In drawing comparisons among the various vendors populating this year's Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers, Gartner Research Vice President and Distinguished Analyst Michael Maoz admits there aren't a lot of commonalities. "The only things they have in common are systems to help customers post-sale," Maoz says. The differentiation among vendors shouldn't be all that surprising, given the unique needs an enterprise hold for customer support. "Very few of us have cookie-cutter customer service requirements," he stresses.
It makes assembling the Magic Quadrant tricky, the analyst says candidly, emphasizing that the research should in no way be a company's one-stop resource for a software solution purchase. Rather, it should serve as one point of reference once a business has established the service processes it is trying to support. Start with the processes; end with choosing a solution that fits those processes, Maoz advises.
The 2010 report includes 15 vendors; ones that meet Gartner's criteria for coverage. Vendor criteria includes having at least 15 customer references, having at least five new customers for CSS in the past four quarters in at least two geographic regions, and generating at least $7 million in software revenue for core CSS from new clients during the past four quarters. Maoz says he also takes into account a vendor's relationship with third-party consulting firms and systems integrators, as well as the vendor's own professional services. He evaluates a vendor's cross-channel customer service efforts and whether the provider is creating or following industry trends.
Maoz noted in his 2009 research that he sees social integrations as not only a trend, but as a capability he will be evaluating in years to come. He, in fact, took social integrations into account in this report, which is evident in RightNow's position on the Leader side of the Quadrant. [In related news, Gartner will be releasing a Magic Quadrant devoted to Social CRM toward the end of May.]
Maoz writes in the report that through 2013, four major initiatives will dominate overall customer service strategies:
- Tying together service interaction channels;
- Integrating social CRM capabilities;
- Analyzing the customer experience; and
- Applying business rules and knowledge in real time.
Here's the complete rundown on the 2010 Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Oracle (Siebel)
- RightNow Technologies
Last year Pegasystems was left lonely as the sole resident of the Visionary segment. Maoz explains its Leader-worthy positioning in 2010: "Pega has had a banner few years," he says. "The idea of matching business rules to specific customer service processes has done them well." The intended acquisition of Chordiant in mid-March was taken into account in this quadrant. Beyond the acquisition, Maoz lauds Pegasystems for its renewed emphasis on customer service contact centers, a long tail of customer success stories, and a jump in revenue. Although he says the marriage of Chordiant's real-time decision engine with Pega's business process management software will be nice, Maoz says he wouldn't be surprised to see the company drawing a bit of resources away from Pegasystems in order to focus on the Chordiant CRM solution.
RightNow Technologies over the last few years has focused on the business-to-consumer customer service center where there's not a need for deepened industry knowledge or expertise, Maoz points out, adding that Microsoft and Salesforce.com are more general purpose solutions in this regard, as well. The analyst states that he would like to see more vertical specialty in moving forward.
In terms of social, Maoz points to both RightNow (with its acquisition of HiveLive) and Salesforce.com (for its development of Chatter) as making strong plays. He notes, though, that Chatter within Salesforce.com's Service Cloud isn't as strong as say for its Sales Cloud. "It's much more for sales people to talk amongst themselves -- It's not for contact center usage," Maoz states. On the same side of the coin, Maoz says that Oracle's social CRM solutions seem to be heavily weighted on the sales side -- and as of now, Microsoft doesn't have a lot developed.
In the report, Maoz writes that SAP has yet to tap into the large B2C contact center market. He does, however, praise the company for its community efforts. Amdocs, on the other hand, is well regarded as a telecommunications contact center provider, but does not offer the same resources to other industries.
- Astute Solutions
- Chordiant Software
- Neocase Software
- Oracle E-Business Suite
- Portrait Software
- Sword Ciboodle
Maoz says he hears of vendors included in the Niche Players list getting upset of their placement. These vendors should be pleased with this placement, Maoz argues, "You provide value -- just not to everyone." Out of the Niche Players, the analyst mentions Jacada, Sword Ciboodle, and eGlue as stand-outs. Jacada, he says, is the one he expects to make a lot of noise this year -- but a lot depends on its marketing executions and partnership strategy.
In larger trends, Maoz says he has seen more of an interest in improving the agent desktop rather than replacing it. "There's a big desire to make things simpler for the service agent," he says. "How can I make [agents] feel smarter and less exposed to the customer?" Understanding customer intent and applying the right rule in real time will boost agent confidence. "The corollary is gaining trust," Maoz conveys. "Losing the customer's trust is probably the biggest problem companies are trying to work through."
News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.
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