Talisma Mashes Up the Enterprise

In its latest venture toward embracing Web 2.0 innovations, customer interaction management (CIM) provider Talisma -- acquired by the relatively new platform innovation provider nGenera in May -- has extended a partnership with Denodo Technologies to develop data enterprise mashups. Brad Birnbaum, Talisma chief technology officer, says the Denodo partnership will help continually provide Talisma users with more-relevant information about their customers.

It was Palo Alto, Calif.-based Denodo's strength in enterprise mashup offerings that convinced Talisma to extend the partnership, according to company officials. The mashup both normalizes and integrates structured and unstructured data, uniting structured customer information with semi-structured data from emails, file systems, PDFs, and even public competitive Web sites. With the Denodo add-on, users of Talisma's CIM platform can gain a single view of the once-disparate data. 

Birnbaum describes how an agent responding to a support call might have to pull relevant customer information out of multiple sources. With the mashup in place, the Denodo product will draw data from relevant internal applications and external Web locations, enabling the agent to view existing customer data alongside, say, a competitor's comparative pricing -- all in the same screen. "The more information the agent has to serve the customer, the greater it will benefit the customer," Birnbaum says. "You get a better, richer experience, delivered more quickly."

John Ragsdale, vice president of research for the Service & Support Professionals Association, says that one problem faced by many contact centers is that agents don't fully use the organization's own knowledge base. "We hear from support managers that they spend an incredible amount of money on [the] knowledge base and find that tech-support agents are using Google and not looking within their own knowledge base," he says, adding that a data integration mashup proves that content can be easily accessible -- and, in fact, can be accessed from anywhere. 

"There is a huge payoff there," Ragsdale says of the mashup. "[Companies can save] a great amount of money even shaving 30 seconds off every phone call, which is an easy thing to do if you bring data into one screen for the agent." From a sales perspective, the integrated view can also help agents easily identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities. 

The partnership, Birnbaum says, "is a straightforward concept, but the value is tremendous."

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