Category Archives: Insight
- Big, unstructured data, fragmented across an ever growing number of sources, is overwhelming organizations, requiring them to find new ways to access information in order to stay competitive, better serve their customers and bring more innovative products to market, faster.
- At the other end of the spectrum are customers who are increasingly knowledgeable and demanding a greater degree of immediacy and relevance towards their needs.
Hidden inside streams of structured and unstructured data are information relationships that answer questions employees haven’t even thought to ask, but which may hold the key to your company’s differentiation and its ability to serve customers with higher value. This is the challenge of knowledge management today: putting knowledge to constant reuse by each and every employee and each and every customer.
In fact, Gartner has predicted that enterprise data will grow by 800 percent in five years, with 80 percent of it unstructured. As this data grows, so does the problem of knowledge access.
In business, knowledge is what keeps organizations competitive and innovative. It is a true asset and hence should be treated as such. It is imperative for it to be accessed and shared across teams and geographies. Knowledge is useless sitting in repositories where no one even knows it exists; it is only valuable when it is accessible and reused as often as possible. But making it accessible is much easier said than done and employees waste precious time trying to find and correlate it.
Take for example the results from an IDC report, which found that knowledge workers spend anywhere from 15 to 35 percent of their time searching for, assembling, and unfortunately, recreating information that already exists. Just think of the time and money lost when employees at your organization don’t know where to look, or how to ask for what they are seeking – or better yet, don’t even know it exists. The explosion of Big Data only exacerbates this challenge.
To overcome this challenge, companies must look to harness their data, garner better insights and increase return on what is arguably the greatest asset they possess: Knowledge. Return on Knowledge (ROK) may be the next big differentiator and source of wealth creation for companies in today’s Big Data world. Helping your employees – and your customers – find answers to the questions they haven’t thought to ask can move your business forward by leaps and bounds.
Check out our latest eBook to learn how you can gain greater Return on Knowledge – and let us know how you’re judging the success of your knowledge management initiatives.
Today’s IT department finds itself in a precarious position: balance stakeholder demands against the need to maintain governance, compliance and control. Environments are becoming more diverse and complex while executive leadership needs CIOs and IT departments to start contributing to the bottom line through increased productivity.
As a result, many CIOs are looking at the cloud as an easier way to deliver solutions to their stakeholders without adding more chaos to their already complex internal systems. The benefits of cloud solutions are very attractive to the CIO: subscription model, no long-term commitments, easy deployment, low cost of ownership, no capital to invest, solutions that meet the individual needs of the stakeholders, etc.
But is the reduced chaos a reality? Read more and comment…
When it comes to hype and exposure, every week is a big week for Big Data. But rarely – if ever – has such a tool found itself directly in the middle of the mainstream media around the biggest story of the year.
In fact, the technology to analyze and leverage big data was lauded both inside and outside campaigns as a key influencer of last week’s presidential election. Read more and comment…
It’s been a breakthrough year for our technology and employees so far, and while we received significant recognition earlier this year, we’re pleased to report that others have taken notice even more recently.
Our solutions won a Bronze Stevie® award for the “Best New Product of the Year – Software,” as awarded in the International Business Awards. The competition was fierce – submissions were received by 3,200 companies in over 50 countries, judged by 300 executives. We work hard for our new products to have a high level of innovation and value, and we’re honored to have the resulting value creation validated by this independent group of reviewers. Read more and comment…
Amid the excitement and athleticism of the Olympics, we have uncovered another interesting display of global competition. And although it may not be as entertaining, the ramifications are more far-reaching. Specifically, the Global Innovation Index evaluates each country’s level of innovation over the past year, as judged by each country’s knowledge, technology and creative outputs. It was reported by the CEO of Eli Lily in a Forbes post about America’s declining ranking last month. Read more and comment…
Access to organizational knowledge is important for any organization. In the financial services space, it’s a sound investment practice as well.
Take 3i Group, one of the world’s leading investment firms focused in private equity, infrastructure and debt management. Based in London, 3i has over $15 billion in total assets (around £1.5 billion) through 101 portfolio companies across Europe, Asia and the Americas. 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.
If there’s one company that could serve as a showcase for how better Insight into vast amounts of data can drive improvements throughout an organization, it’s CA Technologies. Coveo has been working with CA Technologies for several years to help them make sense of the massive amounts of information about its expanding and today, quickly changing products and services portfolio, customers (including those from newly acquired companies), projects, people, and more–contained in more than 70 different systems as well as across social channels. Through Coveo’s Insight Consoles, all 13,000 of CA Technologies’ employees have a consolidated, correlated view of information across systems – at their fingertips, in real-time.
A good example of CA Technologies’ use of insight solutions was chronicled recently on Forbes.com. The article, written by columnist Dan Woods and posted on Forbes’s “Data Driven” blog, focuses on “How CA Technologies Uses Data to Drive Product Development.”
The article talks about how CA Technologies represents a new breed of companies that no longer run their product development operations on instinct. Instead, they use data to track various aspects of product development to facilitate the production of the best possible software solution.
CTO Don Ferguson discusses the pressures of leading a large, global R&D team and having to justify the R&D spend to the C-suite. He describes how better insight into vast amounts of information has enabled CA Technologies to benefit from customer feedback in the early phases of each development cycle, allowing the organization to work in a more agile manner.
This approach is centered on what you’ve heard us talk about before – the concept of a customer-centric strategy – placing customers in the center of the business. Companies need to involve customers in every aspect of their decision making, starting with product development. If they don’t gather feedback early in the development process, every time they enter a new cycle they’re putting all of their work at risk. No company can afford to put out a product that doesn’t meet customer needs after 12 months of testing.
The Forbes piece also touches on the use of social media to facilitate that customer interaction. It discusses the ways CA Technologies keeps a close eye on how customers use its self-service website and online communities to learn about products, solve problems on their own, request assistance and volunteer new ideas for features. By consolidating and correlating this data with other information, CA Technologies can inject that insight into its product development processes, detect where any issues may be occurring in the products, and understand which content is helping customers the most.
In this day and age, companies that don’t utilize information across digital channels put themselves at a severe disadvantage. They don’t know what the outside world is saying about them and they’re not putting the feedback into context with other information locked in their own enterprise systems. CA Technologies is one company that does it right. Leo Annab, Business Technology Officer at CA Technologies recently sat down with Coveo to discuss this in more detail.
Using Insight Solutions, CA Technologies engages the customer at all interaction points. CA Technologies incorporates customer information and feedback into its processes, making it a more agile business and driving improved business performance.
CA Technologies has proven itself to be a global leader in its field. Companies in every industry can learn from its use of technology to drive customer centricity and leverage data to its advantage.
I was recently asked this question during an interview with Jason Redlus, managing member and founder of the Argyle Executive Forum. We had a nice discussion about customer service organizations and the way they manage their information, knowledge, and people.
Our conversation around the future of customer service touched on so many different, salient points that I was prompted to open up the discussion to a broader audience. I am hoping you will contribute your thoughts.
At a high level and from a pure company perspective, what appears to be the driving trend across the industry is a requirement we are all very familiar with: lowering costs. The margin pressures on customer service are ever increasing and customer service executives are being asked to do more with less—however they also must either hold steady or preferably increase customer satisfaction.
At the other end of the spectrum, the customer operates in an increasingly proliferate and democratic world. Customers have access to more information, which creates a more competent customer with higher expectations around the availability of relevant information to solve issues on their own, and a much greater willingness – and ability – to turn to other providers that have better differentiation on service.
Those competing factors alone drive requirements for self-service; and although self-service has been around for a long time, contextually relevant self-service will become a major trend. The question companies need to address externally is how to make the self-service experience one that is relevant to your customer’s current situation, so that customers can gain the knowledge they need, aligned with their own situation, to solve an issue more efficiently. That is what we refer to as contextually relevant insight. Not only it drives call deflection, but it also helps increase customer satisfaction.
Internally, these factors drive a requirement for more and better accessibility to knowledge on the part of customer service agents, especially facing these increasingly competent customers. Again, the ability for agents to efficiently pull knowledge that is contextually relevant to the customer’s specific situation will drive first call resolutions up, will shrink average case resolution time, and will enable entry level agents to handle more complex issues.
I am often surprised by the disproportionate amount of investment that customer service organizations put into the call center infrastructure to route calls, transcript calls, manage workflows, standardize account pop-ups, manage traffic, etc.; relative to how little investment is made to enable customers or agents to access the knowledge needed to actually solve customer issues. Isn’t that the primary goal of customer service?
I am also surprised to see so many organizations confuse knowledge and information, and hence looking as knowledge management as an IT problem and a system of record challenge. Please open up the dictionary and you will see knowledge defined as the human capacity to take action facing an uncertain situation. Exactly what customer service agents face all day every day. Knowledge resides with people, not systems. People acquire knowledge – they gain insight – by gathering information from all sources but also by identifying and learning from other people who are experts and have prior experience about the situation at hand. Not just by logging in the knowledge base.
So for a customer service agent, knowledge resides in the collection of content sources that mine the cumulative know-how and learnings about customer and product issues history, but it also resides with the people who have worked on similar issues or products. This is why the ability to quickly identify contextually relevant experts is also critical in customer service. Failure to do so results in a suboptimal ability to solve the case, or equally bad a process where an agent wastes time recreating knowledge that already exists and often times a worse version of it.
In turn, that drives the confluence between sales, service and engineering. Enabling that triangle is critical because establishing context about a customer reaches in all three areas. Typically those departments operate in a silo. For example, engineering builds a new product and hands it over to sales. Then, the sales department hands it over to service. And there is little interaction among and between groups. Now, these three are really coming together with the consolidation of knowledge across the organization between engineering, sales and marketing, and customer service. It’s critical to solving customer issues faster and ensuring product issues get resolved faster.
At a macro level, the rate of change and the variety of information sources are increasing. Between the years 2000 and 2010, the average number of information sources a company had to deal with was multiplied by roughly two and a half times. In 2000, assume a customer service environment had five to 10 sources of information for answering customer demands and solving issues. With the proliferation of enterprise systems and digital media, they now have 25 or more sources. That’s the reality of today, and cloud based computing fuels the fragmentation even more.
I was with the EVP of Engineering of a large consumer electronics company recently. Internally they use SAP ERP, Oracle Siebel for CRM, fileshares across the company with a recent move to SharePoint (wonders what the real advantage is since users can’t get much out of it), Jira and Parametric PLM in engineering, and databases popping everywhere… Yet when they release a new product into the market, within 24 hours he has already heard about design flaws from social sources like Twitter, completely outside of the company’s domain. That speaks volumes about the importance of distilling insights from a consolidated view of all enterprise information plus social media data, because the knowledge about customers and products is an ecosystem of information and people, and not a single system.
We don’t know what the landscape will look like three years from now, and no one can predict the next paradigm shift. All we can do is focus on the paradigm of today – adapting to change and being able to quickly reassemble the information and reach the people needed. That is opposed to the old paradigm of IT personnel sitting around the table discussing their information needs for the next five years.
What trends do you see impacting the future of customer service?
SunGard, with annual revenues of about $4.5 billion, is the largest privately held software and services company; it serves approximately 25,000 customers in more than 70 countries, SunGard’s K-12 Education segment is a category- leader and serves more than 8 million students. I recently met with our customer Keith Gingrich, who leads customer support operations as vice president, SunGard K-12 Education.
I was struck by the commitment Keith shows to helping his customers – which are, in the end, our leaders of tomorrow: the students of today. While SunGard’s technology solutions help enable school districts to do more with less – and help families to participate in their children’s education – the beneficiary of this technology is ultimately the students themselves. When the school district operates more efficiently, students benefit from additional resources dedicated to them and their education. Ultimately we all benefit. What a great story – what a great calling.
Keith’s team recently implemented Coveo Insight Solutions to support customer service operations—helping to ensure that the K- 12 school districts SunGard serves get the guidance they need, when they need it, and to continue to use SunGard technology to help them operate effectively and efficiently.
During our meeting we chatted about the reasons behind SunGard’s Coveo implementation. I was impressed and I think you will be, too. I asked Keith about the business drivers behind his decision to implement Coveo Insight Solutions. Here is a synopsis of his answer:
“You can imagine the challenges our school districts are facing in light of the economy and the federal-state funding cut-backs. We at SunGard want to help our customers achieve more with less—so they can focus their resources on the students. We will be launching new products intended to help them do that and more. We want to be as efficient as possible to keep our costs down for our customers—and we knew there was technology available that could help us improve our support capability without adding the expense of additional resources.
We evaluated the insight software category and found that Coveo was the most flexible, cost effective and sophisticated solution to help us achieve our goals. Like most support operations, we have potential support resolution information spread out in many different places – our agents were switching context and having to go to several different systems, customer forums, and more, to solve customer issues, taking longer than necessary to resolve many customer support cases.
We found that Coveo would help streamline our customer service operations and provide our agents with a consolidated view of all structured and unstructured customer information—organized around whatever entity we chose—whether that was a customer, or a case, or even a product. Coveo was the most flexible, adaptable solution we saw. Even as our business continues to grow and evolve, Coveo will easily adapt. The technology helps us gain even more value from the tools we already have in place, from our CRM to our case tracking system, file shares and online customer communities.”
SunGard’s customer-centric operations allow the company to be more effective in serving its customers—who are, ultimately, our children. Again – is there a better calling?
How do you help your customers operate more effectively and efficiently, and how does that help the ultimate end user?
If you’re interested on more information on Coveo’s work with SunGard K-12 Education, click here.