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
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
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 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;
' 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.
LV Speech Tuner
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
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
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
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