Posted tagged ‘IBM’

TSW: Top Attended Sessions Illustrate Industry Trends

October 20, 2010

We are back for the last day of Technology Services World at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Our always amazing conference coordinator, Christi Holzer, sent me the attendee numbers for all of yesterday’s sessions, and as always, looking at the top attended sessions is a great indicator of industry trends and challenges.  Here are the 7 top attended sessions from yesterday, all with over 100 attendees–some close to 200 with standing room only.

  • How Smart Companies Use Social Media, Shawn Santos, Director, Programs & Community, TSIA. It is no surprise that social media continues to be one of the hottest topics in service today, and our own social media expert, Shawn Santos, unveiled findings from his latest social service survey, and provided insight into how companies are successfully leveraging these new customer touchpoints and collaboration opportunities.
  • From Good to Great and Beyond, a panel discussion with Thomas Pridham,TSIA; Joanne Weigel, TSIA; William Beach,Cisco Systems; Rachel Berg, PRTM; Nigel Marrion, TSIA Organizational Development Program; John Blakeman, Taleo; Mark Baniewicz, Xerox. Our members are very metrics driven, naturally, but with increased interest and visibility in support excellence, more companies are now interested in moving beyond benchmarking to do formal audits of their support operations. This is great news for the industry–customer service can be a major differentiator for a technology company, and getting a ‘best in class’ designation from an operational audit is a fantastic proof point for customers and prospects.
  • Global Customer Experience: Internationalizing Support; Erik Ryan, Knowledgebase Manager, ESET; Chris Hall, Vice President, Product Marketing, InQuira. I believe that InQuira, a knowledge management, intelligent search and customer experience partner of the TSIA, has had one of the top attended sessions at every conference since I started tracking this information. InQuira has a great ability to focus on meaty topics that address real problems for our members, and this session was no different, based in part on a joint research paper I worked on with InQuira on internationalizing support by offering knowledge content in any number of languages–something our advisory board says is a critical issue for 2010-11.
  • RightNow Technologies & Changepoint: Improving the Client Experience through Strategic Services Delivery; Leslie Williams, Director, Professional Services, RightNow Technologies; Lori Ellsworth, Vice President, Compuware Changepoint, Compuware. This session, which showcased how RightNow, a customer service/CRM vendor, revolutionized their professional service business by implementing Compuware Changepoint professional services automation (PSA) software. Since RightNow is one of the first and best known SaaS vendors, there was also lots of interest in how PS for SaaS vendors may (or may not!) be different from OnPremise vendors.
  • Breaking Down the Barriers Between Customer Support and Product Development; Bertrand Durou, IBM Support Manager – KT Program Manager, IBM; Christoph Goldenstern, Global Vice President, Service Excellence, Kepner-Tregoe. One of the key messages in The Complexity Avalanche is that support and development must work more closely together to create more usable and supportable products, and this session was a great example. KT’s Christoph–who is incredibly passionate about the industry and its future–co-presented with their customer IBM about IBM’s success with Kepner-Tregoe’s diagnostic and support processes, extending into areas beyond support including development.
  • Getting to the Heart of Best-In-Class Customer Service; Rob Gibson, General Manager, Product Support Group, Sears Holdings; Damien Choisel, Vice President, Service Knowledge Management, Servigistics. Knowledge management has always been a key interest area for TSIA members, and this session is a great example of why. Sears, America’s fourth largest retailer, has the largest field service organization in North America with more than 12 million service calls made annually, 3,000 call center agents and 9,000 trucks. This session documented how Sears tackled the challenge of decreasing customer service calls by improving knowledge management processes to gain faster issue resolution and a stronger knowledge base for call center agents. Through Servigistics Service Knowledge, a large percentage of Sears’ service calls are now being resolved over the phone, eliminating a technician visit. As a result, Sears has dramatically improved customer satisfaction levels and is now exceeding their year-to-date cost savings goal.
  • Inside Value-Added Services: Uncovering the Missing Link Between Increased Revenue and Customer Loyalty; Panel discussion with J.B. Wood, President and CEO, TSIA; Phil Nanus, Director, Business Critical Services, Symantec; Panel: Mike Charest, Director, Value-Added Services, Information Intelligence Group, EMC; Panel: Ashish Khanna, Strategic Support Manager, NetApp. This panel discussion from the chairs of the VAS Community of Interest discussed how and why the creation and integration of a value-added services model can lead to higher customer satisfaction and renewal rates while propelling revenue and margin growth. The panel provided “tales from the trenches” of VAS, sharing best practices, successes, and challenges in implementing a VAS business model, including the value of portfolio management in managing customer expectations and driving top-line revenue; the link between value-added services and customer loyalty; service delivery challenges along the evolution path (skills, staffing, and service quality); leveraging automation within value-added service delivery; interlock challenges/opportunities with engineering and consulting services along the path; leveraging the power of the team to generate new service ideas and opportunities.

The conference comes to a close today with our awards ceremony, presenting our TSIA STAR Awards, and I will be presenting the Fall 2010 Recognized Innovator Awards. Stay tuned for winners! And as always, thanks for reading!

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User Experience Analytics Hot: IBM Acquires Coremetrics

June 15, 2010

I wrote back in 2007 about the ongoing acquisition of standalone analytic vendors, making it difficult for companies to find analytics tools to compliment their existing applications. The flip side, of course, is that enterprise applications are getting smarter, with increasingly sophisticated analytics included in application reporting modules.

The single hottest area of analytics today, from a customer service perspective, are customer experience analytics, that analyze how customers or employees move through websites and desktop applications to understand things like:

  • Usability. Confusing flows or screens that users struggle to accomplish, adding time and cost to employee activities, and impacting customer self-service and online shopping success.
  • Sales potential. Understanding how customers navigate websites help marketers determine where to place ads and upsell/cross-sell messages to maximize potential.
  • Personalization. Analyzing how different segments of customers or demographics use applications or websites help companies create accurate personalization for specific users.

The world seems to have separated between web click stream analytics specialists, and vendors focusing on desktop application analytics. Today, the leader in web click stream analytics, Coremetrics, was acquired by IBM, to become part of the IBM WebSphere business.  I’ve written about Coremetrics before (see Coremetrics improves the Customer Experience by differentiating Visit vs. Visitor), and I even did a webcast recently with TSIA member Paige Newcombe from Coremetrics, highlighting the great story behind their STAR Award Finalist win last year. You can view an OnDemand version of that webcast here: Metrics that Wow! How Coremetrics Became the Customer Service Model of Success

WebSphere is already the market leader for eCommerce and customer portal platforms, and having Coremetrics as part of WebSphere will give marketers unprecedented insight into customer behavior.

I think this announcement will also bring more visibility to the desktop application analysis platforms as well.  We have a couple of TSIA partners who are experts in this area.  Enkata, who participated in our Spring TSW event, specializes in desktop analytics for customer service, helping employees increase velocity and productivity, as well as root cause analysis to increase FCR and eliminate repeat calls with the customer. Another TSIA partner, Aternity, also offers technology to improve the customer and user experience, and we will explore this in a webcast next week on 6/24 at 11am PT: Actionable Customer Experience Metrics: Measure Consumption & Encourage Adoption with Frontline Performance Intelligence

Congratulations to Joe Davis, Paige Newcombe, and all the gang at Coremetrics. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. And as always, thanks for reading!

KANA 10: Service Experience Management Platform Released

July 1, 2009

Back in the late 90s, I was working in product design for a software vendor. The product marketing/product management team was way ahead of the curve with object oriented design, and I was tasked with rolling out a new business object-based design tool to the rest of the team.  I loved the concept of modeling use cases and building out attribution lists for business objects, and it really made the product design process much faster and easier.  The problem came, of course, when the final design was turned over to our not-even-close-to-object oriented developers, who had no idea what to do with the cool business objects since they were still coding in C++.

This background was perfect preparation for a big “ah-ha moment” I had recently when KANA gave me a demo of their new KANA 10 release, which debuted yesterday.  When I saw them dragging and dropping objects to create complex business flows and support processes, it was amazing to see that object oriented design has made it through development and is now in the hands of business users.

When KANA first announced they were rearchitecting their popular customer management suite to take advantage of IBM’s service oriented architecture (SOA) and Information Management foundation (see this post for background) early last year, the big question was how long would it take? As any company who has done such a rewrite knows, you risk losing visibility during that time because companies are weary of investing in a platform that is about to be replaced.  In hindsight, the timing was pretty good. Who knew in March 2008 how much economic gloom and doom lay ahead?  Turns out, it wasn’t a bad time to take a breather. (more…)

Finally, A True Collaborative SOA Ecosystem: IBM and KANA

March 17, 2008

The enterprise application vendors have been touting their SOA (service oriented architecture) platforms and ecosystems for a few years now, but there was something that always bothered me:  the creator of the SOA platform shouldn’t also be the provider of the applications that run on the platform.  To use an example I’ve heard applied to Microsoft over the years:  the guy who provides electricity shouldn’t also determine the size and shape of electric plugs. 

A closed ecosystem, in which you buy all the infrastructure and applications from a single vendor, has been the only choice for CRM and ERP buyers wanting Web 2/SOA…unless you wanted to jump on the Open Source bandwagon with its own set of risks and limited functionality.  To me, today’s joint announcement that “KANA Embeds IBM Open Technology to Deliver Next-Generation Customer Service Solutions” finally delivers the first steps of a true SOA ecosystem, in which customers can select the right application functionality, and not be stuck using the only plug that fits the electrical outlet, even if it doesn’t meet their business needs. (more…)