Archive for March 2010

nGenera CIM Launches CIM 9 with Social Service Focus

March 31, 2010

One of the realities of high tech is high employee turnover, especially in sales and marketing roles. The grass always looks greener, and a job change usually means a decent salary bump and title change. I was thinking about this when I received my pre-briefing on nGenera Customer Interaction Management (CIM) 9, which launched today. I’ve seen a lot of demos in my time, and this was pretty impressive. Not only for the functionality, which I’ll get to in a minute, but even more so because of Nikhil Govindaraj, Vice President of Products at nGenera CIM, who drove the product briefing and demo. Nikhil started at nGenera CIM (then Talisma) in 2000 as a program manager, and has worked his way up through the business in sales and sales engineering roles before assuming his current role, responsible for Product Management and Engineering functions for the nGenera CIM product line, last year.

With a decade of customer facing roles at nGenera, Nikhil knows his customer. He’s heard every criticism and wish list first hand; he understands the balance between fulfilling tactical customer requests with pushing the envelope on market-leading capabilities. It was really enjoyable to have a briefing with a product person who knew the product so deeply, as well as the back story for every feature. He is also a great presenter, so check out the next nGen webcast you see advertised, Nikhil will probably be presenting. You can also see him in action in a video on the nGen CIM 9 launch page.

Today’s nGen CIM 9 launch was interesting because they focused on customer success, not marketing. Beta customer KMD, the largest IT company in Denmark, presented case studies of launching nGen Knowledgebase,  nGen Community and nGen Social Media in a variety of government services, technology support, utilities, consumer financial services, etc., all with great success (including publishing articles from the knowledgebase to Twitter and Facebook). Nice to hear from a customer, especially for a new release.

nGen CIM 9 includes new or enhanced capabilities in the following areas:

  • nGen Community: nGen CIM has extended their forum capabilities into a full community offering, including wikis, reputation modeling, discussion forums with good management tools, and the integration with the popular nGen Knowledgebase means community-generated content is fed back into the knowledge base and can be accessed by users through federated search.
  • nGen Social Media: This release enables customer support via popular social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, including some cool sentiment technology that prioritizes and routes incidents using a sentiment score, so frustrated customers can be sent directly to a senior agent.
  • nGen Knowledgebase search: nGenera CIM has expanded its federated search capabilities to include knowledge-base content, Web site content, file server content, and now with CIM 9 nGen Knowledgebase, database and social content has been added to the search. For more information on nGen’s intelligent search, check out my new research report, “Intelligent Search Market Overview: Three Search Technology Markets Converge to Streamline Information Access.”
  • nGen CoBrowse: One of the few multi-channel players to embrace remote control/co-browse, nGen CoBrowse allows support techs to engage customers in collaborative CoBrowse sessions to help them complete purchases or solve complex issues.
  • nGen Survey: Having a survey module as part of a multi-channel platform seems a ‘must have’ to me, it allows you to create granular rules about surveys by channel and account with zero integration costs. nGen Survey is a completely integrated post-interaction survey module, so nGen customers don’t need additional survey tools.
  • Enterprisabilty: In deals for large accounts, nGen has sometimes faced FUD from competitors about their mid-market roots. To put to rest any question about scalability, nGen CIM 9 features architecture enhancements that ensure scalability, and new administration features to streamline management of large, globally distributed support agents.

I wish nGenera great success with their launch, and I hope all of you shopping for multi-channel and social service tools will check them out!  Thanks for reading.

Allocating Software Maintenance Revenue Poll–Please Weigh In!

March 31, 2010

My TSIA Research colleague, Michael Israel, is digging into how software companies internally allocate the maintenance revenue they receive from customers, and he would like to know what the common practices are among software providers. If you work for a software company, could you please take this one question poll? It is on the right hand side of his blog:  Michael Israel’s Maintenance Matters.

As the majority of enterprise support companies have made the leap from cost center to profit center, some members are asking, “So, if our job is fulfilling the maintenance agreement, how come we aren’t receiving more of the maintenance revenue?”  Good question.  For too many years, support was on the low end of the respect pole–my days in support were in the cost center days and I was reminded by executive management on a regular basis that I was a drain on company resources. Luckily attitudes have changed, and support management now worries about profit margins…and they deserve their fair share of the profits.

Please take 1 minute and make 1 click to help us identify where we are today with this issue:  http://michael.tsia.com/

Thanks for reading!

Intelligent Search Market Overview Launches March 29th

March 23, 2010

My latest research opus, a Market Overview of Intelligent Search, is about to see the light of day. I kicked off this project last fall and thought it would be a 2 month project.  7 months later, I’m finally delivering the report. What took so long?  Good question.

It turns out that navigating the vendor landscape for search tools was even more complicated than I thought. A full third of my TSIA member inquiry volume last year related to search technology, and short lists of vendors began to include both knowledgebase and self-service search experts AND enterprise search specialists. As I started digging, these two worlds are also merging with an emerging search market: social search.

Merging Markets Create Intelligent Search

I started by surveying a dozen search vendors that spanned these three markets to find out what was “bleeding edge” in their world, and I compiled a list of the 20 most innovative selection criteria for search, spread across several categories such as displaying search results, content maintenance, integration, scalability, deployment model, and product breadth. Next, I had each vendor fill out a form indicating which of these 20 features they offered, along with details on prepackaged integrations and scalability. The following search vendors/TSIA partners participated in the study: Attensity, Baynote, Clarabridge, Consona CRM, Coveo, InQuira, KANA, nGenera CIM, Q-go, and RightNow.

The report, which addresses search needs of technical support, professional services and field service operations, goes live to all TSIA corporate members on Monday, March 29th. This Thursday I am doing a members only webcast to preview my findings, which includes the matrix of features by vendor. To register for the webcast or for more information, TSIA members should access the link for their service discipline:

In my 2009 Member Technology Survey, intelligent search was one of the bright spots, with high planned spending. For companies launching a search for search, this report will help you create the RFP by understanding what really differentiates products today.

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday’s webcast, and thanks for reading!

Announcing the 2010 Member Technology Survey: Please Join In!

March 15, 2010

Friday we launched the 4th annual Member Technology Survey, which tracks adoption, satisfaction and planned spending for enabling service and support technology across 20+ functional areas. This survey data is critical to my research efforts, providing data I will use all year long to:

  • Create the 2010 Heatmap. The Heatmap is a graphical display of member technology adoption, showing “hot” product areas across technical support, professional services, and field service operations. The Heatmap is used throughout the year in published research and at our TSW events.
  • Publish the 2010 Member Spending Report. This report will highlight top areas for member spending across all three service disciplines for 2010-2011, as well as showing adoption trends for emerging technology areas.
  • Answer member inquiries. I receive approximately 200 inquiries a year from TSIA members on technology, and having access to which products are most commonly used, and member satisfaction with particular products, is extremely helpful in guiding members toward ‘best fit’ solutions.

What’s new in this year’s survey:

  • I’m tracking use of some technology across all three service disciplines for the first time, so I can understand cross-service adoption of Enterprise CRM, Intelligent Search and Web collaboration.
  • New categories: I added 3 new technology categories: Education/Learning Management, Reporting/Analytic Platform, Telephony Platform
  • New services categories: For the first time I am surveying about Outsourcers/Service Providers and business consultants–which will be hugely helpful in answering inquiries.

This survey is open to all TSIA corporate and community members. Everyone who responds to the survey—including community members—will receive a copy of my 2010 Member Spending Report when it is published in May. And, the first 50 people who complete the survey will receive a Starbucks gift card!  Here’s the link.

Thanks to all of you for your ongoing help and support. I know you are very busy, and I appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete this survey. Please let me know if you have any questions.