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Service [TAC] oriented Knowledge Engineering – Framework & Process

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Knowledge Engineering for Services [TAC]

All the data that is being gathered over every possible transactions reside in the databases. These transactional data amassed over time has the potential to yield a lot of intelligence and provide key insight into the major four areas of Business.  [a]-Product Analytics, [b]-Customer Analytics, [c]-Process Analytics.

Technology manufacturers need to evolve their strategy every time and stay competitive, they desperately need to understand the perspectives from a VOC – Voice of Customer.

TAC Centric Knowledge Engineering will make use of a varied a host of ‘technology and product BI companies’ and ‘BI as a service companies’.
There are three types of BI as a service offerings:
1. Generic BI platform capabilities (for example, online analytical processing [OLAP], reporting, analysis, data mining)
2. Application-specific offerings (for example, Web analytics, fraud analysis, risk analysis, benchmark analysis)
3. Combination of both application BI services & product specific analytics with a expert recommendations and consulting  [KE].

Knowledge Engineering will supply the all essential human expertise to build the knowledge analytics architecture based on the business case / SWOT and  conclude recommendations.

From a Services Industry perspective; I recommend pursuits be set over three specific areas. 1. Customer Analytics, 2. Product Analytics, 3.Process Analytics. This can help accelerate service excellence and optimize operations.

Product Analytics: Solutions that allow them to analyze across a series of product performance dimensions ‘end to end’ in the product’s lifecycle. Analytics over Product reliability, third party environments, bug impacts, causes to resolutions, escalations and factors, time to resolve, and maintainability requirements, while all the time focusing on lowering support lifecycle. Product analytics will bend the traditional value chain into a “feedback loop”; evolving into product intelligence.

Customer Analytics: Customer intelligence visibility, customer satisfaction RCA & recommendations, customers and prospects, customers’ likes and dislikes, cases history and trend, as well as future wants and needs, by consolidating customer information currently in multiple silos and mining information.

Process Analytics: Business Process Analytics provides drill-down and slice and dice capabilities from various perspectives for extensive process analysis and reporting. Derivations of general and specialist advisory based on analytics rendered over  historic and real-time data.

Knowledge Engineering Framework:

JesuValiant_KnowledgeEngineering_Framework

JesuValiant_KnowledgeEngineeringFramework

Knowledge Engineering – What it takes?
•    Enumerate, analyze, catalog, and suggest improvements to the core and support processes of the business unit.
•    Ability to assimilate and correlate disconnected and and articulate their collective relevance.
•    The ability to visualize and create high-level models to extend and mature the business architecture.
•    Technical knowledge over technologies covered in the product stack.
•    Importing, cleaning, transforming, validating or modeling data with the purpose of understanding or making conclusions from the data for decision making purposes.
•    Presenting data in charts, graphs, tables, designing and developing relational databases for collecting data.
•    Information management, relational database design and development, business intelligence, data mining or statistics.
•    Utilizes data analysis techniques or best practices and draw inferences and present comprehensive analysis.
•    Critically evaluate information gathered from multiple sources, reconcile conflicts, Decompose high-level information into details, abstract up from low-level information to a general understanding.
•    Prepare reports of findings, illustrating data graphically and translating complex findings into written text.

Do you have a pain point today and are you a technology product manufacturer? Reach out to me @ jesu.valiant@csscorp.com.

Thanks for reading.

Copyrights – Jesu Valiant 2012

*Logos in the Framework diagram belong to the respective owners. Here its to highlight and recommend adoption of these systems and tools to perform Knowledge Engineering.

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CRM’s in 2011 – What the Market needs?

April 14, 2011 4 comments

CRM applications have traditionally helped in issue tracking, tasks management, accounts management and have all their product feature appreciations over the decade. All such enhancements have addressed feature extensions and few rare cases of interops with other applications. In today’s scenario the CRM features are being looked at from multiple perspectives with the advent of newer engagement models and transaction channels. The market does have its share of feature packed systems but features have only looked at addressing the legacy use cases and have not looked at widening the visions over next generation market needs and emerging solution areas. With a late awakening we now see an activity spree in the market that does signal that product companies are trying to make the most, by way of new pursuits and with a load of investments.

Here we take a look at ‘What the market needs today?’, the product stacks prescribed by analysts and how they hold good against the needs.

Gartner in its MQ for 2010 lists the following set of product companies.

Leaders & Challengers per GMQ 2010
-Oracle Siebel
-Salesforce
-Microsoft Dynamics
-RightNow
-Pega Systems
-SAP
-Amdocs

Lets see what are the overall Gaps that are abound in these products with regards to the realities and engagements of today and tomorrow.

1. Integrated E-Support:
With high levels of adoption over self service modules and real-time on-line support systems growing in demand, many CRM’s in the market have not the ability to provide an integrated E-Support Module. E-Support will be the set of functions or features that will help in rendering real time support that will be part of the CRM, i.e., an extension. The functionalities does not end with ‘Incident Tracking’, ‘Data Captures’ and ‘Account details’ but goes on to provide a real time engagement console with the transactions being recorded. Features like ‘Create my Case’, ‘Chat now’, ‘Click to Call’, etc are opportunities to be pursued by CRM companies. There however has been few market leaders who have built capabilities on these lines but much of the market needs here remains to be addressed.

2. Process Automations & Management:
Every Product TAC, Sales & Marketing Teams, Engineering & Design Teams, and almost all the functional arms of any product company plays host to a wide variety of processes and procedures around the tracked CRM entries. There are numerous processes that are covered manually with the reports that are extracted from the CRM databases. CRM here typically functions as a storehouse of data and performs case captures, beyond that all processes are manually managed by the varied functional units within and organization. They have Excel based macros that process data outside CRM, they have audit screens done over third party applications, they utilize web based tools to automate other process and work-flows complimenting the data capture done by the ‘expensive’ CRM.
Here is an opportunity to fill the Gap and make available process / work-flow management functionality as part of the CRM to position product as a market differentiator.

3. Social Web Interoperability:
The last couple of years have seen the emergence of Social media, with direct identification of the individual profiles and engagements globally, this new medium demanded immediate attention from all of the enterprises and corporations. In the wake of Facebook, Twitter, third party forums & wikis, Collaboration platforms, there was an immediate need to listen, manage, engage, analyze these data streams that are out there. The negative impact that can be caused due to mis-management of this medium with its virality over comments and posts posed a very high risk proposition. Many CRM’s today fall absolutely short of capabilities to address this widening gap, however there are a few market leaders who have in the past months frantically went on an Acquisition spree or a partnership spree to add this strength. Salesforce & Raidan over Service Cloud 3, Lithium acquisition of Scoutlabs are few of the attempts made to address this gap.

4. Social Analytics:
With much said and more done over Social media on providing tools capable of listening, capturing, monitoring, engaging of conversation over the Social Web and third party portals and forums, there emerges the strong need to analyze these in line with the few key business cases and identify, get insight,  pursue opportunities, [Social Media Analytics features]. This key feature set is not offered by many in the market. There are only a few product based solutions that currently have tried to build capability here, this area is yet to evolve and the critical aspect of providing Business Intelligence over Social Media is an open opportunity for all the CRM’s out there. With the complexities and lack of analytical cases to pursue and render value there is whole lot of ideation and product features that sprout here with no comprehensive solutions. Again a very strong opportunity for CRM product manufacturers to set their pursuit on.

5. Data Reporting & Analytics:
Much of the CRM’s data reporting revolves around volume driven reporting and rule engine based reporting. Across all the CRM’s that are being adopted there exists a huge gap over data analytics and advanced reporting. We have modules on CRM today that provide the advanced users the ability to query the backend data stacks to procure reports and a very low level slice and dice capability. This gap here to run Analytics and Engineer Insightful details is a Grey area. Although the reporting capabilities have matured, the gaps are huge and every CRM user community over all the product pursue a separate MIS and Data analyst functions outside the CRM process. The market will lap up opportunities here and this can be a huge market differentiator for CRM product companies if they address this glaring gap.

6. Integrated Knowledge Solutions:
Based on an analysis performed over enterprise technical support customers, I could see exponentially at least 15% of customers demanding DIY kits – Self help systems for them to drill down into the solutions. There is also the tremendous gap between the product and its relative documentation that can be ‘called upon’ even by agents who work on incidents and tickets. Both for the customer to assist in better adoption of service or product and for the engagement teams to arrive at a solution to help in better and quicker closure the backend process of Knowledge creation, management, references, knowledge pushing, archiving, etc., remains much to be desired even with the market leaders and the challengers. Solutions over this can be a tremendous value.

Jesu Valiant

Need to Diversify | Extending Organizational Competencies

November 3, 2010 1 comment

Realigning the focus and diversifying has its distinct advantages in any situation and in any market. Diversification from the core provides an opportunity to create additional value to consumers and brings revenue opportunities without much of an ado. Diversification = Growth Strategy.

Market Realities: Organizations have evolved their practices and processes around native offerings; over years of exposure they accumulate strengths to further drill deep into the niche they offer. The vertical bore brings out more quality of service and matures business value. In such a space there will be  many a competitor in the same eco-system with much deeper strengths and maturity; Consumers are spoiled for choice among this competition. Business are cost leaders, have strong brand names, share customers, share characheristics, operate similar, compete nect to neck, share management techniques etc., The candidature sway can only be attributed to external factors like ads, verifyable case studies, consultant backing, customer referrals etc., and not really on ‘whats on offer’ as everyone offers almost the same with very little between. Prolonged existance and anchoring of organizations over the same service vertical will not be wise in the face of growing competition and the thirst to increase revenues.

Framework: Visual Verbatim to be appended

Diversifying from the Core’: When strategies are draw over diversification, there is always a choice. The choice of choosing to build based on your core competency and extend the diversified idea as an offshoot [or] get into a hyper mode by jumping from the native skin adapting in a different landscape altogether. Service companies can diversify from core and feel accomplished as risks are absolutely negligible, there is a strong possibility to utilize native resources over people and infrastructure. Investments and expertise can be applied across establishing a strong backup and support, vital to any new inception. Grade A corporate rung will have the choices to make when diversifying, anywhere down the ladder there is a strong pressure applied over GTM and Operational strategies which will in turn reflect upon exploiting existing relations rather than gearing to launch an all-out open market campaign. Tapping into existing relations will yield good results if you offer solutions and services extensions from the current anchoring. It makes great sense selling and in the conversions.

Pre-Requisites: Diversification can be successful if our core services are at the pinnacle of excellence. We would never want to look at getting caught with poor performance results over our core services; the focus then need to shift back to stabilize the platform from where bread is knead. Selling these ‘Value’ services will be done on the current ‘performance’ platform. Diversify for revenues, diversify over current excellence, when diversifying from core.

Success Factors: Product branding, selling – BD, strong process map, strong service delivery routines, open – case studies, clear engagement routines, leadership awareness.

Case Studies:
1. GE – Jack Welch transformed GE from a purely manufacturing company into a more diversified company. As a result of GE’s corporate strategy and complex diversification, in 1996, GE Capital Services earned US$4 billion. In 2005, GE services agreements increased to $87 billion, up 15% from 2004. In particular, financial services revenues increased 12% to $59.3 billion.
2. ITC – ITC’s non-cigarettes businesses continued to grow at a scorching pace, accounting for a bigger share of overall revenues. “The non-cigarette portfolio grew by 37.6% during 2006-07 and accounted during that year for 52.3% of the company’s net turnover,” an ITC release said. ITC was known for its Tobacco products predominantly, the decision to diversify boosted revenue.

Jesu Valiant

Unified Communications – Solution Opportunities

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The Unified Communications landscape is defined by two major evolving fronts 1. The Voice Communications leaders and 2. Application [Desktop] Communication leaders. What the opportunity one can have in a domain thats already has seen the fiercest of competitions in the landscape and competitions in the billions across multiple logos and strategies that change every day? Well.. thats the opportunity. There is a huge spectrum of varied products & solutions, but there is a lack of services that to address the complexities. More than two decades have gone by since IPFX – NL came up with its presence solution but nothing major has changed the UC landscape. There is yet to be any full fledged ‘solution’ that can sweep the market.

UC Implementors: Many seek to cater to this service and drill deep in this massive market, seeing the opportunity within and around. There are already a huge assortment of services companies who have jumped into this fray to make the most of it. Data indicates that enterprises are preferring to buy their UC services from Telco’s or Network Providers rather than IT Services Companies. The reality contrasts as most of these Telco’s and Network providers have their Service partners who run the regional errands; having to focus more on the core competency they seldom undertake ‘service’ ventures. These errand companies are mostly a Tier 2 player in that region.

Challenges: There are a host of core technical issues and market issues that hound this practice of Unified Communications. With hounds abound in the form of Interoperability issues, Storage issues, Security issues, Challenges in deployment, Challenges in FMC. With these issues in the open, companies get  something if not everything, muting the true experiences of unification.

Selection of a UC Services player: Only a few IT Service Companies are well placed to address this Gap; these companies are either Technical Support, Managed Support  partners, Professional Services partners to 1. The Voice Communications leaders and 2. Application [Desktop] Communication leaders who ‘field’ the collection of skills from the skills reservoirs.

Ushering the “Open” wave: The steady growth of Open Source has brought in a range of Open API’s and bridge bundles that users in betterment of the choice for the market. From IP telephony, conferencing, IM, UM, the stacks have challenged may proprietary products. Seeking strengths on this area whilst searching for a true type services company will further augment strength of the solution you want to implement.

An Approach: 1. Any company wanting to adopt Unified Communications needs to understand their landscape and the proposed, 2. Identify areas of Technology convergence and bucket the product stack they stare into at, into these categories, 3. Services are expensive and not all address our specifics; hence identify the right IT service providers who may be Technology Partners, Solution Partners, Professional Services Partners with credibility [Case Studies, Best Practices, etc.,], 4. Ensure strip bare competition for varying bids among the best identified and always settle for the expertise rather than cost.

Jesu Valiant

Innovations in Organizations

Innovations are a necessity in this highly predatory business world; its just like in the Jurassic age where species had to develop complex survival techniques for life sustenance. Innovation and creativity are essential to success in today’s economy. Savvy business leaders understand that creating new products, services or operating procedures is both expensive and time-consuming for an organization, yet can be vital to long-term survival, says Michael D. Mumford, a distinguished research professor of psychology at the University of Oklahoma.

Traditional thinking is woefully inadequate while evolving market and business strategics; we see companies getting frozen in a revenue bucket for years and not move an inch. Every Quarter the S&M thrust falls short of market needs, roping in Sales and Marketing profiles may add some mileage but never take the organization into orbit or even defend against a small competitor. If every organization can win over the market with pure play references, sales & marketing then we would have many an organization’s revenue skyrocketing with trends trending towards 90 degrees over the graph.

So why  has growth become stagnant? Its certainly not a reason to blames the S&M; its just that there are no innovations to offer and practically all packages on the corporate website stale and outdated atleast by a decade.  Innovations based on the existing set of services and products that a company can offer and extending the same is key for immediate attention in the marketspace. There is a strong need to innovate, frame strategy comprising of three key components that must be aligned: product/market, knowledge and innovation/creativity. As the competitive landscape changes, organizations need to continually revisit their alignment among these positions.

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