As One Chapter Ends...
In technology, as in life, chapters begin and end. I can't recall any other time in my life when this has been more evident -- but more on my personal experiences later. For now, I'll focus on the changes to our CRM
For the fifth annual CRM Service Awards
, we've made several modifications. We've retired the Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) category, for example, in favor of the more appropriate Contact Center Infrastructure
category, to better reflect this market's maturity. While CTI remains prevalent, we needed to make room for the emergence of Voice over Internet Protocol in network infrastructures -- which the new name enables us to do.
We also broke up last year's Web-Support Services slot into two different categories -- Web Self-Service
and Web Interaction Management
-- to make a clearer distinction between applications that provide automated self-service and those that handle live support across multiple Web channels (i.e., email, instant messaging, click-to-call, and click-to-chat). As time goes on, innovation may soon yield new Web interaction management tools. Who knows? As companies show more interest in social networking solutions, this category may expand to include enterprise blogging and forum software.
Recognizing that quality monitoring solutions have been rolled into some overall suite offerings, we folded last year's Quality Monitoring category into this year's Workforce Optimization Suite category
We also launched a new category, Contact Center Search
, in which vendors have applied their roots in knowledge management to the contact center space, enabling agents to conduct fast searches for relevant customer, company, and product information. These solutions are playing an integral role in helping companies become increasingly real-time enterprises, enabling agents to provide faster and more accurate support for customers and empowering agents to cross-sell and upsell on the fly.
Congratulations to this year's Service Leader
, Rising Star
, and Service Elite
award winners. May their customer service efforts continue to evolve.
Now for the personal stuff I promised. By the time you read this, I'll be a newly married man. In my last column, "Do You, Bagel, Take This Balela?"
(March 2008), I wrote about my father, who, despite suffering from a massive stroke nearly two years ago, was practicing to recite a blessing at my wedding at the end of March. Unfortunately, in February, he suffered what appeared to be another massive stroke and saw his last sunset. I will miss him immensely. In the spirit of change, my wife Galia and I will begin a new life chapter -- and I hope to preserve my father's strength, courage, love, and compassion for the family we are creating.