Nuance Acquires VirtuOz. What Does This Really Mean?

The word on the street is that Nuance is buying the online virtual agent company VirtuOz for an undisclosed sum (see the TechCrunch article here). So what does this acquisition mean?

Let's start with Nuance. Nuance’s solutions help engage customers with what it terms “smart, automated conversations.” Its customer service solutions revolve primarily around the voice channel and support both inbound and outbound interactions. Nuance’s main building blocks focus on speech and touch-tone automation solutions, speech-enabled call-routing solutions, voice authentication, and outbound notifications. Recently, it launched Nina, a virtual assistant product targeted at the enterprise for mobile customer service. Again, Nina leverages much of Nuance’s core expertise in voice biometrics, speech recognition, text-to-speech rendering, and natural language understanding to empower customers to ask questions and receive relevant answers to questions like “Did my last check clear?” without tortuous back-and-forth conversations between the customer and the service organization.

What Nuance does not have is a complete customer service solution, being so focused on voice interactions. Specifically, Nuance lacks web self-service solutions to support the increasing popularity and usage of these digital channels. This is where VirtuOz comes in.

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IT Industry Disruptions Will Fuel Renewed Asia Pacific Market Growth In 2013

The Forrester team of Asia Pacific (AP) analysts has just published its 2013 IT industry predictions. Below is a sneak peek at some key regional trends I wanted to highlight.

2013 will be a transformative year for IT adoption in AP, as multiple IT trends converge to drive industry disruptions and help spur renewed growth in IT spending. Forrester expects IT spending in AP to rebound in 2013, with regionwide growth of 4% — rising to 8% when the large but slow-growing Japan market is excluded. While India IT spending growth will remain sluggish, the 2012 economic slowdown in China will be short-lived as government stimulus policies take effect in 2013. The Australia, New Zealand, and ASEAN markets will all remain resilient, with Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines leading the way in IT spending growth.

Below are some other key predictions shaping the Asia Pacific IT industry in 2013:

  • End user computing strategies will be limited to mobile device management (MDM). AP organizations are feeling the pressure to deliver applications and services across multiple devices, including traditional desktops/laptops, smartphones, and tablets. But lack of skills will hinder bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) policies, which will remain limited to MDM, including basic device control and security/identity management.
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Customer Service: Why It Matters — And How To Do It Right

For many companies, customer service is a cornerstone of their customer experience strategy. It’s an area of increasing importance because:

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Big Data Predictions For 2013

William Shakespeare wrote that “What’s past is prologue.” Big data surely builds on our rich past of using data to understand our world, our customers, and ourselves. Now the world is flush and getting flusher in big data from cloud, mobile, and the Internet of things. What does it mean for enterprises? In a word: opportunity. Firms have taken to big data. Here are my four predictions for key enterprise big data themes in 2013:

  1. Firms will realize that “big data” means all of their data. Big data is the frontier of a firm’s ability to store, process, and access (SPA) all of the data it needs to operate effectively, make decisions, reduce risks, and create better customer experiences. The key word in the definition of big data is frontier. Many think that big data is only about data stored in Hadoop. Not true. Big data is not defined by how it is stored. It can and will continue to reside in all kinds of data architectures, including enterprise data warehouses, application databases, file systems, cloud storage, Hadoop, and others. By the way, some predict the end of the data warehouse — but that’s nonsense. If anything, all forms of data technology will evolve and be necessary to handle the frontier of big data. In 2013, all data is big data.
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The Top CRM Trends For 2013

The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled digital disruption — an obsession with understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers. This means effectively managing the four key areas of customer relationship management (CRM): strategy, process, people, and technology.  Reflecting on my client work during the past year, and delving in to Forrester’s most recent research, here are the top twelve CRM trends to consider as you finalize your plans for 2013.

Strategy

Trend 1: Enterprises must navigate digital disruption. Thanks to digital platforms, your customers live in a world of heightened expectations and abundant options; they can get more of what they want, in more places, at more times, than ever before.

Trend 2: Companies will transform to become experience-driven organizations. More enlightened companies are defining customer management strategies from the outside in, articulating a customer management strategy defined in customers’ terms that can be used to guide organizational improvement efforts.

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