Mark Angel to fill post as KANA’s SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development

Maybe Mark Angel didn’t invent Web 2.0, but in my opinion, he is responsible for bringing Web 2.0 to the CRM and eService world.

As founder and original CEO of Kanisa, Mark took his expertise in real-time analytics and brought it to customer service.  As Kanisa grew, he assumed the CTO role, and continued in that role when Kanisa merged with ServiceWare in 2005 to form KNOVA.  I’ve known Mark since the early days of Kanisa, and while we don’t always agree on everything, I never come away from a meeting with Mark without at least one epiphany about the customer service industry.

I attended Mark’s presentation on Web 2.0 at the April 2006 SSPA Best Practices Conference.  It was something.  At the time (just a year ago) the concept of Web 2.0 was still a bit abstract for most people.  Yet the standing-room-only audience for Mark’s Web 2.0 pitch was absolutely rapt as he explained how everything was going to change, and how to leverage this change to benefit customers…and the bottom line.

Since the M2M/Consona acquisition of KNOVA I had lost track of Mark, but I was happy to just learn that he has accepted the position of Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development for KANA, the largest multi-channel/OmniChannel customer service software vendor, effective today.

2007 looks like a great year for KANA.  The vendor has had a complete turnaround since Mike Fields assumed the role of CEO in late 2005.  KANA’s revenues for 2006 were $54.0 million, an increase of 25% over the prior year; license revenue for 2006 increased 136% year-over-year.  I no longer hear questions about viability from companies considering KANA software, and I’m guessing Mike is allowed to spend more time on investor calls talking about vision than cash position these days.  Or at least I hope so.

So what do I think Mark will roll up his sleeves and concentrate on at KANA?  I’m guessing these three things will be on the list:

  • Web 2.0.  KANA has a good Web 2.0 story today with their strategic partnership with Jive, one of the 2 industry-leading Web 2.0/online community vendors.  But bringing more Web 2.0 capabilities in-house makes sense, as they ultimately will become as core to eService as the knowledgebase.  KNOVA, ATG and Talisma all have forum capabilities embedded in their suites; KANA may decide to go this route as well.  Mark knows this space better than anyone, so his leadership on this issue will continue to help KANA drive Web 2.0 within our industry.
  • KM 2.0.  My recent Webcast with eVergance on KM 2.0 was the highest attended Webcast during my time at the SSPA.  Think of it as knowledge management for a Web 2.0 world.  I’ve written a post on the topic, and will revisit the subject in SSPA published research this month.  Mark will be sure KANA is KM 2.0 ready, and like he has done with Web 2.0, educate the industry on the t0pic.
  • Analytics.  KANA has always had a better story than most when it came to analytics due to the 2001 acquisition of Broadbase, an analytics vendor.  But analytics have come a long way since 2001, and Mark’s background in real-time analytics will be helpful in driving KANA’s future in this area.

KANA has a great engineering organization, led by CTO Charlie Isaacs (who, in the interest of full disclosure, was my boss at my first startup, Answer Systems, in 1995).  Charlie led a successful ‘backshoring’ effort last year, bringing all engineering activities back to the US from Asia.  Charlie is very hands on, and succeeds by encouraging and motivating his employees.  That’s hard to do effectively when they are 6,000 miles away.  While engineers cost 3-4x in California what they do in India, Charlie found that the additional costs were justified by shorter development cycles and improvements to time to market. 

I’m hoping Charlie and Mark will form a great partnership; having industry leaders for both vision and execution will allow KANA to set extremely high goals and achieve them.

Welcome back, Mark.  I look forward to arguing with you at a briefing very soon!

Thoughts?  Questions?  Comments?  Please add a comment or drop me an email.  Have a great week and thanks for reading.

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One Comment on “Mark Angel to fill post as KANA’s SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development”

  1. […] (OK, steal) on the levels of customer loyalty:  defection, satisfaction, affinity and advocacy.  As I’ve written about before, Mark is one of the people I go to for vision–he is brilliant–and he broached some […]

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