Fall 2009 Recognized Innovators: Winners Announced!

During my keynote today in Vegas at the Technology Services World Conference I announced the winners of the Fall 2009 Recognized Innovator Awards.  These awards recognize technology innovation from our SSPA, TPSA and AFSMI partners.  Partners submit application to be judged by a panel of association members and industry experts.

Innovation in Battling Complexity. Technology complexity has been rapidly increasing and the percentage of members who say the products they support are highly complex has grown from 42% to 62% since 2003. Rising complexity affects many areas of service and support operations, and the Recognized Innovator in this category will provide real-world examples of how their technology or services help companies battle complexity.

The Recognized Innovators for Battling Complexity are:

  • Convergys Corporation. The winner in this category is Convergys Corporation, a global leader in customer management and outsourcing, serving more than half of the Fortune 50 companies in over 70 countries. In providing technical support for a major global software developer, Convergys needed to find an effective way to simplify the complexity involved in disseminating frequent, important process and procedure updates to agents, in order to improve both support quality and operational efficiency. The Convergys team adapted an on-demand training tool for contact center agents, creating a verified knowledge tool along with formal procedures that maximize its effectiveness. This innovation reduced the time required to disseminate updates from 5 to 14 days to fewer than 24 hours, while also reducing issue escalations and contributing to a 14% improvement in customer satisfaction, a 16% improvement in first call resolution, and a 30% reduction in average call length.
  • KANA Software. The finalist in this category is KANA, a leading supplier of process driven customer service, multi-channel and knowledge management tools. Rising complexity was a major challenge for one of KANA’s customers, a major North American retailer of consumer electronics, appliances and entertainment, particularly for the home theater department, which supports a myriad of high-end HD televisions, DVDs, surround-sound systems and all the various accessories used with them.  In late 2007, the home theater department turned to KANA Software to implement a knowledge-enabled customer support initiative.  In just the first 30 days of production, returns and field service visits were reduced by 40% compared to pre-deployment averages.

Innovation in Closing the Consumption Gap. A key challenge stemming from the rise of complexity is the consumption gap, and ultimately the time to realize the benefits and reduce the time to next purchase.  Customers that struggle to overcome rising complexity in products and services are not able to consume their purchases fully, making the repurchase cycle either longer or even nonexistent. The Recognized Innovator in this category will provide real-world examples of how companies are leveraging their technology or services to improve or accelerate consumption by customers.

The Recognized Innovators for Closing the Consumption Gap are:

  • Language Weaver. The winner in this category is Language Weaver, who has developed innovative translation technology that not only generates a translation automatically, but also provides a quantitative score of just how good the translation is using a meaningful metric.  One of Language Weaver’s customers is a leading global semiconductor company that provided all of its self-service support information in English. Only a small fraction of this information was provided in other languages to serve non-English speaking customers. The challenge for the company was to provide all of the customer care information in the native languages of its customers. The company engaged with Language Weaver to create an automated solution to translate all customer care content at a trusted level of quality. The results were impressive: content coverage increased from 10% to 100%; translation time was reduced from 21 days to 24 hours; site traffic for a single additional language increased by 70k visits in one month.
  • LogMeIn. The finalist in this category is LogMeIn, a leading provider of remote support and Web collaboration technology. LogMeIn offers a compelling case study from SSPA member Symantec, who needed a remote support platform to power a new premium services business for their Norton anti-virus line. The company turned to LogMeIn in June 2008, and by December of the same year, LogMeIn Rescue’s on-demand remote support was fully deployed worldwide via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. Since adopting LogMeIn remote support technology, Symantec has seen a multitude of benefits–including reduced call handling times, increased first call resolutions, decreased operational expenses and increased customer satisfaction rates.

Innovation in Service Economics. The Associations’ Services 50 Study documents the rise of services revenue for large high tech companies, which now represents more than 70% of revenue from software firms and a third of the revenues for hardware firms. While this trend means that service and support enjoys more visibility and influence with company executives and Wall Street analysts, it also means that service executives are eager to identify new sources of revenue. The Recognized Innovator in this category will provide real-world examples of how companies are leveraging their technology or services to generate incremental services revenue.

The Recognized Innovators for Service Economics are:

  • Compuware. The winner in this category is Compuware, who’s Changepoint PSA (professional services automation) provides a single business management solution designed specifically to automate and integrate the processes of services organizations–at every stage of an engagement. As an example, Compuware customer SMART Business Advisory and Consulting, LLC, first implemented Changepoint in early 2007, and the implementation has grown along with SMART since that time. SMART has also moved all resource tracking to Changepoint, so individual résumés, skills, and profiles of staff are centralized, allowing anyone in the organization to quickly find the most skilled resource that they need for a project. According to SMART, reducing downtime for consultants is the single biggest cost savings they can realize with any system.
  • TouchStar. The finalist in this category is TouchStar, whose ServiCE™ software seamlessly connects field service personnel with office based scheduling, dispatch, financial, CRM and inventory systems.  Field personnel use TouchPC Eagle touch screen computers that display real-time information relating to jobs, inventory, pricing and contracts. TouchStar provided a customer example of Australia-based Fire Equipment Services (FES), who has been able to boost their marketshare of the fire equipment servicing industry by 31% with no added resources by leveraging TouchStar.  With the introduction of TouchPCs field techs are able to complete jobs in a third of the time required by the old system.

AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA Research would like to thank the judges for the Fall 2009 Recognized Innovator Awards.  The association member judges were: Adi Berglez, Blue Coat Systems; Monique Ennis, McKesson; Pamela Fowler, Ingres; Marcia Gallicchio, Brightcove; Grant Graham, Compugen; Sarah McMullin, Sybase; and Randy Palermo, Blue Coat Systems. The industry expert judges were: Israel Beniaminy, ClickSoftware; Anand Chopra, former nGenera and KANA product marketing; Rob Hilsen, Genesys Labs; David Kay, DB Kay and Associates; and Esteban Kolsky, ThinkJar LLC.

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