Consona Rebrands and Integrates

LAS VEGAS — Onyx and Knova users, it's time to get friendly. CRM and ERP solution provider Consona kicked off its 14th annual user conference at the MGM Grand Las Vegas by announcing that it will be doing away with the Onyx and Knova names for its CRM and knowledge management products, respectively. In an effort to rebrand and refocus the corporate strategy, Consona is marrying the two products under the umbrella name Consona CRM. Consona also announced tighter integration between the two, calling the integrated offering the "first and most tightly integrated case and knowledge management solution."

According to Deanna Scott, product manager for Consona CRM, Onyx and Knova have always been integrated, but that message seemed to be getting lost among analyst and user communities. "No matter how often we told them they could be integrated, they still saw this as, ‘Here's CRM over here; here's knowledge management over here,' " Scott says. "We started thinking about, 'How are people today externally viewing us?' and 'How are people buying CRM?' " she explains. "Right now, people seem to be really focusing on point solutions. ‘I need [sales force automation].' 'I need a marketing solution.' 'I need service and support.' And they are all completely disparate." With a new bundling approach toward its CRM products, Consona aims to convey to users that its CRM and knowledge management tools can be bought as point solutions, but that they're also well integrated.

The bundling also allows Consona to change its pricing. The change won't affect current customers, but will provide upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Scott says she has been noticing prospects looking for case management and knowledge management integration. As far as joint customers for Onyx and Knova go, Scott says there aren't too many. Knova customers can choose virtually any CRM provider, she notes, adding that interest in the integration might be more on the Onyx side, especially with SFA-oriented customers looking to link in knowledge management. However, Scott says the integration announcement will be most influential in terms of prospects.

The case management and knowledge management integration represents the amassing of tools and responsibilities within the contact center. Blending the two areas, Scott says, is all about empowering agents and allowing for the tracking of customer relationships, which inherently builds loyalty.

Scott stresses that the new Consona CRM development process involved a great deal of listening to the company's customer base. On the Knova side, the number-one customer demand was for a better analytics solution, according to Tim Hines, vice president of product management. Hines admits that the Knova analytics tool was lacking and the features weren't sufficiently suiting user needs. "We decided to take a different path or approach by realizing that our analytics infrastructure...is not going to work. It's not going to solve the problem," Hines says. Instead of Consona building its own analytics architecture, the company looked to its agreement with analytics company QlikView. "The bottom line is we decided that either we were going to have to build a [business intelligence] product or it was going to be QlikView," Hines says. "It was the only one that could come close to doing this. We did a build-versus-[buy] approach and, overwhelmingly, QlikView came out ahead over anything we could build ourselves."

QlikView processes large amounts of data and has what Hines calls an incredible user interface. According to Tom Wainwright, director of customer experience management partners for QlikView, Consona CRM users will see several advantages in having QlikView replace the analytics functionality in the old Knova offering:

  • QlikView uses "associative analysis," which moves through an application the way your mind does with associations.
  • It's both powerful and simple, and not as complex as what might be found in an enterprise edition.
  • Everyone in the organization has access to the same data, and can access multidimensional analysis.
  • Prospects can test their real data in QlikView to experience the product before they make an investment.

Ray Wang, principal analyst at Forrester Research, says that Consona seems to be refocusing on core CRM -- something the company had been straying away from in previous years. He also says that the integration between Knova and Onyx is a smart move -- adding that the use of QlikView should make customers very happy.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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