifications that are simply too important to underestimate. The imperative to maintain business continuity with channel partners becomes painfully clear in a global pandemic, and that imperative demands that organizations cultivate partner excellence and channel performance. This effort should start with partner leadership and operations, with the objective of building channel relationships that can survive the test of time. Effective sales channel partnerships are built on mutual trust and a shared belief in the market opportunity, and recruiting and managing partners must be supported by effective processes and technology. The health of these relationships and the resulting revenue from the channel hinges on an effective partner experience, and this requires technology investments that enable leaders to not just manage channel performance, but help inspire it every single day.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Internet of Things, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Conversational Computing, partner management, Partner Experience

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Product Experience for Buyer and Customer Delight in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on May 31, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Products and services are the foundation of every organization, regardless of its industry or size. Products are essential to an organization’s overall business health because they generate revenue and engage buyers and customers. In a black-swan event, demand for a product may spike or dip, so in these situations it’s of the essence that products get the attention they deserve as they are marketed, sold, serviced and enhanced with innovations. In challenging times, a “customer-first” mentality tends to take hold — this is not unreasonable but in a rush to satisfy customers, business leaders too often forget that the product experience is essential to fulfilling on the customer experience and satisfying customers and buyers. An organization’s agility and ability to invest adequate time and resources into products is essential for its sustainability and operational effectiveness.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Data, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Conversational Computing, product experience management

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Supplier Relationship and Experience

Posted by Mark Smith on May 10, 2020 6:30:00 AM

Suppliers play a critical role in supporting the operations and processes of every organization. Whether direct or indirect, an organization’s relationship with its suppliers has ramifications that are perilous to underestimate. The imperative to maintain business continuity becomes painfully clear in a global pandemic, and that imperative demands that organizations cultivate excellent supplier relationships.  

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Internet of Things, Data, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Conversational Computing

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Voice and Mission of Your Customer Experience

Posted by Mark Smith on May 3, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Supercharging the customer experience (CX) is more than just an opportunity. It’s essential for every organization that looks to optimize engagement at every moment of the customer journey. In times such as these, when business continuity is a top priority, organizations must address the customer experience, especially if it has not been a focal point of the executive team.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Intelligent CX, Conversational Computing

The Business Continuity Imperative: Digital Technology for Optimal Operations in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 26, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The imperative to infuse digital technology into your organization is not new, but it’s more essential than ever that organizations embrace digital transformation and business continuity to improve processes. I have recently written about the need for digital innovation in business continuity, outlining the steps every organization needs to take. These steps involve a close examination of the digital technology they can apply effectively for business continuity during a pandemic, natural disaster, cyber event or geopolitical situation.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data, Digital Technology

The Business Continuity Imperative: Digital Innovation for Optimal Experiences in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 19, 2020 3:00:00 AM

At Ventana Research we’re familiar with the need for digital transformation as we have been researching and providing education on this topic for almost two decades. And recent global challenges make even clearer the sea change at hand: digital innovation is essential for not only success, but survival. Business continuity during a pandemic, natural disaster, cyber event or geopolitical situation requires business and risk mitigation processes, but unfortunately very few organizations had been doing so. We are seeing how quickly organizations are going into survival mode, in how they operate and communicate to meet the expectations of the workforce, customers, stakeholders and potentially shareholders.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, HCM, Marketing, Office of Finance, Business Continuity, Analytics, Digital Technology

Incentive Solutions Shows Potential in Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 20, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on Incentive Solutions drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated Incentive Solutions and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

NICE is a Leader in Reliability for Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 18, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on NICE drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated NICE and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Mobile Technology, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

beqom is a Value Index Leader for Manageability in Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 16, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on beqom drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated beqom and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

SAP Provides Mature and Balanced Sales Performance Management Offering

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 13, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on SAP drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated SAP and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

Optymyze Provides Robust Platform and Sales Performance Management Suite

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 11, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on Optymyze drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated Optymyze and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

Anaplan is a Value Index Leader for Validation in Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 9, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on Anaplan drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated Anaplan and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

Varicent is a Value Index Leader in Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2019 7:00:00 AM

With the backing of Great Hill Partners and Spectrum Equity, the company Varicent Software launched on Jan. 1st, purchasing IBM’s Sales Performance Management (SPM) assets and hiring employees from IBM’s SPM group. They will join a new team that includes Varicent’s original founders and key leadership.

This set of insights is drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated IBM, now Varicent, and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

Xactly Demonstrates Strong Performance in SPM Value Index

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 4, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on Xactly drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated Xactly and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

Oracle Leads Sales Performance Management Value Index

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 2, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Here are some insights on Oracle drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic assessment of how well vendor offerings address buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index on Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We evaluated Oracle and eight other vendors in seven categories, five product-related adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two concerning the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each of the seven categories to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on data derived from our benchmark research on sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

A 360-Degree View of the Customer Journey Can Provide Customer Experience Insights

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 7, 2019 7:00:00 AM

For interactions with customers to go well, organizations must manage an ever-increasing array of engagement channels. Our research finds that organizations expect to see interaction volumes increase on all channels, especially digital ones such as text-based messaging, chat, mobile and social apps. Unfortunately, the systems that manage these channels are typically disparate and uncoordinated and may not use the same underlying technology. This makes it difficult for organizations to coordinate customer interactions consistently and provide the best possible customer experience.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, business intelligence, embedded analytics, Analytics, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, blockchain, natural language processing, data lakes, Intelligent CX, AI and Machine Learning, Subscription Management, agent management, extended reality

Technology Really Does Matter for Customer Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 5, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Using customer analytics effectively involves several challenges. Organizations must make it a business priority, cultivate leadership and set a course for ensuring data and analytics are being processed and governed effectively. But effectiveness also requires technology that will assist in the effective operations and management of customers and help an organization achieve its goals.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, embedded analytics, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, blockchain, natural language processing, data lakes, Intelligent CX, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, extended reality

Identifying the Leaders in Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 31, 2019 7:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insights from our latest Value Index research, which rates how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). The Ventana Research Value Index: Sales Performance Management 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. Drawing on our benchmark research and expertise, this research-based index is the first such evaluation to assess the full business value of sales performance management software. You can learn more about our Value Index as an effective vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool here and participating vendors can learn more about how to use the Value Index here.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

Achieve Fatter Margins with Dynamic CPQ

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 30, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Configure, price and quote (CPQ) software has been around for decades. Lately, I’ve been using the term “Dynamic CPQ” to apply to a variant of this software category that explicitly aims to produce a quote that optimizes the trade-off between the profitability of a deal and the probability of closing a sale. Dynamic CPQ software is a hybrid of price and revenue optimization (PRO) software and CPQ, providing companies with the ability to better execute their market share and pricing strategies. It’s designed especially for business-to-business (B2B) relationships that involve sales agents in the pricing process.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, robotic finance, revenue and lease accounting, sales enablement

Effective Customer Analytics Requires Comprehensive Data and Metrics

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 29, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Customer analytics have never been more important, but effectively creating and managing them is not easy. The data that’s required to achieve visibility into all customer activity involves many applications and systems and it’s a challenge to ensure the data used is accurate and consistent. Even once data is assembled, organizations often struggle to apply analytics to create the metrics that best represent an understanding of the past and, more importantly, the path to the future.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, embedded analytics, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Lake, Data Preparation, Information Management, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, blockchain, natural language processing, Intelligent CX, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, Subscription Management, agent management, extended reality

The Science of Sales Performance Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 24, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Ensuring that the sales organization contributes as fully as possible to the success of the organization — to revenue, growth, prof itability and the overall customer experience — requires not only dedication but effective strategy and planning. A well-developed strategy and plan to utilize current and future sales talent is essential for the best possible sales performance. To carry out this mission, organizations need a set of coordinated sales-related activities, processes and systems that enable the sales organization, from leadership and operations to the manager and sellers, to operate in a coordinated and collaborative manner. We call this sales performance management.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Predictive Planning, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, intelligent sales

The Challenges in Customer Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 22, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Today’s intense competition requires that companies know as much as they can about their customers in order to anticipate their needs and deliver a superior customer experience. However, many organizations struggle to do this well. Implementing initiatives to improve customer value across any department or process involving customers requires both in-depth visibility into current operations and excellent metrics.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, business intelligence, embedded analytics, Analytics, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Data, Digital Commerce, blockchain, natural language processing, data lakes, Intelligent CX, Conversational Computing, AI and Machine Learning, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, agent management, extended reality

Dynamic Insights Research on Sales Analytics Guides Innovation, not Evolution

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 4, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Having effective analytics enables businesses to understand far better than ever before the data they’re collecting, and to do so in greater volumes and more forms. These new capabilities are especially relevant to sales organizations. When applied to sales data, analytics can help sales teams achieve quotas and forecast more consistently, as well as understand the impacts of incentives and maximize the potential of territories, all of which help improve sales performance. These benefits provide the foundation for a business case to adopt analytics tools that generate information to guide actions and decision-making for sales organizations.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, business intelligence, embedded analytics, Analytics, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Data, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, blockchain, natural language processing, data lakes, Intelligent CX, AI and Machine Learning, Subscription Management, agent management

Dynamic Insights from Research on Finance Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 19, 2019 8:30:00 AM

By itself, data isn’t useful for business; the application of analytics is necessary to transform data into actionable information. Data analysis of one sort or another has long been a core competence of finance departments, applied to balance sheets, income statements or cash flow statements. Today, however, Finance must go beyond these basics by expanding the scope of the data being examined to include all financial and operational information that can yield actionable insights. Analysis thus should include, for example, data from the systems that manage sales operations, human resources and field service and that data must be available to all departments and applications that need it.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Voice of the Customer, embedded analytics, Learning Management, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Lake, Data Preparation, Information Management, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Data, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, ERP and Continuous Accounting, blockchain, natural language processing, robotic finance, Predictive Planning, candidate engagement, Intelligent CX, Conversational Computing, Continuous Payroll, AI and Machine Learning, revenue and lease accounting, collaborative computing, mobile computing, Subscription Management, total rewards management, intelligent marketing, intelligent sales

Straight-Through Processing for Business and Commerce

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 31, 2019 6:00:00 AM

“Straight-through processing” (STP) is a business process and data architecture methodology. Technology advances have made STP increasingly feasible for any business process, allowing companies to design and execute them from inception to completion in a more automated fashion, minimizing or eliminating human intervention in the process. The associated data also progresses automatically end-to-end through the process, preserving its integrity. Because there is no human intervention, data is more accurate and less prone to manipulation.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Recurring Revenue, Data Governance, Financial Performance Management, Digital Commerce, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Billing and Recurring Revenue

AWS Lags in Connecting Contact Centers in Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on AWS drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated AWS and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud. 

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

8x8 Brings Good to Contact Center in the Cloud Market

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 3, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on 8x8 drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated 8x8 and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud. .

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

IFS brings Focus to CX with Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 29, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on IFS-mplsystems drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated IFS-mplsystems and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Altitude Brings Simplification to Customer Engagement for Contact Centers

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 26, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on Altitude drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated Altitude and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Five9 Brings Balanced Value to Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 21, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on Five9 drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated Five9 and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

RingCentral Brings SMB Value to Contact Centers

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 19, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on RingCentral drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated RingCentral and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Content Guru Brings Manageable Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 15, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on Content Guru drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated Content Guru and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

NewVoiceMedia Demonstrates its Validation in Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 13, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on NewVoiceMedia drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated NewVoiceMedia and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, NewVoicemedia, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Value Index, Workforce Optimization

Serenova Simplifies Contact Center in the Cloud for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 8, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on Serenova drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated Serenova and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Genesys Brings a Pure Focus to Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 5, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on Genesys drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated Genesys and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Cisco Unified Contact Centers in Cloud Computing with BroadSoft

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 29, 2018 8:53:14 AM

I am happy to share some insight on BroadSoft drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated BroadSoft and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Aspect Brings Great TCO and ROI for Contact Centers in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 25, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on Aspect Software drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated Aspect Software and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

NICE inContact Leads the Pack in Contact Center in Cloud Value Index

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 22, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insight on NICE inContact drawn from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for contact centers in the cloud. We evaluated NICE inContact and 12 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Salesforce Brings Conversation and Customer Experience to the Forefront

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Dreamforce has become the largest enterprise software event for businesses in the United States, and it is evident why when looking at it this year. With over 170,000 business and IT professionals attending, Salesforce came to show off upcoming product announcements and innovations. This year's biggest focus was on Einstein Voice (a personalized and intelligent conversational assistant), integration with other platforms, and Salesforce Customer 360. The last of these is the start of an answer to a problem we have well documented; businesses struggle getting a full view of the customer and provide a frictionless response to issues and interactions. For the full breakdown of Dreamforce 2018, and my analysis of all the largest announcements, watch my hot take video.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Marketing, Voice of the Customer, CRM, Dreamforce, Sales Performance Management, SPM, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Robotic Process Automation, AI, natural language processing

2018 Value Index for Contact Center in the Cloud Vendor Ratings

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 15, 2018 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insights gleaned from our latest research. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud in 2018 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. Drawing on our benchmark research, we utilize a structured research methodology with evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to vendors in contact centers in the cloud. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). This research-based index is the first such industry undertaking to assess the full business value of software designed for enabling a contact center in the cloud. You can learn more about our Value Index as an effective vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool at https://www.ventanaresearch.com/value-indexes/inclusion.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Supercharging Customer Experiences Through Contact Centers in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 11, 2018 6:00:00 AM

An intensified focus on the customer is driving the trend toward enabling omnichannel support in contact centers, our benchmark research on contact centers in the cloud has found. In my last analyst perspective I highlighted some key benefits of a contact center in the cloud. In this perspective, I want to elaborate on the finding that only about one-third (35%) of organizations participating in our benchmark research said their customers are satisfied with the way interactions are handled. Far more (47%) said their customers are only somewhat satisfied, which may not be good enough in a fiercely competitive marketplace. Not surprisingly, improving the customer's experience is the most common motivator (cited by 82%) for change in the technology being used.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

Embracing New Channels Through Contact Center and Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 8, 2018 6:00:00 AM

To remain competitive, organizations must deliver the best possible customer experience through all channels of engagement. One technological approach to accomplish this is to enable a contact center to handle all the channels through which customer interactions with the organization are routed and acted upon. The contact center continues to need to handle telephony, of course, as this remains a channel that carries a significant portion of interactions. But new channels continue to be added to the interaction mix. With the advent of cloud computing, enabling systems and technologies to be managed on the Internet rather than on the premises of an organization, contact centers can be established and interaction channels can be added and configured far more easily.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization

PROS Enables Modern Commerce with Dynamic CPQ

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 16, 2018 11:29:51 PM

PROS Holdings is a software vendor with two distinct but related sets of products. The company began in 1985 offering revenue management software to airlines, hospitality and rental car companies. More recently it added price and revenue management software focusing on B2B services, chemicals and energy, consumer goods manufacturers, food and beverage, healthcare, insurance and technology. This note focuses on the B2B portion of the business.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data Preparation, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Pricing and Promotion Management, Sales Enablement and Execution

AI in Business: Hypocrisy and Opportunity

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 6, 2018 8:17:49 AM

We now are well beyond the year depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey, a cinematic perspective on the future of artificial intelligence in which HAL 9000, a computer, is able to simulate human behavior and control machines. Anyone reviewing the past two years of marketing around AI in the business technology industry can be forgiven for believing that we have arrived at the futuristic state Stanley Kubrick imagined. We have not.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Mobile Technology, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Preparation, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Information Optimization, Digital Technology, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Cybersecurity, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Workforce Optimization, collaboration for business

GDPR: Business or Technology Vendors Ready or Not?

Posted by Mark Smith on May 11, 2018 8:37:05 AM

We are have arrived at the May 25, 2018 date when the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR) become enforceable, following what has been a two-year transition period. Companies were given this time to put in place reasonable measures and the systems necessary to support the legislation’s wide-ranging personal data privacy requirements, which apply to any organization with more than 250 employees that serves EU citizens. While this regulation will apply in the EU, it has implications for any organization in the world that provides services involving the personal data of any EU citizen.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Mobile, Sales, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Marketing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Preparation, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Cybersecurity, Billing and Recurring Revenue, collaboration for business, mobile marketing

Beyond Digital Transformation: Effective Technology Innovation in 2018

Posted by Mark Smith on May 7, 2018 12:56:06 AM

Advancing the potential of any business requires continuous improvement in the processes and technology that support it. Many companies have embraced attempts at a digital transformation, and it’s become a goal to which organizational resources and budgets have been dedicated around the globe.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Mobile, Sales, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Machine Learning, Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Mobile Technology, Office of Finance, Wearable Computing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Preparation, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Information Optimization, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Pricing and Promotion Management, Cybersecurity, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Workforce Optimization, collaboration for business, mobile marketing

NewVoiceMedia Invests for Contact Center in the Cloud Success

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 17, 2017 7:42:19 AM

2017 has been a year of major changes in the contact center market: several significant acquisitions, vendors expanding their capabilities to support more channels of engagement, a continued trend to move products to the cloud and, as a result, more vendors expanding their global presence. One such vendor is NewVoiceMedia. When I last wrote about the company I pointed out that when it was founded in 2000 it was one of the first vendors to move telephony management to the cloud and offer contact center in the cloud services. At the time I wrote my perspective, it had just raised considerable funding to help it further develop the product and expand its presence around the globe.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Customer Journey Maps, Workforce Optimization

NICE Brings Employee Engagement to Enhance Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 6, 2017 5:52:51 AM

2017 has been a year of major changes in the contact center market. There have been more acquisitions than in any year I can remember. There have also been more partnerships announced, which have at least in part been enabled by the advance of cloud-based systems. The move to the cloud has continued apace, along with the addition of new capabilities that allow employees to access systems from mobile devices. Vendors have of course announced many updates to existing systems, as well as exciting new developments around technologies such as video, collaboration, artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analysis and bots. Moreover, several new vendors have popped out of the woodwork with innovative new products.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Workforce Optimization

Why All the Fuss about Customer Journey Maps?

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 20, 2017 9:23:18 AM

A few years ago, we carried out benchmark research into customer service best practices. A key element of the research was to compare the approaches of the nearly three-fifths (58%) of organizations that described themselves as very customer-focused and the remaining two-fifths (42%) that are not so focused on their customers.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center, Customer Journey Maps, Digital transformation

Zuora Maximizes Potential of Subscription Billing Portfolio

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 12, 2017 8:59:00 AM

At the recent Zuora Subscribed17 London event, Founder and CEO Tien Tzuo took about 10 minutes to demonstrate that over the last 12 months the subscription economy has grown considerably and assert that Zuora is committed to supporting organizations that make the transition to such a business model. The numbers Tzuo presented were impressive but more striking still was the understanding that emerged during the event and at a lunch for analysts of the nature of the transition companies are going through: software companies moving from on-premises to cloud-based models, a major industrial vehicles-for-hire company moving from renting out machines to providing subscription-based services so the organization hiring the vehicles knows exactly what the machines are up to and how to get best value out of them, a car manufacturer moving to renting cars on a subscription basis based on miles driven, a utility company increasingly automating people’s homes, and a real estate firm providing access to legal advice and mortgage experts as needed.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Digital transformation

Verint Desktop Provides Omnichannel Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 1, 2017 9:43:43 AM

A lot is being written and said about the omnichannel customer experience and the role contact center agents play in providing such experiences. From the customer’s perspective, I think it boils down to four things: that the interaction is easy, personal to them, within the context of the relationship and previous interactions, and consistent no matter with whom or what technology they interact. From the agent or user’s perspective, it should be easy to find the information needed to resolve the interaction to the customer’s satisfaction, and he or she must be empowered to resolve any issues that arise.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Robotic Process Automation, Workforce Optimization

Five9 Launches Global Engagement Center

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 3, 2017 10:01:00 AM

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows the telephone is far from dead as a channel of customer engagement. Although the research shows other channels are likely to grow more quickly over the next two years, nearly half (46%) of organizations said they expect to see significant or some growth in the volume of calls they need to handle. So, as well as supporting additional digital channels of engagement, organizations must ensure the way they handle calls meets customer expectations. Primarily this means that there are no delays, voice quality is good and customers get consistent responses no matter who they engage with.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Workforce Optimization, Revenue

NICE Integrates Cloud Platform for Customer Engagement

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 28, 2017 9:17:37 AM

Our benchmark research over the last couple of years confirms what we all instinctively know: Consumers engage with each other and organizations using an increasing number of engagement channels. Indeed, our latest research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows the average number of channels organizations now support has grown to almost eight. The same research confirms that organizations now realize the way to compete is to match or exceed customer expectations regarding how these interactions are handled. Summing these expectations up, customer engagement must be easy, personalized, in-context and above all consistent across all channels.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Robotic Process Automation, Customer Journey Maps, Workforce Optimization

Aspect Software Makes Progress with New Customer Engagement Center

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 2, 2017 8:56:04 AM

Not many years ago, building and running a contact center was a complex task. Organizations typically had to license all the systems they required (most of them proprietary and on-premises), customize them to meet their requirements and integrate them into a workable architecture. But beyond all the systems issues, the key to running the center was forecasting the right number of skilled agents that would be needed to handle expected interaction patterns and then routing calls to the most skilled agent for that specific interaction.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Robotic Process Automation, Customer Journey Maps, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Workforce Optimization, Digital transformation

RingCentral Integrates Contact Center and Unified Communications

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 2, 2017 8:40:00 AM

Customer engagement is undergoing its biggest transformation in decades. Consumers now use a significantly greater number and variety of channels to engage with organizations – everything from phone, email and the corporate website to social media, text messaging, chat, mobile apps and video. This is forcing organizations to change in order not to miss out on business opportunities.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Contact Center, Omnichannel, Robotic Process Automation, Customer Journey Maps, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Workforce Optimization

Amazon Web Services Introduces Turmoil to Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 26, 2017 10:01:28 AM

I have been involved in the call center market for around 30 years, first as a consultant building call centers for organizations and later as an analyst covering developments in organizations’ customer engagement best practices and vendor product developments. Looking back over the first 20, maybe even 25 years, it has been a slowly developing market. Early call centers essentially included an on-premises ACD or PBX, call routing software, computer telephony integration (CTI) software that could identify the caller and display a page from a selected system – typically CRM – on the screen of the agent handling the call. For the most part, agents were left to their own devices to handle the call, although some organizations developed scripts. Such centers were so successful, organizations began to see the true cost of handling all these interactions, so many started to deploy “call avoidance” systems such as IVR and FAQs on the corporate website to try and cut down costs.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center

Verint Ups Its Game in Knowledge Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 21, 2017 7:36:25 AM

Customer engagement is nothing new – organizations have been engaging with customers in one way or another ever since business began. Over the years, however, the nature of this engagement has changed dramatically, from largely face-to-face encounters and the written word to telephone, email, fax and text messaging and now to text-based applications, social media, mobile apps and video. These changes prompted organizations to create call centers to centralize the handling of phone calls, then contact centers that handle multiple channels of engagement, more recently, self-service channels like IVR and web-based FAQs, to the latest customer engagement centers that embrace all aspects of engaging with customers. Responding to these changes, Verint, best known as a workforce optimization vendor, has extended its suite of products to include a customer engagement center suite.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center, Workforce Optimization, Knowledge Management

Genesys Doubles Down on Customer Experience Platform

Posted by Richard Snow on Jul 17, 2017 12:54:43 AM

Today many conversations about contact centers and CRM focus on customer engagement and the customer experience. Customer engagement should be relatively straightforward, addressing how organizations interact with customers through different channels of engagement. However, when it comes to customer experience, I believe many miss the point. The key word is experience, which means it is ultimately about perceptions and emotions. Companies must consider how customers feel prior to, during and after interactions. A common example would be a customer who feels frustrated when he or she gets a bill and believes it is wrong, who then gets angry talking to an agent who can do nothing about it and, as a result, considers changing suppliers.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Contact Center, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Workforce Optimization

Technology Improves Customer Experience: Does Yours?

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 29, 2017 10:11:41 AM

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement finds that three-quarters (77%) of organizations participating in the research said it is very important to improve the way they engage with customers. The two main drivers behind this are improving the customer experience (cited by 74%) and im­proving performance of the custo­mer service organization (70%). This is important because most companies said their customers have good experiences, but only one-third said that experience is excellent.

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Topics: Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Digital Technology, Omnichannel, Customer Journey Maps, Billing and Recurring Revenue

Customer Expectations Remain a Business and Technology Challenge

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 14, 2017 1:41:31 AM

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows that companies use, on average, seven channels of communication to engage customers. It also finds that supporting multiple channels leads to several challenges for organizations, chiefly difficulty of integrating systems (49%), channels managed as silos (47%) and inconsistent responses across channels (33%). Today’s customers have little sympathy for such problems – they quickly lose patience, and customer satisfaction levels fall. This problem in customer satisfaction will likely intensify. In our research, organizations reported that they expect volumes of interactions to increase on all channels and more digital channels such as text messaging, chat, mobile apps and video. In addition, to resolve more interactions at the first point of contact, organizations are using more employees in back-office groups such as finance, HR and operations.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Customer Service, Contact Center

NICE Evolves Workforce Optimization Portfolio for Customer Excellence

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 1, 2017 10:14:55 AM

I recently discussed how NICE continues to invest in its core products while creating a full customer experience platform, combining its core offerings with products newly acquired  from inContact and Nexidia. During two recent briefings, I learned that these investments continue at quite a pace; the company announced a new product to address the ever-increasing number of channels of engagement, and another so that smaller centers with less sophisticated requirements can take advantage of a specialized workforce management product.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Customer Service, Contact Center

Pitney Bowes Innovates Customer Engagement

Posted by Richard Snow on May 23, 2017 10:10:40 AM

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that organizations are supporting more and more channels of engagement; an emerging one is video. Adoption rates suggest that use of this technology for customer service is still in its early days, but as more consumers make video calls using mobile apps such as FaceTime, WhatsApp and Skype, we expect adoption rates and usage to increase. During two recent briefings I learned that Pitney Bowes has built a portfolio of products to support various uses of video.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Customer Service, Contact Center

Zuora Acquires Leeyo for Revenue Recognition

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 22, 2017 9:17:52 AM

Zuora, a subscription commerce and billing software company, recently acquired Leeyo, a company that provides software that automates the revenue recognition and forecasting processes. The terms were not disclosed. The acquisition is relevant to subscription-based businesses because of changes to accounting standards about to go into effect that will have a significant impact on how they account for their revenue. Leeyo and Zuora already have been deployed together with multiple ERP systems. The combined company plans to tighten integration between the two going forward.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, Contact Center, Financial Performance Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting

Imperative for Customer Engagement Needs Attention

Posted by Richard Snow on May 8, 2017 12:21:25 AM

Not long ago, organizations engaged with customers by meeting them in person, speaking with them on the telephone or writing to them. To be competitive today, however, organizations cannot confine customer service to those forms of engagement. Customers now engage with each other and organizations through a variety of digital channels that include email, corporate websites, text messaging, instant messaging, social media, smartphone applications and video.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Customer Service, Contact Center

mplsystems Optimizes Omnichannel Engagement

Posted by Richard Snow on May 2, 2017 2:14:47 AM

Our benchmark research into next-generation contact centers in the cloud confirms what many others are writing and talking about – that customer experience is now the business differentiator. This means that organizations need to get customer engagement right at every touch point, be it assisted by employees or digital. The same research shows that while organizations are supporting more channels of engagement, many are struggling to integrate systems and engagement channels; fewer than half of companies can offer omnichannel experiences. Making matters worse, many of their employees don’t have the full range of skills needed to handle all channels and types of interactions. To overcome these challenges, organizations need a systems architecture that integrates assisted and digital channels, workforce optimization and other business applications such as CRM and multidimensional analytics. Several vendors are working to provide such a suite, most focusing on in-system integration of channels, WFO and analytics, and integration with third-party CRM systems.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center

NGDATA Innovates on DNA of the Customer

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 27, 2017 11:36:37 AM

Ever since I became involved in the CRM and customer service markets, everyone – businesses, vendors, consultants and analysts – has been talking and writing about the “360-degree view of the customer”.  Despite claims from several vendors, I haven’t seen any products that produce a full 360-degree view, and user organizations haven’t had the time or resources to develop the technology themselves. As our research into next-generation customer analytics shows, the main issue is data – organizations have far more of it than most realize. The research shows that organizations on average use eight data sources as input to analytics, but there are more than 20 potential sources of customer-related data and the situation is getting worse. Beyond the sheer volume of it, data now comes in several forms – structured, unstructured (such as call recordings and text), event data (for example, video that customers download) and process data.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Customer Service, Contact Center

Oracle Growing ERP in Cloud

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 17, 2017 7:22:28 AM

Oracle recently held its second ERP Cloud Summit with industry analysts. The all-day event wasn’t just about ERP. The company covered a range of its business applications, including financial performance management as well as its Adaptive Intelligent Applications. And it wasn’t just about the cloud. After more than a decade of steady developments, ERP systems have begun to change fundamentally, facilitated by the growing availability of new technologies including cloud computing, advanced database architecture, collaboration, user interface design, mobility, analytics and planning. Here are my key takeaways from the event:

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Mobile, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, Analytics, Data Integration, Internet of Things, Cognitive Computing, HRMS, Financial Performance Management, Mobile Marketing Digital Commerce, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting

Genesys Advances Engagement and Optimization of Customers

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 11, 2017 9:22:09 AM

In tracking Genesys for several years I have seen it grow through a series of product developments and acquisitions – from predominantly selling call routing and computer/telephony integration (CTI) software to providing a suite of products that manage inbound and outbound, assisted and digital channels of customer engagement. Continuing this expansion Genesys recently acquired Interactive Intelligence and Silver Lining. These new assets signal another round of transformation as the company builds support for what I call a customer experience hub – a combination of products to support all aspects of enterprise-wide customer engagement.

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Topics: Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Digital Technology

Content Guru Brings Interactions to Cloud for Customer Engagement

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 31, 2017 8:19:11 AM

Until recently, the contact center technology systems market was straightforward. Vendors typically provided on-premises systems that fell into four broad categories: telephony management, workforce optimization, business applications (most noticeably CRM) and analytics. The advent of more digital channels of engagement ­– the cloud, mobile devices, and artificial intelligence – has muddied the waters somewhat, making it harder to compare vendors. The cloud has had one of the most dramatic impacts; while some vendors still provide on-premises systems, more are providing services through a private or a public cloud or a hybrid model that combines on-premises and cloud-based systems; some providing services based on other vendors’ systems.  More new vendors have entered the customer engagement market, and some established vendors have taken higher profiles in it.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Contact Center

Digital Process Reengineering Drives Business Change

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 23, 2017 9:28:07 AM

Business process reengineering was a consulting fashion in the early 1990s that spurred many companies to purchase their first ERP systems. BPR proposes a fundamental redesign of core business processes to achieve substantial improvements in market and customer responsiveness, productivity, cycle times and quality. ERP systems support business process reengineering by guiding the step-by-step execution of the redesigned process to ensure that it is performed consistently. They also automate the handoffs between individuals and departments to accelerate completion of that process.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, Wearable Computing, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Internet of Things, Financial Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics

NICE and the Customer Experience Platform

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 22, 2017 7:50:20 AM

In tracking NICE for a decade I have seen the company grow, through a series of acquisitions and product developments, from a vendor largely of workforce management systems to one that offers a full suite of workforce optimization products. It is now advancing what I call a customer experience platform that builds on top of my last coverage of it advancing its efforts. This includes systems to manage assisted channels of engagement (primarily the telephone), digital channels of engagement, workforce optimization, advanced analytics and tight integration with business applications such as CRM. NICE is on the road to building such a platform using existing and newly developed products and those that it recently acquired from Nexidia and inContact. It will take time before a fully integrated platform is available, but the company has already taken steps toward this goal.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Mobile Technology, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Contact Center, CRM, Digital Technology

ShoreTel Offers Communications and Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 16, 2017 9:45:50 AM

Until recently most organizations deployed systems on their own premises to build communications and contact center infrastructures, which often required them to integrate products from several vendors. In the past few years many vendors have moved their systems to the cloud, and others have begun as cloud-based suppliers. This trend has opened up the opportunity for more organizations to take advantage of modern communication systems and contact centers. Using the cloud for either, or both can save money and resources, reduce risk, and make available more integrated, multi-channel systems.  While the adoption of such systems has undoubtedly increased and is likely to continue to do so, our benchmark research into next-generation contact centers in the cloud finds that many organizations still prefer to remain on premises, and adoption of cloud-based systems occurs on a case-by-case basis. In addition, many organizations look for vendors that support multiple models so they have the option of starting out using one model but transitioning later to another, including to a hybrid model in which some systems are on-premises and others are cloud-based..

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Wearable Computing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Digital Commerce, Subscription Billing

Zendesk Puts Real Meaning Back into CRM

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 22, 2017 6:20:47 AM

One of the first applications I learned about in the contact center market was customer relationship management (CRM). The core capabilities of a CRM system were to manage customer data, marketing campaigns, sales opportunities and service requests. Vendors also touted them as the source for a comprehensive “360 degree” view of the customer, which they could never actually deliver because they did not include customer financial data, interaction histories or customer sentiment in the form of feedback. In any case CRM applications became integral to contact centers as a source of information to answer customer queries, but in reality they did little to actually manage the customer relationship, which was a factor in why they gained a bad reputation. Over time, many vendors adopted a different approach and broke the CRM category into marketing, sales and service clouds, which although they include additional capabilities basically do the same thing, with one big drawback – customer data is managed in three different systems, reducing the availability of a single source of customer data even further.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Contact Center, Digital Commerce

Customer Experience Research Agenda for 2017

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 14, 2017 5:33:01 AM

In 2016 Ventana Research saw a significant shift in the customer engagement and contact center software markets. Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that for 70 percent of companies, customer experience is and will be an important way of competing; the largest growth in ways of competing is to introduce digital self-service, which will increase by 12 percent. To support those changes, organizations have introduced more channels of engagement, to the extent that our research shows the average has grown to eight channels. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows that in nearly half (47%) of organizations these channels are managed as silos, which indicates that most organizations still operate multiple channels rather than supporting omnichannel engagement. The next-generation contact center research confirms that customer engagement is an enterprise-wide issue but one-third (33%) of companies struggle to provide consistent responses across touch points.

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Topics: Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Internet of Things, Contact Center

USAN Integrates Management of Contact Centers and Communication Channels

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 22, 2017 6:53:15 AM

Over the last few years the telecommunications and call center industries have undergone radical changes. Telecommunications was mainly in the hands of national and regional telecom companies, which essentially owned all the cables in the ground. The call center market was dominated by a small number of vendors that provided on-premises systems to manage and route calls when they arrived at a company’s offices. The telecom model was in effect the first cloud-based service, though almost no one stopped to think about how a call made on one device arrived at another. The arrival of the internet and wireless technologies and the telecom companies’ willingness to lease capacity on their lines changed both models. Now almost any company can provide communication services, and the majority of contact center systems are cloud-based. In this evolution some organizations that previously were hidden behind the telecoms have emerged as suppliers of communications and contact center services.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Employee Engagement, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics

Teleopti Targets Workforce Management for Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 18, 2017 12:25:49 AM

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that the telephone and other nondigital communication channels are far from obsolete: Participating organizations expect growth in all channels. As a consequence, contact centers are likely to remain a key channel to handle customer interactions, and it is likely that contact center agents will have to handle multiple forms of interactions, which are likely to be more complex. The research also shows that interactions are increasingly being handed by all business groups, not just the contact center. To meet these demanding customer expectations, organizations must continue to carefully manage the availability of skilled resources to handle these interactions.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center

CallMiner Advances Customer Engagement Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 2, 2017 11:41:01 PM

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud confirms what most people intuitively know – that consumers now engage with each other and organizations through more communication channels than a few years ago and that many of these are speech- and text-based. Companies are therefore generating large volumes of voice recordings and textual records. They contain vital information about what customers feel about issues connected to their dealings with the organization – marketing messages the sales process, product and service quality, and employee behavior, among others. The challenge for organizations is to extract insights from these unstructured records and take action to benefit the business based on those insights. When it was founded in 2002, CallMiner set out to support organizations in that quest, and in 2012 it won a Ventana Research Technology Innovation awards.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Employee Engagement, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics

Zuora Empowers the Subscription Economy

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 2, 2017 10:47:55 PM

Zuora provides software that supports the rapidly expanding subscription economy. I recently attended the company’s user event in London, called subscribe16. During his keynote speech CEO Tien Tzuo insisted that the subscription economy is not only here to stay but is likely to grow substantially. In the U.K. alone, he said, 40 million users are using subscription services, including 14 million use video streaming services, 5.4 million use music streaming services, and perhaps most surprising, 78 percent of adults age 55 or older use at least one subscription service.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Employee Engagement, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics

Ventana Research Unveils New Digital Marketing Mastery

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 17, 2016 12:21:00 AM

Today’s rapid changes in technology have left many companies behind in the digital transformation that is shaping the future of marketing, sales, commerce and client engagement. At Ventana Research we have seen this change coming, having been close observers and analysts of technological shifts for almost 15 years, providing continuous research and guidance to the technology industry. Now the leading edge is the digital point of engagement with customers through websites and social media. Earlier this year I wrote about mastering marketing mayhem in a meaningful, meticulous manner explaining how organizations can adapt to the new digital reality. Well, we are taking our own advice. Ventana Research spent the first half of 2016 reflecting on lessons learned and best practices from our research and advisory efforts. The result is our new community and website, www.ventanaresearch.com that we have announced and is available for everyone on the Internet. With it we strive to set an example of simplicity in engaging an audience in need of insights and education on technology applied to business.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Mobile Technology,