Category Archives: Advanced Enterprise Search
We’re a third of the way through 2013 and the Big Data buzz has yet to show signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s become even more evident that the need for companies to glean insight from their data is imperative. However, a recent survey by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 58 percent of respondents feel that moving from data to insight is a major challenge. Sounds like what these respondents need is an insight solution.
In my last post, we talked about how to get started with your insight solution deployment and the importance of establishing an enterprise-wide center of expertise for Advanced Enterprise Search. This, along with our other best practices, aims to prevent you from making common mistakes in your deployment that could delay the return on your investment.
The next thing to be aware of during your deployment is the “Requirements Peacock” (pictured below). Let me explain. Too many people consider their insight solution deployment as just a technology project. Yes, technology is definitely a very important piece, but there are certainly more elements to be addressed in order to increase the success of the project.
Gartner recently issued its 2013 Magic Quadrant for the enterprise search market. We’re pleased with our positioning – high on both vision and ability to execute – particularly when you see where we are compared to other enterprise search providers. Very large providers.
According to Gartner, our position shows that “They understand that chasing the ‘Google experience’ is not sufficient, but that providing search features that allow for better collaboration, application development, and innovative means of finding and working with content is particularly valuable.”
We’ve always understood that the Google experience is not ideal for enterprise customers. That’s why Coveo goes way beyond the traditional perception of “enterprise search” and instead provides companies with highly advanced, Indexing and Insight technology which we believe is the best way to transform knowledge management initiatives and to get the greatest return on knowledge (ROK). Read more and comment…
And the winner is…Coveo! We’re pleased to announce that Coveo has just been named a 2013 Service Leader alongside salesforce.com in CRM Magazine‘s Service Leaders Awards.
These awards acknowledge the “best of the best” in customer service and support, and are chosen by a group of approximately 20 top analysts and industry experts based on a mix of weighted criteria – including depth of functionality and services, customer satisfaction, company direction, deployment costs and overall revenue.
John Ragsdale, Vice President of Technology Research at the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), called Coveo his “top recommended search platform,” due to its “faceted search and dynamic integrations” with external systems, while Kate Leggett, principal analyst at Forrester, noted that Coveo offers “excellent search [capabilities] across structured and unstructured sources” as well as “strong visualization and dashboarding tools to present search results in very consumable ways.”
In its review of the 2013 Service Leader Award winners, CRM Magazine also referred to Coveo as “a mainstay on the CCS leaderboard,” noting that Coveo for Salesforce, introduced in 2012, gives Salesforce users the ability to search across nearly any system, directly from the Salesforce UI. Read more and comment…
When your job is unlocking knowledge from various systems across an organization, a natural question is whether you’re giving the keys to the wrong people.
Companies should be careful with powerful technology – and businesses should be diligent in keeping their architectures secure. However security should not come at the expense of sharing information that can move your business forward.
When you’re considering enterprise search, five simple steps can help you ensure that the only people who see the information are those who have permission to see it, and help to reduce the security challenges associated with moving data. Read more and comment…
When people think of the term “enterprise search,” they often have a preconceived set of perceptions, capabilities and technology. It evokes lots of different reactions from various sources, depending on who you ask. If you ask Wikipedia, for instance, “Enterprise search is the practice of making content from multiple enterprise-type sources, such as databases and intranets, searchable to a defined audience.” If you ask some companies in the industry, it involves taking best practices from a standardized web approach, then translating those into an enterprise environment. Read more and comment…
In order to work efficiently and effectively, it is vital that customer-facing employees and executives have access to the right information—contextually relevant information—at the right time. If not, the inability to engage at the right levels could be the difference between finding new revenue streams and the loss of customer loyalty and brand reputation. This is because true customer engagement focuses on an organization’s ability to understand, adapt and respond to customer needs in a completely agile, real-time fashion.
However, during a recent survey of customer service and support executives, we learned that just 13 percent of those surveyed believe employees can effectively tap into the collective knowledge of their organizations.
• 79 percent said they can only sometimes or almost never get the information they need to make informed business decisions quickly
• 51 percent said they themselves can only “sometimes” get at the information
• 28 percent noted they can “almost never” get the necessary details
• Eight percent said they could not get at the information at all
The survey data clearly demonstrates that organizations continue to struggle with the fragmentation of information at several levels—preventing executives, employees and customers alike, from making timely, informed decisions. Forward thinking companies must seek advanced alternatives to providing an interactive, real-time, one-to-one, end-to-end customer experience. When engaging with customers they must provide insight and knowledge—which is contextually relevant to that customer.
When asked how employees go about resolving customer issues with limited information resources, 73 percent of the survey respondents said their employees rely on a mix of personal networks and systems the company gives them to get their jobs done, while 13 percent said employees rely mainly on their own networks.
This alternative method for information gathering is extremely counterproductive, as employees spend inordinate amounts of time routing through mounds of irrelevant information and often come up short-handed or worse, with inaccurate information. Often, they end up “recreating the wheel.” Furthermore in some industries, this “workaround” practice has greater consequences as it breaks a slew of regulatory requirements.
In order to access the knowledge you need, embrace the new paradigm of leaving information where it resides naturally, and instantly assembling consolidated information that is contextually relevant and personalized—at that point in time—to the user. We call this engaging knowledge to engage customers, and it helps executives, employees and customers gain the insight they need to facilitate decision making, improve day-to-day efficiencies and operations and cultivate one-to-one customer relationships.
The survey results listed above are only some in a series of informative research published by Coveo. Read our new eBook for more insights and check back frequently for our latest statistics and surveys.
It’s no secret that data is growing in size and complexity; even more importantly, the vast majority of this data is unstructured, making it difficult to categorize, understand and manipulate. It cannot be housed in traditional databases and it cannot be understood as a whole. This information is siloed, by systems, departments, geographies, and type. And now more than ever, valuable data that could impact business decisions resides in a vast network of social media channels and enterprises are struggling with a way to harness its power.
Just last week, Gartner issued its top IT trends citing that data will grow by 800 percent in five years, with 80 percent of it unstructured. Part of that is the trend they are calling “the collective,” which includes data from groups and communities and social networks outside the business.
All of this has left companies with an inability to gain a complete view or insight into their business – the people, projects, processes and customers that are at the heart of an organization – and its success.
We call this the insight deficit. And today, we have announced a new solution to help eliminate it.
Coveo 7.0 with Multi-Channel Text Analytics is the first solution to apply text analytics across an index of vast amounts of data concurrently in enterprise systems and social channels. Users can discover information relationships across diverse data sources, behind the firewall and in social channels, to better serve customers, increase product innovation and quality and support decisions made across the enterprise. Users can discover relationships, search and analyze information across billions of pieces of information from diverse data sources, both unstructured and structured.
We focused significant resources and innovation into developing capabilities within Coveo 7.0 to address not only traditional sources such as email and databases, but also social channels like Twitter and chat and calls.
For example, Coveo 7.0 now includes a connector for Twitter, allowing companies to consolidate customer feedback with product and brand information from the social channel with other enterprise information to identify issues and trends and proactively take steps to resolve them.
As a result, businesses are enabled to drive more consistent and satisfying customer experiences across all channels by uncovering the actionable insight that lives in their data.
So now, we make it even easier for you to get at the data and intelligence you need, wherever it resides. If only eliminating federal deficits were this easy.
Today’s consumers, whether B2B or B2C, are much more informed than ever before about the products and services they are buying. This newly found awareness based on product information, industry and peer reviews, and multiple social channels, has given consumers this sense of trust that if others “like me” purchased or bought this product, and they thought it was great, then it must be great for me as well. The impact of this is that it has set the consumer expectation at a very high level.
Most companies have not adapted to the socialization of their products and services with respect to how to conduct the full scope of business. Sales and marketing love it – they can get their name and product out to millions and millions of people, however on the reverse side of the business, the support and services group have to deal with the high expectations of customers, which has been created in part, by its own sales and marketing departments.
Thus the gap has been created.
Customer service is a complex process. To do it well, there needs to be a complete synchronization between the systems of record, people, processes, products and partnerships. However, in most corporate environments today, these attributes reside in either IT silos or departmental silos inaccessible by the organization as a whole to deliver that seamless level of service.
A good example of this is the financial services industry. They sell standard banking services, mortgages, credit cards, life insurance and other services, but each one of these products are a distinct business unit with their own systems of record, so it is no wonder that each one of them markets to you as if their product is the only one you might have purchased from them. Each system only knows what is going on in their space – customers are becoming rebellious to this type of corporate attitude.
A second challenge I see today is that there used to be a “time to quality,” meaning if I saw a product and it was a new design or a 1.0 release of software, I had an expectation that there may be some early glitches that would be worked out over time. I was willing to put up with these bugs in order to be an early adopter. Today I don’t believe that to be true. The consumer expectation is that if you are selling something, it better be perfect and it better be fully-supported from the onset, or else “I am going to be unhappy.”
On the flip side of this equation, I also believe that companies have not listened to their customers, and have not adapted their practices to meet some of the changing demands of their customers. Companies have not embraced the fact that their customers are more educated and know more about their products and services. Company and product transparency is a given due to the Internet. Look at the plethora of information available to your customers – blog posts, customer reviews, press reviews, online communities, and much more. Often, customers know more about the products and services they are purchasing than the customer service rep! You cannot hide from it.
Do I blame companies for being in this state where they are not able to adapt to their customers’ changing expectations? No. For the most part, over the past three decades, companies have purchased siloed products that capture everything an organization needs to know about their customers, their preferences, expectations, and more. The problem is, many of these systems don’t talk to each other, and so the proliferation of “systems of record” have clogged the companies’ ability to react and see their customers as a single entity.
If the customer has transparency – and insight – into your company and your products, don’t you think it would be good for you as a company to have the same level of insight into your customers? For example, what products your customers have purchased, how they use them, where they use them, upsell opportunities, and more. Laggard companies use the excuse that their IT organizations can’t keep up with the changing demands. While that is likely true, if companies continue with the traditional way of physically integrating siloed systems, they will continue to fail to gain better customer transparency and insight.
Forward-looking companies realize that customer insight comes from the ability to see your customer from different perspectives in what I call a single version of the truth. This single version of the truth comes from aggregating and consolidating data collected from all these siloed systems into a unified set of data without moving the physical data. Sounds too good to be true, I know, but the combination of Enterprise Search 2.0, knowledge management and customer experience management, can deliver on this view.
When the company and customer have a balanced transparency of each other, tremendous value is generated in the people, products, process and most importantly, the relationships, between them all. Until companies take the initiative to unify their view, and provide insight into their customers and customer service operations, there will always be an imbalance and the debate will go on.
According to Gartner Research, the field service market encompasses 20 million mobile field service workers worldwide. Field service workers are a company’s “feet on the street”, represent the company’s brand, and are an extension of the customer service organization. They’re ultimately expected to provide great service and have an accurate, holistic view of the customer to help capture additional service revenue.
Sales reps constantly on the road also need similar access to customer information to truly know all aspects of a customer relationship, even in the minutes leading up to a critical meeting to close a customer deal, to help increase cross-selling, optimize the customer experience, and maximize revenues.
Yet all too often, field service workers and sales reps don’t have a complete, 360 degree view of the customer, their products, plans, parts, open cases, call history, and upsell opportunities, when out in the field. This lack of a holistic view of the customer leads to delayed resolutions, repeat service calls, missed cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and more. In a market where shrinking service response times are demanded by customers, this only leads to lower customer satisfaction levels and lost revenue.
Due to the demand we’re seeing in the market, thanks in large part to the focus on customer-centricity across organizations today, we just announced expanded mobile apps for our Knowledge 360 Solutions and Enterprise Search 2.0 platform, including support for Blackberry OS 6.0, the iPhone, iPad and Android. Field service and sales organizations can now easily and securely access all customer information from any enterprise system via these mobile devices. Gartner Analyst Michael Maoz, quoted in the news release we issued, said:
“Devices such as all forms of Tablets and smartphones will continue to change the dynamics of customer support and field service as organizations look for innovative ways to better serve and understand their customers. Tablets and mobile devices are showing strong business benefits to field technicians. This comes from areas such as real-time information on parts and plans, customer cases, and upsell opportunities. It is critical for enterprises to efficiently equip these mobile workers with a 360 degree view of the customer, in particular as businesses focus on sustainability, lower costs, and improved customer satisfaction. With 20 million mobile field service workers worldwide, we are already beginning to see the measurable benefits.”
In a recent survey we commissioned with Omega Management Group, companies with 10,000 or more employees reported that customer data resided in more than 20 different systems. Think of the time and expense it would take to move all that data into a central repository, or integrate those systems! We say – leave the data where it is, in those best of breed systems, and provide ubiquitous, anywhere, anytime access to it, regardless of where it’s stored – whether behind the firewall or in the cloud, including social media.
And now, we say take that access with you on the go.
Inefficiency is when something gets done with more money, time and resources than it should. Ineffectiveness is when something should be done differently to yield better results.
In both cases, typically the actors don’t know better, or don’t have the requisite knowledge and information to act optimally, and the results show. For sales it means less revenue, for services it means lower customer satisfaction, and in both areas it means increased costs–everything businesses don’t want!
In my 25 years of being involved with IT and business process re-engineering initiatives, I have seen businesses dramatically improve their ability to manage and govern customer related information. I have seen them implement systems that capture events and transactions almost flawlessly. In fact, this has not only caused information volumes to explode, but also the diversity and number of information sources to increase dramatically.
While information regarding customers, projects and products is so meticulously captured, stored, managed and governed, users keep complaining about its value in supporting their decision making: “What do I need to do next to support the business optimally, maximize revenues, lower costs, increase customer satisfaction? How do I connect the dots between the sea and diversity of information at my disposal?”
- How can a sales person know what to sell, when to sell, what the client needs, who should be involved, who is satisfied, who is not, who needs what, who knows who, who is the expert?
- How can a customer find better answers via online self-service when their need is multi-faceted?
- How can a customer service agent figure out the root cause of a complex customer issue which is not documented in a knowledge base?
Every time the answer is “they can’t,” it means inefficiency and/or ineffectiveness. It affects revenues, costs, and satisfaction.
Despite a dominant strategy to consolidate systems and information silos over the past two decades, the fact is that on average, companies have twice the number of different information sources versus only 10 years ago. Moreover, no one had predicted the growth of unstructured information, and no one had predicted that a significant part of an organization’s valuable business information would reside outside the firewall and totally outside of the CIO’s control.
Heterogeneity of IT environments is the new norm, and at the current pace of change, IT budgets can’t keep up with the information consolidation vision, the perfectly integrated world, the seamlessly connected business silos, etc. As a result, users are confronted with multiple systems and logins, and their ability to obtain the integrated and relevant views of information they need is much less than optimal.
In sales and services this is a critical problem. “Wait! Our new integrated system will do just that!” Well… in the meantime if systems cannot be integrated easily, how can decision support be made available?
This is what Enterprise Search 2.0 helps achieve through unified indexing: Enterprise Search 2.0 isolates the user from all the complexity of IT systems under the hood, and gives users what they need. Fundamentally, the function of an Enterprise Search 2.0 Platform is to aggregate intelligence from disparate digital sources—in order to provide decision support in every area of the business, making them more efficient (time savings) and more effective (better quality).
Decision support must be interactive in order to facilitate and inform business decision-making activities – to help identify and solve problems or make decisions in management, operations, customer service, sales, engineering, etc. – by compiling useful information from a combination of raw data, documents, knowledge and people, or other business information. That is a mouthful! In simple terms, it means providing the business user with the knowledge they need so that they can sell or service customers more efficiently – time savings – and in a more effective way – better satisfaction.
I’ll continue to explore the fundamentals of a decision support system in my upcoming posts, including a four-prong framework that defines how the user interacts with and leverages information for decision support.