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TMC Labs
October 2004


TMC Labs Innovation Awards Part II


The TMC Labs Innovation Awards are intended to provide special recognition to products that help carve a new market niche or start a new trend. These awards highlight what is special about them and what sets them apart from their competitors due to one or more unique and innovative features. This is our fifth annual installment of the TMC Labs Innovation Awards for Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine.


We examined a plethora of applications, checked customer references, extensively researched the products, debated our selections and finally came up with the cr'me de le cr'me of 26 winners within the customer interaction space. Part II of the winners list is presented here, beginning with Kanisa and ending with Witness Systems. Part I of the winners list was featured in the September 2004 issue of Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine and can be accessed online at www.tmcnet.com. We offer sincerest congratulations to all the winners.

- Tom Keating, Chief Technology Officer & Executive Technology Editor, TMC

 

Kanisa
Kanisa5

www.kanisa.com

Kanisa's application suite, Kanisa5, is a complete suite of knowledge-empowered customer service applications that provide knowledge management (KM) as well as CRM capabilities. The goal of Kanisa's suite is to automate the problem-resolution process, which improves agent productivity and increases customer satisfaction, both of which provide cost savings and fill in the large gap left by non-automated or incomplete customer service applications.


Kanisa5 integrates all support center channels with one knowledge platform and includes:


Kanisa Support Center: allows agents to use one application to access all content, regardless of where it resides, regardless of the channel of inquiry. With the ability to access disparate information repositories ' both internal and external/structured and unstructured data ' agents reduce call time and increase first-call resolution.


Kanisa Support Site: a powerful self-service application that empowers customers with knowledge to solve problems online.
Kanisa Site Search: provides customers and Web site visitors with a robust NLP search engine to navigate the site, find information and get answers ' regardless of data location and structure.Kanisa Expert Forums: enables collaboration among customer and user communities.


Some of the product's key features include interview scripting, collaboration, the ability to integrate disparate content sources and personalized self-service.
Kanisa5 automates the service-resolution process by combining robust KM technology with rich application capabilities. Kanisa5 fits under the relatively new Service Resolution Management (SRM) category, which allows companies to effectively bridge KM and CRM with a holistic enterprisewide integrated knowledge platform.


Also, Kanisa touts its 'Universal Knowledge Integration and Access' features. The company states that Kanisa5 is the only product to simultaneously access structured and unstructured data in response to a single query. Kanisa makes this possible by automatically integrating and tagging disparate content sources from across the enterprise.


Kanisa also declares that the Kanisa Support Center module is the first application that integrates comprehensive resolution functionality, applies workflow to the entire resolution process and leverages a unified knowledge management platform. The Kanisa5 application suite takes disparate KM tools from support organizations and creates a holistic application, eliminating the need to have multiple windows open. Agents no longer need to mine various data sources from various applications to solve customer problems. Kanisa5 brings all of those tools into one cohesive application.

KnowledgeBase Solutions, Inc.
KnowledgeBase.net
version 4.0

www.knowledgebase.net 

KnowledgeBase.net is one of the most powerful knowledge base solutions on the market today to bridge two disciplines: knowledge management and online self-service/CRM. Designed around Microsoft .NET, it leverages the numerous .NET programmers and .NET applications that can be tightly coupled with this solution. It comes in three flavors:


' KnowledgeBase.net Enterprise Edition, which targets Global 2000 companies with call centers;
' KnowledgeBase.net Hosted Edition for small and mid-sized companies; and
' KnowledgeBase.net Professional Edition for the small/SOHO market.


KnowledgeBase.net features tight Windows integration. One unique Windows integration feature is the ability to 'right mouse click' a document and send it directly to the knowledge base from any desktop. This makes creating new knowledge base entries very easy. KnowledgeBase.net also has the ability to automatically convert any of these files to HTML, if so desired, or they can be kept in their inherent file format (PDF, Word, Excel, etc.).


Additionally, it is fully interoperable with .NET so that other .NET applications can be seamlessly integrated. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Active Server Pages (ASP) code seamlessly integrate with any of KnowledgeBase.net's portal, search or article display functionality. The company says it offers the first knowledge base solution accessible via PocketPCs. Also, KnowledgeBase.net Enterprise Edition integrates with LDAP protocols, such as Microsoft's Active Directory, for easy user name and password management.


While there are numerous knowledge management and online self-service knowledge bases available, KnowledgeBase.net is marketed as the first to offer customers a choice of either a hosted or a CPE-based solution. The hosted edition is ideal for customers who do not want to manage hardware or software related to the knowledge base, and it requires no upfront investment. The on-site edition works best for companies that either require KnowledgeBase.net to reside behind company firewalls or want to more tightly control their data.


Fully integrated into a single Web-based application, KnowledgeBase.net combines content, knowledge and document management features with customized Web portals and powerful search technologies that allow knowledge to be easily put into a central location.


The product was designed to be easy for knowledge masters/creators to author information, for administrators to manage and for end users to quickly and accurately search and find the knowledge they need.

 

LumenVox
LV Speech Tuner

www.lumenvox.com

We all know the benefits of speech recognition ' the problem is that a speech application is often deployed and then forgotten. Like a car, any speech application needs a periodic 'tune up' to make sure it has high accuracy. LV Speech Tuner is the speech recognition industry's first integrated maintenance tool allowing both transcription and testing capabilities to the channel. The LV Speech Tuner is designed to allow companies easy access to their own data so they may tune their systems and provide callers with a high-quality, consistent speech application.


After deploying a speech application, a company needs to perform tuning, transcription and testing on an ongoing basis. However, up until now, the tools for doing so required companies to incur expensive professional services fees because they needed to send their log files to the speech provider and then wait two to six weeks for the results of the tuning to be sent back. With the GUI-based LV Speech Tuner, companies can bring this side of speech recognition in-house and avoid those expensive and ongoing professional services fees. The LV Speech Tuner is a complete maintenance tool for speech applications built upon the LumenVox, Nuance and ScanSoft platform.


Speech recognition engines log information files detailing all the interactions between the caller and the system. With these logged files, an application designer may then use the LV Speech Tuner to analyze each stage in the call process, evaluate and then improve the speech recognition application. The developers at LumenVox designed the LV Speech Tuner to allow easy transcription and on-the-fly testing on actual calls. Using these features, companies deploying a speech recognition application may tightly tune it to their specific customer base.
Furthermore, the LV Speech Tuner automatically calculates a variety of performance measures, allowing companies to formulate a realistic and accurate assessment of the application's performance, as well as to evaluate the effects pin-point adjustments have on performance.


Currently, most speech systems force users to listen to each call and transcribe it by hand, often using a common text editor, which is ill-suited for scoring/evaluating speech applications. The user must then tabulate correct and incorrect responses, evaluate how to fix these responses and then make whatever changes seem appropriate to the live system. LV Speech Tuner is different ' it allows a relatively novice user to easily transcribe, word for word, each caller's speech as well as indicate how the application chose to respond versus what the caller was requesting. This allows the LV Speech Tuner the ability to automatically rate performance against commonly accepted measures like WER (Word Error Rate), giving an accurate picture of details, such as average confidence scores, correct versus incorrect responses, in-grammar versus out-of-grammar performance, etc. The speech can be evaluated against the grammar as it was sent to the ASR, and call data can instantly be re-tested and re-scored to see if changes will influence the performance of the application.

Maximizer Software, Inc.
Maximizer Enterprise 8

www.maximizer.com

Large enterprise CRM vendors' products are often too complicated for the needs of the SME market, and their products are priced significantly higher than SME-focused CRM products and services. Maximizer Enterprise 8 fits both the target price point that mid-market organizations want ($500-$900 per software license seat versus $2,000-$5,000 per seat for higher-end solutions) and the rapid deployment capabilities they require (1-2 weeks versus 9-18 months for higher-end solutions), while retaining a rich feature set.


Important in any CRM application is the ability to integrate with other best-of-breed third-party applications. Maximizer Enterprise 8 supports automatic integration with Microsoft IIS, as well as automatic integration into Microsoft SQL Server or Pervasive SQL, including auto-creation of tables and other data structures. Maximizer integrates with QuickBooks, a popular accounting package in small to mid-sized businesses. It also supports built-in Crystal Reports for running powerful reports from within Maximizer. Maximizer 8.0's support for Crystal Reports includes a wide range of predefined reports, as well as a custom report engine. Additionally, it supports integration with VineyardSoft's Knowledge-Sync workflow automation software.


Maximizer Software was the first CRM vendor in the SME space to leverage .NET technology, which allowed the company to write its new Calendar source code only once, for use on both Windows and Web clients. Maximizer is one of the easiest CRM applications to install and deploy while retaining a very powerful feature set. The ease of installation and fast deployment certainly sets Maximizer apart from other CRM applications.

 

CONTINUED...
 

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