Knova Software Gets Personal
Knova Software has made generally available the latest version of its search and knowledge management suite Knova 7, its second generally available product since Kanisa and ServiceWare Technologies joined forces to create Knova in February 2005. Much of the upgrade centers on personalization and user segmentation, and self-learning and knowledge management. The news comes on the heels of its acquisition of guided selling solutions provider Active Decisions announced September 11.
On the personalization and user-segmentation side, the release includes microsite management functionality. Microsites are typically defined as Web pages with their own URLs separate from those of a main Web site, and are used to supplement a core site. For instance, a clothing retailer may set up a microsite to provide information on a new line of jeans it plans on rolling out to stores. The product's microsite management ability allows companies to deploy different sites using the same knowledgebase and infrastructure and target the user experience based on criteria like brand, product, location, and user role, according to the company. The suite also includes a feature called Recommendation Manager for managing cross- and upsells, and promotions and providing alerts, recommendations, and offers based on user profiles and queries.
The release also incorporates new features catering to self-learning and knowledge management like Visual Search Manager (VSM), essentially a drag-and-drop tool that allows companies to reposition search results. For instance, if the best search result is located on page two it can be bumped up to the first return. "In a self-service world this is important because you don't want to waste your customers' time scrolling through pages," says Andy Feit, CMO. "They won't do it. They'll call your 800 number and it ends up costing you more. What VSM really does is allow a content expert in your company to drag and drop the results into the order they want them presented." It is important to note that the system supports role-based administration enabling the company to select who has the ability to reorder results.
Other self-learning and knowledge management capabilities include Self-learning Adaptive Navigation, which adjusts search results based on the success of other users' ability to locate desired information; in-process and collaborative authoring; and embedded analytics.
Knova 7 was released in limited availability earlier this year; the company began deploying the software four or five months ago at AmSouth Bank, a former Kanisa customer, and at McKesson, a healthcare services and IT company and former ServiceWare customer. Most recently it added enterprise data integration specialist Informatica to its list of customers running Knova 7. The reasoning behind the limited release was to have the experience of moving customers on both environments--Kanisa and ServiceWare--to the new platform, according to Feit.
The limited availability version of the product was available in Q2, according to the company, and was evaluated in Forrester Research's "The Forrester Wave: eService Suites, Q2 2006." Knova, along with ATG, eGain, KANA, and Talisma are positioned as leaders in the Wave. KANA led all evaluated vendors in the current offering category with a score of 4.13, followed by ATG (4.12), Knova (4.09), eGain (3.89), Talisma (3.81), RightNow (3.68), and Genesys (3.18). KANA also led in strategy (4.72), while ATG (4.28), Knova (4.12), Genesys (3.9), eGain (3.7), Talisma (3.6), and RightNow (2.98) followed. RightNow tied with Genesys for the highest market presence of the evaluated players (4.25), trailed by ATG (3.91), KANA (3.74), Talisma (3.66), eGain (3.56), and Knova (3.03).
"Knova 7 provides an intuitive toolset that will allow companies to affect the customer experience in a far more granular manner," says Zachary McGeary, associate analyst at Jupiter Research. "This is a more [proactive] approach to managing the customer experience than the traditional focus on service resolution management. The features included in this release will also support collaboration across departments, including service, sales and marketing."
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