Speech Analytics: The Time for ‘Listening’ to the Voice of the Customer Is Upon Us

K. Landoline
K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Hundreds of millions of minutes of customer care conversations are recorded annually in contact centers, but less than 0.1% of recorded conversations are ever replayed and analyzed.
  • Automated speech analytics, which can mine most of these conversations for useful information, is finally getting the attention of customer care executives as the technology improves and the ROI is validated.

I have been following the speech analytics market as it pertains to customer care and contact centers for the better part of a decade.  The application has only come into its own as it gained credibility through successes in the past two or three years.  Recently, there has been an uptick in sales at companies that provide the technology to monitor the ‘voice of the customer,’ such as CallMiner, Nexidia, NICE, Utopy and Verint.  There has also been a flurry of merger and acquisition activity among companies that provide contact center solutions and those that deliver customer feedback applications.  Verint acquired Vovici, a provider of feedback management solutions; Avaya purchased Aurix, a speech analytics company based in the UK; and Hewlett-Packard bought analytics platform provider Vertica.  I believe the industry is now leaving the embryonic stage and moving into a more mature phase of growth that will continue for the next decade. Continue reading “Speech Analytics: The Time for ‘Listening’ to the Voice of the Customer Is Upon Us”

Hyper-Competition Returns to Enterprise Networking

J. Caron
J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei’s entrance is making the news, but networking market competition has been increasing across the board from a number of suppliers.
  • Increased enterprise networking competition sharpens the minds of suppliers and certainly benefits buyers.

The past two years have seen a remarkable resurgence in competition within the market for enterprise networking technology.  While there has always been a fairly strong collection of suppliers in this area, the emergence of Cisco as the dominant market-share leader has relegated true competition to those vying for small percentage points gained in geographical, segment or vertical niches.  Now, however, with transitions taking place in terms of multi-gigabit bandwidth demands, wireless integration and data center architecture, all players in the market sense a new opportunity to challenge the incumbent. Continue reading “Hyper-Competition Returns to Enterprise Networking”

The Natural Collaborative Interface is No Interface

B. Shimmin
B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprise social networking vendors are beginning to focus their efforts on embedding collaborative functions within external applications and services.
  • The real magic, however, rests in making transparent the ties that bind all applications, their content and the  humans that use them.

I’ve been watching the middleware and software development space for some time, which has made me somewhat biased toward the idea of applications talking amongst themselves and greatly appreciative of the difficulties involved in doing so. This unifying act of connectivity and machine-level collaboration is so difficult in fact, that not every company has found pure middleware, service oriented architecture (SOA) nirvana. It’s interesting then and maybe a bit surprising to see enterprise social networking (ESN) begin to play a similar unifying role, at least for humans and the content they interact with in their daily travels. Continue reading “The Natural Collaborative Interface is No Interface”

Cloud-based Contact Centers – The Appeal Beyond OpEx vs. CapEx

K. Landoline
K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Cloud service offerings in the contact center are proliferating, and more often than not they are reaching the short lists of decision makers who select customer care applications.
  • Many considering a cloud-based contact center solution summarize the appeal in terms of capital to operating expense conversion and seldom note the potential benefits in the area of disaster recovery.

It was difficult to walk the exhibit floor of the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando a few weeks ago without realizing that cloud services was given a major emphasis by exhibitors and show attendees alike. The program listed 46 exhibitors (more than 30% of total exhibitors) under the category of “Cloud-Based Services,” and the attendees flocked to any break-out sessions with the word “Cloud” in the title, which resulted in standing room only sessions in many cases. As an analyst who has been tracking the shift to the cloud in the contact center marketplace, I was very interested in the advantages of the cloud being highlighted by exhibitors and perceived by enterprises and SMBs with mission-critical contact center applications. Continue reading “Cloud-based Contact Centers – The Appeal Beyond OpEx vs. CapEx”

Enterprise Connect Notebook

Brian Riggs
B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:

  • Increasing sales of Interactive Intelligence’s hosted service could indicate rising acceptance of cloud services.
  • HP is positioning itself as a supplier of the underlying infrastructure for UC solutions.

Enterprise Connect 2012 has come and gone.  Here are a few items from my notebook that did not make it into the reports I drafted for our syndicated service: Current Compete.

Continue reading “Enterprise Connect Notebook”

The True Value to Business Users of UC Service Features

M. Halama
M. Halama

Summary Bullets:

  • UC services are becoming increasingly feature-rich.
  • Not all features are valuable enough to sway business buying decisions.

Unified communications (UC) have long held promise for service providers as an opportunity to differentiate services, add value for the customer, add revenue streams, and make their services ‘stickier,’ and in 2012, more players are building up a head of steam to drive new service elements such as video conferencing.  Those already in the video conferencing game will respond by offering more features or competitive pricing.  Each UC feature has a value in price for the service provider, as well as a cost in development and manufacture that they pay technology vendors.  Even long-established, standard features are an ongoing cost in order to keep them interoperating with new features.  There are already numerous features offered in today’s UC services, for instance: abbreviated dial plans; call hold; music on hold; caller ID presentation; call waiting; call logs; directory/contacts; call park; find-me/follow-me; click to call; dial ‘0’ for company operator; softphone; audio conferencing; distinctive ringing; do not disturb; net conferencing; direct international dialling; call forwarding; reservation-less, scheduled and assisted audio, video and telepresence conferencing; real-time utilization statistics; and many, many more as standard and optional. Continue reading “The True Value to Business Users of UC Service Features”

Breathing Life Back into FMC

S. O'Boyle
S. O'Boyle

Summary Bullets:         

  • Companies are segmenting their highly mobile users and looking at FMC solutions that can re-direct their calls over a VoIP network to reduce mobile costs, including not only roaming costs in the case of frequent travellers, but also in cases of ‘mobile-only’ offices.
  • Service providers that are offering FMC solutions to enterprises include Verizon (Global FMC), BT (Onevoice Anywhere), and Orange (Mobile Access).

The good things about FMC solutions are they can work to reduce mobile costs, leverage companies’ existing infrastructure (e.g., VoIP VPN), offer one number and identity, and work on any mobile carrier networks.  In terms of the sales process, price points are reasonable at EUR 4 to EUR 7 per user, per month, and trials are easy enough to get off the ground; it can take less than two weeks for an administrator to set this up via an online portal.  Customers may cancel during the first three months with no early termination charge. Continue reading “Breathing Life Back into FMC”

Hello Microsoft Office for iPad, Bye Bye Desktop?

B. Shimmin
B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Corporate e-mail, calendaring, social media and Web-based solutions, all work on mobile devices just as they do on the desktop. But mobile document editing is just beginning to show its true value on the road.
  • Regardless of how vendors like Microsoft decide to mobilize corporate documents, all enterprise IT managers will need to realign current mobile device management efforts with an emphasis on document access control, offline availability, synchronization and version control.

For quite a while now, documents have been the single biggest bugaboo in my quest to use my Apple iPad as a desktop replacement while on the road. Corporate e-mail, calendaring, social media, and any Web-based solution such as Salesforce.com, all work the way they do on the desktop. Actually, in many ways, they’re better – where usability and simplicity are concerned, the iPad simply offers a user experience that is far superior to the desktop. Sadly, however, when it comes to writing and editing, especially jointly editing corporate documents, those merits just don’t apply. The best word to describe it in the overall experience is unusable. There are workarounds and third-party editing and synchronization solutions available to ease the pain, but even those fail to offer anything approaching the same level of functionality available with full-fledged desktop productivity suites like Microsoft Office. Continue reading “Hello Microsoft Office for iPad, Bye Bye Desktop?”

Acquiring C&W Worldwide Would Give Vodafone Many Advantages and a Few Big Risks

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • C&W Worldwide fits with Vodafone’s UC ambitions and would significantly boost Vodafone’s UK global capabilities.
  • On the downside, C&W Worldwide is a challenging organisation for Vodafone to integrate.

The news that Vodafone has become the first of Cable&Wireless Worldwide’s (CWW) alleged suitors to formally announce that it is considering making a bid for the carrier has been greeted with surprise in certain quarters, but it shouldn’t really be seen as unexpected. Vodafone frequently been cited as a likely candidate to acquire CWW and this speculation increased in late 2011 when former Vodafone exec Gavin Darby became CWW’s CEO. It certainly shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider that for the full year 2010/11 the two companies would have had combined worldwide revenues of GBP 48.14 billion and combined UK revenues of GBP 6.97 billion. Continue reading “Acquiring C&W Worldwide Would Give Vodafone Many Advantages and a Few Big Risks”

Try-Before-You-Buy Options for Microsoft Lync

Brian Riggs
B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:
• Microsoft Lync is starting to be offered on a hosted basis
• Trial software and services are readily available and a good way to determine if Lync is right for you

When I first saw the press release for BT’s Hosted Microsoft Lync pilot service, , I thought it was the first stage of a pilot for a new hosted Lync service that BT is planning to rollout. Upon closer reading, and after a conversation with Stephen Bruce, Portfolio Partner, Unified Communications and Mobility at BT Global Services, I found it is rather a pilot program where enterprises – large, multinational ones – can pay $15,000 to kick Lync’s tires for 90 days.  Lync, for those not following the communications space closely, is the latest and greatest version of Microsoft’s unified communications software. It not only provides instant messaging and presence, but also can augment or completely replace a traditional PBX. Microsoft has a huge marketing campaign behind Lync and a growing number of highly capable channel partners very actively selling it. But Lync has only been out for about a year and for this and other reasons businesses have been hesitant to use it to replace tried-and-true PBX systems. Hence, BT’s kick-the-tires pilot program. Two things strike me when thinking of the BT pilot from the perspective of IT buyers: the state of hosted Lync services and for-pay Lync trials.
Continue reading “Try-Before-You-Buy Options for Microsoft Lync”