Archive for March 2007

Proactively monitoring the blogosphere: What are customers saying about your products?

March 22, 2007

On Tuesday I caught up with KM thought leader Blake Cahill who is now in the Brand Monitoring space, serving as VP of corporate marketing for Visible Technologies. I admit to being a bit jaded about new service and support products, having seen so many startups reinventing existing technology.  But I was pleasantly surprised to have a briefing about a new product that completley blew me away.  Talk about innovative!  This vendor is solving a business problem most companies don’t even know they have yet.

One of my most frequent questions from SSPA members concerning Web 2.0 is how to track who is saying what about your products, helping to identify disgruntled customers that may damage your brand, as well as finding expert users who are very knowledgeable about your products, with whom you may want to align.

Visible Technologies offers TruCast, which analyzes blog postings from all over the globe that discuss your products and services, and automatically: (more…)

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Catch up with eGain: New Applications Released in Version 7.6

March 16, 2007

I have known some of the folks at eGain from the early days.  eGain got their start with email response management systems (ERMS) back in 1998, and I believe my first meeting with eGain was in 1999 when Clarify was interested in partnering with an ERMS vendor.  During my Giga and Forrester days, I was invited to speak at some eGain conferences, both in the US and in Europe.  Interestingly, unlike most of the players in this space, eGain has kept the same core executive team for many years, and this has helped them have a consistent vision and not go after every new trend and buzzword.

I had a briefing with eGain on Wednesday to hear what’s new, and to get more information on eGain Service 7.6 that was released last fall.  For a ‘point’ release, 7.6 had a lot of new capabilities, including 9 new applications.  Some of these were frequent customer customizations that have now been productized and added to the base product.  Here are some of the new capabilities that I found the most interesting: (more…)

MidMarket CRM Spending Remains Strong: Salesforce.com Update

March 14, 2007

One of the findings of our 2006 SSPA Member Technology Survey was that the largest percentage of spend planned by mid-market (under $1B) technology companies in 2007 was for CRM:  35% of small to mid-size enterprise (SME) members have budget for CRM this year. This is great news for mid-market CRM vendors, who 5 years ago everyone saw as ‘B Class’ vendors, but now the tables have turned:  every enterprise vendor now has a mid-market CRM offering.  And the king of mid-market CRM vendors is, of course, the original SaaS vendor:  Salesforce.com.

I am a fan of SF.com and I’ll tell you why:  when every CRM vendor was focused on adding features to appeal to the CIO, SF.com took a new approach:  let’s create sales force automation (SFA) tools for the field sales reps, not the sales manager or the C execs.  The result?  Unlike most environments, in which sales reps hate their CRM tool they are forced to use by management, Salesforce.com customers loved the products, with simple, easy to use applications that are totally Web savvy….not Web versions of client-server applications. (more…)

Daylight Savings Time Emphasizes The Daily Battle of Complexity

March 11, 2007

 

It is Sunday, March 11, 2007.  Do you know the correct time?

One of the top issues at the SSPA is how increased technological complexity is impacting today’s consumer and enterprise support organizations, with our benchmark metrics showing service levels dropping as complexity ratchets up.  Much of my research targets how innovative service and support technology can help battle this increased complexity, but today, I’d like to look at complexity from the customer’s perspective.

There have been 2 events in the last week that really drove home to me how ridiculous the implications of complexity are to the masses.  (As I write this, I’m attending one of the SSPA Chief Service Executive Summits in beautiful Miami, and one of the attending executives just said it perfectly, “Technology evolution has outpaced consumers.”)

The first event, as I alluded to already, was the early start to Daylight Savings Time, a seemingly arbitrary decision made by Congress that has been referred to as “The Next Y2K” in the press.  How consumers deal with time changes is a perfect example of how complexity impacts our lives.  Consider these three stages: (more…)

BI Acquistions Off and Rolling: Oracle’s $3.3 Bid for Hyperion

March 6, 2007

I’ve been saying that 2007 would be the year of business intelligence (BI), and it appears my prediction is coming true already.  Here’s a recommendation from my 2007 Service and Support Industry Trends:

Invest in analytics. A common refrain emerged from the last Customer Service Executive Summit: more business intelligence is needed. Companies are collecting massive stores of customer history and interaction data, but what is missing is strong, business user targeted analysis tools to identify strategic business intelligence from the data.

After Thursday’s announcement that Oracle has offered $3.3B for BI vendor Hyperion Solutions, it occurred to me that customer frustration over too much data and not enough analytics is likely impacting CRM/ERP vendors’ ability to sell applications.  By my count, this is Oracle’s third acquisition of business intelligence software, and one wonders, how much is enough? (more…)

KM 2.0: Knowledge Retrieval Beyond the Firewall

March 1, 2007

Last week I did an SSPA webcast with Chad Wolf, President and co-founder of eVergance, about the impacts of Web 2.0 on knowledge management (KM).  Of course, we always need a new name for a new concept, and KM 2.0 is the moniker in popular use already. If you’d like to view an OnDemand version of the webcast, click here!

I wasn’t too familiar with KM 2.0, so in preparation for the webcast I reached out to friends and colleagues in the industry, and a few members, asking what KM 2.0 meant to them.  The general consensus was, “Oh god, please don’t give me KM 2.0, I don’t have 1.0 figured out yet!”  (There is also a certain jaded eye roll that seems to occur whenever I ask about anything ending in “two point oh” after the exhausting hype on Web 2.0. But I digress.)

So what is KM 2.0 and why do you need to care? (more…)