Knova's New Resolutions
Knova Software has unveiled its first new solution since Kanisa and ServiceWare Technologies merged to form the new company: Knova 6.5. At its core this version of the company's service resolution management (SRM) suite is new functionality, including an enhanced natural language search engine and Knova Field Service, a new SRM application for mobile support employees. Organizations like Business Objects already are deploying 6.5.
Knova's search engine features answer excerpts, which Mark Angel, Knova's CTO, refers to as the next step of search and self-service. Answer excerpts match queries to the most relevant section of a document, improving the relevancy of the information returned. "We can become much more precise about bringing back the relevant chunk of the document that answers the customer's question," Angel says. Additional search engine capabilities include highlighting within documents to make search results easier to identify, and enhanced spell correction using dictionary and pattern matching. "The proximity of concepts to each other," says Ben Kaplan, vice president of marketing at Knova, also helps to improve the relevance of search results.
Another element--Knova Field Service--an SRM application that runs on support technicians' laptops, is equipped with a personalized portal "where they can search the documents to solve particular problems," Kaplan says. The application also includes auto classification, enabling remote technicians with integrated access to disparate sources of field service information, including support solutions, manuals, engineering documents, and solved cases, and secure network-based synchronization to a field service knowledge server to provide technicians with access to the latest information.
Allen Bonde, president of Allen Bonde Group, says Knova's deeper push into the field service area is interesting from a strategy standpoint. "Adding more functionality for things like field service is indicative of the longer-term strategy of Knova that they may spread out in a few different directions so that they're not just all about tech support, they're also about more life cycle customer management," he says. "Not that they're becoming a CRM company per se, but what they're doing to some degree mirrors what ATG/Primus is doing with their managing the whole customer life cycle."
Also included in the release are enhanced personalization capabilities with improved authoring and content management. One of the big improvements, Angel says, is area-level entitlement, which lets authors specify access levels to different sections in the documents, allowing different versions of the same content to be accessed by different groups. The upgrade also offers improved international language support for global deployments, including information retrieval in more than 25 languages. "Our goal is to let people use SRM on a global basis," Angel says.
The company, overall, is building on its core capabilities around knowledge management integrated with natural language search technology with its latest release, according to Bonde. "They've always had some very good natural language search technology...and I think this release extends that even further. 6.5 is not necessarily revolutionary, but it's indicative...of continuing their lead on the technology front--[it] maybe a bit of a coming attraction for them, moving into some other adjacent areas."
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