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January 21, 2005
Mike Lyons, vice president of technical services, as told to Colin Beasty
Novell's New Analytics Engine Enhances Its Service
Why CRM? We were looking to enhance our service capabilities for our customers over the Web and by phone. We had to change our customer service so we would have a 360-degree view of our customer base, an integrated application for our engineers, and an enhanced experience for our customers, from both a knowledge management standpoint and an incident/registration/follow-up standpoint.
What obstacles did you encounter? We had a call management system that was eight years old; we had a knowledge management system that was not integrated with the call management system; and our Web service was a separate, homegrown application. Although we tried to mask the fact that they were siloed, they were in fact siloed. This was problematic for us and for our customers--we really needed to get to the next step.
How did you select a vendor? We did a very thorough analysis [with] a cross-functional team of what I like to call superusers within the business and our IT organization. We had a scorecard we used for vendor evaluations based on the technology, the partnership aspect, and the price. We selected Kanisa for our knowledge management system, and Siebel for our customer management system. Both systems are fully integrated across our entire enterprise.
How well did the multivendor implementation progress? Extremely well: We were on time and on budget, which is somewhat unique with the deployment of a large enterprise system. It was probably our largest deployment in the nine years that I've been with Novell.
What are the main rewards? From an internal standpoint, we now have our engineers on a fully integrated platform. They're all using one tool for all their needs. It gives them a highly integrated and accessible tool for their use. Our previous deployment was client-server based, so it was not well suited for providing the tools that we needed for our field force, which is about 60 percent of our engineers. From our customer experience standpoint, it's also fully integrated. Customers can go in via the Web and access our knowledge management system. If they're not successful in their search, they can very easily register an incident, which will then get handled by either our engineers in the field or via call centers throughout the world. It's enhanced us both internally and externally for our customers. Also, the Kanisa technology has a very strong analytics engine. We're now able to not only see from an analytic standpoint where we've been successful in providing information to our customers, but just as important we can see where there are knowledge gaps. We can see where we haven't been that successful, so we can then appropriately offer knowledge to fill those gaps.
What are your next steps? Within the next couple of months we'll be deploying expert forums, which will be the last phase of our technology refresh. We'll be using Kanisa's expert forums, and again, they'll be totally integrated with the other systems. Customers can go into our knowledge base, they can access and participate within our communities, and then if necessary register a call. All of this will be identity-driven, so that what they've done along their journey goes with them along their journey.
Break down the silos. Having an enterprisewide, integrated customer service solution is critical to maintaining customer service both internally and externally.
Analytics means enhanced customer service. Employing a system with a strong analytics engine allows you to better fill the knowledge gaps in the information customers seek.
Having a field-force friendly CRM application can be crucial. Sales, marketing, and customer service applications need to be integrated and highly accessible.
for qualified subscribers
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