Chat - Core To The Promise Of Effortless Service

Kate Leggett

Customers today simply want efficient, effortless service, and are increasingly using chat as a way to get to the information that they are seeking. Chat usage rates have risen in the past three years — from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 58% in 2014. We find that all demographics - young and old - are comfortable with chat. Chat can cost less than a voice call, especially for organizations that allow their agents to handle multiple chat sessions simultaneously. Its no wonder that there are hundreds of case studies that showcase the power of chat.

The chat vendor landscape is crowded, and recently I profiled the capabililties of 21 vendors. Because of the wealth of vendors in this space, you have to be clear about your chat strategy, and your core requirements. Here are 5 questions to help you articulate your goals for chat.

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A focus on mobile app testing and how it affects app quality

John M. Wargo

Last year, Michael Facemire and Rowan Curran published a report entitled A Benchmark To Drive Mobile Test Quality. As a result of being the new guy on the team, I was asked to give that particular report a refresh. I scheduled a series of interviews and updated the report. It’s on its way into the editing process; I’ll post an entry here when it’s published.

Much of the report is targeted at QA and mobile app testing; there are some pretty interesting stories in the report that talk about how development organizations are integrating more sophisticated testing strategies into their continuous delivery pipelines. Mobile app testing has always been an interest of mine and working on that report allowed me to dig even deeper into the topic. What I learned is that there are a lot of new tools available to Application Development and Delivery professionals that allow them to more easily deliver higher quality, more thoroughly tested mobile apps.

As a result of that work, we’ve decided that I’ll continue to do research and write on that topic. I’ll soon begin work on an update to the existing Market Overview: Mobile App Testing report. Next, Diego Lo Giudice and I will begin work on a Forrester Wave on the topic. Stay tuned, I’ll post here when I have more solid delivery timelines for the reports.

The Future Of The Digital Store Is Closer Than You Think

Adam Silverman

[This is a guest blog post by Rebecca Katz.]

When I tell friends and family I’m researching the future of the digital store, they more often than not conjure up a certain image in their heads: robotic sales associates, augmented reality dressing rooms, holographic advertising displays, and maybe even hovercraft-friendly shopping malls (à la The Jetsons).

And while components of digital stores are absolutely in line with this flashy and quintessentially futuristic vision (Samsung’s virtual fitting room—equipped with 3-D cameras and depth perception software—can virtually drape an article of clothing over a shopper’s reflection, for example), here’s the thing: some of the most revolutionary digital store innovations are actually completely invisible to the customer. In other words, we may not always notice it happening around us, but digital store transformation isn’t some far-off ideal that retail executives are ruminating on from the sidelines. For leading retail organizations, the store of the future is already well underway.

In our new report The Future Of The Digital Store we tackle the role of technology in today's physical shopping experience. The report explores how stores are successfully utilizing digital technology to:

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Hit the road running with a new BI initiative

Boris Evelson

Even though Business Intelligence applications have been out there for decades lots of people still struggle with “how do I get started with BI”. I constantly deal with clients who mistakenly start their BI journey by selecting a BI platform or not thinking about the data architecture. I know it’s a HUGE oversimplification but in a nutshell here’s a simple roadmap (for a more complete roadmap please see the Roadmap document in Forrester BI Playbook) that will ensure that your BI strategy is aligned with your business strategy and you will hit the road running. The best way to start, IMHO, is from the performance management point of view:

  1. Catalog your organization business units and departments
  2. For each business unit /department ask questions about their business strategy and objectives
  3. Then ask about what goals do they set for themselves in order achieve the objectives
  4. Next ask what metrics and indicators do they use to track where they are against their goals and objectives. Good rule of thumb: no business area, department needs to track more than 20 to 30 metrics. More than that is unmanageable.
  5. Then ask questions how they would like to slice/dice these metrics (by time period, by region, by business unit, by customer segment, etc)
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Think A Data Lake Is THE Answer? Think Again. Here Comes Elastic Analytics

Brian  Hopkins

Enterprise architects, are you mired in a tangled web of data marts while your business pursues customer engagement without you? If you think a Hadoop-centric architecture is going to save the day, you may need to rethink. Your customers expect you to create systems of insight to deliver win-win engagement in real time. I'm seeing a new class of digital predators leverage the cloud to do just this. For example, Netflix designs cover graphics for its series based on subscriber viewing habits. They know their customers that well.

I call their technology approach an Elastic Analytics Platform in my recently published report. I formally define it as:

"A combination of data storage and middleware technology that allows the creation and dissolution of analytics components on demand, while provisioning these with data from one, or a few, distributed, virtualized data sources."

That's a mouthful. So here's a rough picture:

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Smart Home Activities Will Align With Existing Markets, Rather Than Create A New One

Frank Gillett

Consumers are implementing connected home activities one gadget at a time - Forrester surveys show that about 13% of US online adults use one or more smart home device. But unlike mobile, where a brand new technology established a new category, smart home products will transform existing home markets, such as insurance, energy, health, water, and food, rather than create a new one.

Sure, Apple and Google will battle to be the dominant app interface and software platform – but they won’t be controlling or taking over those markets. Instead, individual companies will soon be experimenting with how to promote and even subsidize smart home products to create interactive relationships with their customers that simply weren’t possible before. Liberty Mutual and American Family just started subsidizing Nest Protect smoke detectors in return for monthly confirmation that the homeowner is keeping them on and connected to Wi-Fi. Similarly, grocers and food brands such as Nestlé and Unilever will begin promoting smart devices, like the Drop baking scale, and recipe filled apps to encourage shoppers to keep coming back.

Emerging smart home devices will perform 13 activities that can be organized into two domains: crucial background activities that automate everyday tasks like environmental comfort, home access, and home safety, or fun and helpful foreground activities that sustain engagement, such as entertainment activities, cooking and health management, and monitoring family members. Clients can see more details and many examples in our report, The Smart Home Finally Blossoms

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Contact center outsourcers move strongly to omnichannel—brands’ attitudes need to catch up to that change

Ian Jacobs

Contact center outsourcers have gotten a bum rap. Customers frustrated with offshore accents, agents with no power to actually solve problems, and overly scripted interactions have complained, sometimes loudly, about the practice. Comedians have mocked offshore agents, often mercilessly. In particular, the shared services outsourcing model in which a single agent supports multiple brands at the same time has come in for a real savaging. Check out this Funny or Die video for just one the literally dozens of such comedic rips on outsourcers. 

In many ways, brands set themselves up for such criticisms by focusing on outsourcing simply as a way to take costs out of their businesses. That focus on efficiency left little room for the types of excellent service that built customer loyalty. Today, however companies’ motivations for outsourcing customer support are changing and options for onshore or so-called near-shore outsourcing have expanded. Contact center outsourcing actually remains quite vibrant. For example, more than two-thirds of telecommunications technology decision-makers at companies with midsize or larger contact centers report they are interested in outsourcing some or all of their contact center seats or have already outsourced them. So, it is clear that outsourcing is not going away; brands, however, are starting to look at outsourcers for new types of interactions. 

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Forrester's Annual ECM Panel Survey, 2015. Call for Participation — Deadline July 31, 2015

Cheryl McKinnon

Forrester's survey for ECM decision-makers is open, and we're looking for your participation! Take this opportunity to provide your perspectives on the key vendors, the challenges, and the opportunities you see in this technology market. This survey is intended for ECM decision-makers or influencers in end user organizations. This is not for ECM vendors or systems integrators . . . but vendors and consultants — we would love it if you could share this survey invitation with your customers. The survey will remain open until end of day Friday, July 31, 2015.

Why is your input important? Forrester uses this data to:

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Automated Malware Analysis Wave - Call for feedback

Rick Holland

We are in the planning stages of a new Forrester Wave on automated malware analysis/sandboxes. As we prepare for this research, we are looking for research interview candidates to discuss your experiences with automated malware analysis solutions. Please note we are not seeking feedback from vendors at this  time. We are focused on the buyers of these offerings. We would like to talk to you about: 

  1. The most useful features
  2. The least useful features
  3. The most significant challenges
  4. Preferred deployment model (physical appliance, virtual appliance, cloud)
  5. Most useful integrations (e.g. endpoint integrations that validate sandbox alerts)
  6. Feedback on vendors (e.g. FireEye, Trend Micro, Palo Alto Networks ...)

You don't have to be a Forrester client either. If you are willing to participate in a confidential research interview, we will provide you a free copy of the research when it publishes. If you are interested in speaking with us please contact Kelley Mak (kmak at forrester dot com) and Josh Blackborow (jblackborow at forrester dot com) 

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about Forrester's perspective on automated malware analysis, please check out Pillar No. 1: Malware Analysis from Targeted-Attack Hierarchy Of Needs: Assess Your Advanced Capabilities

Augmented And Virtual Reality Are Ready For Prime Time

JP Gownder

I've just released a major new report on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented And Virtual Reality Should Be Part Of The Innovator's Toolkit. My research finds that it's time to give AR and VR their due consideration when solving business problems involving either workers or for customer interactions.

AR and VR technologies aren't new. Virtual reality first experienced a boom of interest in the early 1990s, spurred by the 1991 book Virtual Reality by Howard Rheingold. In 1995, Angelina Jolie starred in the movie Hackers, which introduced mass audiences to head-mounted VR display technology. But the early promise of the technology fell apart due to underperforming graphics, attention-jarring lag times, outlandish hardware requirements, and the lack of an application ecosystem. No VR market emerged (outside of niche categories like military usage) until Facebook acquired the Kickstarter startup Oculus for $2 billion in March, 2014.

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