Analysts from Forrester, IDC, Opus Research, Ovum, and Nucleus Research weigh in on characteristics to look for in CX technology vendors.
Mark Grannan of Forrester, Mary Wardley of IDC, Dan Miller of Opus Research, Ken Landoline of Ovum, and Rebecca Wettemann of Nucleus Research answer the question:
What characteristics should clients look for in CX technology vendors?
Here’s the advice they shared with our interviewers at Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience 2017 conference.
Mark Grannan, Senior Analyst, Forrester:
When we advise clients around making investments in what we call digital experience technology, we remind them that there should be a primary question that they should ask that vendor or that partner. It’s “How do you fit into my digital experience architecture?” Not the other way around, because customization became a dirty word. It held you back.
All those integration challenges that we faced over the years left us jaded and unable to overcome some of our silo challenges, so if you flip the script so that we’re asking the vendor/partner to meet us where our needs are, I think that’s a better mechanism for shaping your software investments.
Mary Wardley, VP, CRM Applications, IDC:
One: you need a partner. You need an innovative partner that is looking forward, obviously; that has a road map, that’s thinking big picture. Then you need technologies. We’ve been saying the same words for years. Open standards, SDKs, open tool kids, frameworks, web services, that all enable a much more flexible environment.
We talk at IDC about the third platform. The third platform technologies are all built around these open standards, integration. It would be great if one vendor could provide it all, but really, it’s not an environment any one vendor can provide all the elements. That speaks to, it needs to be open. And over time these platforms, what we have as platforms, have been extended. They’re much more robust and full-featured than, look at anything from 15 years ago.
Dan Miller, Senior Analyst, Opus Research:
The best solution providers take a holistic approach. There’s no one-size-fits-all. That’s another cliché. But in this case, it means you’re looking to provide the best customer experience in two different ways.
One is the rapid recognition of who somebody is, what they’re saying, and what their intent is. That’s where what we call conversational access technologies come in. On the back end, it’s the judicious employment of artificial intelligence-like elements – natural language understanding and knowledge management to support aggregating all the information about your best customers, about your products ability to match their needs. There’s only a few holistic solution providers out there.
Ken Landoline, Principal Analyst, Ovum:
I’d advise anyone who looks to optimize their customer interaction and customer engagement to look for a vendor who, number one, is leading edge on these new technologies – non-voice channels, digital channels, etc., with a good historical tie to voice interactions, but keeping them flexible.
You need a vendor who is very flexible, meeting your needs, someone that can understand your vertical market and will be able to customize their service to match your needs and the needs of your customer.
Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President, Nucleus Research:
When customers are looking for a technology vendor in the customer experience space, particularly in today’s Cloud world, they need to think about not just the one who can win the deal, but can help them maximize value over time. That means being able to really be a partner, to bring industry best practices to the table, and to continue to invest in making their customer successful.
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This transcript may be edited for readability.