Keith Dawson's Analyst Perspectives

All Analyst Perspectives

AI’s Value to Contact Centers: Improved Customer and Agent Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When artificial intelligence emerged from the labs and vendors started offering it as a component of their software, many contact-center buyers shied away from it. From their point of view, AI and machine learning tools were new, expensive, relatively untested and had an uncertain use case. This stance was understandable, as contact center professionals are traditionally expected to be risk-averse when deploying technology into their operations. Contact centers are, by design, supposed to be hardened, mission-critical sites of high reliability. There has historically been a bias towards avoiding new technology, deploying only when it has been thoroughly vetted across the industry.

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Calabrio Brings VoC to Larger CX Potential

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Tools for contact center agent management have changed considerably in the past few years. The suite of software applications has grown from those that perform core functions in scheduling and quality control to include more advanced solutions for agent guidance, integrated desktops, and workflow and automation design. One area of intense investment by vendors has been analytics, specifically for assessing customer satisfaction and hearing the “voice of the customer.”

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The Transformation of Account-Based Marketing for Revenue Optimization

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 29, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Account-based marketing (ABM) serves as a model for how a complex manual activity can be improved and automated. That does not mean it always goes well. ABM is a practice that many B2B marketers swear by, but it can be very difficult to get a technology-enhanced ABM program up and running.

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The Pandemic Heightens Need for Agent Management

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The primary effect of the pandemic on agent/workforce management beginning in 2020 was a rush to re-site and re-equip contact centers and agents. This was achieved with a surprising speed and smoothness industrywide. But once achieved on a “temporary” or “emergency” basis, it became clear that this shift was going to be semi-permanent. Even if the majority of the agent population moves back into standard centers, there is now a consensus that some portion of the workforce will work from home. As a result, the industry’s vendors have focused their messaging and short-term roadmaps on enhancing workforce engagement, or what we call agent management. These include promoting tools for measurement, management, and supervisory tools like mobile interfaces into workforce systems.

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Uniphore Automates Intelligent Conversations

Posted by Keith Dawson on Sep 16, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Customer support operations increasingly rely on automation and complex workflow processes to reduce costs and improve experiences. Automation also allows organizations to make their service processes richer, incorporating information and staff from back offices, for example, or embedding conversational tools into contact center processes.

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Dialpad Stresses the Unity of UCaaS and CCaaS

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 25, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Dialpad provides contact center and business phone services, a market that is in transition due to a convergence of technologies and business conditions.

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Reltio Earns Marketing Digital Innovation Award for 2021

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.

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Field Service Transformation for CX Differentiation

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 10, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Field service is one element of the service-delivery process that an organization must get right or risk alienating important customers and causing friction in the relationship. The customer experience is directly affected by the timeliness, speed and accuracy of on-site work. Consequences of poor performance can hurt revenue, particularly in B2B situations where failures may cause expensive shutdowns or delays in conducting business.

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ServiceNow Earns Customer Experience Digital Innovation Award for 2021

Posted by Keith Dawson on Aug 6, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.

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Are DXPs Really Needed in a CX World?

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 20, 2021 10:19:19 AM

Customer experience (CX) tools are going through a transition, from piecemeal applications designed to solve narrowly defined problems, to broader suites with integrated functionality. This is occurring along multiple fronts in CX. Software for managing inbound interactions and customer issues is being gathered into CX suites sometimes described as Customer Experience Management (CEM). On the marketing side, the phenomenon is seen in the creation of Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs).

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ServiceNow Brings Customer Workflows with Automation and Intelligence

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 20, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Customer Service & Support (CSS) is a software segment that provides tools for tracking and resolving customer problems, primarily through contact centers. The segment has been mature for decades but today is reinvigorated by a new emphasis on workflows and automation. Vendors, like ServiceNow, have been innovative in developing new technologies for managing self-service and field service, and providing agents with contextually relevant information during interactions. The new technologies brought to bear on this include artificial intelligence (AI) for knowledge search and delivery; agent assist and guidance tools; and SMS-centric customer messaging.

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CX Suites Focus on Managing Customer Experiences

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

When we speak of the “customer experience,” we are really referring to the results of a broad spectrum of activities that collectively we describe as a journey or a lifecycle. In the past, how we spoke about customers was largely determined by the limited view of what transpired during short, contact center interactions. Customer experience (CX) evolved as a way to incorporate more facets of behavior into an assessment of the customer’s ultimate value and intent than is possible by looking only at an isolated interaction.

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Twilio is Vendor of Merit in Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 8, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Twilio drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Amazon has Merit in the Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 7, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Amazon drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Vonage has Merit for Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 5, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Vonage drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Enghouse Altitude Rated with Assurance in Contact Center Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 3, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Altitude, now part of Enghouse, drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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RingCentral Brings Merit to Market for Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jul 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about RingCentral drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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8x8 Provides Assurance in Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about 8x8 drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Five9 is Innovative in the 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 29, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Five9 drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Aspect has Assurance in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Aspect drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Cisco is Innovative in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 23, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Cisco drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Avaya is Innovative in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Avaya drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Content Guru is Exemplary in 2021 Value Index for Contact Centers

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 17, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Content Guru drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Genesys is Exemplary in 2021 Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 16, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Genesys drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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Zendesk Advances a Suite for CX

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 15, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The outlines of a post-pandemic customer experience (CX) landscape are emerging, and it appears that the market dynamic is bringing companies from different segments into heightened competition with one another. Over the past few years, there has been a change in software-buying preferences from niche point solutions to packaged software suites. Organizations and buyers now want more capability and usability across different tools and they want to work with fewer, and better integrated, vendors.

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Talkdesk is Exemplary in the Contact Center in the Cloud Value Index

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 14, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Talkdesk drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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NICE inContact is Exemplary and Overall Value Index Leader in Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 11, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about NICE drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

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The Value Index for Contact Center in the Cloud: Classification and Rating of 14 Vendors

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 10, 2021 3:00:00 AM

I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud 2021 is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to cloud contact center vendors. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ TCO/ROI and vendor validation. I encourage you to learn more about our Value Index and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool.

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The Market for Contact Center in the Cloud Software

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jun 9, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Having just completed the 2021 Ventana Research Value Index for Contact Center in the Cloud, I want to share some of my observations about how the market has advanced since our assessment three years ago. The trend towards cloud deployment for contact center infrastructure has accelerated, partly (but not exclusively) due to the urgency of the 2020 pandemic. CCaaS has been generally accepted as a safe, reliable alternative to premises-based ACDs that also has benefits in cost-control, scalability and rapid technical innovation. There is a consensus within the industry that CCaaS will soon become the dominant deployment mode, with premises tools reserved for niche applications. Vendors report that the majority of their new customers are cloud-focused.

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Customer Service and Support: Expanded Role and Need for Software

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 27, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Customer service and support (CSS) is a term with two meanings. Most generally, it refers to the functions of a contact center in handling post-sales customer inquiries that require some effort or action on the part of the business. More specifically, it refers to the elements of the software stack that facilitate those operations, primarily case tracking and trouble ticketing.

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Zoho Builds a CX Suite Inside Zoho One

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 11, 2021 3:00:00 AM

There are many software components that facilitate contact center operations. Historically, the industry has relied, in part, on niche or best-of-breed applications but this is shifting in favor of broadly integrated suites or ecosystems. When we look at CX trends beyond the contact center, the shift is even more pronounced, with the bundling/collection of applications from martech to CRM-incorporating software that were formerly/previously purchased separately.

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The Voice of the Customer Is Really a Chorus of Voices

Posted by Keith Dawson on May 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a catch-all term that refers to the collection of customer feedback in various formats. Sometimes this feedback is in the form of quick surveys or reactions to questions like, "Did I resolve your issue today?" or "Would you recommend our service to a friend?" Alternatively, it can be derived from less specific but more numerous data signals that span multiple interactions or across a customer base. Most businesses make an effort to capture some customer feedback.

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Avaya: Adapting and Focused on CX, CCaaS Success

Posted by Keith Dawson on Apr 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Business phone systems and contact center platforms received renewed attention in 2020 as organizations acquired tools for agents working from home. That put the spotlight on vendors, like Avaya, that have feet in both worlds. Since both forms of communications technology are well-suited to the cloud, Avaya has developed its Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) portfolios in parallel. The effort has borne fruit, with significant product enhancements notched recently. Ventana Research asserts that by 2023, one-quarter of organizations will to UCaaS and CCaaS technologies to collaborate in the enterprise and with customers more effectively.

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8x8 Shows Why CCaaS and UCaaS Should be Unified

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 30, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The pandemic accelerated several trends in the contact-center industry that were already underway, chiefly: moving infrastructure and software applications to the cloud, and rethinking the process of managing agents. One byproduct of these trends is a renewed look at the similarities between business-phone systems (also known as unified communications, or UC) and contact center systems (CC).

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Salesforce Service Cloud: Contact Center with Workforce Engagement

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 24, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The modern contact center relies heavily on software that enables agents to perform multiple complex tasks while simultaneously managing the customer-facing side of interactions. This has allowed CRM vendors to build tools, such as agent desktop interfaces, that control virtually all aspects of the service environment.

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The Mandate for Contact Center and Agent Management

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 22, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The ways in which consumers engage with organizations have changed. Long-established communication channels such as the telephone, email and company websites are still used, but many consumers now prefer to use text messages, online chat, social media, virtual agents and applications on their mobile devices to contact the company and address issues. As a result, organizations have had to add support for many new channels of customer engagement.

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Content Guru Brings CCaaS with Confidence to US

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 19, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Shifts in the market due to the pandemic have upended the contact center marketplace, accelerating the inevitable migration of infrastructure to the cloud and changing the way agents are managed. The pandemic also increased the dependence customers have on contact centers in the absence of in-store buying.

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Customer Data Platforms: Essential for Effective Customer Experience

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 16, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Since customer data platforms (CDP) emerged in the marketplace about five years ago, there has been debate about what roles they fill, especially within customer service organizations. They were originally developed by small software firms to provide marketing teams with a comprehensive view of customer records. Those records could be scattered throughout an organization, siloed by system and department. CDPs were an attempt to shortcut integration processes that are long, expensive and often custom-designed.

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The New Verint: Experiences and Engagement with Customers

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM

Verint has recently separated into two companies, one of which is a dedicated provider of software focused on customer engagement and will keep the Verint name. (The other is called Cognyte and focused on security analytics.)

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SAP Service Cloud Bridges the Contact Center and the Back Office

Posted by Keith Dawson on Mar 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The contact center is still, for most businesses, where customer experience is designed, delivered and measured. And as we might expect, customer experience (CX) tools are migrating from where they started point solutions based on narrow functions into broader suites that encompass multi-departmental functions and reach across customer journeys. The goal is to provide more consistency across interactions, and to provide organizations with deeper insights into customer behavior along with control over the various moments of influence that occur along the lifecycle.

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The Potential of Marketing in 2021: The Market Agenda

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 27, 2021 5:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2021 market agenda in the expertise area of Marketing, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes.

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The 2021 Market Agenda for Customer Experience: Achieving Excellence in Engagement

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 24, 2021 3:30:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2021 market agenda in the expertise area of Customer Experience. Most organizations have some degree of focus on managing how they interact with their customers, but it is often a disjointed and constrained process. Developing an effective customer experience has become an investment priority in recent years as organizations increasingly recognize the importance of good experiences to profitability, customer longevity and advocacy on behalf of brands.

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The Opportunity for CX is Beyond Your Contact Center

Posted by Keith Dawson on Jan 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM

The contact center has long represented the starting point for customer experience initiatives. Now, however, most organizations are finding that they need to invest beyond this singular point of engagement. When organizations look at customer experience holistically, they see the need to incorporate the perspectives of people in other departments and channels of customer engagement. These diverse new points of view come with an interest in deploying CX technology that also meets their needs. As a result, organizations are looking at not just vendors traditionally in the contact center space but those that operate across the entire customer journey, and shifting some of the existing contact center budgets to tools that fill multiple roles.

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Intelligent Virtual Agents Are an Imperative for Digital Self-Service

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 22, 2020 3:00:00 AM

The pandemic has raised the stakes for self-service in every part of the customer journey. In 2020, the customer service industry underwent a shock to its collective system by pulling up stakes and moving agents to remote work. At the same time, consumers moved away from in-person interactions in stores and branches. This systemic disruption has led to longer call wait times and tougher interactions because collaborating and accessing company data systems from outside the office is difficult.

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Teradata Vantage CX: The Real Customer Data Platform

Posted by Keith Dawson on Dec 8, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Teradata is not a name that is commonly associated with the customer experience marketplace, but that is likely to change as customer experience (CX) practitioners wrestle with the problems created by the multiple streams of data thrown off by the many applications and customer touchpoints they have to manage. Teradata’s Vantage CX is a tool for ingesting and managing customer information at great scale, combining the functions of a modern CDP with the analytics that makes customer data actionable.

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Trends in Contact Center Market for 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 22, 2020 3:00:00 AM

This has been a dramatic year for contact centers. The underlying technology has been changing for some time, but that change is now accelerating because of the urgent operational shifts forced by the pandemic. When you can’t gather dozens or hundreds of people into a single, open-plan site, you must look at alternative models for staffing and interaction handling. You must also work harder to create positive customer experiences across multiple contact channels.

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Why I Joined Ventana Research

Posted by Keith Dawson on Oct 1, 2020 3:00:00 AM

It’s very exciting to embark on a new chapter of one’s career, so I am thrilled to be joining Ventana Research to lead the practice of expertise in customer experience (CX). Some who know me might remember that I’ve been in this industry since a much younger version of me edited Call Center Magazine in the 1990s and 2000s. Others might have crossed paths in my role at several industry analyst firms. I’ve been around for quite a while, invigorate and help CX emerge as a competitive differentiator in the industry, watching successive waves of technological and operational changes wash over this industry. So what’s special about this moment, for the CX industry, for Ventana Research and for myself?

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