Magic Quadrant for CRM Web Customer Service
Gartner's 2011 Magic Quadrant for CRM Web Customer Service shows a consolidating market, with the leaders firmly entrenched in their competitive positions, and smaller, yet incomplete, Web customer service offerings jostling for differentiated positioning as they build out full-suite solutions.
There are many niche vendors that are providing solutions for Web customer service (WCS) channels (see "The Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, 2010" for other WCS vendors not included in this Magic Quadrant). In analyzing Gartner customer discussions during the past 12 months, we have once again observed that more than 82% of multichannel product buyers prefer a more comprehensive WCS suite, as opposed to a stand-alone single-channel or point-based product. The most often quoted technology reason is an attempt to avoid the problems, efforts and costs associated with trying to integrate multiple disparate channel solutions from a plethora of point-based product solution sets. The most common key issues that customers will face through 2013 are (see "Key Issues for CRM Customer Service Strategies, Processes and Technologies, 2011"):
- How can organizations best improve the customer experience?
- How will the contact center evolve to handle the multichannel customer, including Web and mobile interactions?
- How will customer service strategies enable customer participation through the Web using social networking and the associated social CRM software and processes?
- How will customer service software technology and markets evolve, and how will businesses best evaluate and select solutions?
- How will solutions for enterprise feedback management evolve, and which emerging technologies will have the most impact during the next five years?
There is also a strong link between WCS and the contact center. Whenever a customer needs the assistance of a human customer service representative, there is a shift from strictly WCS to the CRM customer service contact center (see "Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers" and Note 1).
The Gartner research focus and scope in 2011 has been widened (see "Roundup of Web Customer Service Research for 2010") with the addition of a new channel, Video Services, to the WCS framework and this Magic Quadrant. This Magic Quadrant is based on the WCS framework (see "Gartner's Strategic CRM Framework for Web Customer Service, 2011").
The strategy and business case for WCS deployments are most often based on the following business drivers:
- Deploy new and additional customer access channels to reach new audiences (2010 ranking: 3; 2011 ranking: 1)
- Procuring a suite solution today that will also cater to future requirements, as opposed to procuring many point-based solutions (2010 ranking: 4; 2011 ranking: 2)
- The avoidance of high costs associated with traditional channels (2010 ranking: 1; 2011 ranking: 3)
- The need for a consistent customer experience across all channels and a "one correct answer" scenario (2010 ranking: 2; 2011 ranking: 4)
- Increasing governance associated with recording interactions across all the customer channels (2010 ranking: 5; 2011 ranking: 5)
An interesting observation between the 2010 and 2011 Magic Quadrant research is that buying behavior today favors the deployment of new channels to reach new customers than that of cost saving which was the primary decision making driver in 2010.
The advances in WCS functionality have also created a growing landscape of possible vendors from which to select solutions, with one new vendor appearing this year and one vendor falling off the WCS Magic Quadrant for 2011 as a result of an acquisition.
Not appearing on this year's Magic Quadrant is ATG, as a result of its acquisition by Oracle (see "Oracle Agrees to Acquire ATG in an Attempt to Strengthen Its Retail Cross-Channel Commerce Solution"). Appearing for the first time this year on any Magic Quadrant is Trinicom (www.trinicom.nl), the Netherlands-based WCS provider.
Each industry and each business or organization has its own unique customer service processes and service channels, making it unlikely that a single WCS vendor will dominate any given industry. Organizations often find that their biggest investment when choosing a WCS vendor is the building out of the knowledgebase required for self-service. This knowledgebase needs to be easily integrated across various WCS channels, and, therefore, favors a comprehensive suite approach versus a stand-alone, best-of-breed approach.
The positions and commentary in this research are based substantially on three sources:
- Customer perceptions of each vendor's strengths and challenges, derived from WCS-related Gartner client inquiries
- Reference calls made to vendors' clients
- A vendor-completed questionnaire and briefing about each vendor's WCS strategy and operations
For the purposes of the WCS Magic Quadrant research for 2011, social capabilities form part of the knowledgebase solution in the form of hosted community knowledge and social knowledge (see Note 2). For an in-depth analysis of social capabilities, see "Magic Quadrant for Social CRM" and "Enhancing Customer Service Through Collaborative Social Processes." Gartner does, however, expect that social capabilities will become a key requirement for providing WCS solutions, and will include them as a customer service channel in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for WCS.
Like all Gartner Magic Quadrants, the Magic Quadrant for CRM Web Customer Service is not meant to be used as the sole tool for creating a vendor shortlist. Use it as part of your due diligence, in conjunction with consultations with Gartner analysts.
Source: Gartner (September 2011)
The WCS suite market mostly consists of solution providers with a very mature basic set of functionality. Channels such as Web chat and email response management are well-proven and often the first to be deployed by customers. What differentiates the leaders in the 2011 WCS Magic Quadrant from the rest of the players is a well-structured and strong knowledgebase with advanced search functionality that can handle both structured and unstructured data. This knowledgebase needs to be part of the integrated solution set, and developed and owned by the provider to ensure ongoing R&D and seamless integration into the other WCS channels. Because the delivery of "one right answer" is extremely critical in WCS channels, the vendors that fill some channels through partners and external integration often struggle in this area. Failure to have their own embedded knowledgebase will continue to be an inhibitor for vendors attempting to move into the Leaders quadrant.
The balance of WCS suite providers all have functional gaps, with capabilities that they either don't offer or attempt to fill with partnerships. In the current market phase of acquisitions, the key challenge with the partnership model is that there is seldom any security that a strategic partner today will still be a strategic partner tomorrow. This is a severe limitation and is seen as a threat by buyers often investing millions of dollars in a WCS solution as part of their strategic CRM and channel expansion strategies.
Business leaders continue to see signs of growth, while viewing discretionary investments cautiously. Vendors providing WCS solutions must have convincing business cases and metrics to demonstrate that their products will have a measurable impact on one or more key performance metrics of the customer experience. The argument for increased investment is bolstered by demands to support Web-based customers. Customers expect to find their own answers and solve their own problems, and when they cannot, they expect to find answers in peer forums and communities. Virtual assistants, SMS and multimodal communication are not yet in mainstream adoption, but are appearing in a large number of organizational road maps.
The WCS Magic Quadrant is based on the WCS framework, and consists of seven primary building blocks (see "Gartner's Strategic CRM Framework for Web Customer Service, 2011"):
- Knowledgebase for self-service — Web-based self-service supported by a knowledge management engine and database through which to perform advanced content delivery. The key focus is to achieve at least an 85% relevance of response (see Note 2).
- Email response management — email management environment with optical character recognition (OCR), email routing, virtual email agents, automated email categorization and escalation, keyword spotting, and text emotion detection.
- Web chat — online Web text-based interaction with a live agent or speech-based interaction with a virtual assistant. The Web chat sessions are routed in a similar manner to voice calls, and a group of text chat agents will engage with the client when receiving an incoming Web chat request.
- Collaborative browsing — simultaneous browsing of a website to assist with shopping cart or forms completion. Often referred to as "assisted forms completion," this activity will allow an agent to respond to a customer request for online assistance or click-for-help request.
- Virtual assistant — interaction with a virtual entity (humanoid) via a Web-based or mobile device interface. Interaction types are text-to-text, text-to-speech, speech-to-text and speech-to-speech.
- Video Services — single directional outbound video services from an agent to a customer, and video-based guided assistance via the knowledgebase or a social media channel
- Mobile customer service with SMS — service notification and requesting via mobile device or smartphone using data and an SMS channel, and the embedding of a URL into an SMS text.
In addition to the primary components, there are four further components that are important for managing the Web customer experience:
- Multichannel analytics — the use of business intelligence and analytical tools to obtain comprehensive insight into the usage of and customer interaction across all channels deployed
- Multichannel feedback management — using survey tools to obtain customer feedback across all the above channels following interaction within a WCS channel
- Multichannel interaction recording — recording of the Web searches, email chain, Web chat transcripts, collaborative browse sessions or SMS interactions for quality purposes
- Social Web Interaction — interactions via social channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
The knowledgebase for self-service building block is often enhanced with natural-language and advanced search, and the strength of this solution depends on the functional richness of these components. The virtual assistant building block depends on speech-based applications in situations where voice processing is enabled.
Market Traction and Momentum
- The vendor can provide customer references that have gone into production during the past four rolling quarters with at least three of the seven primary WCS channels.
- The vendor might have a regional focus, but can sell and support multiple industries across a worldwide customer base.
- The vendor has generated at least $5 million in business application customer revenue for WCS in the past four rolling quarters.
- The vendor must have a minimum of four of the seven components identified as the building blocks of the WCS framework as OEM products and as part of the vendor's integrated solution. The other components can be partnered or tightly coupled.
- The vendor must have its own sales team or could use a partner sales team. Deal management, pricing and negotiation must be done centrally, and the vendor must provide presales support to system integrators (SIs) and partners.
- The vendor has at least enough cash to fund one year of operations, given current burn rates.
- The vendor has sufficient professional services to fulfill customer demands during the next 12 months.
- This Magic Quadrant focuses on the WCS suite framework and the vendors in the market. It does not focus on the stand-alone or best-of-breed solutions in any of the seven framework areas.
The following vendor was added:
The following vendor was dropped:
- ATG (following its acquisition by Oracle)
- Product/Service: A robust WCS suite is a combination of several subsystems. The implication is that a key evaluation criterion is the existence of a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The WCS application should have out-of-the-box, self-service functionality, which means a strong set of industry- and process-specific business logic and data. Through process design or functional breadth, the system must support end-to-end, Web-based customer service processes. Published application programming interfaces (APIs) are critical to connect (or expose) an application's customer service functionality with that of another system or process. Vendors are assessed on the ability of their current product releases to support customer service, as well as their technical support of multichannel and cross-channel environments. The vendor rating is developed by weighing specific functionality: own integrated knowledgebase for self-service (30%), email response management (10%), Web chat (10%), collaborative browsing (8%), virtual assistant (10%), multimodal services (10%), Video Services (5%), multichannel interaction recording (10%), multichannel analytics (7%). The vendor must have a stable product development team for all the products it sells. Partnerships were not included in this evaluation; only OEM solutions were included.
- Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): The ability of the vendor to ensure continued vitality of a product, including a strong product development team to support current and future releases, as well as a clear road map regarding the direction that the product will take until 2013. The vendor must have the cash on hand and consistent revenue growth during four quarters to fund current and future employee burn rates and to generate profits. The vendor is also measured on its ability to generate business results in the WCS market.
- Sales Execution/Pricing: The ability of the vendor to provide global sales and distribution coverage that aligns with marketing messages. It must also have specific experience selling its WCS to the appropriate buying center. The strength of the management team is key as well. In addition, the ability of the vendor to offer consistent and comprehensible pricing models and structures, including contingencies such as failure to perform as contracted, or mergers and acquisitions, is important. The vendor is measured on its flexibility to support multiple pricing scenarios, such as on-premises licensing (40%), as well as application on-demand offerings, such as software as a service (SaaS; 60%).
- Market Responsiveness and Track Record: The ability to perceive evolving customer requirements and articulate that insight back to the market, as well as create products for readiness as demand comes online.
- Marketing Execution: The ability of the vendor to consistently generate market demand and awareness of its WCS solution through marketing programs and press visibility. In WCS, the marketing execution ought to be less critical than some other factors; however, the business reality is that marketing success can fuel future growth and improvements.
- Customer Experience: The vendor must produce a sufficient number of quality clients and references with varying levels of sophistication to prove the viability of its product in the marketplace. References are used as part of the evaluation criteria for the vendor's ability to execute and create a vision for how customers can improve customer service. Included in this are implementations and support. The vendor must be able to provide internal professional-service resources, or partner with SIs with vertical-industry expertise, WCS domain knowledge, global and localized country coverage, and a broad skill set (such as project management or system configuration) to support a complete project life cycle. The critical point on customer experience is to ascertain the degree of change management that accompanied the implementation. Often, the end user experiences discomfort not from the new software, but from the change processes that were introduced with the new system. A score of 10% per successfully engaged reference is allocated for each reference up to a maximum of 10 references.
- Operations: This involves the vendor's ability to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, such as skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles, which enables the vendor to operate effectively and efficiently. This includes management experience and track record, and the depth of staff experience, specifically in the WCS market. The most important factor in this category is customer satisfaction throughout the sales and product life cycle. The vendor must have sufficient professional services (in-house or through third-party business consultants and SIs) to meet evolving customer requirements (see Table 1).
Source: Gartner (September 2011)
- Market Understanding: The market for customer service is highly diverse because of the multichannel nature of customer interactions and the wide range of processes that need to be supported. To succeed, a vendor must demonstrate a strategic understanding of current and future WCS opportunities unique to its target market. This may be new application functionality, evolving service models or in-line analytical capabilities for unique customer segments. There is also a requirement to demonstrate process integration across multiple channels (for example, where a customer starts in one channel and finishes in another). Vendors must also demonstrate a road map on how to fill in the gaps in functionality where it exists.
- Marketing Strategy: The vendor can describe its go-to-market strategy as something other than as growing until it is acquired by a larger company. Even with this as the endgame, it must be clear how prospects will be protected or even benefit from such a strategy. We look for a well-articulated strategy for revenue growth and sustained profitability. Key elements of the strategy include a sales and distribution plan, internal investment priority and timing, and partner alliances.
- Sales Strategy: The vendor delivers products and services in line with the needs and capabilities of the buying centers. For this Magic Quadrant, the product must be appropriate for large and midsize businesses. This includes pre- and post-product support, value for pricing, and clear explanations and recommendations for detection events. Building loyalty through credibility with full-time enterprise WCS staff demonstrates the ability to assess the next generation of requirements.
- Offering (Product) Strategy: Specific vision criteria include business process management (BPM; supporting a threaded service task across functional areas, regardless of channel) and providing for the creation of content about the most likely customer intentions and how to solve them, based on continuously variable business scenarios. "Continuously variable" means that, depending on the business context of the interaction, the steps and decisions in a service procedure may vary. The vendor openly communicates to its customers and Gartner a statement of direction for the next two product releases that keeps pace or surpasses Gartner's vision and our clients' vision of the WCS market. The vendor has a sufficiently broad set of products to ensure the success of the product. Without an advanced SaaS product plan (realizable within 12 months), a vendor cannot be considered visionary. Vendors must also demonstrate a road map on how to fill in the gaps in functionality where it exists.
- Business Model: To be a leader through 2013, the vendor will have a SaaS and an on-premises application option. Application modules are tightly integrated and have business process modeling capabilities and advanced workflow. The company has a strategy to appeal to its key vertical industries — that is, it integrates with systems that are unique to an industry, as well as delivers packaged functionality and workflow for an industry (such as those for the telecommunications, automotive and consumer goods industries), and business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer interactions.
- Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor has solutions for specific vertical industries.
- Innovation: Innovative vendors will begin to incorporate concepts that extend to consumer technologies, virtual assistants and customer service functions embedded in virtual worlds, such as the more than 4.5 million participants on the online site, Second Life. The vendor understands major technology/architecture shifts in the market and communicates a plan to use them, including migration issues it may cause for customers on current releases. The architecture is built to operate in a SaaS delivery model, and the application integrates or includes contact center functionality or application links. We examine how well the vendor articulates its vision to support service-oriented business applications.Applications must fully support SOA and have aspects of a smart client. They must be designed to collect data to supply a feedback loop for corporate performance management (to be visionary). They will help optimize a predictive customer analytics system. These predictive analytics alert management when service patterns are detected that might signal the need to adjust a business strategy or direction, or indicate that the likelihood of a particular business scenario occurring has changed (for example, customers responding to a notice on defective parts, an accident or financial news). The vendor will be measured on the ability of its architecture to support global rollouts and localized international installations. The vendor must have tools for IT and business users to extend and administer the WCS application.
- Geographic Strategy: The vendor understands the needs of the three largest markets — the European Union, North America and the Asia/Pacific region — and knows how to build a strategy to focus on aspects of the overall market, directly or through partners. The company delivers products and services in line with the needs and capabilities of the buying centers. For this Magic Quadrant, the product must be appropriate for large and midsize businesses, and for at least three vertical industries (see Table 2).
Source: Gartner (September 2011)
Leaders demonstrate market-defining vision and the ability to execute against that vision through products, services, demonstrable sales figures, and solid new references for multiple geographies and vertical industries. Clients report that the vendors deliver a high level of value and return on their commitment. The development team has a clear vision of the implications of business rules, and the impact of WCS on customer service requirements. A characteristic of a Leader is that clients look to the vendor for clues as to how to innovate in customer service. The vendor does not necessarily drive a customer toward vendor lock-in, but rather provides openness to an ecosystem. When asked, their clients reply that this product has affected the organization's competitive position in their markets and helped lower costs. Leaders provide functionally diverse and rich WCS suites in which their own knowledgebase solution is part of the integrated offering and can be deployed and supported globally, and have at least six of the seven WCS framework components supported as an OEM solution.
The vendors in the Challengers quadrant demonstrate a high volume of sales in their chosen markets (i.e., more than 30% of new business by percentage comes from more than one industry). They understand their clients' evolving needs, yet may not lead customers into new functional areas with their strong vision and technology leadership. They often have a strong market presence in other application areas, but have not demonstrated a clear understanding of the WCS market direction, or are not well-positioned to capitalize on emerging channels, and might lack depth of full functionality in all the areas of the WCS framework. Challengers will also typically not have all the WCS framework channels available in their own products, and will partner to enrich their offerings. Challengers also often will not have their own knowledgebase product. They may not have a strong worldwide presence or deployment partners.
Visionaries are ahead of potential competitors in delivering innovative products and/or delivery models. They anticipate emerging/changing customer service needs and move into the new market space. They have a strong potential to influence the direction of the WCS market, but Visionaries struggle to meet the needs of all organizations because of geographic limitations, company size constraints or specific product omissions. Typically, their products and market presence are not yet complete or established enough to challenge the leading vendors.
Niche Players offer solid solutions for WCS, and support only some of the overall suite functionality and components. They may offer components of the complete portfolios, but demonstrate weaknesses in one or more important areas. They could also be regional experts, with little ability to extend globally. Niche Players are usually not focused on, and cannot support, large enterprises, but rather extend their services and solutions to small and midsize businesses. They may offer complete portfolios, but focus only on one size of organization or primarily on one regional area.
Alcatel-Lucent/Genesys is a $15.9 billion company. Alcatel-Lucent (ALU)combined the Genesys business unit, which had previously operated as an independent subsidiary, with the Communications and Networks businesses into ALU Enterprise, with integrated product development, sales and marketing operations. ALU sustains the Genesys brand for customer service and contact center solutions. The Genesys Customer Interaction Management (CIM) platform is the core element of the software suite used to route, respond and report on all interactions, but it lacks some functionality, the most notable being the absence of its own integrated, in-depth knowledgebase solution. The Genesys WCS components are priced and licensed by seat, and maintenance is calculated at 20% of the net price.
- The Genesys CIM platform supports a broad suite of highly scalable WCS channels. These include Web chat, email response management and collaborative browsing, with multichannel routing and multichannel analytic capabilities.
- Genesys can provide strong consulting and system integration services either directly or through its professional service partners. Genesys has a good ability to support global customers, and, as a subsidiary of ALU, it has stronger financial backing than most other vendors' solutions.
- Genesys builds on its strong vision for future multichannel self-service, and for extending contact center capabilities into an integrated WCS experience that stretches beyond the contact center.
- Genesys uses an OEM implementation of InQuira Knowledge Management to enhance its own agent knowledge solution. This approach may become complicated following the acquisition of InQuira by another vendor. The lack of its own integrated knowledgebase to support the Web custom service channels will continue hindering Genesys growth toward challenging the Leaders in this Magic Quadrant.
- Genesys does not have a virtual assistant solution, but has partnered with Oddcast to provide functionality in this area.
- The Genesys solution has the capability to store "how to" customer service videos that can be delivered via a search or referenced via a URL. There is, however, still no capability to record the soundtrack using speech to text and to create a text-based article that can be searched and used for starting the video replay at the point where the information is required.
Artificial Solutions is a small visionary provider of WCS that is focused primarily on the European market. Gartner estimates the vendor's annual revenue at $10 million to $14 million. The newly branded Teneo customer interaction suite forms the core of Artificial Solutions offering, and has been built around a natural-language interaction engine to facilitate human-computer dialogue. There are a range of licensing and pricing models, with the standard model being SaaS, in which pricing is based on concurrent users. Customers can also opt for pricing based on traffic volume. Maintenance fees are calculated as a percentage of the license cost and are included in the SaaS pricing as a default. Additional maintenance is sold as service packages or by an hourly charge, and customers can negotiate for a variety of different SLA-based offerings.
- Artificial Solutions focuses on first-time resolution rates of 85% and above through an integration with the Teneo interaction engine, which obtains its content for multiple channels from a well-integrated knowledgebase.
- Artificial Solutions is one of only three WCS providers that can provide a virtual assistant solution for customer assistance directly and through a dialogue, using business rules, to serve relevant content to each user. Whenever needed, the virtual assistant interaction can be transferred to a live support person (agent-based chat, email or call back).
- The Teneo Easy Reply (email response management system [ERMS]) helps organizations optimizing the management of incoming emails with different levels of automation — from completely manual to semiautomated and completely automated — based on predefined business rules.
- Artificial Solutions' strategy is to increasingly focus on partners for support and implementation activities, instead of only lead generation. This will allow a larger global footprint in the coming years.
- Artificial Solutions has a limited video customer support capability, but plans on extending this functionality in the next platform release.
- Artificial Solutions has no OEM solution for Web chat or collaborative browsing. To this extent, Artificial Solutions has partnered with a number of best-of-breed providers. First-line support for partner products is provided by Artificial Solutions.
- Due to its primary focus on Europe, Artificial Solutions has a limited capability to sell and provide support in other international venues, and will have to establish a data center presence in North America before being able to expand there. A future focus on increased partner involvement will aid in the expansion plans.
Avaya is a nearly $5 billion company selling a comprehensive set of communication software and services, with a portion of its business directed at its WCS offering. The majority of Avaya's WCS products are sold on a per-server basis, with licensing required for agents or ports. Software support is priced as a percentage of the full purchase price of the software license, and is available in one- to five-year agreements. Avaya remains in the Niche Players quadrant, but has moved up slightly. However, the lack of a deep functional knowledge management solution that is integrated with the other channels restricts further movement at this stage.
- The future Avaya platform is the newly released Avaya Aura Contact Center (AACC) for multichannel environments. It not only has the ability to scale upward, but also can easily scale down to a 70-seat offering making it a good WCS choice for midsize organizations. With the latest release (6.2), there is now the ability to deploy the WCS channels (email, Web chat, SMS, IM, fax, social media, etc.) independently from the voice call center, and no voice channel is required.
- The ERMS can compose auto acknowledgements and personalized automated responses, which can be sent to the customer automatically or forwarded to an agent for quality assurance review.
- Interaction recording not only of the voice channel, but also for multichannel interactions, is integrated and stored in an easy-to-use, consolidated repository.
- In addition to normal Web chat, Avaya has voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) chat, which allows an agent to talk to a customer on the phone during a Web chat session if required. Customers can then use either a telephone handset or Internet connection.
- The knowledgebase self-service tools focus extensively on frequently asked questions (FAQs) and has good search facilities, but it is still not yet in the same category as some of the advanced knowledgebase self-service tools available in the market.
- Although Avaya indicates that it can integrate with a virtual assistant solution, there is still no option on its road map to launch a product in this area.
- Avaya is a fairly new player in the WCS market. Its financial and product performance is not yet as good and well-proven as some of the other WCS providers. It does, however, have a good road map and plans for extending sales capabilities, as well as functional capabilities.
- No SaaS offering is available from Avaya, although it has some hosted solutions available.
eGain is a $44.1 million company based in San Francisco. The eGain solution set is available in on-premises, hosted and SaaS deployments. The hosted network offers SaaS services from northern California and England. The eGain platform is based only on Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE), and all business objects, process workflows, knowledgebase content, interaction history and user context is accessible through a Web services API. eGain continues to be the WCS vendor with the most complete offering on the market. Annual maintenance costs for on-premises deployments are typically 12% to 15% of the license fee, and there are no maintenance costs for hosted deployments.
- eGain's core strength lies in its knowledgebase, which has been further enhanced during the past 12 months. The multisearch capabilities, like intent-based search, natural-language and keyword search, as well as FAQ and browsable topics and guided help, focuses on providing the single correct answer.
- eGain's collaborative browsing, available in release 10.5, has a dynamic business rules capability that allows the dynamic switching of rules on Web pages based on the agent or the customer's profile. This feature makes it easier to comply with varying regulations across states in the U.S.
- The eGain video capabilities include video chat, which enables two-way video chat sessions between customers and agents, a video chatbot that can be deployed for virtual assistant interactions, and video content in a knowledgebase, which allows the embedding of video content in articles in the eGain Knowledge Base.
- eGain needs to further expand its direct sales organization and distribution partnerships to better exploit market opportunities for its existing and new products, such as interactive sales applications. The vendor might face a learning curve in reaching sales and e-commerce buyers, not always a target audience in the past.
- eGain's platform is based on 100% pure Java EE, and it implements an SOA. There is an API available, but no .NET solution is available or planned for the future.
Eptica is a €5.3 million niche vendor of WCS solutions. The Eptica WCS suite enables the deployment of multichannel customer interaction hubs, allowing a single system for email response management and knowledgebase to be used to support multiple brands, suppliers, languages and channels. Interaction detection, routing and business rules enable the management of multitier customer interaction between customer, supplier and service provider. Both on-premises and SaaS options are available from Eptica, and licensing options are charged on a concurrent user basis by the number of connected agents, as well as knowledgebase usage volume limits that are charged for by the number of interactions. Maintenance is paid at 20% of the list price, but with concurrent user pricing, this could be difficult to calculate.
- The Eptica knowledgebase is self-learning, and every interaction with it fine-tunes the links between questions and answers to further enhance relevance. Content is managed by business users, and requires no content tagging or programming of concepts.
- Mobile customer service can be leveraged as an inbound and outbound channel. Inquiries can be received by SMS and processed by agents in another channel. Self-service URLs can also be embedded within SMS text to point customers to specific information.
- Eptica provides full track, trace, visibility and multichannel recording of every interaction. Eptica also records all cross-channel interactions within a single customer record to provide a complete view of the customer's interaction history.
- Eptica is the smallest of all the vendors in this Magic Quadrant in revenue and company size, but has grown extensively in the past 12 months. Eptica's primary focus is in Europe and Asia, with no operations in the U.S. Eptica will, therefore, be challenged to sell, deploy and support large U.S.-based organizations. The channel partner network should grow throughout the next 12 months, following the appointment of a partner director in the organization.
- Eptica does not have a virtual assistant solution, and customers will have to engage a third party to fill this gap. Eptica also does not have any plans on its road map to develop a virtual assistant going forward.
- Eptica is built entirely on the Java EE platform, and there is no .NET option available. Customers with this architecture standard will have to invest in integration efforts to run the Eptica WCS solution.
Interactive Intelligence is a $166 million company and its solution is mostly deployed by organizations looking for an all-in-one suite of tightly integrated contact center applications with multichannel WCS capabilities. The WCS solution can be deployed on-premises, hosted or SaaS. The on-premises-based licensing includes a server fee for every locally installed switch over pair, and a user- or workstation-based perpetual access license. Licenses can be upgraded from a single channel to handle two channels, or to handle three or more channels. The communications-as-a-service (CaaS) licensing provides a monthly agent fee, with an add-on monthly charge for multiple channels. The maintenance fee is 18% of the list price for standard maintenance for on-premises-based software, and CaaS pricing includes all software maintenance.
- The Interaction Attendant ERMS can parse content from the email body in addition to the email subject line. It can also automatically route email to users based on criteria such as keywords and/or phrases, sender's email address, or sender's domain.
- Interaction Recorder provides the ability to record Web chat text and email, and score them for quality assurance purposes. Recording includes the option to record the agent's activity while working on the email or while working on a Web chat, to assist with upfront quality assurance and correctness checking.
- Web chat sessions can be routed by first-in first-out or by more-sophisticated rules, such as topic areas selected on the website, assigning skills, priority and cost of agent. Prewritten responses, such as greetings, closings and commonly asked questions, can be dragged and dropped into the chat from the supporting e-FAQ solution.
- Interactive Intelligence's e-FAQ solution can be used as a knowledgebase solution; however, during the past 12 months, no new functionality has been released for this product. Currently, it lacks the advanced features one would find with a full self-service knowledge management deployment.
- Interactive Intelligence does not have a collaborative browsing solution or a virtual assistant solution available. Collaborative browsing is, however, on the future road map, and will highly likely feature in the next release.
- Outbound SMS functionality is available using the Interaction Client Customer Interaction Center solution. Inbound and automated outbound SMS messages require customization. Customers will also have to supply their own SMS gateway, as this solution is not available from Interactive Intelligence.
- The vendor has some limited video services available. Videos can be accessed via the e-FAQ solution, but no searchable scripts from the video content can be created.
Kana's revenue for 2010 reached $81 million, and it delivers context-aware, SOA-based WCS solutions. Following its acquisition by Accel-KKR, all of Kana's products will be available on-premises, hosted and on a SaaS basis. Pricing for on-premises products is CPU- and agent-based, and pricing for the SaaS offerings is subscription-based by seat or usage. Standard maintenance is offered at 15% of the net license fee, and premium maintenance is offered at 20% of the net license fee, with SaaS offerings including maintenance in the usage price.
- Kana's ERMS is enabled with sentiment analysis that detects the sentiment of the writer through the use of text mining of the email content. The ERMS is also Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant, in support of security compliance regulations that are important to the retail, healthcare and financial service verticals.
- The Kana Web chat solution has the ability for the agent to handle multiple chat sessions. Warm and cold transfers of a chat session to another agent can take place, and there is an option to collaborate with peers or a supervisor during the chat session.
- All the WCS channels that Kana provides incorporate business intelligence and analytical tools to gain insight into channel usage, content usage and customer behavior.
- The Kana solution has the capability to store videos as knowledge articles that can be delivered via a self-service search or referenced via a URL. There is, however, still no capability to record the soundtrack into text to create a searchable knowledge article that can start the video replay at the point where the information is required.
- Kana does not have an SMS gateway or virtual assistant capability, but Gartner expects these to become part of the 2012 release.
- Kana is expected to grow through further acquisitions during the course of the next 12 months. Kana customers could potentially experience an impact on support and product development as the company grows rapidly going forward.
Moxie Software is a privately held organization that provides a WCS solution that is built on a Microsoft .NET platform. The vendor prices its solution for on-premises and hosted/SaaS separately, with the on-premises solution mainly priced on a named or concurrent user basis, and the hosted or SaaS solution priced on a subscription basis of user and time period. Maintenance fees are calculated as a percentage of license cost, with varying levels of maintenance available to customers, each with a related percentage.
- Moxie Software has its own integrated knowledgebase that leverages the Autonomy IDOL search engine, with a search capability including knowledgebase content, website content, file server content, database content and social content.
- Moxie Software's proactive Web chat solution can be set to monitor any number of Web pages and issue proactive chat invitations to customers on the website. Using its rule-based routing and intelligent workflow engine, which tracks statistics such as the customer's behavior, footprints, referrals, referral keywords and shopping cart values, Web chat agents can obtain information prior to engaging in Web chat activity.
- Moxie Software's collaborative browser functionality enables the agents to assist customers with shopping carts, Web forms and complex support issues. Initiated from a Web chat session, the collaborative panel allows agents to see the entire screen and move the customer mouse pointer, optionally taking control of the customer's keyboard and mouse.
- Moxie Software does not provide any virtual assistant capabilities, but can integrate with other providers' solutions. A partnership with VirtuOz exists, but Moxie Software does not provide support or contracting and licensing for the third-party product.
- The Moxie Software solution has the capability to store videos as knowledge articles that can be delivered via a self-service search or referenced via a URL. There is, however, still no capability to record the soundtrack into text to create a searchable knowledge article that can start the video replay at the point where the information is required.
Oracle-Siebel remains in the Niche Players quadrant, despite its strong showing on other Magic Quadrants. This is primarily due to a lack of functionality in a number of WCS building blocks. Its recent acquisition of InQuira knowledge management strengthens its position and creates a good base through which to integrate the other channels. The ATG acquisition might also bring some added functionality to the WCS capability.
- Oracle-Siebel is a highly visible company in terms of its financial position and global representation, directly and via partnerships. It has a significant Oracle customer database to mine for cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
- The recent acquisition of the market-leading knowledge management solution, InQuira, and the acquisition of the multichannel e-commerce vendor, ATG, dramatically strengthen the WCS solution.
- Oracle Siebel has extensive analytic capabilities that provide low-level multichannel analytics, and the creation of customer interaction dashboards and scorecards.
- Oracle-Siebel does not have a collaborative browsing capability, and there is no virtual assistant in place. Because Oracle did not actively participate in this evaluation, Gartner could not confirm vendor plans to provide this functionality anytime in the future, and the complete road map for the vendor's WCS offering is unknown.
- The solution is primarily focused on large organizations, which could leave smaller organizations looking elsewhere for a WCS solution.
- Oracle-Siebel is currently unable to handle customer service videos, but this functionality is expected in future releases.
Presence Technology is a $9 million company that is based in Barcelona, Spain. Licensing for the Presence Suite module is primarily based on one license per concurrent agent. For recording, it is one license per port, with two different license levels, based on the recording activation. Rental, pay-per-use, hosted and SaaS pricing models are based on the same principles. Maintenance fees are calculated as a percent of the license cost and range from 12% to 22%.
- The Presence Messaging module supports the SMS channel and uses Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) modem-based gateways or mobile telecom operators to serve for SMS-to-email or email-to-SMS communication. The WCS solution manages this channel as any other channel, with all interactions controlled by a universal queue.
- Presence Technology provides on-premises, hosted and SaaS solutions for all the channels supported, making it a flexible option for organizations. It also supports both .NET and Java EE architectures.
- The full solution or just one module can be provided on-premises or hosted/SaaS. Front ends can be installed on-premises (fat client) or can be centrally hosted via Presence Technology's thin-client Web agent.
- Presence Technology's gap in having its own integrated market-leading knowledge management solution will continue hindering its growth toward challenging the other vendors in this Magic Quadrant as the vendor continues to partner with KBPublisher to fill the knowledge gap in its offering.
- The WCS solution can only record interactions across the currently supported channels (email, fax, SMS and Web chat), leaving any collaborative browsing or virtual assistant interactions unrecorded.
- The vendor does not have a virtual assistant solution, and partners with Artificial Solutions to fill this gap.
- Due to its size, Presence Technology has a limited capability to sell and provide support in many international venues, and will have to increase its partnership programs or physical presence in other geographic areas to grow organically and become competitive in other regions.
RightNow is a $186 million company headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. Its solution is architected to support multitenant, hosted environments, enabling the support of multiple customers on the same database and supporting multiple versions of the software running in the hosting environment. RightNow is the first and only vendor to be a Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) partner, allowing the hosting of the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agency clients on their own secure pods. RightNow is priced on a subscription model, with named or concurrent seat license options for users of the agent desktop, and a consumption model for consumer usage of their Web capabilities based on sessions. Seat pricing is available in stand-alone chat, standard, enterprise or enterprise contact center versions. The RightNow suite solution supports sales, marketing and service.
- Following some investments in R&D and an acquisition, RightNow's knowledgebase has seen a substantial upgrade in functionality and capability during the past 12 months. The Intent Guide solution focuses on understanding the customer intent during a self-service search and no longer relies on keyword matching only. The result is accurate content delivery at 85% relevancy or higher.
- ERMS routing can be accomplished based on the characteristics of the sender (SLAs, customer profile, etc.), the characteristics of the email content (categories, keywords, etc.) or the sentiment content within the message. This routing can be to individual agents, groups or queues, or to an escalation.
- RightNow's new Generation 3 virtual assistant has strong natural-language capabilities with some rudimentary virtual assistant technology. The virtual assistant has the ability to do emotional response detection, dialogue-driven text-to-text interaction and analytics, and can provide basic digital characters for personalization.
- The RightNow solution has the capability to store videos as knowledge articles that can be delivered via a self-service search or referenced via a URL. There is, however, still no capability to record the soundtrack into text to create a searchable knowledge article that can start the video replay at the point where the information is required.
- RightNow is one of the more premium-priced solutions in the WCS market. Customers will do well to use RightNow for large, multiple-channel deployments, as opposed to single-channel deployments for smaller environments.
- The RightNow solution is only available in a SaaS model and no on-premises option exists. Customers looking for an on-premises solution will have to select another provider.
SAP is a $18 billion company providing an open application and integration platform with SAP NetWeaver that is open to both customers and partners to configure and customize. The WCS solution is based on the SAP Java EE platform, which is part of the SAP NetWeaver stack. The WCS architecture has JavaServer Faces (JSF) as the underlying Web framework, offering Ajax and Flash interactivity, which can be coupled with mashups. SAP prices its solutions on a CPU core basis for business-to-consumer (B2C) customers and on a named-user basis for B2B customers. Maintenance fees are calculated as a percentage of the license costs. SAP provides standard support packages and a customer-specific support agreement.
- SAP's Web chat capabilities support up to six concurrent chat sessions. The Web chat functionality is browser-based and no Web chat client download is required for the end customer. Web chat transcripts are recorded and linked to an interaction record that references the chat interaction in the SAP CRM system, and the interaction records are then shown in the customer's interaction history.
- SAP CRM contains multichannel analytics and reports, enabling customers to gain insights and optimize their Web channels on a continuous basis. They are grouped into Web channel analytics, Web service analytics, customer behavior analytics and email response management analytics.
- SAP CRM supports multimodal communication, leveraging the flexibility of the platform to customize for connections, with various SMS gateways to enable service notification, submit new service requests or query for information using any mobile communication devices that are SMS-enabled.
- SAP's gap in a market-leading knowledge management solution was increased dramatically following the acquisition of their knowledge partner, InQuira, by another vendor. This lack of an integrated knowledgebase to support the WCS channels will continue hindering SAP's growth toward challenging the Leaders in this Magic Quadrant
- SAP does not have any collaborative browsing, virtual assistant or video service capabilities, but these are planned for future releases.
- SAP's WCS solutions are only available in an on-premises deployment model. However, the SaaS deployment model is on the vendor's road map and will be available in the future.
Trinicom is a small niche vendor with approximately $10 million in annual revenue and serving more than 200 customers, primarily in the Benelux region. Trinicom offers three license possibilities: on-premises, license plus hosting and on-demand (SaaS). All models are based on used modules (channels) and transactions (unique visitors/contacts). For on-premises licenses, the pricing is based on the used modules, including a transaction volume and a maintenance fee of 20% of the license cost. For hosting, the license is a yearly hosting fee, which is applicable on top of the license cost.
- The knowledgebase is multilingual and currently has nine different languages operationally deployed. Knowledge content can be used for multiple channels, and knowledge searches can deliver different content, depending on the channel the request is coming from.
- When emails are received by the ERMS, an escalation process will run in the background to monitor the SLA parameters and the date on which the email was received. If SLAs are breached, the ERMS can automatically reroute the message and notify customer service representatives or managers, and can also notify customers with an automated email that the SLA date will not be met.
- Due to the small size and nature of Trinicom, business relationships are held directly between the organization and customers, as opposed to relationships via a third-party integrator. These direct relationships assist with close and personal interactions that foster long-term business.
- Trinicom has some limitations to its WCS solution stack, and does not have its own collaborative browse capability. The vendor also does not have a video service offering, there is no SMS gateway and the virtual assistant is only up to a Generation 3 offering. Extended capability in any of these areas will require the customer to seek partnerships or best-of-breed solutions, separately contract with these solution providers, and manage integration activities.
- Due to its primary focus on the Benelux area, Trinicom has a limited capability to sell and provide support in other international venues, and will have to establish a presence and some data centers in other regions before being able to expand there.
- Trinicom has no multichannel recording capability. Organizations that have a legal requirement to record Web-based customer interactions (such as financial services) will have to engage with third-party solutions for recording multichannel interactions.
By 2013, at least 50% of customer service centers will integrate some form of community/social capabilities as a part of the CRM contact center solution.
In increasing order of complexity, the requirements for the CRM customer service contact center may include one of these four major areas:
- Information access: These contact centers focus on low interaction complexity and low process complexity. They can support order placement, complaint management, password assistance or consumer information, service activation, balance look-up, timetables, or ticket purchasing. Basic CRM capabilities are needed for account information, order information and contract details, but there is less emphasis on real-time analytics or offer management. The process supported may not be particularly complex; however, the information must be reliable, readily available and delivered in an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI). Contact centers in this space often do not show much business value and will eventually be replaced with WCS technologies.
- Service process optimization: This is a customer service center or advisory center (for example, investing and insurance) with low interaction complexity, but high process complexity. It focuses on the efficiency and repeatability of the process. There may be little value in complex analytics or offer management. The goal of the customer experience is focused on process efficiency, rather than profitability.
- End-to-end industry process experts: The contact centers in this context are complex and industry-specific, and often demand that the customer service representative not be forced into following a specific process for some parts of the interaction, but be forced to follow compliance in others. This is where high interaction complexity meets a range of process complexity. For example, the steps in a loan process must be followed consistently, but the offer, rate and conditions may vary based on the customer type, profitability and potential.
- Intelligent dialogue/real-time decisioning: The conversations in this contact center require access to richer information about the customer and product or service, as well as sales and marketing goals. These conversations also become more process-intensive and can be driven by BPM software, guided by workflow, analytics and predictive features that can be customized based on personalization rules.
A knowledgebase for self-service is the most important building block, and is composed of a set of WCS modules and technologies enabling customers to service their needs via different interfaces. Organizations planning a WCS implementation must create a multichannel strategy, implement each channel with a long-term view and build a justification based on the value derived from that channel. Knowledgebases for self-service solutions that are justified only on case load reduction or inquiry deflection will fail. A proper strategy to serve multiple channels and multiple functions with a WCS solution is the easiest way to prove the value of a new solution; ROI calculations must focus on potential revenue, as well as on cost deflection. The true value of a knowledgebase for self-service is not possible without a long-term commitment to ongoing fine-tuning and enhancing. The key focus in knowledgebases for self-service is to achieve at least an 80% relevance of response, to ensure constant use and to avoid users' abandoning the WCS site. A knowledgebase for self-service consists of the following six categories of knowledge:
- Agent knowledge: The contact center agent is a repository of information on corporate products and services, as well as on problem resolution. Capturing agent knowledge into a repository can speed up the delivery of services and the training of new individuals through the use of a self-service knowledge engine.
- Corporate knowledge: Corporate knowledge contains the total body of knowledge necessary to deliver on the strategic aims and objectives of an organization. It provides product and service information, and can typically be accessed by any internal corporate Web citizen. Typically, the head of operations will take responsibility for this information, or, in a sales-oriented organization, the head of sales will take responsibility for this information's upkeep and delivery.
- Social knowledge: Many people belonging to social networks post information on bulletin boards and blogs. By gathering and analyzing the information written about your corporate products and services, you will become aware of the public perception of your organization. Collect this information and store it centrally for self-service access, because your customers often know more about your products and services than you. Use social knowledge to expand your corporate thinking, taking into account what is being said about your organization.
- Partner knowledge: If you have partners in your supply chain, they are often the ones dealing directly with your customers. Collect and store this information for Web-based, self-service access by other partners within the supply chain, so that you have a common way to resolve problems and queries. Also, use this to bring new partners online in as short a time as possible, and to check on the quality and content of interactions that your partners have with your most valuable asset — your customers.
- Search knowledge: Public search engines do not include corporate knowledge unless specific items of corporate knowledge are tagged as accessible to search engine spiders. By opening up some areas of corporate knowledge via a public self-service engine, it is possible to have your internal information listed together with publicly searched results.
- Hosted community knowledge: In developing and deploying theme-based community forums, a group of like-minded people impart valuable information that can be collected, filtered, authored, and provided back to the community or other areas for self-service search. Use these community areas to capture knowledge or to provide the community with access to the knowledge repository to store their own specific information, which can be accessed and retrieved only by that community.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor that compete in/serve the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets and skills, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all pre-sales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, pre-sales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.