• May 31, 2006
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

KANA Leads Forrester's E-Service Suite Wave

ATG, eGain, KANA, Knova Software, and Talisma are positioned as leaders in Forrester Research's "The Forrester Wave: eService Suites, Q2 2006," with KANA leading all evaluated contenders. Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories (the first telephony vendor to appear on a Wave) and RightNow Technologies are grouped into the strong performers section, with no vendors landing in the contenders or risky bets segments. This installment, an update to the Q1 2005 Forrester Wave on e-service suites, is based on more than 80 criteria in three areas: current offering, strategy, and market presence. Forrester segments the types of vendors offering e-service capabilities into four buckets. They include e-service suite vendors like ATG, KANA, Knova, and RightNow; and niche vendors like case-based reasoning expert Kaidara, intelligent search technology provider InQuira, and real-time service management software provider SupportSoft. The other two areas are CRM vendors like Oracle (including Siebel Systems) and SAP, and CTI vendors like Aspect Software, Cisco Systems, and Genesys. On a scale from zero to five, KANA edged past all evaluated vendors in the current offering category, earning a score of 4.13, trailed closely by ATG (4.12) and Knova (4.09). EGain received a 3.89, Talisma a 3.81, RightNow a 3.68, and Genesys a 3.18. KANA also led the way in strategy, receiving a 4.72, while ATG tallied a solid 4.28. Knova scored a 4.12, Genesys a 3.9, eGain a 3.7, Talisma a 3.6, and RightNow a 2.98. RightNow tied with Genesys for the highest market presence of the evaluated players with 4.25, followed by ATG (3.91), KANA (3.74), Talisma (3.66), eGain (3.56), and Knova (3.03). KANA, cited in the report as having "the broadest and deepest eService suite," is strong in several areas like email response, knowledge capabilities, and Web collaboration (thanks in large part to its 2004 acquisition of Hipbone, known for its top-notch Web-collaboration capabilities). However, KANA's major concerns stem from more internal issues like its October 2005 NASDAQ delisting and its financial-reporting woes. But its August 2005 appointment of CEO Michael Fields, an industry veteran with more than 30 years experience in enterprise software company management, is helping KANA get back on track. Acquisitions have factored heavily into the various contenders' showings. Another leader, ATG (including functionality from its Primus acquisition), delivers robust e-commerce and e-service capabilities. In the Q1 2005 wave, ServiceWare was classified as a strong performer. But through its merger with Kanisa (the resulting company is now Knova) it receives a leader stamp, thanks in large part to its focus on the customer experience, best-of-breed forum module and analytics, and its search technology, according to the report. Talisma continues to reap the benefits of its 2005 Knowledgebase.net acquisition, bringing additional functionality to the Talisma Customer Interaction Management (CIM) suite, while eGain offers a flexible and scalable platform and has a clear business process orientation, according to the report. Genesys received best-of-breed ratings for content authoring and publishing, email response management, and interaction routing, despite its lack of e-service capabilities like forums, and is the only telephony vendor to land on the wave, according to the report. While RightNow's lack of a business process builder impacted its overall total, Chip Gliedman, vice president at Forrester and report coauthor, did note its broad functionality in a variety of areas including search technology and IVR integration. Overall, though, one of the biggest market trends is that "e-service has become consumer CRM," Gliedman says. "B2B CRM is very much centered around the who--who is it I'm dealing with [including customer history]. You want to make that available, since that will likely dictate the future of the relationship." He adds that with consumer CRM, companies often have very little prior knowledge of the customer. "You may know the last five pages they've clicked on when they get in touch with you, so the experience, their initial impression, and whether they choose to purchase from you is likely predicated on the experience they had on their own. Therefore, e-service is [a] stepping stone for either an initial or future sale." Related articles: E-Service Providers Ride the Forrester Wave
Setting Standards Will Help E-Service Shine The 2006 Service Leader Awards, Part 1
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