• October 16, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

SPSS Offers Another Dimension

Analytics provider SPSS today released an upgraded version of its survey research product, Dimensions 4.0. A part of SPSS's Predictive Enterprise Suite offering, Dimension 4.0 was focused on enhancing end-user usability and productivity. The Predictive Enterprise Suite offering is the firm's answer to providing enterprises with the third panel of the CRM triptych: attitudinal data.

Esteban Kolsky, research director at Gartner, says the release of Dimensions 4.0, along with other recent products and vendor acquisitions, represents the maturity that the EFM/surveying market has reached. "The market for these tools is a highly fragmented one, with no single provider, but it's coming together." In the past, organizations typically conducted surveys by implementing low-functionality tools adopted for a specific department, but suite offerings are now rising to take their place, and providing enterprises with a surveying/analytics package that allows a company to dissect the data. "Dimensions collects the data; the Predictive Enterprise Suite allows you to do something with it. Once you collect the information you can run data mining and tie that information back into your CRM system," says Patrick Quigley, global vice president of Dimensions Sales, SPSS.

Of particular importance, the Desktop Reporter product introduced to the Dimensions 4.0 palette can analyze survey data leveraging Dimensions' industry-standard data model, and allows companies to access survey data without having an Internet connection, according to Quigley. Another key addition is "power dialing," he says, for telephone and online interviewing and surveying, which provides greater automation, oversight, and efficiencies in the data collection processes.

Strong emphasis was placed on improving reporting functionality. Enhancements to the underlying tables component offers increased usability across the entire set of Dimensions reporting tools. Users can choose from different chart types when displaying results and when exporting to HTML or to Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. The reporting enhancements were driven by customer feedback. "The big trend right now is customers want tools that provide them with reporting features that allow them to do something with the data, not just slice and dice it," Quigley says. "They want to be able to make business-focused decisions based off a summary of the information, which is representative of analytics market in general."

Historically, CRM has always been strong in providing behavioral, or transactional, customer information. Measuring and predicting a customer's attitude toward a company and/or its products and brand is still quite new. Kolsky says these tools will help map this uncharted ground. "Reduce, reuse, and recycle feedback information with adherence to corporate goals," Koksky says. "That's the real benefit of these tools."

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