• September 25, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

HP Launches a CRM Consulting Service

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HP Enterprise Services in early August launched new business process consulting, analytics, and implementation services to help clients optimize the operating efficiency of their contact centers.

HP Transformation Services–Customer Engagement Management (CEM) is designed to help enterprises deliver better customer experiences across channels, increase revenue, and improve service levels. Among its stated goals, it focuses on helping companies achieve more effective use of agents and higher retention, a higher percentage of calls handled by top-tier agents, higher interactive voice response system and Web self-service completion percentages, first-contact resolution, and decreased call handling times. Decreased operating costs, improved quality management, and greater compliance with corporate policies, industry mandates, or government regulations are also goals.

Dennison DeGregor, worldwide CRM executive at Palo Alto, Calif.–based HP, says the service offers "a methodology to help transform clients to a customer-centric model from a business-centric model."

"Contact centers must transform to meet the needs of customers who expect a personalized and customized experience," added Danila Meirlaen, vice president of business process outsourcing at HP, in a statement. "HP consultants help drive this transformation based on our deep heritage of contact center operations, industry experience, and global presence, assisting clients so they can increase revenue and customer satisfaction."

Other features of the new service include process mapping and design; optimization road-mapping, including a solution blueprint; and mentoring and support. Consultants can also help with CRM system integration, application development, and customization, and drafting long-term sustainability plans.

A big part of the service is expected to be the development of proprietary applications for clients through HP Labs, according to DeGregor. "We want to create proprietary analytics and offerings that differentiate [our customers] from traditional contact center competitors that do not have the same depth of ingenuity," DeGregor says.

To assess the quality and effectiveness of a client's contact center operations, HP consultants analyze the current environment against industry benchmarks and service-level agreements. After gathering the data, HP identifies areas in need of improvement, including the appropriate use of staff, processes, standards, and technology.

Central to this effort is the use of broader, more predictive analytics and data management with HP's Autonomy and Vertica technologies, which help companies sift through and make sense of large volumes of data.

HP acquired Vertica, a provider of real-time business analytics for large and complex sets of data in physical, virtual, and cloud environments, for an undisclosed amount in February 2011. Six months later, it acquired Autonomy for $10.3 billion.

While the Vertica acquisition happened quietly, the deal involving Autonomy was largely criticized at the time by investors and financial analysts, particularly following a decline in license revenue. It was even blamed for the ouster of then CEO Leo Apotheker.

Current CEO Meg Whitman named company chief operating officer Bill Veghte to head the Autonomy unit in May, and HP is still standing behind the deal. "Autonomy is a very powerful tool, and that was why HP acquired the company" in the first place, DeGregor asserts.

Autonomy's analytics technology will be especially useful in helping make sense of all the customer feedback that comes in through social media, DeGregor notes. "The number of customer interactions [in social media] are increasing steadily," he says. "Social [media] has brought in the new concept of big data."

But of all the times a company could be mentioned in social media, typically only about 30 percent of those mentions are relevant, and of that amount, only about 2 percent are really actionable, he adds.

With the current offering, "we can now create a whole new dimension to the 360-degree view of the customer," DeGregor explains. "We can analyze everything in real time from the social sphere."

The new service supplements HP's other professional services business, which had been gained largely during the company's 2008 acquisition of EDS for $13.9 billion. That deal enhanced HP's services business in IT outsourcing, including data center services, workplace services, networking services, and managed security; business process outsourcing, including health claims, financial processing, CRM, and human resources outsourcing; applications, including development, modernization, and management; consulting and integration; and technology services.

According to DeGregor, HP's customers had long been asking for this kind of product.

"It's not targeted to a specific type or size of company," he explains.

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