• March 23, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

KANA Relaunches Its Email Management Solution

KANA Software unveiled its second pass at Response On Demand, a tool to answer customers' high-volume email inquiries. Looking to meet the demands of both midmarket companies and larger Fortune 1000 enterprises, it's KANA's second hosted service-resolution management (SRM) solution.

The company considers this latest version to be better suited for the SMB market. KANA incorporated functionality requirements and a reduction in cost to enable Response On Demand to be scaled for the high-level activity of midmarket customer service organizations.

Unlike the timing for the first pass's release, the market is now ready, according to Brian Kelly, the company's executive vice president of marketing. "When we hosted KANA On Response three or four years ago, we pulled it because we felt we were ahead of the market," Kelly says. "The demand wasn't there for an automated customer email management solution of the type we were offering. Plus, medium-sized businesses felt priced out of the product."

Previously KANA sold the solution on a perpetual license model, hurting smaller companies because of the upfront investment, installation costs, staff training, and overall time taken to incorporate the product into a system. Now, Response On Demand takes under an hour to configure to an organization's system, which means lower installation and labor costs. Response On Demand now integrates with KANA Response Live, the company's hosted solution for online chat, enabling users to link customers' emails into a chat session, which allows agents to see what the customer needs as it allows customers to see what agents need from them.

Part of a larger KANA strategy to deliver a hosted SRM delivery solution while maintaining a strong presence with enterprises, it is a move that Ian Jacobs, analyst at Current Analysis, says demonstrates that KANA is trying to extend its boundaries. "This is KANA saying, 'Hey, we can do everything.' It's the hosted delivery that helps them attract the midmarket," he says. "This is an easier model for the midmarket to handle. KANA has both hosted and on-premise delivery, so they're trying to cover all their bases."

Market demands also played into the timing of this version of Response On Demand. Jacobs says the first time KANA was "beating their heads against the wall" trying to make the market understand the message that a company can select from both on-premise, for something like a U.S.-based tier 3 contact center, or hosted, for an offshore contact center. "All the trailblazers have gotten everybody to understand that message, and now that KANA has this behind them, they can swoop in and capitalize on that. That's sort of the same message you heard with Siebel with the reintroduction of their hosted solution."

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